Coturnix Quail hatched her own eggs

Discussion in 'Quail' started by jmstevens, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. jmstevens

    jmstevens In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2014
    New Zealand
    Hi there

    It seems to be a fairly rare occurence - a Coturnix Quail successfully hatching her own young - so I thought I'd show you my clever girl who has done just that.


    I'd been busy for a few days and hadn't collected her eggs, had just been feeding and watering. After a couple of days I checked and she was sitting on her 5 or so eggs which she had gathered in a nest in the corner of the hutch. This in itself is unusual as she normally just drops her eggs any old place and leaves them where they lay.
    I left her sitting on them to see what would happen. She kept laying until she had 17 eggs. I noticed that she became very aggressive toward the male quail - chasing him around the pen and attacking him. I moved him out and put him in another pen with some girls who were much happier to see him.
    I did this not only for his sake but I was by now getting pretty excited that she might remain broody.
    She did indeed remain broody and sat for 23.75 hours a day pretty much. She only got up to quickly dust bathe, eat and poop. A really big poop by the way due to saving it up all day I guess!

    After around 16 or 17 days (I didn't know exactly how long she had been cooking them properly, I came home, checked and OHMYGOSH she had 8 hatchlings tucked up under her!. I removed the broken shells and they kept on hatching til she had 12 gorgeous babies. 7 brunettes and 5 blondes.
    On her eggs - spread out flat like a pancake to cover them all.

    The happy sight I was greeted with - two little stripey heads just beneath her beak there.

    A mass of little quails with some eggs still there. The remaining 5 eggs didn't hatch by the next day and were indeed duds.


    Mum bringing the babes out into the sun the next morning. They move about tucked up under her for warmth. She's very protective and tucks them under her when I come close and lets them totter about if I keep my distance.

    So there you have it - so far she's been an incredibly protective and attentive mother, I'm very pleased!
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Great post - hopefully some of her daughters will share the broody instinct.
    jmstevens likes this.
  3. Sill

    Sill Songster

    Dec 30, 2013
    Tempe, AZ
    Wonderful! Please post updates often.

    BTW where are you located that you had a broody this time of year?
  4. jmstevens

    jmstevens In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2014
    New Zealand
    Hi Sill
    I'm in New Zealand - we've just started our Summer so it's lovely and warm for the littlies.
    As long as I keep my distance they totter around the hutch, dust bathe and snooze in the sunshine but as soon as I approach, the mum calls to them and they all scoot under her.
    To a casual observer you would absolutely think she was the only bird in the hutch until you look really closely and see lots of little legs beneath her and heads peeping out from along the inside of her wings. Super cute.
    I've uploaded a video (hopefully showing below) - apologies for the quality but you can hear her cooing to tell them "quick, get under here, the weird lady is here again" and they oblige.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. pineapple416

    pineapple416 Songster

    Aug 9, 2014
    Western Washington
    They are so adorable! We are going to get quail this spring and I'm very excited. She's a great mother, twelve chicks!
  6. lukem5

    lukem5 In the Brooder

    Oct 24, 2014
    Very cool! Will she raise another hatch of quails after this ones grows up you think?
  7. jmstevens

    jmstevens In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2014
    New Zealand
    I will definitely be watching her for future signs of broodiness once she gets this lot raised. I'll put her back with the same male eventually and see if she'll do it over again.
    I'm hopeful that the daughters will know what to do having been raised by their mum also. Will separate them off and watch them carefully once they're older.
  8. coturnixlover

    coturnixlover In the Brooder

    Nov 22, 2014
    Wow thats amazing how much quails do you have in your pen? And if there is any tips please give them to me.
  9. jmstevens

    jmstevens In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2014
    New Zealand
    I normally had 4 quails in that pen, but had recently moved two females out (due to fighting), leaving just the one male and female in there. Conventional advice is to have at least 3 females to a male so I didn't intend to leave them that way. However, they were so calm (and I was busy), so I left them that way for a fortnight or so and that's when she became broody.

    The only other thing I had done differently was to put a lot more of the straw that I usually use for the chickens into the quail hutch. In the past I've put smaller 'broken' amounts in there and they'd shown next to no interest in being in there. This time I put a big wad of it in there and she swirled it into a nest shape when she got broody.

    I don't know if these circumstances contributed to her becoming broody or just coincidence, but i will be replicating them in the future to see if it happens again.

    Meanwhile - all 12 babies are happy and well and the mothering instinct in her is very strong - i thought she'd be shakey at best - perhaps hatching her eggs and leaving the chicks to die - but no, she knows exactly what to do.
  10. RumAndCoconuts

    RumAndCoconuts Chirping

    Mar 30, 2014
    Great Exuma, Bahamas
    Well this is rally exciting! Thanks so much for posting the followup. I'm on my first quail raising and I've been keen to know how your broody mum fared.
    Now I raised the question in another thread but will ask it here. As the Broodiness of coturnix has been bred out...if you kept a couple of Roos of your mumma and a few daughters do you think it would be conceivable to breed Broodiness back in to your backyard flock? I would love to try!
    And the colours you have...did you have different coloured parents? I hatched 23 of 24 eggs that I brought down here but all are identical. The wild colour.

    Thanks so much for posting. Give us your thoughts (as well as other readers) on be ing able to bring the Broodiness back!

    Could we start a club? The BBB club. Bring Broodiness Back!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: