Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Quail that Never Hatched and Other Life Lessons

Here are some updates over the past two weeks:

The Great Quail Disaster 

Oliver has dreamed of being a quail owner for as long as he can remember (perhaps six months?).  One day, 35 porcelain-white eggs arrived unexpectedly on our doorstep.  Oliver thought all his prayers had been heard and answered.
We found out the quail eggs were included with the purchase of Glenn's new incubator (for his meat chicken project).  Glenn and Oliver loaded up the eggs and we began the 22 day wait.  On day 21 we could hear chirping coming from the eggs.  Oliver kept begging, "Can we help them out?"  We told him we had to let the chicks figure it out for themselves.  We waited and waited, and could only see small cracks on one side of several of the eggs.  
Finally, two chicks arrived and we were sure the rest would come in the morning.  I went to check the incubator the next morning and noticed none of the chicks had hatched.  Glenn figured out he put the eggs in the incubator the wrong way.  Grammy called to let us know she read online that one should begin to help the chicks emerge if they had not done so after 24 hours of peeping.  My heart dropped when I heard that news because it had been well over 24 hours since we first heard the chicks.  I began carefully opening the eggs with the cracks to find little dead chicks.  It was a terrible experience, knowing I could have saved the chicks if only I had listened to Oliver and helped them out the day before.  Here is a picture of one perfect chick who never had the opportunity to see this world.
Out of 21 eggs with a crack mark, I found five still living.  I opened up those eggs to free the chicks' heads and let the chicks do the rest.  Two ended up dying from their deformities.  It was a very sad afternoon.
Now we are left with five healthy and adorable quail and one keet (guinea fowl baby).  The keet thinks she is a quail and the quail think she is mommy.  We are happy some of the quail survived, but I can't help thinking about all of the others that didn't make it.  We learned several big lessons about incubating eggs, but did so at the expense of all of those quail chicks.

New to the Farm

In addition to the quail, frogs, and keet, we welcomed another pet to the farm in June.  Shelby, a Russian tortoise, was living in an aquarium much too small for her.  My mom offered to let Shelby live out on the farm, with chickens, in a large enclosure outside.
This is Shelby's new home.
Oliver can't believe his good luck.  Apparently he has always wanted a tortoise, too.
We also have a new friend living out in our water overflow.  Oliver named him "Muchacho" and we enjoy listening to his loud calls at night.

Water Park

Grammy and Pop treated us all to the water park for our June birthdays.  We had a great time and I learned a couple of things about myself.  First, I think I like frilly, pink tutus.  And second, I'm getting old.  I must be getting soft in my old age.
Oliver picked out Pearl's bathing suit at Target.  I saw it and said, "No."  He convinced me to take Pearl to the dressing room to try on and compare my cool orange suit with his pink tutu suit.  Before I had a girl, I said I would never dress my daughter in girly things; I would try to keep it more gender neutral.  I've changed my mind.  Look at her in that pink tutu suit.  She looks like a pink dream (complete with drool).
Oliver asked me to go down the "toilet bowl" ride because he thought it would be funny to watch me go down the bowl.  I rode it once and could hear his squeals of delight as I was dunked into the water.  Later, he asked me to do it again.  I wanted to hear those squeals again, so I agreed.  Then I agreed to ride the "wedgie" slide.
Never. Again. Today every single muscle in my body is sore.  I started the day off with 800mg of Ibuprofen and still had to limp around all day.  I guess I can't just throw myself down water slides anymore.  I'm going to have to hand that torch over to Oliver.


  1. So sorry to hear about the quail, but happy you guys had so much fun at the water park. I totally agree with your initial hesitation and eventual appreciation of the pink tutu. Even though we're surrounded by "princesses", it's still adorable to see from time to time! And if you keep dressing her in pink frills, she may end up rebelling by playing soccer and getting muddy.

  2. Oh, I can only imagine how sick inside you must have felt to discover the loss of lives that never had a chance to be...very sad!

    What is that great, big bird outside of Shelby's cage/home? It looks like a wood stork, sort of, but I know it's it wild and if so, why is it standing with you guys?

    So you like pink tutus, but not on you - just on Pearl, right? She does look very cute in it! She looked so intensely at that little chick Oli is holding out to her...what a life! I swear if I get a chance to do this whole thing over, I want to be in your family!!!!

    Much love,
    Doris and Gizzy

    p.s. did Glenn ever replace his bees?

  3. Yes, Andrea, I'm sure growing up around here she won't be afraid to get muddy! And she better play soccer.

    Doris, the bear got the queen. The hive is done. :( Poor girls! The large bird is just a statue.