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Operation Quail did not fail!

Come on. Admit it. You have been on the edge of your seats waiting for news on our incubating quail eggs.

Well, rest easy. Things are booming in Quailville. For those who may have missed the quail egg column, my husband decided to hatch them to replenish the quail population in our local watershed. Why? You’ll need to chat with him for those details. For weeks, the 28 eggs incubated on the sink in the bathroom. My husband is kind of a Debbie Downer, always expecting the worst scenario on these projects of his. “We’ll be lucky if we get a 50 percent hatch, but probably none will hatch,” he moaned.

I was not invested in the final results until I failed to turn the eggs one afternoon. (They had to be turned twice a day). Then I knew “failure to hatch” would be all on me. I kept asking if there was any egg action, but my cautious hubby assured me it was too soon. The next day one hatched. I heaved a huge sigh of relief.

Later that night another hatched. Then they went off like popcorn. Eventually 16 hatched, busting the 50 percent mark. Two did not survive and I, being ever the doer of unpleasant deeds in the family, dealt with disposal and burial in the backyard.

The very, very cute, tiny baby quail have now relocated to a brooder in our garage where a great deal of cheeping can be heard. At 10 days old, they are eating, running, leaping and flapping their little wings with vigor. It’s such a Keystone cops scene every time you disturb them, it took days to get an accurate count. The chicks will be kept warm and comfy there for another five weeks.

Then it’s out to the coop in the backyard. From there, we watch until they are flight-ready. Then it’s off to the wild. Or, as I predict, my husband will have his own devoted flock of quail living in our garden. I’m good with either scenario.

As life loves irony, we will probably finally get some owls in our owl house soon. It will, whatever the outcome, remain interesting.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer hoping she doesn’t have to choose between resident fowl. Contact her at [email protected]