Ben Glassen with one of the quail chicks he’s raising in an aquarium in his Port Moody home. He says the little birds have great potential for sustainable small-scale cooperative backyard urban farming to provide eggs and protein. Photograph By Mario Bartel/The Tri-City News
Glassen said the quail’s small size, quiet demeanour, low-cost care and maintenance, and short lifespan make them ideal for small-scale urban farming, avoiding many of the problems that can come with backyard chicken coops.
By Mario Bartel
February 6, 2018
The Port Moody resident envisions friends and neighbours in his historic Moody Centre neighbourhood turning over a small part of their backyards to raise the tiny birds for their eggs and meat.
Here’s his plan: Glassen would move his small, portable coops around the yards every day, and from yard to yard every week or so, caring for the birds himself by providing them with food and water. The homeowners would benefit from the natural pest control as the quail hunt and peck for grubs and insects while fertilizing the grass with their droppings, and they would have ready access to a supply of eggs as well as, when the males mature after two months, meat.
(A typical female quail lives two years, laying an egg almost every day. Males would be humanely slaughtered by a butcher for meat when they mature after two months.)
Glassen, who studied sustainable food systems at Capilano University, is test-running his idea with a property owner in Maple Ridge. But he’ll have to confirm how it fits into Port Moody’s animal control and zoning bylaws before he can bring it home to roost in his own neighbourhood.