Posts Tagged ‘Quail’

More than we could chew

August 12, 2015

The View – a different perspective…

The View

I’m sad to have to report that once our quail endeavours were fully up and running, we soon realised that we had bitten off more than we could chew. It turned out to be a very high maintenance venture, with runs having to be moved/cleaned out every other day. And for insufficient financial return. Our days at this time of year are already full and we took a step too far with this project. So, the quail are no more. Of course the wee birds haven’t gone to waste, filling a space in the freezer, labelled (in my mind at least) ‘Romantic meals for Two’. We have an abundance of preserved eggs too. Hey ho.

So, let’s get all the bad news out-of-the-way in one go; one of the female guineas got knocked down. Some drivers in the glen can be heavy-footed and she didn’t manage to move fast enough. It was an outright death thank goodness, I don’t think she would have known much about it. Her mate called for her for a couple of days then promptly stole someone else’s wife!

Guinea fowl

The grey guinea, who out of season is on the periphery of the flock, now has TWO husbands – the widower and her ousted partner who still hangs around! Sometimes I’ve spotted the ousted one with the lone, bottom-of-the-ladder female instead but preen him as she might, he doesn’t stay.

Enough of the gloom and doom. Polly Blue-tail hatched five ducklings a couple of weeks ago and Mrs Under-by hatched nine yesterday but kept them well guarded.

Mrs Under-by

BB has produced her third family of the season; five ‘regular’ chicks…


…meanwhile, the inseparable sisters, Thelma and Louise, are sitting on their third set of eggs this year. Maybe they like to chat through the wall?

Thelma and Louise

After the quail disappointment, we decided to put Kevin’s specially constructed brooder to good use by incubating some of our own hen eggs. You just can’t have enough home-grown chicken!


Annnnnd in the middle of all the summer chaos, I got two portrait commissions from some early season guests – Dottie…


…and Poppy.


Never a dull moment then!

Still here!

July 2, 2015

Dinner guests Good grief! It’s AGES since I posted on Garybuie’s blog but worry ye not (on the off chance that you were!), we’re still here, just busy, busy with guests, gardens, birds and dinners! Skye is heaving with visitors so we are full every night and many of our guests have been taking us up on the offer of dinner.
Besides spending more time in the kitchen, outdoor tasks are also at their peak. The weather is awful; damp and dreary, cold too until the last few days. We may have reached mid-summer but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Of course our daylight hours are abundant and Pusscat seemingly disapproves, trying his best to seek SOME darkness to facilitate his naps. At least I have an eye mask to help!


Anyway, as it’s been so long, I decided that a pictorial ‘catch-up’ would be easier, so here goes!

The quail are OUT!




Aunts Puff and Biggles took over ‘child-minding’ duties of Polly Blue-tail’s offspring…

Puff, Biggles, ducklings

…whereas Mrs Under-by’s three remaining ducklings have been learning all about adult conversation…


…and are seemingly unimpressed by it!


Broody Brenda decided to sit…


…and the Plymouth Rock decided to join her!


Brenda appeared with the first three chicks of the joint hatch…


…followed a couple of days later by the Plymouth rock and seven more. They’re still all sharing the same coop.

Plymouth Rock

Feeding time is certainly more chaotic with such a motley crew.

Feeding time

And as for the Guinea Fowl, after having most of their eggs stolen by our local, dastardly crow, they have finally made a nest out of his sight – which they’re all sharing – and we’re now getting a great supply of eggs! They do enjoy our rare days of sunshine taking a bath…

Guinea Fowl

…or squawking up a tree!

Guinea Fowl

As a culinary conclusion, we’ve enjoyed our first quail and have sold our first eggs!

Roasted quail

Look what’s arrived!

March 12, 2015

Yesterday, all the way from Essex at the opposite end of the country, the much anticipated eggs of Coturnix Quail arrived.

Quail eggs

60 eggs are now in the incubator.

quail eggs

The beginnings of ‘Hinnisdal Quail’!

P.S. A piece of trivia; The name of the glen where we live, Glenhinnisdal, was originally Hengist’s Dale, Hengist being a Viking.

Making plans and work in progress

January 8, 2015

We’re still getting a good variety of winter weather; two days are rarely the same. Today’s view demonstrates that it’s been a chilly one…

The View

…not too bad but obviously cold enough for Mrs Under-by to warm one foot at a time!

Mrs Under-by

Everyone was taking advantage of the sunny spells and played nicely together.

Playing nicely

Wee Man insisted on having his picture taken, just to demonstrate that he doesn’t always look like a wrung out mop head. (Just a dry one that’s ready for use, but don’t tell him I said that!)

Wee Man

Yesterday on the other hand, was an absolute wash-out. It made for plenty of puddles to thoroughly investigate however!


A good day for indoor projects, so I’ve started to tackle the re-covering of the parlour suite.

parlour suite

It’s a slow process but quite absorbing – except when a fast and furious feline has nothing to do but make a nuisance of herself!

parlour patches

parlour patches

We’ve also spent some time in the old church, making plans, drawing them and taking measurements for the new quail accommodation; indoor runs and brooders to start with, outdoor runs will come with the warmer weather!


We’ll need a name for our new quail venture. Kevin came up with ‘Glen Quail’. What do you think?

Plans for 2015

January 4, 2015

Someone started early with their New Year plans. On the first of January, Polly-Bluetail, one of the Musco-teers, decided to go broody!


We could do without it but as she made her nest in a sensible place i.e. the duck house, we’ve let her get on with it so that she’s not tempted to lay further afield. We’ve restricted her to four eggs only!

After the beautiful, crisp days of Christmas, we’ve moved on to gloomy, wet and often windy weather. Everyone just quietly gets on with their own thing.

By the log store

Puff and Biggles

guinea fowl

Lucky and Chance

Part of my own thing is to keep up with my paintings. One of them I started well before Christmas but had to put it to one side whilst Christmas gifts were painted. You may recognize her; she’s been pregnant and produced six kittens since I first put pencil to paper!

'Butter wouldn't melt'

And something more wintry!

Mountain Hare

Dad got me a great present this Christmas. A couple of years ago, I read a book entitled ‘The Seven Daughters of Eve’ by Professor Bryan Sykes.
“The Seven Daughters of Eve is a first hand account of his research into an extraordinary gene which passes undiluted from generation to generation through the maternal line, allowing us to track our genetic ancestors through time and space. Professor Sykes has found that almost all Europeans can trace their ancestry back to one of seven women, whom he has named Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine and Jasmine.”

I’d decided that 2015 was going to be the year when any money I received for Christmas was going to go towards discovering which of those sisters was my prehistoric ancestor. But on Christmas morning, I opened a box which could only contain one thing…

Oxford Ancestors

…a DNA testing kit to determine my maternal origin! WOW! So, as soon as the Post Office was open after the Christmas break, off went my DNA samples to Professor Sykes’s team at Oxford University.

Apparently, dad was bitten by the DNA bug and had actually had his own DNA examined. For men, their ‘Father Clan’ can also be determined through the Y-chromosome, described in Professor Sykes’s book ‘Adam’s Curse’. Dad’s clan is that of Oisoin, which has existed for 35,000 years. His maternal ancestry goes back to Helena who lived 20,000 years ago. So, when I get my results in a few weeks time, not only will I know my maternal ancestry but because dad has his own DNA analysis, I also know my (indirect) paternal lineage too! O.K., I suspect that some of you have nodded off by now, so I’ll get back to the present day and our New Year plans for 2015!

On the Bed and Breakfast front this year, we are going to provide dinner for our guests should they require it. Nothing fancy, just good, locally produced food, a fair amount of it produced by ourselves. But the biggest project is to get into the breeding of Quail. We intend to breed them for both eggs and meat and will supply either local restaurants and/or the butcher’s shop. There’s a lot of preparation to do as we have to build accommodation from scratch, source packaging for our products and of course obtain Quail eggs to incubate and provide our breeding stock!

Frozen gate

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