So tonight, I came home from work to find the birds’ water dispenser frozen solid — tray, reservoir, the whole nine yards — and the quail themselves fluffed up in their pile of shavings, looking pathetic.
Because a quail run has to have a low ceiling to keep its intellectually challenged occupants from jumping up and scalping themselves, I can’t use a standard metal water dispenser and a standard water heater like I did for the chickens, and even if I could, I’m not sure I’d trust my silly little birds not to play in it and give themselves hypothermia, so I put on my headlamp and went out in the cold to transfer the flock into a pair of Rubbermaid tubs I’d used as brooders last spring.
The tubs are now serving as a sort of avian FEMA camp in the garage. My little refugees are not pleased about being separated, but they should be much warmer than they were in the yard. I cut their feed half-and-half with freeze-dried mealworms to compensate them a bit for the evening’s indignities. I’ll probably pick up a quarter-sheet of plywood and some 1x2s this weekend and build a little tray to go under their pen so I can bring it into the garage until the weather warms up. I’m sure they’ll be much happier if they’re all together.