Original Research: Quails in the Classroom

Learning Goal:  We want to successfully raise Northern bobwhite quails.

Problem Statement or Testable Question:  Will following the incubation and brooding procedures from our research allow us to successfully raise bobwhites?

Hypothesis:  If we follow the guidelines from our research, we will successfully incubate, brood, and release bobwhites.

Materials:

  • Incubator and Brooder or Incubator/Brooder (We borrowed ours from the third grade who use it each year to hatch chickens.  See pictures below.)
  • Wildlife Permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Northern Bobwhite Quail Eggs
  • Containers for Food and Water
  • Game Bird Feed
  • Water
  • Outdoor Brooder (The PTO generously donated the building of an outdoor brooder inside our school garden.  See pictures below.)

Procedures:

  1. First research how to raise quails.  Visit our “How Can We Raise Bobwhites?” page to read our summary.
  2. Gather your materials.
  3. When your eggs arrive, place them in the incubator and follow the guidelines.
  4. Record your results.

Observations/Results:

Our fifteen eggs arrived on Friday, March 2nd.  We estimated that they were to hatch on Sunday, March 25th.  We set up a live webcam in the library to watch them over the weekend.  The first cracks appeared on Saturday, March 24th, which was a little early.  By Monday morning when school was back in session, five eggs had cracks in them.  Three of them had large cracks.  Unfortunately, they were not able to get themselves out of their shells.  We were very sad and disappointed.

Conclusion:

We talked with our bobwhite expert, Eric Powers, and he suspected that the humidity levels in the incubator fell too low during the weekend, which will cause the chicks to stick to the shells and not survive.  To improve this experiment in the future, we could invest in a better incubator or try to time the hatch to when school is in session so that we could have monitored the humidity more frequently during that crucial time.  We still wanted to participate in raising bobwhite quails so we have ordered day-old baby chicks and expect to receive them on May 7th.  They will go in our indoor brooder for two weeks and then be transferred outside until they are old enough to be released, which is between 6-10 weeks old.

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