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Why are my quail working together on 'nest building'?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by SeptemberQuail, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Australia
    First off, it started off with me giving them a clump of hay, both the females like to dig into it and lay their eggs in it; So lately a relative built me a nesting box for my quail, as both the females were fighting for the clump of hay, since altogether they've laid a few eggs, for their entertainment I've put in a quail egg in each nesting box.

    Today I did an experiment, I put all 9 quail eggs into the two nesting boxes, and over time;
    Results:

    The hay turned into a more 'roundish' shape then it was yesterday, looking more like a nest.


    [​IMG]







    Both females worked on both 'nests', enjoying digging themselves into the hay and kicking it around.

    [​IMG]





    ... and the male helps too (????)
    [​IMG]'(I added more hay for padding for the eggs, I don't want them cracked -- they partially fixed it up, and digging into it with their head)

    Anyways,
    Last night, I saw one of my females sitting down on the more roundish nest, picking up hay and putting it behind her, but she was laying an egg. After laying it she just walked off.

    When I put all 9 quail eggs into one nesting box, both females would neaten they hay up a bit, kick the hay, dig their heads into it, move the eggs around, and so on -- even the male helps(only with his mate, he chases away the other female), he kicks the hay around and stuff, but what thing that made me curious, he used his beak to drag the eggs closer to him (like a broody chicken might do), and my other female did the same thing, except didn't drag it in closer to her, but more of just moving it backwards then walking away.

    So technically, they're all helping in nest-building and egg care-taking and all that, but why? Do you think it's a sign that one of my quails might go broody?

    .. what should I do now? I've taken seven eggs in, and left one egg in each box. If I leave all the eggs back where they belong, would they continue fixing the hay and go possibly (i know it's rare but...) broody?

    I have no idea why they're doing it, but it's entertaining to watch! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  2. CuriousQuail

    CuriousQuail Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Been following broody quail egg threads around the different forums and most of the time it seems they only do this for a while.
    I've not seen any 'nesting' reports though. The male guarding the female and helping seems natural. The quails are monogamous instinctually, if i read correctly, so he's naturally protecting his chosen mate from other potentially menacing hens :)

    Out of curiousity has the male growled at you while you were trying to take the eggs?

    - Newbie to quails and birds in general, but I read A LOT. Don't take anything I say seriously... just in case I'm wrong [​IMG]

    I really think it's awesome that they are making nests though!
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  3. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Australia
    Haha, no, he doesn't mind at all, neither do the females. When I first got them (at 6 months old), after they moved into their new home, I spent a few hours handling them and getting them to like me. It seemed to have work, as they don't mind eating out of my hand, or letting me pick them up. [​IMG]

    Oh, also my female went kinda broody today!
    I was about to put them into their little house they sleep in at night to keep away from the cold (they live outdoors), but one of my females decided to lay an egg at an unconvienient time. She spent literally half an hour just kicking the hay around into a circle until there was no more hay at the bottom of her feet, she then lay down, all poofed up and started to lay her egg. After laying her egg she started to pick hay from the front of her and move it behind - from reading about other experiences, I grabbed her other previous fertile eggs and placed them in the nest. A few minutes later, after moving the hay around, all that hay was surrounding her. I then saw her start to use her beak to move all the eggs under her, but failed miserably at it because she kicked all the eggs into the hay, so it was too hard to move around.

    I had separated her from her mate and her friend so she could build the nest thing, but then the male kept crowing to her, and then she replied with a coo, and left the nest [​IMG]
    Then I put them all back, and that was the end of that. :(

    I recorded some of it though. :D
    Phone's dead though, so I can't upload some pictures, but anywho, I really hope soon she'll do it again, and this time go officially broody! [​IMG]
     
  4. CuriousQuail

    CuriousQuail Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2012
    Los Angeles
    That'd be great if she was broody. The male was probably like "You're doing that thing again, c'mon honey lets go to bed" and she was like "FINEEEEEE"
    Hope she goes full on broody for you :)
     
  5. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2012
    I've heard of people getting their quail to go broody by isolating the desired male/female pair from the other quail and giving them a dedicated nest box.

    If you get your male and his mate into their own pen and put all of the fertile eggs into their nest box, she might go broody. It's a long shot, since Coturnix are pretty domesticated, but you could give it a try!
     
  6. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Australia
    Haha, maybe - but I've lost count of which is fertile and which isn't. As I've said in a previous forum, my male only picks on one female and mounts the other.
    But today I saw the male mount the female he doesn't exactly like! Then he just chases her again; not sure if he mounted the wrong female accidentally or actually wanted to mount her.
     

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