Quail Thriving with Elementary-School-Aged "Foster Parent"Supermarket Egg Hatched
A quail egg bought at a supermarket has hatched... The quail's "foster parent" is Shuto Kadono, a 10-year-old fourth grader at Iseda Municipal Elementary School, in Iseda-cho, Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture. Looking gently at his grown quail, he said, "I hope it has a long healthy life." He presented his observations of its growth as his free research project for summer vacation. His dream for the future is to be a veterinarian.
He has loved living things from a very young age and has raised animals such as Axolotl or Mexican walking fish, Japanese fire belly newts, and hamsters, at home.
In September last year, Shuto watched a video about quails and became intrigued with hatching them. His Christmas gift was an egg incubator in which he immediately placed 17 quail eggs.
In the middle of the night on January 14, the 20th day after Shuto put the eggs in the incubator, his parents heard peeps. They rushed to wake Shuto as they remembered that a habit of birds is to regard what they see first as their parent. Looking back, Shuto said, "I'd already given up hope on them hatching, so I was surprised." His mother said, "He was jumping for joy. He looked too excited to sleep."
According to Kyoto City Zoo, depending on the egg farms' situations, a fertile egg can be mixed in with eggs that are sold. The zoo also said that hatching is possible under the right circumstances, such as maintaining a constant temperature and turning the egg so that the embryo will not stick to the shell.
Since its hatching, Shuto has fed the quail crushed up chicken feed and other items. Around June, he moved the bird to a large cage that was handmade by his grandfather. At birth, the chick was less than 5 centimeters long, but it has now grown to over 20 centimeters.
Thanks to his experience of interacting with various animals, Shuto said, "I'm OK even if it pecks me. It has learned to stay on my arm or shoulder. When it gets thirsty, it stretches itself and peeps. That's so cute too."
Appropriate temperature and humidity for hatching, type of feed, dust bathing to clean dirt or insects from the wings... He presented his records of its growth so far with photos as his free research project for summer vacation.
Shuto says he wants to be a veterinarian in the future. Since about a year ago, he has been borrowing numerous biology books from the library. He writes notes about what he has investigated in his "animal study notes."
"Before, all I was interested in was soccer, but now I like studying in school, too. I gave up soft drinks and snacks to stay healthy. I also don't use the internet much to protect my eyes," Shuto said, showing his commitment to his dream. He added, "Some animal diseases do not have cures yet. I want to be able to cure them."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)