It is now October and many things have changed since I graduated from Animal Health Tech school. I have a job in Prince Rupert, BC that I am enjoying very much, and I am enjoying living here much more than I expected. Brita has retired from her short career learning new behaviours as my work takes up a lot of my time, but I feel our journey exploring a quail's ability to learn was well worth it!
My journey with quail is not over, however. I think as long as I draw breath it will never be over. Quail have been the one thing in my life that has never ceased to interest me.
Living in Rupert comes with its challenges in the quail-lifestyle. For starters, I am living in an apartment complex. Brita and my cat Thor are permitted, but as far as animals go, that is all. I thought that would be okay, but it is not. I have 50 coturnix eggs in an incubator at the moment. I can't help it. Quail are an addiction and I have fallen off the waggon.
These quail are going to Terrace for a friend as soon as they hatch, but I am in the process of finding a house to buy where I will be free to do what I want in. Quail and other small animals like rabbits are prohibited in Prince Rupert, which is also going to be a challenge. This is a coastal town, not a farming town, and people are a little distanced from the keeping of animals in the backyard (other than cats and dogs) compared to other places I have lived. In my old neighbourhood, everyone had chickens in their yard - here, everyone has a boat.
The obvious solution is that my quail must be kept in the house, of course.
No big deal, right? Even a shed would work. Quail are not particularly noisy, not like a rooster anyway. But there is a certain stigma about keeping "poultry" (ie Dirty Chickens) in your living quarters that I just won't be able to escape. But I think that one room with adequate ventilation kept very clean would not turn my house into a barn. Quail are small creatures, and a few cages, perhaps with 2 dozen birds or so, would be completely manageable. From my experience, dogs and cats are noisier and smellier and more work.
My goal with quail is a lot smaller scale than raising them by the hundreds and having every colour, every variety, every species producing eggs for distribution around North America. I want to have enough birds to get people started in the hobby - whether they want a few for eggs or meat or a couple as house-pets. I want kids to experience how wonderful these little birds are, and to bring a little nature into their lives, maybe even spark some interest in birds, nature, wildlife, and the natural world. Even just introduce them to having some empathy for animals. Sharing quail with the world will make the world a better place, I know it - just a little bit at a time!