A passion that has grown into a business
by Aimee Robinette
The Bolivar Bullet
It is a little known fact that on the outskirts of Ruleville, there is a quail farm. What started as a desire to be more self-sufficient, Quail Creek Farm was born.
“It all started with chickens and a desire to be a bit more self-sufficient and to know where our food comes from and research. Quail are fast growing compared to chickens. They actually can start laying eggs as early as 5 weeks old! Not all start that early but it is exciting when they give you that first egg,” said Deronda Livingston, who owns the farm with Clement Jee, a longtime friend and now business partner.
Livingston said it was initially a passion that Clement had and she was game for adding to their chicken flock.
“We started with the chickens in March 2021, and our first quail hatched from our incubator in June 2021,” she explained.
Livingston is also quick to point out that it really isn’t just a business. “It’s how we plan to feed our families. It’s one way we are striving to become more self-sufficient and if the quail can help pay for themselves or for their feed, then that works for us as well.”
She also said the quail farm is her side yard along with the garden and chickens. “They have their own room outside, but they also have an inside room dedicated to them. And they are in dedicated cages,” she explained.
Quail is used for its meat, eggs, feathers and one other bi product. “Let’s not forget poop! Lots of poop, which is fantastic fertilizer,” she said. “I’m expecting a really nice garden next spring!”
Quail eggs are a delicacy and are prepared in a variety of ways.
“Pickled quail eggs are good, but there are so many more things you can do with quail eggs,” Livingston explained. “You can smoke them, marinate and smoke them, and make scotch eggs with them. And persons that are allergic to chicken eggs usually can eat quail eggs, but proceed with caution if trying this. We all know what works for one does not necessarily work for the multitude.”
In fact, quail eggs are said to prevent the symptoms associated with allergies, hay fever and sinusitis, which Delta folks could use to add to their seasonal arsenal. They are also a bit richer in taste than chicken eggs, and are a smidgeon healthier.
For those interested, Livingston said they sell to the general public, whether it is the “to eat” eggs or hatching eggs if someone wants to raise their own, or live quail for raising or processing.
Livingston said it’s hard to keep up with how many eggs or quail they have at a given moment. “We bought eggs for hatching, and 120 quail eggs will fit in the incubator,” she said. “Of course, not all eggs hatch, and then you will lose a few after hatching for various reasons and sometimes for no reason.”
She also said it is hard to say what is her favorite aspect of this new venture. “It’s really hard to choose just one. After getting everyone fed and watered, the eggs collected, it’s nice to just sit back and listen to them making their noises – presumably talking to one another,” she said. “I would encourage anyone and everyone to research the benefits that quail eggs offer. They are simply amazing.”