How to encourage Japanese Coturnix quail to brood their eggs - Page 3
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I have had a female Japanese quail hatch out and rear her own young. It happened more than 10 years ago, and I am sorry I don't have any photos... but here is the description of what I did.
I had 2 females and one male living in the bottom of my finch aviary.
The aviary floor was covered in a thick layer of wood chips.
The back and one side of the aviary were totally enclosed.. being made of wood.
Quails had a pop hole at groud level to go in and out of the shelter.
The aviary roof was covered in clear plastic roofing... so no rain got in.
The outdoor aviary section was planted up with lots of bushy plants in pots.. also tufts of ornamental grasses. There was a big log with thick branches in the middle from a dead tree.
I made small shelters inside the aviary shelter for the quail from upturned cardboard boxes stuffed with hay and a hole cut in the side of them as a door. They loved to use there to relax in and lay eggs. And they were good shelter in the winter months to keep warm.
They had a big metal pan filled with sand as a dust bath.
There were fed chick crumbs and dry budgie egg rearing food.. together with mealworms, some seed spilt by the finches, millet and vegetables. Also grit and oystershell, egg shells and treats of hard boiled egg.
I clipped their wings and allowed them to free range in my small garden several days a week. They were very tame. Only let them out when I was there was sit in the garden with them.. otherwise cats would get them.
One female 'vanished' from the aviary one day... I found her in the outdoor area.. thought she was sick as she was hiding under a clump of dead grass.. but when I moved her I saw she had made a secret nest which was filled with a huge pile of eggs.
She felt very hot underneath her body.. like chickens get when they are broody.. and she was really lethargic and fluffed up.
I put her back on the nest and covered her up with the dead grass plant.
I left her to it... the other 2 quail did not bother her. I removed a lot of her eggs and just left her with 10.... because her body would not cover the huge pile.
A few times I saw her off the nest for a long time.. and thought she gave up.. but she would go back.. I thought the eggs would have chilled.
The happy result was that in the end she hatched out 7 chicks from her 10 eggs. They did really well and grew really fast. Again I was worried the other quail would kill the chicks.. but they did not bother them.. in fact they all used to go around in a group and sleep in a pile in the corner of the aviary.
Sadly 2 chicks drowned in the water.. so I filled it with pebbles. One chick got sick and died for no apparent reason.. So in the end I got 4 to grow to be adults.. and they were all male!!!!
The next year she tried again... but no eggs hatched even through she still brooded them.. and then she died a few months later from old age.
I changed my aviary to keep budgies.. and I sold my finches and remaing quail.
I have only had that one time breeding the Japanese quail. I did not realise how lucky I was then! They were to golden variety.
I have got the button quail (Chinese painted quail) to brood and rias their own chicks many times.. but maybe that is because they are not as domesticated as the Japanese ones? All they need is to be kept in pairs and have secure small nest boxes and lots of privacy and quiet.. with nothing to distract them form coming off the nests to see whats happening around. them.. this includes being out of sight of other quails.
I think cover and privacy are the main things you need to provide if you want to try breeding the Japanese quail too. I don't think they would brood their own eggs in a cage or indoors.. or in an aviary filled with many more quail or bigger noisy birds.
Good luck and keep trying!
Edited by jak2002003 - 11/18/15 at 7:37pm
As for location: I can understand that maybe it depends on the hen and I can understand the theory that the more natural environment might encourage them. It's worth a shot!
But my female decided to brood her eggs in my kitchen!! I brought her and the male into my kitchen because my mum's dogs had scared the male and he cut his head jumping in his aviary outside so I brought them indoors so he could heal. Then the weather went frosty and cold so I thought I would keep them indoors a bit longer. They were in a square cordoned off by a piece of wood only a foot and a half high on newspaper and even though they could jump out if they wanted to they didn't. They could see me and the kids as we went about our business. I put a box of hay in there incase they wanted it as a bed and my female laid her first egg in it. I took the egg and incubated it. It is now a week old hatched chick. Anyways I thought I would leave any other eggs to see what happens. I had read that they drop their eggs anywhere not caring about them but she laid each egg in the box of hay. The male stood guard over them. When she got to about seven eggs she began getting angry at the male and fighting whilst he just wanted to mate so I removed him. I decided to move her upstairs to my bedroom where it is warmer and less noise from my kids etc. I was worried about disturbing her and her giving up on the eggs but she accepted the move fine! She laid eleven eggs in total before stopping and has been sitting on them diligently ever since. If I count day one from egg no 7 when I noticed her sitting more frequently she is on day 16 now. I have held the eggs when she takes a break and have felt chicks inside moving and heard noises so I know there are chicks in the eggs.
Again, the pen in my room is a square section of newspaper with food, water, sand box, the nest box and no wire, cage or lid confining her. She isn't tame though she tolerates me changing her food and water and doing minimal cleaning.
I've no idea if she was hatched in an incubator or not or why she so easily decided to go broody. I'm not an expert and haven't kept these quails before. But she is doing it so I wish people would stop telling others to not try or have hope.
I think the most common thing broody quail share is the presence of grass/hay/or the like to make the nest - it also helps if you allow several eggs to pile up and actually watch for broodiness in your hens - for just some, a full grassy nest of eggs is irresistible ^^!
I wonder how many people actually have potentially broody hens but they don't give them appropriate nesting material/allow the eggs to build up for a few days ?
Anyways she had 8 chicks hatch from the 11 eggs. One chick got squashed somehow and was dead. Or maybe it died for another reason and then got squashed? Anyways... I removed it and empty shells whilst my female was getting a drink.
The remaining three eggs I've left to see if they are late hatchers (could be last eggs laid are slower development) or maybe they are first eggs laid and are duds due to waiting longer before she sat on them?
The day before they hatched I gave the whole area a full clean out which the female didn't like at all and she flew out the pen. But she still went back to her nest after it was all done so she didn't give up on her nest despite disturbances over the course of incubating!
She really is tolerant :) I don't clean my button cages at all when there is a broody hen in there - I'd rather wait the 18 days it takes till the chicks hatch. And yes, it usually takes 18 days for my buttons, counting the day AFTER the first time the hen spends the night on the nest as day one, even though it's supposed to take 16 days for buttons as well. Did yours sleep on the nest after the 7th egg?
Has she left the nest with the chicks yet?