Chapter 2.4: Talking Cock with Uncle William

Another morning, another farm! This week, we gathered at Farmart Centre for an interactive talking COCK session with Uncle William.

Always glad to see returning faces to our event. :) 

 Mr William Ho, also famously known as Uncle William or The Quail Man of Lim Chu Kang started the session with an introduction to Lian Wah Hang Farm

Mr William Ho, also famously known as Uncle William or The Quail Man of Lim Chu Kang started the session with an introduction to Lian Wah Hang Farm

The Lian Wah Hang Farm Story

Founded in 1954, the farm is the oldest surviving quail farm in Singapore with a production of 50,000 eggs per day. That is 45% of all the quail eggs in Singapore!  

The trail blazing farm pioneered and introduced the cage system into Singapore, beefing up the standards of egg production in the 1950s.

Uncle William avidly recalled the first farm task given by his father in which he had to collect quail manure daily. He never understood its significance until a farmer from the nearby vegetable offered $5 for a bag!

From the manure itself, one is able to tell whether the quail is healthy and happy by the colour and texture.

Show & Tell Show

Chickens are quails are all the same. In January 2004, a major new outbreak of H5N1 virus (aka bird flu) surfaced and spread rapidly across Asia.

The bird flu was deemed a pandemic and strict preventive and contingency plans were implemented to stop the virus from spreading to the local population.

Ever since then, the Agri-Food Veterinary Authority (AVA) has increased bio security across all local poultry farms, slaughterhouse and bird farms. Therefore, it has been increasingly difficult for the public to access these facilities unless strict hygiene protocols are put in place.

We're lucky to be the few who can enter such premises!

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How well do you know your Quail?

Quails are smaller in size and can be raised with a small land area. Feeding costs are comparatively lower than that of chickens.

Quails are less prone to diseases and lay spotted eggs within only 6-7 weeks of age! Quail eggs also known as鹌鹑蛋 (ān chún dàn) in Chinese, Telur Puyong in Malay and Carthere Mu Tek in Tamil are considered a popular delicacy in many parts of the world.

In Singapore, the consumption of quail eggs usually peaks during Chinese New Year as steamboat gatherings are commonly held at many households.

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The Life Cycle of a Quail

An adult female quail has a life span of 3 years and will lay eggs for 4 days with 1 day of rest. As the quail tends to stop laying eggs while sitting on the laid egg, eggs are removed on a daily basis so that the quail will continue to lay eggs every day.

In order for the fertilized egg to hatch into quail chicks, it must be incubated for 16 - 18 days at 37.8 (±3) °C. It will take about 42 days for the yellow chick to grow into an adult quail with spotted feathers.

Most adult male quails are brought to the N and N slaughterhouse after 42 days for their meat. Uncle William also mentioned that the important breeding shed is only entrusted to the best worker in the farm.

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Female VS Male Quail - How to Differentiate?

It takes about 30 days after hatching to tell the gender difference accurately. A male quail has a dark patch at the chest while a female quail has black spotted areas around the neck region. It’s also easy to differentiate the genders by looking at the backside. The males have a smaller anus while the females have a rounder and broader anus for laying eggs!

Are Quail Eggs Higher in Cholesterol than Chicken eggs?

The cholesterol of 5 quail eggs (50g) is 231 mg while the cholesterol of 1 chicken egg (55g) is 200 mg and above. There is no definite answer to this question. But we do know that quail eggs have higher lecithin levels as compared to chicken eggs which aids in better brain development.

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Gaining Hands-on Experience

Other than getting hands on with the Quails, we got to know other edible bird species such as the white Pigeon and the Guinea Fowl. White Pigeons only lay 2 eggs per month and are highly prized by restaurants for making bird nest desserts while the Guinea Fowls are highly sought after by French Restaurants.

We ended off the farm tour at Uncle William’s store with free quail eggs sampling complemented with watermelons! Thank you for your enthusiastic participation. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more exciting Next Chapter Activities!

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