While it is unclear exactly how old the Calico gene is, it was first isolated and named by Dana Manchester in the United States in 2012. It has since been found in Germany and Australia. The gene was re-imported into the US in 2020 by K.Dale Coturnix. Around the same time, the Calico gene was also found in the Southwest Gamebirds flock in a single bird thought to be related to the German Pastel Collection. Through a multi-generation breeding project, Calico was isolated and crossed with Fee to develop a strikingly unique monochrome bird. This line of Calico Fee is unrelated to our pure Calico line, or the Australian dilute calico included in our Calico Collection. Calico Fee by Southwest Gamebirds was curated in 2021 and released to the public in 2022.
Calico Fee has lighter plumage than a standard Falb Fee bird, with a different plumage pattern. Most notably, it exaggerates the striation on the ventral plumage, giving the birds a unique elliptical pattern on their backs. The Calico mutation lightens the ventral and facial plumage, giving females a similar appearance to males, but males are still easily distinguished by the sharp gray crescent pattern or mask on their facial plumage. For inexperienced keepers, we recommend vent sexing Calico Fee until you are familiar with the subtle plumage differences.
What to expect: Approximately 95-98% should hatch as the Calico Fee pictured in our product listing. We have recently identified a second dilution that appears to further dilute a small percentage of the birds (approximately 1-5%) making them even lighter, so they will present with the same calico pattern and fee dilution, but the black tones will be further diluted to silver. We are working to isolate and identify the gene responsible for this.
We ship all Calico Fee hatching eggs with care in custom foam for insulation and protection during transport. The post office can be unpredictable, but this shipping method gives your eggs the best chance of maintaining viability, and we always include extra eggs free of charge when available. While we cannot guarantee your hatching success, we are more than willing to assist with any incubation or shipping related issues, so feel free to contact us at any point of your quail journey if you have questions or concerns about your eggs. Our goal is to make you happy with high quality eggs, fast shipping, and good customer service.