Unlike the rest of our birds, our quail cannot be allowed out in the pasture to free range. The problem is quail are not domesticated like most of our other fowl. If allowed out, they just don't come back. In fact, when we released the first batch of adult quail into their spacious indoor/outdoor pen, we had a number of birds just disappear. It took us a while to find and patch all the tiny, quail sized escape routes.
About a week ago, I started a little experimental project in the quail pen. Quail are ground birds who like to hang out in tall grass and under scrubby bushes. For a long time, I had been cutting armfuls grass and bringing them in for the little birds to nibble on and burrow under. I finally got the bright idea to try and plant some of the taller tufts of grass in their pen.
The little birds thought this was brilliant. I had barely finished patting down the dirt around the first plant when I was swarmed with curious little quail who immediately started nibbling on the lower stalks and burrowing their way into the plant.
Can you spot the birds in the bush?
It's been about a week. I've added three more plants and all are thriving. The quail are loving them and having taken to laying their eggs under the cover of the bushes. I have to say it's a lot easier to look under the plants than to tip toe around pen in work books trying not to trample the eggs they used to bury under their bedding.