Tuesday, June 26, 2018



INCUBATING & BROODING COTURNIX QUAIL


The Internet would have you believe that incubating and brooding Coturnix quail is difficult. I’m here to let you in on a secret… it’s not. Forget fumigation and floating techniques. It’s really no different than incubating a chicken egg. The only difference is that it takes less time and you might as well forget about candling. You simply pop your eggs in the incubator and start the clock (well, if you have an egg turner, otherwise you do have to turn them).
The internet would have you believe that incubating and brooding Coturnix quail is difficult. I'm here to let you in on a secret... it's not.

INCUBATING COTURNIX QUAIL EGGS

Coturnix quail go from being an egg to laying eggs in 8-9 weeks. Crazy, right? The first 17 days are spent incubating and days 18 and sometimes 19 are spent hatching. Much like chickens, there is no calendar in that egg, so quail chicks may begin to arrive as early as day 16 and as late as day 20. If you have chicks hatching before or after that window, you will want to confirm that your humidity and temperatures in the incubator are accurate.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

Humidity levels are one of the first issues with incubating your Coturnix quail eggs. Less is more. In fact, many people have great success doing a dry incubation with their quail eggs. If you choose a humid incubation, aim for 45% humidity for the first 15 days and increase to 65% for the final three days.
For temperatures, quail eggs incubate at a similar temperature to chicken eggs. If you are running a still air model incubator, aim for a temperature of 102ºF and rotate the eggs around the incubator when you turn them. In a forced air model incubator, aim for a temperature of 100ºF.

TURNING YOUR QUAIL EGGS

If you do not have an egg turner (which is a highly recommended investment if you plan to hatch quail eggs with any regularity), eggs need to be manually turned at least three times a day, though five times is better. Marking one side of the egg with an X and the other side with O makes it easier to confirm you’ve turned them all.
The internet would have you believe that incubating and brooding Coturnix quail is difficult. I'm here to let you in on a secret... it's not.

CANDLING QUAIL EGGS

Although you can try to candle as early as day 6, I personally never could see anything and stopped looking. My method is to let them sit in their turner until day 15 and just let them do their thing. On day 15, when I remove them from their turner for hatching, I hold them in my hand for a moment or up to my ear. The shells are very thin and often you can hear or feel them moving inside. I also noticed that infertile eggs weigh noticeably less than fertile eggs. Of course, if you are unsure, just let them stay in for the duration. Quail eggs have less risk of exploding than chicken eggs.

HATCHING DAY FOR QUAIL

I had read that hatch day was like watching popcorn popping in the microwave. Not much happens and then all of a sudden they all get popping out at once. There is some validity to that, but it’s not 100% accurate. There are always a few that are early to the party as well as several that are late to arrive. The ones in the middle do seem to go from unpipped to out at a startling rate. I’ve looked in and seen no action whatsoever and then an hour later looked in to find a dozen running around. Quick little buggers they are.
Once everyone is hatched and fluffy, it’s time to move on to brooding. Remember to have your brooder set up several hours in advance so it has time to warm before the chicks need to be moved.

BROODING COTURNIX QUAIL CHICKS

Much like the incubation process, brooding Coturnix quail is not any more difficult than brooding chicken chicks. I think people get nervous because the chicks are so tiny. I’ll admit that it seems a lot could go wrong with a chick the size of a half dollar coin. The biggest fear I had was making sure none had died and I hadn’t noticed. Quail are usually hatched in large batches and it’s a challenge to count 50 chicks that look exactly the same. Mine are grown now and I still have trouble doing head counts.

BROODER SIZE

You may think that a brooder for such a tiny bird could be small, and you’d be correct for about a day. Coturnix quail do everything quickly and growing is no exception. Although they will look dwarfed in a large brooder for the first day, by the end of the first week, they’ll be wing to wing. Your Coturnix quail will look considerably different at the end of the day than they did when you woke up that morning. 6″ square per bird is adequate, but the larger the better.
The internet would have you believe that incubating and brooding Coturnix quail is difficult. I'm here to let you in on a secret... it's not.

FOOD AND WATER

As with any chick, feed and water need to be made available at all times. Water containers need to have marbles or rocks in them for the first week to prevent drowning. After the first week, any shallow water container will work. Quail need to be fed a high protein feed to keep up with their rapidly growing bodies. I like to use turkey/gamebird starter for the first 4 weeks, which is 28% protein content. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find this starter in mash consistency. It often comes in crumbles, which is too large for quail chicks. I purchased a coffee grinder at a thrift store and use that to grind the crumbles for the first two weeks. After two weeks, the quail seem to be able to handle the size of crumbles.
PROPER BROODING TEMPERATURES
Temperature needs for brooding Coturnix quail seem to vary depending on
the time of year and where you live. The general consensus is that they should
be kept at 95ºF for the first week and lowered by 5º each week. I’ve successfully
gotten away with less. Most texts say that you need to keep lowering the
temperature weekly until the brooder temperature is the same temperature as
where you will be housing them, but I haven’t found that to be true.

MOVING YOUR QUAIL OUTDOORS

I removed the heat at three weeks old (so they were at 65-70ºF) and moved our quail outdoors at four weeks old. I had a heat lamp on in their outdoor housing and none of them used it, even on colder days. In fact, on their 5th day outside it was raining cats and dogs and they were out in the rain scratching for goodies. I think they are hardier than people give them credit for.
Regardless of where you live or what time of year it is, your Coturnix quail will be ready for their new home by 5 weeks. They’ll also be preparing to start laying at that same time. Check back for our post on housing and laying.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tips for Creating a Survival Garden


Survival gardens are becoming more popular these days, especially considering the rising prices of food in the grocery store, the harsh chemicals used to treat those foods and water supplies that grown more tainted each day. If you aren’t familiar with what a survival garden is, it is simply this: a veggie garden designed to produce enough food for you and your family to live on.



Many people argue that no one can know if we are under the threat of needing such a thing. However, in the same way that we don’t put off planning for other disasters until the last minute, you should at least consider the scenario, and have plans, just in case. The fact is, without food, you won’t last long. And in a dire situation, when food becomes hard to find, you won’t be able to expect anyone to be sharing their own stores either.

Considerations in Survival Gardens

In a survival garden, it’s important to think about which plants will offer the most nutrition by way of vitamins, carbs and fat. You won’t need just sustenance, but foods that will keep you healthy and functioning at the best possible level.



You’ll also want to at least get started working a small plot, if for no other reason than to get some hands-on learning. A small plot will allow you to get an idea about how hard the dirt will be to till, how the weeds reproduce in that area and what pests you will encounter. On the other hand, you could also give some consideration to container gardening, or raised beds, if you have the means to do so.

































When you start small, you’ll want to plant crops that are easy to grow and that you enjoy eating, so you won’t be tempted to give up on them if the going gets rough. A few vegetables that you’ll find easy to grow include:

  • Bush beans
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas

With time, and as your gardening expertise grows, you can add other crops that might take a bit more land, but that are rich in calories, tasty to eat and fun to raise. These can include:

  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Assorted Greens
  • Herbs

It’s a great idea to create diversity in your garden, as well as an array of flavors. If you can go out and pick a cabbage, and then also pick a few herbs to flavor the dish, you’ve created something special. This will give you a desire to continue planting more crops that can actually be used together.

Finding Foods That Pack a Punch

If you study survival gardening, you will find that sunflower seeds are a great way to get necessary fat into your vegetarian diet. Peanuts are also great for this. Make sure to search out crops like these that will meet all your nutritional needs but that are easy to grow in your own specific region.


Keep in mind, when your garden produce starts coming on, it’s as important to know what to do with them as it was to grow them in the first place. Storage can be an issue sometimes, especially for crops such as greens, cucumbers, etc. Keeping them throughout the winter months will be the trick. We have found that these vegetables are some of the easiest to store:

  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Turnips
  • Beets

Don’t forget that you will also be able to can a great many vegetables. Tomatoes are probably the easiest to can, due to their high acidity content, but you can also can beans, and many other veggies as well, all in a water bath canner that really takes no more than a fire to cook over for several hours and the jars and lids to hold them.

Specific Foods and Why They’re Good

Potatoes are actually pretty high in protein, as far as veggies go, which make them a wonderful addition to the garden. Any variety will work really, depending on your own preferences. They will store very well in a place that is dark and cool, but make sure you don’t store them next to apples, as they will both rot prematurely.

Winter squash is a great source of both calories and vitamins. Some store better than other do, and for longer periods of time. To find out which works best for long-term storage, you can either risk it and try a few different ones, or ask a seasoned survival gardener who has already done it. Another good way to store squash is to cut them into rounds, dry them completely, pound them up and store them in airtight containers. Storage time increases, in this way, to almost indefinitely.

In closing, we suggest that you save and store all seeds from your heirloom vegetables (hybrid variations don’t produce viable seeds). This ensures that if you are unable to get any more seeds, you will still be able to have them for another garden next year. Continued seed saving keeps this going, for years to come.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Prepper’s Guide To Nutrition

By Tony

Despite the fact that preppers love to talk about nearly any topic under the sun, nutrition and how it applies to preppers is often a neglected topic. Very few, if any, preppers can honestly explain why it is better to eat fats and proteins than it is to eat carbohydrates.

Even fewer preppers can explain the benefits of vitamins or where calories come from. This guide is written to fill that gap.

To start off with, let’s begin talking about a basic calorie.

Calories And Preppers
Without getting into too deep of an explanation, calories are the tool your body uses to produce energy. No more, no less. With calories, our bodies can run, jump, breathe, swim, fish, and anything else we want to do.

Without calories, we starve. Simple as that.

While popular culture often sends us the message that calories are of the devil, a calorie (and a lot of calories) are a prepper’s best friend.

What most people don’t realize is that all calories come from three sources: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You will never and can never get a calorie without one of these three things.

Let’s break them down separately.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates (carbs) are four calories per gram. Most carbs reside in fruits, vegetables, grains, and sugars. Even though carbs are usually associated with all things evil in modern culture, carbs are necessary to survive and carry precious vitamins and minerals.

Even though they are necessary for survival, they are not ideal for a prepper’s perfect meal. Carbs carry less calories per gram than fats (discussed below) and are not as useful as proteins when it comes to rebuilding and strengthening muscles.

Carbs also have a fatal flaw when it comes to prepper meals: they burn quickly. This means that even though you may eat high calories while eating carbs (think donuts), your meal will not last as long as a meal that consists of mostly fat or proteins and you will find yourself feeling hungry more quickly.

Proteins: Proteins contain four calories per gram and are the food of choice for competition weightlifters and world class performers. Proteins are useful for rebuilding muscles bigger and stronger.

Proteins burn slowly in the stomach and after eating them, you’ll feel full for a long time. Most proteins are meats, nuts, or legumes. These make for excellent prepper meals.

After spending time outside doing whatever your current prepper projects are, your muscles will be fatigued and worn down. Proteins are the body’s way of rebuilding those muscles where they can do more work and last longer the next time you go out to work.

The best prepper meals are high protein.

Fats: Fats contain nine calories per gram and are our go to foods for prepper meals. Since fats contain a lot of calories per gram, you can eat less and survive longer than others (and it’s easier on your budget!).

This happens because fats have more calories per gram than other foods. In theory and in practice, you can eat half as much fatty food as you do carbohydrate food and survive more than twice as long on your fatty food.

This is also a boon to preppers because fats typically burn slowly, meaning that you will feel full for a longer period of time.

Fats are usually found in meats, oils, dairy products, eggs, and nuts. If you’ll notice, foods that have fat and foods that have proteins are very similar. These are the kinds of foods we want to eat as preppers.

Now that we understand what fuels the body, let’s take a look at the construction materials the body uses.

Vitamins & Minerals: Tools Of The Body
Before we get into vitamins and minerals, I would like to say this: if you find yourself in a survival situation, it is better that you focus on how many calories you are consuming than how many vitamins and minerals you are taking in.

All of humanity until the past 50 years has survived without spending any time wondering how their vitamin intake is. If a situation gets bad, worry about your caloric load and the vitamins will follow.

If you can think of calories like the fuel your body uses to run, vitamins and minerals are like a trusty hammer, drill, and other useful tools.
Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients because your body doesn’t need a huge amount, but it does need some. Without necessary vitamins, you can develop blindness, scurvy, weak bones, or an assortment of other problems.

Interestingly enough, we are more likely today to have an overdose of a vitamin or mineral than we are to have a deficiency. Because of market competition and government intervention, most of the foods we consume today have plenty of all the necessary minerals.

If you take vitamin and mineral supplements, your body is capable of getting rid of most of the excess, but you may be doing an unnecessary deed or even harming yourself by taking supplements without being told to do so by a medical specialist.

What Makes A Balanced Diet?
As said above, most of the food we consume today has all the necessary tools for our body to survive and thrive.

But what if we don’t have the resources of today?

If disaster strikes, we would almost certainly lose access to supermarkets. So how do we balance our diets then?

If you find yourself without a supermarket, your number one goal should be calorie consumption. The average human burns 2000-3000 calories per day depending on how active they are. Your meals should have plenty of meat (which contains fat and proteins), but also eat as much fruit and vegetables as you are able to get your hands on. Fruit and veggies are high in carbs, but will almost certainly carry most if not all of the vitamins and minerals that you need.

If possible, eat as many nuts, beans, and home grown meals as possible. This should prevent any sort of deficiency in vitamins and minerals while making sure that you have enough calories to survive the day.

Even though nutrition can be a complex subject, when it all comes down to it, just remember to eat as much diverse food as you can while prepping or in the bush.

Hope you’ve enjoyed!