Breeding for broody behavior


10 Years
Dec 8, 2011
N. Texas
I mentioned this in another thread kind of randomly, but I still have it on my mind, so here goes as its own thread.

From my understanding coturnix don't go broody often because its more or less been bred out of them as a requirement for survival. I'm wondering if it can be brought back with selective breeding and opinions on this in general, such as pros/cons, do you think it'd be possible, strategies to attempt it like replicating their natural environment more, group/colony set up, just any ideas really.

Also from my understanding, the whole quail raising thing started in ancient times basically, before electricity/modern tech. How'd they raise/hatch them out back then? Is there any information on this?

For my own mental list of pros and cons, the best I have so far are:


less equipment
no reliance on electricity (survivalists?)
a more hands off approach to raising them


probably more hit and miss hatch rates
maybe effect their laying, how often and how long? do they reliably lay an egg a day in the wild like they do in captivity?
possibly require better cage set ups to make things more natural vs your typical wire bottom cage with no nesting material

I think what made me think about this is that any quail search I do usually pulls up a survivalist like page/forum, and I always think "lol jokes on you, gl hatching them with no electricity in that kind of scenario". But after that I just thought it was an interesting idea, trying to return the behavior, and something that I don't think anyone has attempted (that I've read about).
I only have four females and one male. I have a fairly large cage, with two hard sides, a hard top, wire bottom..I put in a milk crate and a wooden box, and I always put in fresh hay when I clean the cage. They love this hay and they always make cute perfect little nests to lay their eggs in. They usually all lay in the same nest, sometimes they build two. And quite often I have seen them sit on them for extended periods of time, they even sleep on them at night.
I take all the eggs right now to eat, because my boy hasn't matured enough to 'do his business'...but when the time comes that I see mating, I will leave the eggs and see what happens.
I think with the right cage setup, and proper care, there is a good chance I will get at least one broody girl to hatch some babies.
that'd be awesome to know, I'm kind of wondering if its genetics/breeding, or just environmental (maybe both)

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