The Quail Business

black bird on brown grass
Photo by Brett Sayles on

Been years now but I still remember, he was always sitting in the yard feeding his quails

Oh I remember the quails, those small birds that never perch on a tree

Always going about on two legs like people, lay their eggs on the ground

You know he had special cages made from papyrus reeds that housed each quail, the cages were then tied to each other with a sisal rope

Early in the morning when me and my siblings would be leaving for school and everyone else either going to the farm or hurrying to the market or indulging in other activities, mzee Anderea would be propping them birds up in the air on a tall pole down in the field

From up there the quails would melodiously sing all day, maybe it was a cry for help

As a kid I would sneak there just to listen to their wails, thought they sounded sad

Just like prisoners because they were, birds are only free when they’re flying

Hearing the call of their comrades, the quails in the bushes would come out and land under the pole

Some flying around and some just walking, oblivious to the danger lurking in the well dugout trenches that dotted the field

One after another they’ll get trapped on the snare, in the evening customers would be lining the homestead for the delicacy

And the next day the cycle continued, before sunrise pole up the quails and adjust the snares and then by sunset sell the unlucky quails

He passed on a decade ago and the quails are no more, none of his surviving family could manage the trade.

4 thoughts on “The Quail Business

  1. Pound for pound quail are far better producers than chickens. Yes the eggs are small but there’s much more of them. In many places here in the United States you’re not allowed to have chickens because of the noise but you can keep quail in the garage and nobody knows that you have them.

    Liked by 1 person

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