Raising Californian Quails (Callipepla californica)

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Raising Californian Quail in captivity has never been, and never will be easy. Their nervous character and wild instincts make them very unsuitable to captivity. Unfortunately, because of their disappearance from the wild in New Zealand, they will have to be multiplied in caged conditions, should we want to preserve this pretty little bird. The cavalier attitude of New Zealanders regarding nature will probably prevail and our efforts for conservation would have limited success – I know I am going to get a lot of criticism because of this statement, but with New Zealand and Australia being the number one countries in the world causing species loss, my argument is more or less proven.

Survival rates of Californian Quail during their first few weeks seem to be abnormally low, and I have adopted a number of strategies and designs to try and overcome this problem – all with varying levels of success, but none solving the problem entirely.

My latest survival strategy however seems to have addressed many of the problems. Instead of sending my old Coturnix coturnix quail hens to the stock pot, I selected a number the  calm and motherly ones  as foster mothers for the Californians. I put the mothers into the brooders a few  days before the Californian chicks hatch so they can get acquainted with the environment and the warm conditions. When the chicks hatch I place them straight into the brooder with their new mother. Her presence seems to have multiple positive effects on the chicks – i.e. she teaches them to eat and drink immediately, calms them down and also broods them. The end result is that the little chicks have shelved their desire to become Kamikaze Pilots every time I want to change food or water. Everybody seems calm and happy and mortality for the last four groups, at five weeks of age, each with their own foster mother, has been almost zero (lost one).

There are a number of younger groups at present, each with their foster mothers and they are  very calm and doing well. I do notice that some foster mothers are better at the job than others and will continue selecting the better ones, even though their has been no difference in mortality rate between the groups.

Going back to nature can teach us a lot!!

 

Californian Quail

California Quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

A male California Quail stands on a rock overlooking his covey.

The disappearance of Californian quails is a general trend all over New Zealand – Loss of habitat, chemical pollution and predators. I am presently engaged in a project to breed and release some 1,000 birds every year for ten years – a very ambitious project with a high possibility of failure. The only advantages we have, are – 1. A “suitable” habitat of about 100,000 hectares. 2. A lot of enthusiasm and able people.
 
Birds and eggs are virtually unavailable in New Zealand because they are rare and not easy to breed (compared to other quail species that I regularly breed). That is why we are trying at present to build numbers and breeding lines for our project which has been going for its third year now – yes we are making progress and hopefully shall have the first fully fledged release by the end of this season.
 
We are still building numbers and lines and would be interested in obtaining some birds and / or eggs and if you are aware of any, please let me know.
 
Thanking you
 
Back Yard Farmer
Tel – 0211 34 14 52 / 03 473 0521
byf@backyardfarmer.co.nz
9 Lucan Street
North East Valley
Dunedin 9010
Otago
New Zealand

MY HEART IS BLEEDING !!

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/386052/farmer-buoyed-support

Raw Milk from the Loveliest Dairy Farm

 

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I have known Merral and Alex for some time now and they are probably some of the friendliest, kindest, intelligent and hard working people I have ever known. They came to New Zealand in 2000 and established the most wonderful dairy ever and did everything correctly by the book, working 16 – 18 hours per day for 16 years without a single day off. They provided many families with healthy, tasty and nutritious milk from their very well cared for and loved heard of Jersey cows, and made us all HAPPY. Now a possum infected a single heifer which has caused them to ABRUPTLY loose their LIVELIHOOD, INCOME AND DREAMS. A TB free New Zealand sounds very nice and taking conditions into consideration, it could probably not have been avoided, nor can anybody specifically be blamed, but it may just be time for the MPI to start WALKING THE WALK and stop TALKING THE TALK.

Micro Nutrient Supplementation

I thought it appropriate to post some conversation about this topic I have had with a client

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Hi there,

I’m new to your page and website but am excited to read all about your Vitamin, Mineral, Amino Acid and Enzyme Pre-Mixes for chickens.
I have six chickens I’ve had since one day old with their Mum, (there was 11 but now minus the rosters) they have not started laying yet, they must be six months now and I’m wondering if I’m just not giving them the right balance of feed. The Mum started laying again awhile back but then stopped.
I like to try to keep it organic and gm free, could you please advise if your mixes are natural and where you source everything from??
And also I’m unsure if i buy from you what and how much i should get, my chickens have not been eating much feed but rather enjoying free ranging.
How much for six chickens and to be sent to whakatane please and thank you for your time.
Dear Client
Thanks for the Email. As you can see from the analyses of the product we supply a wide range of micro nutrients in the product. These are formulated and mixed according to specifications for the specific animal and production stage, by using a combination of up to thirty different ingredients (raw materials). These ingredients are sourced from all over the world and some, like the methionine and lysine are synthetic. I also cannot specify that these are organic or non GMO. Most chickens would at present not be in production as result of the short day light lengths and will come into production after 21 June when the days are getting longer (day length being the stimulus for the birds to either produce eggs or molt and stop laying). Should you want to use the product, it has to be mixed with other food the chickens eat on a regular basis, such as a laying mash or pellet, as it is not water soluble and the birds would not consume it on its own. Mixing instructions could be provided at the appropriate time. Inclusion rates should be such that each mature bird takes about 2 g per day to provide for all the mikro nutrients required.  Whatever they then consume of these while free ranging is a bonus and will keep them more healthy – over consumption of these mikro nutrients is very rare, if not impossible. It is off coarse difficult to balance the diets of free ranging animals — the only solution is to endeavor to provide what you suspect they might be rquiring – in free range chickens probably first and foreost is Ca, P and Mg and thereafter some quality mikro nutrients. This will again depend on how “free range” your animals rally are and what is their available for them to eat.