The baby Button Quail arrived 1 week ago. On Monday night we noticed an egg starting to ‘pip’. A tiny bump of shell starts to poke open, before the chick runs it’s egg tooth around the whole shell in a circle zipping open the shell for its arrival. Tuesday morning we woke up to a fresh baby quail laying on it’s side panting away inside of the incubator. We must have missed its arrival by a matter of seconds. Gutted. I was instantly struck by the size of this helpless chick. The eggs are smaller than my thumb nail, so I knew the hatchlings would be small but I was not prepared enough to see them THIS small. The size of a bumble-bee and a ‘cheap’ so very quiet. Suddenly my back yard hens resembled t-rex’s.
Button Quail are the smallest of true quails and can also be known as Chinese Painted Quail and really are petite, quiet, funny things to watch. Almost resembling tiny drunks as they stumble around their home. Not to mention that they are nosey too, watching your every move… especially if they think food is involved!
1 hour later another baby arrived. Again I missed it’s birth. I had not even noticed that another egg had zipped and I felt that the baby quail had just burst its way to freedom with no warning at all. This chick was black, with a little white bib and white tips to the wings. This one was to be called Pingu-Pingu.
The 2 chicks were alone for around 4 hours, before another egg started to hatch. Unfortunately I noticed blood pouring from the little pipped hole in the side that the baby bird had made. I think the baby may have missed the air sac and pecked at a blood vessel causing the baby to bleed out. A sad loss, but these things do happen and not every egg is guaranteed to hatch.
At around 6pm another baby arrived. My husband was desperate to see it hatch, but felt like he had a few minutes to run to the toilet. Of course, the baby had to arrive while he was mid-pee so he missed the birth, but me and Willow got to see the whole thing and it was just mind blowing. Then at 6:30 another arrived! They were definitely syncing their arrival times.
At 11pm a 6th and final baby was starting to emerge as we headed off to bed. The next morning we were so excited to meet them, but sadly we awoke to find it had only managed to get half way out of its shell before it passed away. Exhaustion maybe or humidity wasn’t right and the baby had dried out too quickly as it was arriving. It’s just so heart breaking to have lost another baby as they were so close to being born and joining their brothers and sisters.
The chicks are now in their brooder and growing nicely. They are still little balls of fluff and very, very fast to catch although with daily handling they are slowly getting used to being handled and in 6 weeks they shall be ready to leave the brooder house and put in their run. Button quails typically start laying after just 6 weeks too so the kids won’t have long to wait before we can start frying teeny tiny eggs for a little fun. They live for around 5 years, so we are really looking forward to getting to know our new little friends over the years.
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