QUALIGIE ALLA GRIGLIA (Pan fried Quails)

Mr BYF regularly has to cull young male quail. They are tender and very tasty without adding any flavouring to the meat. Mrs BYF tried something new and it is good enough to share. 

4 Very young (seven weeks old) fresh cleaned and deboned quails. Salted a few hours before cooking

2 Tablespoons of butter 

2 Cloves of crushed garlic

4 Large fresh sage leaves

4 Strips of pancetta (bacon can do)

Pepper

Extra salt if needed as the pancetta is slightly salty

Stuff a sage leaf and a strip of pancetta into the body cavity and close with a toothpick. Add pepper to taste. Use a pan that fits all the stuffed birds all in one layer, melt the butter and fry the garlic until light brown. Add the quails to the pan and fry for about 5 min per side until golden brown.

We served the dish with fresh salad from the garden and roasted new potatoes from our neighbour’s garden. For vegetables we had a friend of a friend’s pumpkin, roasted with garlic, cumin and chilli. 

ENJOY and do not forget a glass of home made red wine !!!

THE EFFECT OF AGE OF BIRD AND STORAGE LENGHT OF QUAIL EGGS ON HATCHABILITY

The two question most frequently asked by potential fertile eggs buyers is “what is the fertility of the eggs you are selling” and “would the eggs withstand the long trip with a courier”

As I hatch quail eggs on a regular basis and monitor various parameters to not only better understand my quail breeding project, but also to provide me with factual information I can use as selection tools. Following analyses of the results from hatching about 800 eggs over the past 9 months, the following results were found

HATCHABILITY PARAMETERSYOUNG BIRDS – 92 Days oldOLD BIRDS – 611 Days OldEGG STORAGE – 3 DAYSEGG STORAGE – 8 DAYSEGG STORAGE – 13 DAYSEGG STORAGE – 18 DAYS
Infertile Eggs6.7%14.2%6.7%7.2%6.9%6.1%
Hatchability of eggs set (%)86.5%72.8%86.5%87.2%81.0%71.7%
Hatchability of fertile eggs (%)92.7%84.8%92.7%94.0%87.0%76.4%

The most significant conclusions are that hatchability deteriorate with aging birds and also decline with storage of eggs in excess of 13 days

Amalgamating Breeds of Coturnix coturnix

I have amalgamated all my quail breeds for very good reasons. As a result of the very small gene pool in NZ and no importations aloud, all quails in NZ are inbred and related. I am in NZ for 6 years now and made great progress breeding four different breeds of Coturnix, but progress has flattened off as I have to have limited numbers and equally good genetic material is not available in NZ. My solution was to amalgamate all the breeds and only breed a Back Yard Special, resulting in 4 times as many birds to select from and one less selection parameter – colour. This allowed me to make some progress again. I am retired and do this as a hobby – my working background is in animal genetics

QUAIL HOUSING

Housing for quails is fairly simple, but there are a few rules that would make there lives much more pleasant and productive

1. The housing must be 100 % dry AT ALL TIMES (100 % roof coverage with adequate overhang). Open on two sides with two solid walls protecting birds from prevailing wind and rain. The open sides need mesh of about 13 mm X 13 mm aperture as cats would put their claws through the holes if it is larger and kill the quail. As much sun as possible with shady spots if they want to get away from the sun. The cage roof must be a maximum of 500 mm high, otherwise the quails may injure themselves if frightened and take off hitting their heads on the roof

2. Quails need an area where they can hide from prevailing winds and drafts. Nooks and crannies and / or thick vegetation is required

3. Coturnix Quails are ground dwellers and would not roost and would very seldom use a second level upstairs – so all their food and water requirements need to be at ground level. They can be taught to go up, but it is not natural for them

4. Coturnix quail need a sand bath to keep them healthy, happy and clean – so if their cage is on the ground and DRY, it is all good as they would create their own sandpit

5. Clean water and feed of the correct type all the time (ad lib). They would eat greens and table scraps (love meat) and it can be fed to them all the time as long as it does not make up too much of the diet (maximum about 20%)

6. A floor area of at least 2 meter square per group of 4 – 5 females and 1 male for the ideal cage (meeting all the above specifications) or more if the cage is deficient

7. If you want the quails to lay eggs all year round, you need to provide light for 16 hours per day, alternatively they will molt when the days are getting shorter and stop laying until the next season.

221 / 221 Egg Production

 

My Coturnix coturnix breeding program provides me with lots of joy, satisfaction and brain food in my immediate and small environment where myself and Mrs BYF have an almost self sustainable lifestyle.

The scientist in me dictates to measure, interpret and use the facts to improve my own efforts.

I take many measurements from the quails as they proceed through their life cycle and use these to breed a better bird. Some of the measurements I take are :

  • 3 Week body mass
  • 5 Week body mass
  • 7 week body mass (When I select Breeding Stock)
  • 100 day body mass (Used as mature body weight in my index calculations)
  • Daily egg production
  • Daily egg mass
  • Body conformation
  • Temperament
  • Feather quality
  • Feet quality
  • Beak quality
  • Age
  • Longevity
  • Weight all birds at least once a month, irrespective of age
  • Any possible hereditary defect is an immediate disqualification

I use all these to calculate a weighted index at seven weeks and again revise the index at 100 days

In the past I did these for 4 different breeds i.e. Golden Italian, Pharaoh, Tibetan and Texan White. This was becoming overly complex and limited numbers caused progress to plateau. With limited or no genetic stock of similar quality available in New Zealand, I decided to amalgamate all breeds into a new breed – The Back Yard Farmer Quail (If Coturnix japonica is accepted as a breed, maybe I can apply for Coturnix backyardia  ). I now have four times as many animals to select from with one less selection parameter – colour. The interesting thing is that all Whites have disappeared and very few Tibetans are left as the Italians and Pharaohs take over on merit only. There is a new colour developing, being a dark cross between all the breeds.

I have several spreadsheets that automatically update as I collect data including dates and ages of all birds. The result is that I can provide all parameters and indices for any bird, updated, at any time. I also calculate averages over all parameters.

Some of the results of 5 years of selective breeding are :

  • Increased body mass of about 80 g per bird
  • Increased egg production of about 30 %
  • Calm and contented birds compared to nervous non adaptable birds
  • Drop of hereditary defects from about 20 % of the population to less than 1 % of all birds
  • Increased fecundity
  • Improved feather quality and body confirmation
  • A very contented Back Yard Farmer!

Egg production is monitored on a daily basis and fluctuates from day to day as well as being influenced by the average age of the population. Normally egg productions hovered around 90 – 95 % over the past few months. I have increased breeding numbers to compensate for increased demand and when Corona hit, demand dropped off, resulting in me having MORE replacement females and a younger average female stock.  The average age for all females dropped from the standard 160 – 190 days to about 140 – 150 days, but the most important is that egg production has increased as well, because of the younger stock and fewer low productive females. For the first time ever I have recorded 100 % PRODUCTION for 3 days in a row!!!!!

221 / 221.

I AM HAPPY !!!!