Poultry doesn't always have to be just about chickens. Whether in an animal science class or wildlife quail eggs are a great choice and step away from ordinary when it comes to incubating eggs. Elmwood FFA took on the challenge of ordering and incubating a clutch of Northern Bobwhite Quail eggs as a part of class.
Why not just order some standard chicken eggs wait for them to hatch and go on with your school year? Because you have a dozen or more walking wildlife lessons chirping right in front of you. While you order domestic Northern Bobwhite Quail eggs they are not truly domesticated birds like chickens.
For your wildlife class you can immediately discuss adaptations that these birds have to survive in the wild. You can discuss how these birds nest, where they nest, the kinds of habitat they prefer, and whether this habitat is widely available or not. Spoiler alert (it's not widely available anymore). You can discuss life cycle, age to maturity, and even see if you have some habitat suitable where you can release the birds. If you are super duper ambitious you can order some bands to tag each hatchling upon release and then periodically go locate them.
Which brings us to tracking and site surveys. Often, scientists determine population by quail call surveys where they go and listen for their call. They track quail with help of hunters who let them know when they harvest a banded bird. There's so much more you can do with quail eggs than putting them in the warmer and have a dozen class pets for a couple of months.
Don't know where to get quail eggs? Murray McMurray (not a sponsor just a hatchery we like) sells them, but there are others if you look. If you can't order their minimum, team up with a nearby school or two and split the order or a student can pitch in for an SAE project. What's important is to take an opportunity to extend a neat idea, hatching quail eggs, into an entire unit and really a multi year project if your students are really into it.
That “extra” day can feel like just what you need to Get All The Things Done. But if there was ever a year that you needed to give yourself permission to be “off”, this is it.
This year is going to be more of a haul than usual and you are going...