LunarFantom

Hatching
Jan 16, 2021
2
7
6
Uh okay so I don't know how to describe what happened here, I guess I'd better start from just how in the heck this happened?

To begin with I'm a new breeder, only about 6 months or so in the saddle. I had a cage full of egg laying females, and a cage in which I wanted to keep a male for future breeding prospects. The issue is I can't leave 1 quail alone, for quail are social species. I was also facing the exact same dilema on the rabbit side of things, so my solution was to slowly introduce my male rabbit and male quail to each other, and now they're the best of friends. Whenever I remove one the other acts irritated and when returned they immediately run over to each other and poke each other with their noses. They live in a quite long 102"X24" cage. I have a big food dish and on the left side I put quail food, on the right side rabbit food. They prefer their own foods but neither food is dangerous to the other. The cage is suspended so poop and pee fall through the floor. Easy peasy, the living requirements of these 2 is weirdly compatible.

Then I had 1 female attacking another in the egg-laying cage, so I moved her inside while she was healing. In doing so I found her to be quite friendly compared to the others, and a very reliable egg layer, so once she'd healed I decided to try her out as a breeder. I didn't want to seperate the male bun and bird, so I introduced the 2 breeder birds in a big container of sand, figuring a dust-bath would be a good bonding experience. Once they were comfortable together I put them all in the rabbit cage and watched. Long story short they became fast friends and I woke up the next morning to find both birds literally sitting on the rabbit, having a glorious snuggle session. I tried to take a better picture but had to do this afar, as when I approached they all run over to greet me, and they have been doing this ever since. (On the logistic side, I do have to trim the rabbit fur from their legs as a result, but it seems to be worth it).

It's been a few months since they all became roommates and we have developed a routine. I go down to check on the eggs at about the same time each day, if I see any I bring them up and put them in the Incubation Queue. (Hatch rate is within expected ranges, rabbit does not seem to disturb the eggs enough to impact). Then I change the water, add food to the food dish, and pet the rabbit. While petting the rabbit I offer a handful of eggshells with my free hand to the female quail who runs over and pecks a few, keeping her fairly tame and supplementing her calcium. (I also whistle to her so she associates that sound with food and handling). Then I bid everyone adeu. However today my schedule was a bit chaotic so I showed up 6 or so hours ahead of my typical schedule.

Instead of coming to greet me everyone just kind of stared at me. I could see the rabbit was napping in the corner and the birds were tucked together with him in a tight bundle. I searched and searched for the daily egg, but couldn't find it. So I gave up and moved on. When I started feeding the rabbit got up and ran over, and then, I don't know how to describe it but both birds looked at me, and one of them, I think the female, made this sound unlike any I'd ever heard. It was like the sound a cartoon character makes when falling off a cliff? Like it started high and loud and then descended rapidly in tone before cutting off. The bird made this sound 2 or 3 times, and then together both birds went to the food, and finally I spotted the egg! I picked it up and found it to be warm, very warm, and completely unscratched or cracked. I think all three of them were snuggling up on it because it was toastier than I'd ever seen one.

And I am quite confused, I was told female quail hate company if they become broody, so why would she be with the others like that? But if she wasn't broody why did she make that odd sound? After eating both birds ran back to where the egg had been (I took it) and the female started frantically running back and forth and pecking at the bars, which makes me feel pretty bad for her but I can't let her try to incubate it on a wire floor with a rabbit in the cage, he might squish the egg. (It's a rare occurrence but I imagine the longer an egg is in there the bigger the risk).

Uh... any advice from more experienced breeders? Were they trying to hatch the egg? Or was that a weird coincidence? Has anyone had a bird make a sound like that?
 

Attachments

  • quailandbunsnuggles.png
    quailandbunsnuggles.png
    640.3 KB · Views: 12

le_bwah

Crowing
May 1, 2018
1,048
2,679
286
Boise, ID
My Coop
My Coop
  1. The sound is an "egg call." Hens often make it around the time they lay. It is not an indicator of broodiness.
  2. Quail in more natural environments go broody quite readily. On wire they rarely, if ever, go broody.
  3. I believe losing an egg can be distressing to them. I've noticed my broody-prone hens "cricket" more frequently right after I collect eggs.
  4. I would be super leery of housing different species in a small, barren cage no matter how well they seem to get along. Rabbit's got a distinct size advantage in a fight—it's not fair to the quail to put them in a spot where they might come to harm that easily.
 

LunarFantom

Hatching
Jan 16, 2021
2
7
6
  1. The sound is an "egg call." Hens often make it around the time they lay. It is not an indicator of broodiness.
  2. Quail in more natural environments go broody quite readily. On wire they rarely, if ever, go broody.
  3. I believe losing an egg can be distressing to them. I've noticed my broody-prone hens "cricket" more frequently right after I collect eggs.
  4. I would be super leery of housing different species in a small, barren cage no matter how well they seem to get along. Rabbit's got a distinct size advantage in a fight—it's not fair to the quail to put them in a spot where they might come to harm that easily.
Woah, I didn't know there was an egg song. O_O Do they make it every time they lay or just occasionally?

Uh cage is not barren, there are multiple hiding places and thing for quail if things get to be too much. As for housing different species, I do know there's a real risk to it. It was a decision I made with great caution after consider the rabbit's temperament and lots of careful observation and monitoring, including with cameras programmed to ping me under certain circumstances regardless of hour. (for example if someone makes a loud sound). That said I consider it a personal decision to add enrichment to my livestock, I understand if it's not something you'd personally do and I'm not sure I'd recommend it if they were being treated as pets for example.
 

le_bwah

Crowing
May 1, 2018
1,048
2,679
286
Boise, ID
My Coop
My Coop
Woah, I didn't know there was an egg song. O_O Do they make it every time they lay or just occasionally?

Uh cage is not barren, there are multiple hiding places and thing for quail if things get to be too much. As for housing different species, I do know there's a real risk to it. It was a decision I made with great caution after consider the rabbit's temperament and lots of careful observation and monitoring, including with cameras programmed to ping me under certain circumstances regardless of hour. (for example if someone makes a loud sound). That said I consider it a personal decision to add enrichment to my livestock, I understand if it's not something you'd personally do and I'm not sure I'd recommend it if they were being treated as pets for example.

Yep, and chickens have egg calls too! I have sixteen Coturnix hens, but sometimes only catch a handful of calls a day—but still not sure if they do it every time.

Sorry, by "barren" I mean "bleak." Wire-floor cages are poor environments for ground birds, regardless of the reason for keeping them. And providing enrichment shouldn't be down to personal decision—it's meeting the bare minimum of responsible, ethical ownership.
 

Quaicken108

Crowing
Oct 27, 2019
1,460
2,260
322
NSW, Australia
:welcome
I see these quail EXPERTS ;) :) have commented already but this seems rather interesting. I have a rabbit and quails but not together. My rabbit is six years old, I’ve never seen him attack anything but I’ve never really heard of people housing them together and it ending up well. :)
 

shrimpsilkies

Songster
Feb 1, 2020
209
392
131
Woah, I didn't know there was an egg song. O_O Do they make it every time they lay or just occasionally?

Uh cage is not barren, there are multiple hiding places and thing for quail if things get to be too much. As for housing different species, I do know there's a real risk to it. It was a decision I made with great caution after consider the rabbit's temperament and lots of careful observation and monitoring, including with cameras programmed to ping me under certain circumstances regardless of hour. (for example if someone makes a loud sound). That said I consider it a personal decision to add enrichment to my livestock, I understand if it's not something you'd personally do and I'm not sure I'd recommend it if they were being treated as pets for example.
Depends on the hen. One of mine screeches several times and rolls her eggs, acting very broody, and then forgets about them. Another one doesn’t even squeak when she lays, just pops one out and walks off. Generally though quail will egg song every time they lay, either right before or right after laying.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom