Broody Japanese Quail - Aviary-induced rarities

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Shadowish, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Shadowish

    Shadowish New Egg

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    Hi fellow bird-lovers,

    Long time reader, first time poster/bragger. I have kept all sorts of quails for around 3 years now and while I thoroughly enjoy keeping these animals, I detest artificially incubating eggs and placing little ones in broody boxes, for the reason that I am lazy and I like to let nature do its thing.

    I have read almost everyone that Japanese quails do not go broody (or very rarely do), as this trait as been bred out of the lines we have today. I was not entirely convinced of this argument for the simple fact that Japanese quails are hunted in the thousands in parts of New South Wales and Victoria. Being a scientist by profession, I decided to investigate this myself.

    A literature search did not show the same extent of any sophisticated breeding program that commercial poultry breeds have been subjected to, like Isabrowns etc. Although I accept that Japanese quails have been with humans and domesticated for probably thousands of years.

    I looked very closely into their natural environment, specifically that of their related species the king/button quail, which have not gone through such a lengthy period of domestication (they are not very useful having little meat). We have many species that are native to Australia, though bushwalkers rarely spot them and their numbers in the wild are hard to determine. Having said that, bush goers often report hearing bursts of flatter coming from the ground up, which is characteristic of a king/button/stubble quail fright response. These birds are highly seclusive in their natural environment, which is in stark contrast to a typical aviary environment that is open. It is well known that natural behaviours of animals requires a conducive environment.

    I sought to create environmental enrichment in my aviary (9 square meters). The end result was a highly obscure aviary with many hiding spots and as many natural ground features that I could find. Then, I removed all but 1 pair of Japanese quails that was cohabited with some king quails and a pheasant trio. The ground had wood shaving, grass clippings, branches, hollowed logs and places to dust bath. I did not collect eggs and only entered when I needed to change the water or add feed (once a week). After three weeks, the results were in....a broody Japanese hen quail. I have had this hen for almost a year and she has never gone broody before.

    I cannot be sure as to whether it was the environment or the accumulation of eggs that triggered the broody instinct, that may be experiment number 2.

    Interesting note: Although she was broody, she mistook two fake poultry eggs as her own and tried to sit on them haha. I removed these and she then sat on her own. Later a king quail decided it would be a good idea to go broody and sit net to her. Japanese hen mum hatched her babies but there was no happy ending here. My pheasant trio thought they were tasty treats and ate them whole.



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  2. Lozuufy

    Lozuufy Pigeons are nutty Premium Member

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    Wow, that's awesome she hatched some! Sad they got eaten though. I have let my pigeons hatch coturnix quail eggs for me and one of my quails adopted them after they hatched and took complete care of them, I gotta try this to see if she will go broody and hatch some eggs herself!
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
  3. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I responded to your other thread as well, didn't see this one ^^ But now that I did, I'm wondering.. That dark chick looks awfully much like my wild colored button chicks. You are positive those came out of the coturnix eggs?
     
  4. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Not to be a jerk but how are sure the cot hen is responsible when you have a button brooding the same nest?
     
  5. Heyruthie

    Heyruthie Out Of The Brooder

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    I would love to see more pics of your Aviary, especially wide angles of what it looks like overall! Please post some, as I am still in the process of creating mine, and I'd like some ideas to help me along! This is a neat post :)
     
  6. Shadowish

    Shadowish New Egg

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    Sorry, you are right. I mistakenly said she sat on her own eggs but in fact she sat on button quail eggs and I removed my button quails so I know that she hatched these herself. I will take some pics of my aviary and send them through soon.
     
  7. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would love to see pics of the aviary too :) Good to know they are button chicks, I thought it was very strange that those came out of coturnix eggs ^^
     
  8. Shadowish

    Shadowish New Egg

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    It took me a while but I finally took some pictures of environmental enrichment in my aviary. The floor material is a mixture of wood shavings and grass clippings (the latter I add when I am not bothered to empty the lawn mower clippings in the green environment bins, and they seem love it). I have some screens that I build, hollowed logs, hollowed coconuts (which turns out to be a great nest for button quails), and some other features.

    I found some pictures I took when I built my aviary so I will create another thread detailing how I build the floor and roof.

    I would love suggestions of how to improve the enrichment. My Japanese quail is broody again, second time in the space of 6 weeks.




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    1 person likes this.
  9. Lozuufy

    Lozuufy Pigeons are nutty Premium Member

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    Nice aviary!
     
  10. Eggs on Toast

    Eggs on Toast Out Of The Brooder

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    I would like to do the same and create nesting spots but would it work for Japanese quail if their in a 120cmx120cm pen on the ground?
     

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