BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Other BackYard Poultry › Quail › Little friend sitting on quail eggs..
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Little friend sitting on quail eggs..

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I have an 8'x8' aviary with about 15 quail, i recently put my two cockatiels in there because they were trying to hatch eggs and it just wasn't working out inside so I thought maybe the heat outside would help. So i set up a nest and everything she needs, she laid 4 eggs in the nest I made then the next day she was gone.. I looked for her for about 5 minutes thinking she has somehow escaped. Then I decided to check the nesting area I made for the quail. I unscrewed the roof and peaked inside and was surprised to not only see the bird sitting on her own eggs but on some quail eggs too!


This is great and exciting but I have several concerns.. What do you guys think, once the quails hatch, if they do hatch that is, should I take them away from the cockatiel since she will have a hard time feeding them? Once they all hatch, cockatiels and quail, should I put them all into a different area of the aviary so that the adult quail that are already in the aviary will not peck the little guys?


Since I know y'all like pics I got some for you!



I'm guessing she picked that area because the bedding is made of feathers collected over time and grass clippings while the nest I made for her had wood shavings as bedding.


Also, what might this mean for the "quail don't go broody" thing people always say? If this is done throughout multiple generations of quail do you guys/gals think this might give quail back the instinct of going broody?

post #2 of 7
I don't believe quail have forgotten how to go broody. A mothering instinct is deeply embedded in animals. I think the real reason they don't go broody probably has something to do with the conditions they're living in. If they don't feel safe, happy, secure etc.. They're probably not going to want to raise young. I've never kept quail before but I've spent a lot of time outside with nature and wildlife, and I'm fairly certain I'm right about this. I have seen quail go broody and sit on their eggs, and these quail were always living in large outdoor enclosures with plenty of positive human interaction, a comfortable place to sleep, plenty of food to eat etc.. . Clearly they felt safe and comfortable enough to want to raise chicks. That doesn't mean every hen is a great mother, or that this would work for every hen, but I certainly don't believe it's been bred out of them.

I think you should let your bird sit on the quail eggs and just see what happens. If they hatch, and they make a connection with each other then you should probably let them live together, at least for a while. And then maybe try to reintroduce the babies to the rest of your quail once they're a bit older. I don't know, just see how it goes and do what feels right. But there is no guarantee it work.
Edited by Athaid - 5/1/16 at 10:59pm
post #3 of 7

Personally, I don't think the quail will survive with a cockatiel mother. And I think they will stress her immensely if they do hatch - they might stray from the nest and I think she will try to get them back (I recently had a budgie that was laying on 5 eggs at the bottom of my aviary(I didn't want her to breed so I didn't give her a nest box)  and she 'stole' a newly hatched button quail chick - left her nest to go to it and pulled it back to the nest with her).

I also see several other reasons why it might not work. First of all, it looks like there are already more eggs than she can cover. Secondly, I guess the quail will continue to lay near her (if she'll let them) and in that case she might continue to steal their eggs, getting even more.

If you really want to let her try this, I'd fence the area with the nest box off, so the quail can't get in there. And perhaps remove a couple of eggs. And should any quail chicks hatch, I'd remove them. 


As for the 'Quail don't go broody'-thing, I don't think a cockatiel incubating them is going to change anything about that. And I also tend to agree with Lsky, I don't think they've forgotten how to go broody. They just haven't been selectively bred for broodiness for many-many generations, as they would have been in the wild, it doesn't mean the genes are gone (they obviously aren't as quail still go broody from time to time). This might have made the genes less easily activated, but I actually don't think that a quail taken straight from the wild all those generations ago would have been much more likely to go broody in the enclosures many people keep their quail in today. I think the way to go to get broody quail, is large enclosures with few birds, natural cover, lots of hiding places and as little human interaction as possible. Some will go broody in that kind of environment, some won't, but I do believe that if you just keep enough quail like that and simply don't use an incubator, but remove those that don't get broody and exchange them with chicks from the hens that did, eventually you'll get a higher fraction of broody quail.

post #4 of 7

one major problem would be the mother bird will try to keep the quail chicks in the nest and also try to feed them. The quail are all set to eat and run on their own right after hatching, not like hook billed birds, parrots and such. I would put a barrier up between the nest and the quail and remove the quail eggs unless you are sure you would be there to remove the quail chicks as soon as they hatch and then I don't know if the cockatiel will be the right temp to incubate the quail. too many unknowns for my taste. good luck

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm gonna go ahead and seal off the area with some mesh and once the quail hatch I'll put them in the house for them to grow, leaving only the cockatiels in the nest. The female cockatiel does not like the quail so they won't go anywhere near her for long enough to lay more eggs.. Plus they usually just lay eggs out on the soil/sand. Thanks for all the tips/answers to my questions! I really hope this works out.


One more quick question, do y'all think the cockatiel might get stressed out if I take away the quail once they hatch? If she will I'd rather take the eggs away right now than wait.

post #6 of 7

If the eggs hatch then she will probably see the quail chicks as hers, and I don't think she's gonna like it if someone's tries to take them away. It might be better to just remove them now and incubate them. But there is still a possibility it could work, so you just gotta weigh up the options.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I ended up taking the quail eggs away.. Don't want to raise any problems with this "experiment". She'll just sit on her eggs and I'll make sure she doesn't steal any others. Thanks for all the help everyone!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Quail
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Other BackYard Poultry › Quail › Little friend sitting on quail eggs..