I've been doing this for a lot of years now and look forward to every April when the Mountain Quail start laying.I have quite a list of people who pay me in advance for their eggs throughout the winter.When the birds are just beginning to lay it's one here,two there for a week or so until they all get rolling.All of those I put in my own incubator and do a fertility check around the first 5 days or so. As long as everything looks good and they're all fertile,then I'll start to send orders out. They always have been for me. I keep a decent ratio of males to hens in the pens. So then,in the order in which people pay me,I go down the list and send them out. I've been packing my eggs over the last few seasons in mostly batches of 10. I bought some of the clear plastic quail egg cartons which hold 10 eggs.I pad the bottom of where each egg goes with tissues folded up and cut to fit snug,but not too snug.I place the 10 eggs in,and on top of that i'll fill in any gaps with cotton and / or tissue.I then fold up a whole tissue and place it over the top,close the lid,then tape it shut. After that,I wrap a piece of the "big" bubble wrap around the carton and tape it. I ship in the medium sized Priority Mail box. I put about 3" of either shredded paper or packing peanuts in the bottom.On top of that,a piece of newspaper,then right in the center of the box go the eggs. Then all around the eggs go more peanuts or shredded paper,On top of that,another piece of newspaper,then peanuts or shredded paper all the way to the top of the box. That keeps the eggs suspended right in the center of the box,not laying on the bottom,against a side,or up against the top. I have good results that way. I set a batch of eggs each week in my incubator and candle to make sure fertility is still good as I'm sending out peoples' orders. Here's where it gets difficult.... I have quite a few people who have good results with my eggs,but you wouldn't believe the adventures that I've gone through with some of them. I deal with a lot of idiots and nuts.There are one hell of a lot of them in this business or hobby ! Here's a good example. Last year a guy from Michigan called me in the spring He was interested in Mountain and Mearns eggs. I had a funny feeling,a strange intuition about this guy. He sounded plenty smart enough,but something wasn't right. He asked me a lot of questions about the birds because he never had these two types before.I'm always glad to help about anybody out when they buy from me.Anyway,he sent me the money for 10 Mountain and 10 Mearns eggs. When the Mountains were ready,I let him know,and sent them.He called when they arrived and questioned me some more about everything.A real intense,high strung guy. He told me about his super expensive deluxe model incubator,an XD 53 - 00A model,such and such and all of it's features with the automatic humidity,and the thermometer that reads accurate to the thousandth of a degree. He asked me again about my humidity readings. I told him that I don't know what they are.I explained my method that's been a proven winner for me for quite a while. I incubate mine in a GQF Sportsman cabinet incubator for the first 22 days. I have the moisture pan on the top full,but no extra wick pads. During the last 3 days I put them in GQF circulated air Hova Bators with very little moisture.I use a plastic yogurt container,cut down to about 2" high. I hog ring a piece of hardware cloth to the top so the chicks don't jump in and drown.It's only about 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter,which is plenty of surface area of evaporation for the right amount of humidity. I like close to a dry hatch for all of my quail. I don't fill the moisture rings on the bottom,and I have a glass,mercury stick thermometer at about 99 - 100 degrees. So he started to question me.He went on to say that the book says to have this much moisture,and a wet bulb reading of that much,and on the 22nd day,it has to be this much and so on...... I again told him what I do and that it works really well,but to do what he wanted to do.He started arguing with me about what the manual and the book said again. So,I thought that it was the end of that and I'd send his Mearns eggs in a couple of weeks. Boy,was I wrong !! About 4 or 5 days later he called me again. Really upset and kind of nervous acting. He said that he candled his eggs. Out of the 10 eggs,he saw veins in so many,I don't remember exactly,and described all of the eggs to me.He questioned me all over again. 5 days later,the same thing. He candled and about 6 were developing and 1 had a blood ring,and a couple had stopped developing.. He started to question me again and wanted to know how mine were doing. I told him around 100%.It really bothered him I could tell. Every 5 days or so until he stopped turning on the 22nd day I went through this. In the meantime I sent his Mearns eggs.He had to give me the progress report on those every 5 days too. This was driving me nuts but I tried to keep my composure. So on the 22nd day on the Mountains he was watching those eggs like a hawk. I don't think that he even slept all night for 3 nights. He had to call me and e mail me to tell me that he had 2 pip,then later another 2,then another 1.... He couldn't stand it.He didn't see them wiggle,and couldn't hear a peep,so he opened up the incubator and picked up the eggs,felt and listened,then called me of course..I told him that he shouldn't disturb them at that stage at all. He couldn't help himself. On the 25th day,hatch day,he was climbing the walls. He called me at least 3 times. They didn't hatch. By that night he couldn't take it anymore. He was so impatient,that he took surgical scissors and cut all around the air cells on the 5 or so that he didn't kill already. He helped them all out of the shell prematurely. Their yolk sacks hadn't fully absorbed into their bodies yet.They had rough navels.Premature birds. That means the temperature was too low. Probably the moisture too high too. He just couldn't leave them alone ! I had to hear all about that,and meanwhile,all about the Mearns every 5 days too still.Same thing when those were in lockdown.He ended up with about 2 out of 10,and of course everything was my fault. I thought that I was finally rid of him,but a week later I looked at my e mails. There was one from him, First sentence was,"Okay,level with me man,your birds are suffering from malnutrition and infertility issues." He went on to say that I don't know what I'm talking about and that I have zero people skills,and all kinds of foolish nonsense like that ! By then I was boiling !!!! I sent him an e mail right back and went right up one side of him and down the other. I told him what a psychotic nutjob that he is,how I knew that there was something wrong with him from the start,and that a grown man doesn't act like that unless there's something drastically wrong ! I went on for a while telling him everything that's wrong with him and everything he did wrong after I did nothing but help him from day one. Didn't faze him one bit. He sent me an e mail back,calling me every name in the book and that I owe him eggs,and all this and that..... He sent me e mails every day for weeks,calling me a dumb Irishman,a dumb fisherman from Maine,and begging me for eggs,pestering the living shit out of me !! I decided to use a little reverse psychology on the mental case. I sent him an e mail right back and said something like,"Okay,you got me." "Good one." "I'm bein' Punk'd here,right ? !" He came back,thinking that I was stupid to think such a thing,and said yes and that he was only kidding around !! I rolled with it. He said that he got rid of the fancy incubator and got a new one.He blamed it all on his incubator instead of me,all of a sudden.
Just to get this goddamn nut off of my case,I sent him another 10 eggs. To this day he acts like we're buddy-buddy.I hear from him once in a while,still asking me how to do this and do that... He had a little better hatch the second time with the Mearns. Now he's got his own site,offering professional advice from a licensed breeder !!!!!! He's advertising Mearns and Mountain eggs and started chicks. Big prices,twice the cost of mine !!! He has 2 pair of Mearns to supply all of these and 4 Mountains of which he sent me a video of the other day,asking me how to sex them. It was a bit difficult to see,but to me ,it looked like at least 3 males out of the 4.
So folks,the moral of the story is,"Think twice before getting into the hatching egg business " I have many more stories for upcoming posts about the characters on my "bird-shit list"
If you've read any of my previous posts,you know I've somewhat talked about this subject before.I want to do some people a favor again and tell them all about a new one to stay away from. Any experienced breeders see this right away but he sure fools a lot of novices. People have told me that Facebook is supposed to be a free site as far as illegal gambling,raffles...etc. ... Maybe they're wrong because there are quite a few out there now. They're run by hustlers. A nice picture or two,slick talk,and a line of bullshit. Looks tempting to some people. I never really paid close attention on exactly how they work but I guess they sell "spots" to people for a certain amount of money. The people send the money.It's gambling. All but one of them loses. It's like a lottery ticket.Say 50 people pay in.49 lose and 1 wins the prize. I know where some of these prizes came from. They came from right here,then to the winner,in a roundabout way. There's a fairly new hustler on the scene. Real slick gift of gab. This guy could sell an iceberg to an Eskimo. Operates out of a filthy little 12' by 14' shed in the city. Been shut down once before for what he says was running a business keeping livestock in a residential area. I've been told that it was for cruelty to animals. I know a guy that went there to pick some birds or eggs up and he said the conditions were deplorable. Birds all crammed into little wire cages hanging off the walls,shitting down onto ones right beneath them,with those shitting on birds running all over the floor. He sells a lot of Coturnix eggs on here.He always displays pictures of all of the Priority Mail boxes going out with,"Fragile,Hatching Eggs" written on them,trying to impress people,or more like fool them that he's legit. I'm sure he puts out decent eggs with those and most people get decent hatches,but face it,anybody can raise a Pharaoh Quail.They're a domesticated laying / meat bird and are pretty disease resistant. They're really hardy birds and can stand to be raised small cramped spaces and still produce where most birds couldn't. But he bullshits everybody about everything else. Last early spring when I really didn't know him too well,he wanted a small order of Mountain and Mearns eggs from me. It all came to somewhere between $250 to $300 with the Postage. Then he came along with an offer. He wanted 100 Mearns eggs for $1500,all Postage included. I kinda hemmed and hawed about it but then agreed,with a little persuasion from him.I said what the hell and went ahead.I kinda looked at it that it would be my last order of the season that I'd take,and then hatch the last hundred eggs for myself. Well being a terrible season it didn't work out that way. The birds started laying late,quit early,and everybody else who ordered eggs were constantly calling me asking me,"Where's my eggs ? ! " over and over. I had to bump one person in front of the other just to try to keep some happy,meanwhile making others mad. And again as I've mentioned,for that reason and others as far as some people bitching about not being able to hatch their eggs,I'm all done selling hatching eggs for good. Live adults only. Back to the topic....I couldn't fill his order. I sent out every egg that I could to people right up until they quit.This is the first year that I didn't hatch any Mearns for myself,and only hatched just over 20 Mountains. So I offered him a refund of the difference. He said that he'd like the birds in the fall instead. I agreed. I did the math and I owed him 9 pair of Mountain Quail with the shipping. He wanted a pair of Bensons which are $100 more.So we agreed on 8 pair of Mountains,a pair of Bensons,with him sending me the extra $100. It was time to ship and I still didn't have the $100 in my PayPal account.Got a couple of excuses but he said he was still going to send it that day. I sent the birds and of course never got the hundred bucks.In the back of my head I really knew I wasn't gonna see it. I don't look at his site much but when I have,I've seen he had Mearns eggs for sale.Like another shitbag that I've mentioned on numerous occasions,he took them,repacked them,then sent them to customers. That keeps them in the mail another 3 days anyway,after being handled again on top of that. He doesn't care when he's getting $60 an egg,plus the Postage after paying me $15,with Postage included. So I talked with a woman overseas who got some eggs from him and they had my hens' names on them.They were in the mail for a few days from here to him,then 16 days to England.Of course they were no good.I told her that they came from me. She was mad. Other people from here in the states have had that happen too. Someone I know sent him some Mearns. I think he had 3 pair. All but 1 are dead now. These can't be kept like a Pharaoh,especially under those filthy conditions. I hope he raffles these Mountains off quick. They won't last long there. Someone will get a royal screwing on the price but they've gotta be going to a better home than in that squalor. After all of this,even with not paying me the hundred bucks,he had the nerve to ask me for every egg that I get next year ! He told me that I'd never have to deal with anybody again and only sell to him. Well that'll be the day !. I'll NEVER sell to any broker again, They're nothing but parasites.Why should I do every bit of the work and have all of the expenses involved with it,for someone to make at least 3 times the profit for nothing more than a phone call,e mail,or a Facebook message ? ! That's insane. It should be a crime. A lot of people who read my posts are experienced breeders,some novices,and some in between. Spread the word about these crooks and tell them that there are still a handful of old time breeders who'll sell them things at fair prices.They'll give real advice too,not just guesses or bullshit made up off the top of their heads to make them look like they actually know something to impress a novice.Stay off of the raffle sites. These guys make a killing off of anything from incubators,to brooders,to wire quail jails... .
A year or so ago a friend of mine called to my attention the new website from a well known liar and con man out of Ohio. I looked at it. Even with me dealing with this scumbag over the last six years or so and knowing what kind of character he is, it's still mind blowing to see the lies he comes up with. So I checked out the pics. Pretty decent pictures but very few, only of a box of chicks, a couple of Mearns Quail,a Mountain Quail,and a pair of Elegants. That's it. Where's the farm ? Answer : There is no farm ! This is one of the big 3 ! The first of who are known as "The Three Golden Boys" to get into this business around six years ago. The "farm" is inside a garage in a suburban residential neighborhood where the birds are in small indoor cages that a carpenter built for him. The guy's prices are insane ! Mearns for $500 a pair compared to my $350, Mountains for $200 compared to my $125,and Elegants (Bensons) for $300 compared to my $200. No pictures or videos of any outdoor pens or any sign of an actual farm. No tour, not even a picture anywhere of himself, only a hand holding up a quail. People who don't do their research are easily fooled and get excited by a couple of cute pictures and a big line of bullshit. So after looking at his outrageous prices, I clicked on the "About" section. WOW !!!! This had to be the biggest crock of shit I've ever seen or heard ! It starts out by saying that he's been doing this for twenty years ! "Twenty years of experience raising a variety of game birds !" He's been at it for maybe six years as of now, as I'm writing this post in December of 2018. On to another HUGE lie : Says he "maintains a relationship with his customers, providing education ,product recommendations, and more !!! Happy to serve you and bring you the best quality service and support for your quail breeding needs." !!!!! This is the same guy who's told me probably ten times over the years in his squawky, screechy little voice, "Fuck telling people anything ! You're just creating competition ! I ain't helpin' anybody out with anything !Fuck them !" I wrote a post about him on here a little over two years ago and after a while deleted it because it caused a shitstorm between myself and a couple of loyal conned flunkies of his at the time. I believe he's ran out of supporters now and pretty much all of my friends and followers on here know who I'm talking about, but I thought it's a good time to revise and update this for the ones who still don't. I'll take it from the top. One spring, just over six years ago now, I got a call from a guy wanting Mearns Quail. Voice sounded like some kind of kids' cartoon character, real high pitched and screechy. Real annoying, especially when he started to call me around ten times a day for a few months or so. No I'm not exaggerating about that. He didn't know a thing about them at all, in fact, less than nothing. He had a few pairs of badly inbred ones that he bought from a well known bird broker, who was friends with an old timer, who died and left him all of his stock. He asked me a ton of questions which I answered, and really educated him on this breed. He was climbing the walls that mine were laying to beat hell, I was hatching nearly every one, plus selling some eggs at the time. I made some suggestions for him to change his pen design, and do certain things that he wasn't doing. Still no luck after a week or so. By the way, these were the first quail he's ever owned so never mind about the lie of twenty years with all kinds of game birds. So he bought a few pair from me and they still laid after they got settled in and he started buying eggs like crazy from me too. I think I sold him around three hundred Mearns eggs that summer.
I told him all about incubation, humidity, brooding, pretty much everything there is to know. This was around four years before I even had a computer, so I had no access to Facebook, Softbills, or Ebay. I sold everything by word of mouth from the old Game Bird Gazette days. I was selling the birds for $300 a pair,and the eggs for $10 each. Anyway it got to the point where he was driving me nuts, calling me every hour or two, asking how many eggs I'll have for him, or how many eggs I got today, along with picking my brain some more. I was patient where he was buying steady. I told him I'm a lobster fisherman, have a ton of work to do, and get up at 4:00 in the morning. Didn't matter. He's call me at midnight asking, "How many eggs ?" I often asked him of what the hell he's going to do with all of these birds. Every time he changed the subject. I smelled a rat. Turned out I was right. Then one day the shit hit the fan. A woman that I sold some eggs to called me and asked me why his hens' names are on my eggs that I sent her. I said, "So that's what he's doing ?" " I KNEW it !". I always write the name of the hen on the egg like some write the cage number. Mine are like pets to me. I explained to her that those are MY eggs and that I sent them to him,he re packed them,and sent them to her,keeping them in the mail for an extra three days ! Little sneaky weasel ! He was brokering my eggs, buying them from me for $10 a piece,reselling them on ebay for one hell of a profit ! All the guy had to do was ask me if I wanted to do that and I'd send them directly to the customer so they'd still be good. I wouldn't go for it knowing that he'd be skimming a good profit for all of my work. The point is that it's a weasel thing to do to somebody and at the same time,telling me that he was hatching every single one of them. The next time he called I confronted him about it. He threw a hissy fit just about crying, telling me that it's none of my business of what he does with the eggs. I told him he's right but it's a weasel move. He said,"Whatever". The phone rang off the hook for around two weeks til he finally got the hint and gave up. I washed my hands of him. Since then he's been lying about me to anyone who'll listen. He tells people that my low prices reflect the inferior quality of my birds, and all of my stock is no good ! All of this bullshit from a guy who hasn't ever kept one note in all of the years he's had these and has been inbreeding the offspring to each other every season since. I've got several reports from people telling of his inferior quality and of all the defects in the birds because of it. He's pulled a lot of shit on me ever since,coming on here under fake profiles,lying about me,and creating an alias by the name of Ivan Gelo, for almost two years,asking everything there is to know about raising Elegant Quail. The reason for that is because he knows I'll help about anybody but not him. Nobody else will either. All of us old time breeders hate the slimeball and there's really not too much information out there on raising them.
Every time he emailed me as "Ivan", he always tried to stir the pot between myself and the second "Golden Boy" from Michigan.I eventually caught on it was him, wrote a post about it and never heard from this "Ivan Gelo" since !
I'm Scott O'Brien, proprietor of Mainely Quail. I've been raising quail for 20+ years and have lots of stories. I tell it like it is, and don't hold back.