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Monday, May 9, 2011

The Small Frustrations

I have quail.
The quail were a pay-it-forward gift. The idea was, I got eggs for the price of shipping and the promise to send some future eggs to someone else.

This is definitely my sort of thing, and I quickly found a recipient for hatching eggs.

So, right on time, at 6 weeks, I got my first quail egg. YAY! The first egg is always such a thrill. But then, instead of steadily increasing production, I got dribs and drabs. I researched my management and feed. I checked for egg eaters. I moved them to bigger, nicer housing - which prompted a sulk and I didn't get a single egg for over 10 days. I took out all the males. I started putting males back one by one. (I realized that the first "males" I put back were just, uhh, modern-thinking hens).I blamed the weather, which was wonky and rainy and way-too-hot and then unseasonably cold. I told them I'd eat them all if I didn't start getting eggs.

Nothing worked.

But finally, like Leghorn chickens, Coturnix quail can not resist egg-laying forever. Finally I was consistently getting 3 eggs a day (still a sad and pitiful number). Then 5 and then 9. When I got 9 eggs for the 3rd day in a row and my pen of younger quail laid their first egg on that same third blessed day, I told my quail-egg recepient that I would start collecting them to mail out.

Since that day I have gotten Not One Egg.
Not just quail eggs.
There are no chicken eggs.
My Muscovy hen stopped disappearing for an hour a day to her secret nest.
There are no eggs, at all, anywhere.

What the heck?? Do I have a predator lurking? Is there an egg-eating snake around? Did something scare the snot out of everybody? Are the quail playing mind-games and the chickens sneaking off to lay next door?? WHAT??

And it's always when you want them too, isn't it?

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