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Video Special: Watch Girl’s Egg-to-Pet Story Unfold



Quick Smiles:

  • 13-year-old girl hatches a quail from a supermarket egg
  • The affectionate quail, named Pebbles, becomes her best friend
  • Family buys six female quails for Pebbles to start his own family

A 13-year-old girl named Zara Sutcliffe hatched a quail from a supermarket egg, and now she hopes the bird might start its own family. Zara calls the affectionate fowl her “best friend” after she reared him from an egg purchased at the local grocery store in England.

For months, Zara had begged her mother to try an incredible project she heard about online, where a shopper had managed the same feat with a duck egg. Mrs. Sutcliffe eventually relented and bought her a box of Clarence Court quail eggs, even though her husband had insisted the family “couldn’t have any more animals.”

At the store, Zara had a choice between chicken and quail eggs, and she loved how small the quail eggs were. After three weeks of warming and nurturing the egg, Zara hatched “Pebbles” at her suburban home outside of Manchester and began raising him in her bedroom. “It was exciting but also scary because you always wonder if you’re going to do anything wrong,” said the teen.

Mom Claire recalls, “She kept checking them and she said, ‘I think one’s got one in it.’” “When they did hatch they ended up in her bedroom, so she had them in a mesh dog crate with a heater, a brooding lamp, and he ended up living in her room for weeks. When she goes to the cage, Pebbles lifts his bum up in the air—that’s what they do when they’re excited. And he gets giddy and runs up and down.”

Last week, the family went a step further and bought a “harem” of six new female quails so that Pebbles could start living among his own kind—and maybe even have some chicks of his own. “Pebbles is a life that never should have been,” Zara said, “and he might end up making life.”


Their collection of pets already includes a dog, three cats, and two red-footed tortoises, but now mom is a big supporter of enlarging the quail klan. “They are really sweet little birds and they will sit on your knee. I don’t know why more people don’t have them.”

Claire said she had a tough time breaking the initial news to her husband Simon. “He’d said ‘no more animals’ (so) he was fuming. But there’s nothing you can do, it happened. It’s just one of those things.” “They will always be with us.”

After the eggs hatched in a heated tank, Pebbles spent six weeks living in Zara’s room, going from strength to strength, and now treats her as a mother figure. He is now settling in well with his gaggle of six females living in a chicken coop in the back garden of their property—with occasional invitations to come in the house for a visit.

Claire, who wants to work with animals when she’s older, reported, “He’ll be coming up to breeding season soon, so he’ll be a proper quail with his harem.”