Quail eggs (known as uzura no tamago 鶉の卵) are a delicacy that have become popular fixtures of lunch boxes in Japan. They often crop up on the menu in izakayas and many of you will have seen them in your local supermarket. They’re pretty tasty.

Quail eggs are considerably smaller than chicken eggs, so it should come as little surprise to discover that the bird itself is smaller than a chicken too. The quail in the picture above hatched from an egg bought in a supermarket.

The pictures in this article were posted by Twitter user Yamato (@Yamato97416) after he ran a curious experiment. He bought 60 quails’ eggs from his local supermarket and put them in an incubator (a special container for hatching eggs). After several days in the warm and snug incubator, four of the eggs hatched and out popped four quail chicks.

With permission from @Yamato97416

Yamato was both surprised and moved. “I warmed up 60 eggs that I’d bought at the supermarket and four of them hatched! Every one of them was male! That means our kids were born from super eggs!”

It might sound strange to discover that a quail chick can be born from an everyday, run of the mill pack of supermarket eggs, but there’s a simple enough explanation. Apparently, it’s not easy to distinguish between male and female quail. For this reason, males are sometimes put into the females’ sheds, where they fertilize their eggs. It’s thought that on average, 1 in 100 quails’ eggs sold in supermarkets is a fertilized egg, meaning that under propitious conditions it could hatch.

Yamato decided to keep the quail chicks. “They're a cute size that is irresistible for bird lovers.” He fed his pets, cleaned up after them and watched them grow. After a time, he had something like an epiphany. “I too would like to be hatched,” he declared.

With permission from @Yamato97416

Yamato’s post received a lot of comments from other Instagram users. Realising that many of them might feel tempted to follow his example and put 60 quails’ eggs from the supermarket in an incubator, he issued this warning. “I'm glad that so many people say, ‘Hey! I want to try that!’ But they should remember that we’re talking about real-life, living creatures here. People should only attempt to incubate quails’ eggs when they have a certain degree of resolution and belief in their hearts.”

Yamato is at pains to stress that, cute as it undoubtedly is, raising quails is not as simple as just feeding them seed from the palm of your hand. He emphasizes that quails are quite noisy birds, which can make for problems with neighbours. “My quail were born after a great deal of time and trouble. I appreciate that. But they should realize that making noise in my neighborhood is a real problem. Anyone wanting to take on the challenge of raising quail would do well to read up on them and their needs before embarking on any such undertaking.”

By - George Lloyd.