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How to encourage Japanese Coturnix quail to brood their eggs

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Lobzi, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Is there any special way to encourage a quail hen to brood her eggs. I have a started pair of teenieboppers who may soon start mating and the hen should start laying in a few weeks, maybe sooner. Id like to provide a set up for them that might encourage them to breed and brood their own young naturally. I dont plan to brood their eggs in a brooder but Id like to get offspring from them. I was told to let a bantam hen brood the eggs but then I was told that the hen might kill or squish the babies plus keeping chickens and quail together is not a good idea for health reasons. Now Im looking for ideas on how to encourage the two quail to do the brooding and raising of the babies. I bring them in the house at night in a pet carrier but during the day they stay out in a pen that I built inside an aviary. They love it, taking dust baths and hopping and practicing flight a bit. They are so fun to watch. There are leaves and other sorts of organic matter in and on the dirt plus I put a long low bench for them to hide under. Im wondering if under this bench might be a place were they might make a nest.
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  2. funsized72

    funsized72 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2014
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    they dont sit on their eggs
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Most captive quail have lost the instincts to go broody. Especially those kept in cages. However if you provide a habitat that the birds feel might be a good place to raise a brood, sometimes you can stimulate them to go broody. Lots and lots of privacy. Brush piles for hiding, grass hay for making nests, no other quail with the incubating female or pair, lots of quiet and space. Sometimes this will get them going. But even then, it also depends on the hen. Not all of them make good broodies or even know how to brood eggs.
     
  4. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you for these words of encouragement. I purchased some bunch grass today for them. My single pair are still very young but old enough to sex. The man who sold them to me was keeping them in wire cages but now they have a more natural environment to spend the day in. I do bring them in at night and they sleep in a large pet carrier. When I take them out in the morning they hop and flap and fly with what seems like joy to be out in their enclosure. I am also providing more natural seeds, greens and meal worms for them to dine on....not just processed bird food that looks like powder. I hope to bring out that natural instinct in them to brood.
    Thanks again for offering a more optimist opinion.
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I have always kept my quail in an aviary environment. So much better for their bodies, minds and spirits. Quail just don't thrive in cages in my humble opinion.

    And yes, they love all the things that chickens do. Greens, quartered fruit, cabbage, mealworms, dried fruit, seeds, grains, corn on the cob, all kinds of things. Helps them to bond with you too when they see you coming with the goodies.

    Good luck with your quail! :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  6. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you. Ive never thought any living thing belonged stuck all day long in a cage prohibiting their natural movement. I could never keep any animal in a cage like that.
     
  7. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you really want to fix coturnix quail's brooding ability you will need a time machine. They have been bred in captivity with no oversight for more than a thousand years and some evidence suggests as much as four thousand years of human intervention. We broke it and we probably can't fix it. If you look back through my posts for a ways you'll see all sorts of experiments from me and other members on how to make cots brood better. They all failed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok, Ill try to find* and read through your posts on this subject. In the meantime the main thing Im aiming for is happy healthy quail free of the caged life.

    *if you would guide me to those experiments that failed it would be helpful, Thanks
     
  9. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    As a group we tried letting a chicken hatch and raise them to "teach" the instinct. The first time the chicken killed them all. The second time I let my sisters bantam raise some and out of 6 none ever attempted to brood. Tried isolating a single pair in a simulated natural environment and not collecting eggs. Done with different pairs and different cages and different color phases of birds. Tried covey raising them in simulated natural environment many times. My largest cage has been set up this way for years and I've only had one bird sit on eggs and it was in a 2'x6' low roofed sand floored cage with a large nesting box on one end, with a random breeding group where I was in now way attempting to encourage brooding. It was a tibetan tuxedo bird. That bird never successfully hatched eggs over several attempts. Usually stopping around 12-14 days.

    There is a thread from last year that a woman had a coturnix hatch it's own eggs. It's the only proof I've seen anywhere of a cage raised coturnix hatching it's own eggs. Maybe a line could be started from those birds. Hopefully the owner did so. I'm not trying to discourage you in any way but this is something that a lot of effort has been spent on by a lot of different people and as of right now no one even knows exactly why they don't brood. Is it learned? Is it instinct that has just diminished to the point it doesn't carry on genetically? It's not just coturnix. Button quail are beginning to brood less and less. Bobwhites have all but quit too.

    It would be awesome to fix this trait but it just seems to be more than a long shot since so many people try and the only success comes from random occurrence.
     
  10. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, thanks for all that history. Well Im just going to see what happens.If Im successful perhaps I can start a line of quail myself. I will share my results if they are positive. It will be awhile now as these two are still quite young, she is not laying yet and winter is setting in. I dont expect to even see eggs from her until next Spring.
     

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