Indoor Aquaponics in the Bird House!

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I’m building an aquaponics system in the bird house.  Here’s the progress so far.

Here’s some of the equipment that I’m using that you can get from Amazon. All have 4 Star customer reviews or better.

DuroLux T5 High Output Grow Light (4ft 4 lamps) $81.99
20,000 Lumens

Eheim Jager 250W TruTemp Submersible Heater 17” $37.48
This tank heater is good for tanks up to 265 gallons. Eheim Jager has a great reputation.

Active Aqua Submersible Water Pump, 1000 GPH $51.99
I decided to go with a bit more pump than I need right now since I may expand the system in the future. Better to more pump than you need than not enough.

API MASTER TEST KIT (Aquarium Water Test Kit) $21.99  Excellent test kit. I’ll be able to use this for years before needing to replace any of the chemicals.

CPR Aquatic 4 Count Slip by Slip ABS Bulkheads for Aquarium Filters, 1-Inch $14.47
Four 1-inch bulkheads for less than $15 is a great deal. Similar bulkheads go for $8.00 EACH at Tractor Supply. 2 inch PVC pipe fits snugly over the top of these making them perfect for standpipes.

Just about everything else for the system I got at Home Depot.

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Sriracha Honey Glazed Quail

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With a freezer full of quail I am always looking for new recipes to keep things interesting.  My dad emailed this recipe to me and it is now our favorite.  I didn’t take any pictures when I made it for the first time, but I will update this post with some the next time we make it (it won’t be long).  I just wanted to get this recipe out there asap!

I modified the recipe somewhat – recipes are only guides after all.  Modify them to your taste.

Fried Quail

6 quail
1 cup (237 ml) Sriracha sauce
1 cup (237 ml) buttermilk
Frying oil
1 cup (237 ml) high alcohol beer
1 egg
2 cups flour
Salt

Take the 6 quail and remove the breasts and “drumsticks” (thigh and leg).

Mix the Sriracha and buttermilk and marinate the quail for several hours or overnight.

Preheat your frying oil to 325°F (163°C).  A deep fryer or a big pot will work fine.

Mix the beer and the egg in a mixing bowl. Place the flour in a large shallow dish or bowl.

Remove the quail from the marinade, rinse under cold water and season with salt.

Dip the quail in the egg mixture and dredge in the flour.

Fry at 325°F (163°C) for 5–6 minutes, or until golden brown, and drain on paper towels.

And now for the really good part……

Sriracha-Honey Glaze

¼ cup (59 ml) Sriracha sauce
½ cup (118 ml) honey

Mix the Sriracha and honey in a large bowl. Toss the fried quail in the Sriracha-honey sauce and serve immediately.

Our kids devoured the “drumsticks” and the adults loved the boneless breasts.  This became an instant favorite.

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Gigantic, Embarrassing Mistake

Man, this is a tough one to post.  But the whole point of this blog is to help folks out who want to raise coturnix quail, and mistakes help us learn.  This was a big one and it’s embarrassing.  But I can assure you it won’t happen again.

So, about a week ago we were preparing to leave our place for 5 days to visit Jenny’s family to celebrate her birthday and the birth of her new niece.  Time was short and I had a lot to do before leaving, including culling a bunch of quail and getting my neighbor squared away so he can watch over the flock when I was gone.

With maybe 4 hours of sleep the night before, I decided it was time to cull some of the older birds, plus most of the young males from the latest hatch, and get the younger birds into their laying cages.  This is the standard rotation.  I make enough room in the laying cages by culling the older quail and replace them with the younger birds.  Routine stuff.

All went well and I got about 20 quail into the freezer.  We went on our merry way to Iowa and had a great time.  My neighbor took care of the quail just fine – all survived and looked healthy when I got home.  It’s always a relief to get home to be sure the flock is ok.

After a few days I noticed that the young quail weren’t laying as well as they should be.  In fact they were hardly laying at all.  The older birds were laying great as usual.  I checked the supplemental lighting timers and they were set correctly.  I started thinking that maybe the younger quail were just stressed from being in new cages and having a stranger feed them for a few days…….then it hit me.

I was filling one of the feeders and noticed more than one male in the cage.  I normally put 1 rooster and 5-6 hens in each cage.  Did I miss-sex one and accidentally put 2 males in this cage?

Unfortunately, no.  I accidentally culled the hens and kept all of the roosters from the last hatch.  The first words that came out of my mouth cannot be repeated here.  What a rookie mistake!  I’m still kicking myself.  Lack of sleep, in a rush, etc.  Still no excuse for this.

At least they are all packaged nicely in the freezer, ready to be grilled, so they weren’t wasted or anything.  But man, I cannot believe I did this!

Here is what males and females look like.  The rooster is on the left and the hen is on the right.

roo-and-henPhoto credit: backyardchickens.com

Male quail (roosters) have the rust colored chest and little or no speckling.  The females (hens) are speckled on their chest and have no rust coloring, or VERY little.  With most of the quail I’ve raised this coloring and speckling is pretty darn obvious by the time they start laying (about 6 weeks).

I know what a my next post will be about:  Sexing coturnix quail.

Culled a Bunch of Birds

We culled a dozen birds last night.  We had to make room for the younger birds in the main cages and slay most of the males from the latest hatch.

About half of the younger birds were males, which is nice.  The last few hatches seemed to have many more males than females.  Luck of the draw I guess.  A few of these males are lucky enough to live on and procreate – the biggest and best looking.  The rest are going on the grill soon.

The next step is to get a bunch of new chicks hatched!  We’re going away later this week to celebrate Jenny’s birthday with her family in Iowa, so the following week I’ll start collecting eggs for incubation.

I’m thinking of doing a video series on the life of a quail, from egg to mature bird.  Sounds fun.

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