For several years I have been keeping quail organically, I started with them, in order to provide therapeutic grade eggs for my husband Andy (Organikmechanic) so as to treat his hay fever and eczema, which they did and quickly after only a couple of dozen eggs. I obtained this quality of egg by feeding my quail certified organic food, raising them with a mother hen, free-ranging them out in a meadow with her and then bonding them with ourselves so we could take them out with us to free-range and forage in our forest garden. For the most part though, as adults they live in a large open-fronted greenhouse on an as natural as possible wild diet supplemented with some certified organic sprouted triticale. I would have done this anyway, whether we needed the eggs or not, as I hate to see animals or birds in a cage. I didn't keep them every year as we had a predator problem and until that was sorted out some three years ago now, I didn't feel like it was safe enough to start with them again. One thing that has always eluded me, however, is getting my quail to sit their own eggs. They have made nests, beautiful 'textbook' nests but no female as yet felt inclined to incubate her eggs. This year I had fully intended to create a special breeding area but when my quail began to lay in late March (they lay seasonally as wild quail do) I decided to borrow a male and collect the eggs to put under a hen but my quail beat me to it and one of them decided to sit.
Step 1: I Filmed the Whole Experience and It Is Still On-going
One of the most amazing things was how the quail started to revert to their wild behaviours. This meant that the male quail and his friend, who had come with him for company, began to guard the nest. If you are interested in trying this yourself with your own birds you may like to head over to my blog where I reference two of the rare academic studies on the subject and compare these to my own recent experience. They can be found here: My quail has gone broody Part 1
In the meantime the two films give details of what happened and as I have already mentioned this is on-going as another quail chick hatched only last night and there are still a couple of days to go. As this was new territory I provided back-up in the shape of my Cochin Snow Queen and again if you want to know more about hatching quail with a mother hen then there are several articles on my blog and many films on my youtube site..
Hope you will be inspired to try this with your own quail.
All the very best, Pavlovafowl aka Sue