We were gifted with a huge batch of fertile quail eggs in July, 2020. Not ever refusing the opportunity to put eggs in the incubator and see what comes out, about eighteen days later our quail adventure had officially begun. We had to play catch-up for a bit and hurried to get quail housing ready in time for the chicks to leave the brooder. But despite all the rushing, the entire process has been one of the simplest we have ever undertaken.
So, what came out of those eggs?
It turns out that we hatched many dozen Jumbo Brown Coturnix Quail. These are small wild-looking domesticated birds which originally hailed from Japan. This jumbo variety is reportedly larger than the typical Coturnix quail -- sometimes reaching as much as fourteen ounces in weight at maturity.
We think they are lovely birds - the boys with their red breasts and the girls with their quaint speckles everywhere, but they come with a few caveats.
What we have learned about Jumbo Coturnix Quail*
*That the internet failed to tell us.
Why keep quail?
With all the warnings out of the way, we are happy to tell you that we have found keeping these quail to be entirely worth the unhatched eggs, vigilant cage-cleaning, and mean quail roosters. If you have the room and the time, we highly recommend adding some quail to your farm or backyard.
First, as mentioned above, they are pretty birds. They make an array of wonderful woodland sounds: from the roosters' chortle-like crow to the chirps, coos, and whistles of the entire flock while they're going about their quail business. They are fun to watch and sweet company in an aviary setting.
Second, you cannot beat the amount of potential food production per square foot - whether you are raising them for meat or eggs or both. The eggs are a wonder to behold with no two ever exactly the same - arrayed in spots and speckles and spots, sometimes blue or purple or black. And, as a bonus, they are delicious. They can be prepared just as you would prepare any chicken egg (although it takes about three of these eggs to equal one chicken egg), but add a gourmet touch to breakfast or dinner. Alternatively, the meat is rich, tender, and easy to prepare. (Check out the internet for scores of great quail recipes.) The birds mature from hatching to butcher ready in only six or seven weeks and are extremely easy to process - no special equipment required and no need to set aside an entire day for harvesting.
We will certainly be continuing our quail adventure indefinitely here at LeChat Noir Farm. We will be setting new batches for hatch every two months beginning in October, 2020. Extra chicks will be available for purchase - please check our For Sale page for availability. And, of course, we always have quail eggs available - contact us to find out more.