When cooler temperatures arrive winter has this way roaring through our farm. Which left me a little concerned how the quail would handle the temperature change.
We’ve had a few nights in the teens, early mornings in the 20’s, daily temperatures around 40 plus. This has been followed by an abundance of rain, and a wind chill that blows damp air.
They have been remarkable and resourceful through this period.
Today I’m going to share how Coturnix quail handle winter when the temperatures drop in the south, it might surprise you. It does get cold here and sometimes it even snows.
How Quail Nest
If you’ve been following my quail journey you know I raise my birds outdoors on the ground. Shortly after fall quail stop laying eggs when the time change goes into effect ad temperatures drop. Egg production came to a halt with my flock after they molted in November.
They’re favorite place regardless of temperatures is to nest on the ground and nest in small groups of three or four. It appears space is their priority which was a little bit of a concern prior to the change in weather.
When temperatures dropped they began to blend their nest so the grass completely covers like a tunnel. They occupy these nests until temperatures rise to 30 degrees; this is when a group will march to the nearest covered shelter for additional warmth.
At one point I actually placed the shelter boxes over these nest to protect the quail from wind chill.
The nest on the left in this photo is a better example of the tunnel; the grass dried when the first frost arrived.
No heat lights have been necessary and I recommend staying away from them as they can be dangerous if not set up correctly.
I’m finding trusting their instincts has been a fascinating learning experience.
The benefits of Shelter Boxes and Hay
The Shelter boxes work like a charm; I built several since they tend to spread out. They use these mostly when it rains and temperatures are extremely cold.
I also keep their food dishes under these boxes so it stays dry. These shelter boxes are pretty sweet and can moved when needed. I like to add a little hay inside for additional insulation and in worse case situations hay bales could also be incorporated to work as insulated walls.
We haven’t had snow but if we do the hay will remain and lifting the shelters off the ground on boards will also be implemented.
So, far the Coturnix quail are doing well over the winter, they eat more to stay warm but they use their instincts to live smart.
The key is to remember implementing the shelter boxes in your outdoor set up, they offer many benefits to ground raised quail.