It's official! I have a broody coturnix quail!!!! :D

meepANDpeep

Songster
Mar 6, 2021
314
730
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My buff (pastel/dilute, I was told) celadon (she has blue eggs) coturnix quail hen has gone broody, and I don't think it's genetics.

Let me give my theory of how this happened:

1. There were only 3 quails in the hutch (1 male and 2 females), and I had two quails pair bond.
  • How do I know they pair bonded? They slept with each other every night. I only ever saw him mate with her, and all the eggs from the other hen were infertile in a trial incubation.
2. They have a lot of space (according to traditional standards) - ~17 ft sqd for 3 quails. I also try to make their habitat natural. I put lots of plants and straw in their hutch, and I put a mix of sand, gravel, and grit as the floor bottom. Interesting note - instead of using the straw I gave her to make her nest, she meticulously pulled out pieces of dried grass out of the long grass plant I put in the hutch.

3. diet, diet, diet.... I have the females eating a high quality organic blend from scratch and peck supplemented with turmeric and lots of black soldier fly larvae (protein, healthy fat, & calcium source that's easily digestible). I also give them lots of grass and coleus from around the yard.

I think all of these things awoke the brooding instinct, because she's very young, and I've only had her 2 months. There is no history of broodiness in the quails from the person I purchased her from, and yet there she is brooding away on her 5 eggs like a good mama.

I keep reading how rare it is to have a broody coturnix, and yet, I see a lot of posts on here about it, so I was wondering if anyone else has experienced it, and were your setups similar to mine? Maybe we can bring back quail brooding with proper habitats??
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
Premium Feather Member
May 15, 2019
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Klamath County, OR
It's true. Keep an eye on her and have an incubator ready. Coturnix quail rarely go broody, and if they do, they often don't stay broody long enough to hatch chicks. Button quail are better, but you still need to watch.
 

FloorCandy

Crowing
Apr 15, 2020
3,804
7,685
451
My buff (pastel/dilute, I was told) celadon (she has blue eggs) coturnix quail hen has gone broody, and I don't think it's genetics.

Let me give my theory of how this happened:

1. There were only 3 quails in the hutch (1 male and 2 females), and I had two quails pair bond.
  • How do I know they pair bonded? They slept with each other every night. I only ever saw him mate with her, and all the eggs from the other hen were infertile in a trial incubation.
2. They have a lot of space (according to traditional standards) - ~17 ft sqd for 3 quails. I also try to make their habitat natural. I put lots of plants and straw in their hutch, and I put a mix of sand, gravel, and grit as the floor bottom. Interesting note - instead of using the straw I gave her to make her nest, she meticulously pulled out pieces of dried grass out of the long grass plant I put in the hutch.

3. diet, diet, diet.... I have the females eating a high quality organic blend from scratch and peck supplemented with turmeric and lots of black soldier fly larvae (protein, healthy fat, & calcium source that's easily digestible). I also give them lots of grass and coleus from around the yard.

I think all of these things awoke the brooding instinct, because she's very young, and I've only had her 2 months. There is no history of broodiness in the quails from the person I purchased her from, and yet there she is brooding away on her 5 eggs like a good mama.

I keep reading how rare it is to have a broody coturnix, and yet, I see a lot of posts on here about it, so I was wondering if anyone else has experienced it, and were your setups similar to mine? Maybe we can bring back quail brooding with proper habitats??
Mine also chose to make her nest with a lot of long grasses, so after I moved her and the eggs inside, I gave her some new long grasses each day to put around her because many were being thrown out when I would remove her mega poops, since the nest grass would often be caught in the poo. I think the most important criteria for brooding is access to the ground and digging. Other than bugs they catch, mine are not given insect supplements, just their pellets and occasional things I catch while gardening, and my hen brooded and raised 6 chicks last month (may - June). I think the popularity of wire floored cages is as much to blame as it being bred out of them. When these chicks are old enough, I’m hoping being raised by a broody has helped give them more natural programming so to speak, and I’ll be watching to see if they’re looking interested in brooding.

Mine do not have a natural habitat, they are in about 20 sq ft for 12 birds (2 males and 10 females), deep litter, a couple cinder blocks, and a large rectangle planter turned upside down with a big opening cut in the front. I give them some long grass and dandelions from the yard, and their pellets. On day 2, I took the hen and the eggs inside and put them in a 60qt plastic clear bin cage. I made a nest in the corner by making an indent in the chips, and then ringing it with long grass, I put the eggs in, then I put her in and nudged her onto them. She sat right back down on them and began moving the grass around and over herself and the eggs. 16 days later she hatched 6/10 eggs and all chicks were cared for by her until she decided they were ready, then she would pluck them when they tried to get into her feathers and I moved them to their own bin. She even adopted a 7th chick after a week or so. It was older, but was a runt from an earlier hatch and was about the same size. Even tho I don’t treat them like pets and hold them or hand feed them, she eagerly let me hold and touch her chicks, and after she realized what I was doing, she would pull pieces of dry poop from the chicks out from under her and toss them at my hand when I was in there cleaning up, she would not poop in the nest, she always got out to poop, but the chicks pooped it up.
 

meepANDpeep

Songster
Mar 6, 2021
314
730
176
Mine also chose to make her nest with a lot of long grasses, so after I moved her and the eggs inside, I gave her some new long grasses each day to put around her because many were being thrown out when I would remove her mega poops, since the nest grass would often be caught in the poo. I think the most important criteria for brooding is access to the ground and digging. Other than bugs they catch, mine are not given insect supplements, just their pellets and occasional things I catch while gardening, and my hen brooded and raised 6 chicks last month (may - June). I think the popularity of wire floored cages is as much to blame as it being bred out of them. When these chicks are old enough, I’m hoping being raised by a broody has helped give them more natural programming so to speak, and I’ll be watching to see if they’re looking interested in brooding.

Mine do not have a natural habitat, they are in about 20 sq ft for 12 birds (2 males and 10 females), deep litter, a couple cinder blocks, and a large rectangle planter turned upside down with a big opening cut in the front. I give them some long grass and dandelions from the yard, and their pellets. On day 2, I took the hen and the eggs inside and put them in a 60qt plastic clear bin cage. I made a nest in the corner by making an indent in the chips, and then ringing it with long grass, I put the eggs in, then I put her in and nudged her onto them. She sat right back down on them and began moving the grass around and over herself and the eggs. 16 days later she hatched 6/10 eggs and all chicks were cared for by her until she decided they were ready, then she would pluck them when they tried to get into her feathers and I moved them to their own bin. She even adopted a 7th chick after a week or so. It was older, but was a runt from an earlier hatch and was about the same size. Even tho I don’t treat them like pets and hold them or hand feed them, she eagerly let me hold and touch her chicks, and after she realized what I was doing, she would pull pieces of dry poop from the chicks out from under her and toss them at my hand when I was in there cleaning up, she would not poop in the nest, she always got out to poop, but the chicks pooped it up.
Your situation sounds very similar to mine only I just have fewer birds and their hutch is right next to a big tree which I think makes her feel safe. But I also do not have a wire cage floor. I have sand in the floor of the cage. I also think it makes a difference. I have straw on top of the sand and I put plants in there for them sometimes to feel safe.

That’s awesome that she raised them though! Mine only has 5 eggs. She had more, but before I realized she was broody, the male harassed her (she was pecking the hell out of him) and two broke :/ he has since been separated but I left the other hen in there.

Weirdly enough, whenever she goes for her food/water breaks, the other hen goes and inspects her nest and sits next to it, keeping the eggs somewhat warm, until she gets back. I just noticed it happen a second time. Which is why I no longer think it’s a coincidence.

Have you ever seen that behavior with your birds??

Also, I want to move her and separate her from the hutch into a brooder box I have, but I’m terrified that she’ll stop being broody if I do. You mentioned you moved yours and she was still broody. You think it’s worth the risk for me?
 

meepANDpeep

Songster
Mar 6, 2021
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730
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There is her little nest. Weirdly enough, she is not on it right now, nor is the other quail interested. Hoping she’s just taking a break and not given up on brooding. Her nest also looks a little tattered compared to yesterday.
 

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meepANDpeep

Songster
Mar 6, 2021
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Update, she’s back with her eggs (buff hen) but they were cool to the touch before and she’s not properly brooding like yesterday. Yesterday they were warm and she wouldn’t leave them. You think they’re dead? Or since it was the first couple days will they be okay and is this more of a pre-brooding behavior? (1st picture)

also worried the other hen (silver hen) is nest stealing and throwing her off. Should I put the other hen elsewhere? (2nd picture)
 

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FloorCandy

Crowing
Apr 15, 2020
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Update, she’s back with her eggs (buff hen) but they were cool to the touch before and she’s not properly brooding like yesterday. Yesterday they were warm and she wouldn’t leave them. You think they’re dead? Or since it was the first couple days will they be okay and is this more of a pre-brooding behavior? (1st picture)

also worried the other hen (silver hen) is nest stealing and throwing her off. Should I put the other hen elsewhere? (2nd picture)
Mine very rarely got up, and she spread out like a pancake over them. She could reach the food without getting up, and she actually slowly moved her nest closer to the water a bit each day until she could reach it from her nest. She got up and let out a poop the size of 1 and 1/2 eggs that smelled like a dog pooped in the area haha.

I had several hens try to brood last year, but I never let them, I always took the eggs because I thought they wouldn’t follow thru. This year I decided to let her try because she was so persistent, and she did great. She seemed confused when I moved them inside, but she sat right back down when I nudged her in their direction. The ones that didn’t hatch looked like they were developing and quit midway, I suspect they were eggs closer to the sides and maybe got too cold. My hen is very small, and 10 eggs was a lot, she had 14 originally, I took 2 away at the beginning, then she pushed one out about a week in, and I took a second one out with it because it was a spotted egg, and I decided to just try to hatch the blue ones, that way I didn’t have to worry about any males produced not having 2 copies of celadon, since the male dads were both full celadons.
 

meepANDpeep

Songster
Mar 6, 2021
314
730
176
Mine very rarely got up, and she spread out like a pancake over them. She could reach the food without getting up, and she actually slowly moved her nest closer to the water a bit each day until she could reach it from her nest. She got up and let out a poop the size of 1 and 1/2 eggs that smelled like a dog pooped in the area haha.

I had several hens try to brood last year, but I never let them, I always took the eggs because I thought they wouldn’t follow thru. This year I decided to let her try because she was so persistent, and she did great. She seemed confused when I moved them inside, but she sat right back down when I nudged her in their direction. The ones that didn’t hatch looked like they were developing and quit midway, I suspect they were eggs closer to the sides and maybe got too cold. My hen is very small, and 10 eggs was a lot, she had 14 originally, I took 2 away at the beginning, then she pushed one out about a week in, and I took a second one out with it because it was a spotted egg, and I decided to just try to hatch the blue ones, that way I didn’t have to worry about any males produced not having 2 copies of celadon, since the male dads were both full celadons.
Oh awesome. I moved mine. I checked one egg. Nothing developed. I am guessing she’s prepping to brood. Yesterday she was on them like a pancake but I’m guessing that the other hen laying an egg messed with her and she wanted to add more to the nest. Then the other hen kept going and messing with her nest and that probably messed with her too.

so I put her and her eggs in a new spot (a brooder box I made with a tunnel that I blocked off) and added two of the other hen’s eggs.

I’ll keep you posted if she goes broody again in her new house. She seems interested for sure.
 

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