Quails: Feathers Fly As Bird Becomes Delicacy

Many savour the table bird and its eggs due to its medical and nutritional values.

Yves-Michelle Ntolo, a Yaounde denizen would prefer to be offered a tiny quail bird rather than five full-brown chickens. She will equally not compromise quail eggs for anything else. Like Ntolo; a thirty-one-year-old mother in a family of five, many Yaounde city dwellers are increasingly cherishing quails as it now features on most food menus in homes. Restaurants have also taken the relay.  Ntolo says a week does not go by without her eating at least one quail egg, and she will go to any length across the nooks and crannies of the city to find the bird, even if it’s not a live one.
Many have understood the huge appetite people have developed for the grassland bird of East Asian origin and have ventured into watering down such appetites. Amongst them is a retired schooled teacher, Tchekam Emilienne Tapchom, who rears over 200 quails in her courtyard at the Cite Vert neighbourhood in Yaounde. Though she breeds the birds purposefully for family consumption, a little of the stock goes to the market. Tchekam told Cameroon Tribune that though the quail takes just 60 days to get mature, she hardly has any quail in stock once they attain maturity. “Quail eaters and restaurant operators come here regularly to buy the bird and its egg. I hardly have birds which go unsold,” she said, pointing to some quails nearing maturity which have already been booked for.
We learned at the production base, the fattest quail which will not weigh up to 1kiliogramme sells between FCFA 1,000 and FCFA 1,200 and a quail egg, half the volume of a fowl egg, sells at FCFA 100. The prices of the products are even higher in markets, we observed. However, Cameroon Tribune learned the prices do not affect the consumption pattern as the products are yet to be as popular as chicken in the market. Spots where quail birds and eggs are sold are very difficult to find, and as such consumers of the products struggle to remain in contact with breeders. The overwhelmingly steady rise in the demand for quails has kept producers always strategizing to get more quail feathers fly.
Consumers of quail meat and egg say they relish the delicacy because it’s a therapy for tiredness, when the egg is taken raw. Others advance it’s a cure for malnutrition and other diseases. However, most consumers agree that the sector needs more attention just like other livestock sectors in the country.



Tchekam Emilienne Tapchom, A Passionate Quail Farmer

The quail breeder in her late sixties has trained others who come to her assistance when need be.

Tchekam Emilienne Tapchom, a retired school teacher had taken ill when a raw quail egg was recommended to her as therapy. She struggled unsuccessfully many times to get the egg before she could finally get one at an obscured location in a market. The difficulty to find the egg which saved her, spurred Tchekam into quail breeding after she had been healed. Tchekam says she then decided to buy few quail eggs which she incubated and started off with.
Though Tchekam is not rearing the quails for commercial use, she however has over 200 birds in her farm at her Cite Vert home in Yaounde. She says the number in her keeping has dropped ever since she had an accident and fractured her right leg. Tchekam takes care of her birds all alone. Despite that, she is confident she can supply over 1,000 quails on demand because she has trained over twenty people who can come to her assistance when need be.
Since Tchekam produces quail purposefully for home consumption, she tries to make it as bio as possible. She gives her quails natural moringa which acts as anti-biotic, though she says there are not many sicknesses that affect the birds. Tchekam holds that her passion for rearing quails has been paying off as the money from the sale of the surplus quails can enable her take care of other important things. Her exploits earned her recognition during the 2011 National Agro-Pastoral Show in Ebolowa.
“Anyone willing to get to the sector has to first of all develop the passion and then decide whether to cultivate it for home consumption or commercial purpose,” Tchekam advised.


Brooder: Make sure you construct your brooder to a suitable size in order to enable your quail chicks to have ...



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