Cuba’s Latest: Quail Eggs Instead of Hens Laying

Cuba’s Latest: Quail Eggs Instead of Hens Laying

HAVANA, Sept. 16th   The Cuban government intends to “incorporate” quail meat and eggs into the Cuban diet, according to official television on Monday. The goal, in its words, is to achieve “food sovereignty,” the euphemism that they usually use as a synonym for scarcity, which is growing every day.

A few days ago, a report on Perlavisión announced that the production of this bird is increasing in Cienfuegos. Specifically, the First of January Base Business Unit, in the Cienfuegos municipality of Palmira, claim to have 39,000 quails at the moment, and they expect to reach 60,000 before the end of this year.

Employees of the provincial Poultry Company explain that each quail lays between 280 and 300 eggs a year, while a hen lays between 240 and 250 eggs in the same period.

Likewise, they emphasize that quails grow quickly and can lay eggs from 45 days of age, while for chickens you have to wait six months.  “They are easy to breed, with a good temperament,” and feeding them is cheaper: for one hen that is fed, three quail are satisfied.

Cubans have been seeing for some time, not without surprise, that both on the black market and on online home delivery sites these eggs are being sold, while the chicken eggs disappear. “Small but tasty, ideal for boiling and placing in a salad, but of course impossible for a tortilla,” says a neighbor of Centro Habana who has bought them at 300 pesos a carton with 30 quail eggs.

The official media praise the product: “Although a third smaller, it has the same kilocalories, the same fat and more protein.” In addition, it has lower cholesterol, “more nutrition, greater digestibility and increased hemoglobin.”

In the face of this, Cubans on the street continue to object. A young man from Havana decided: “It doesn’t produce enough; it’s very small.”

[Editor’s note: back in 2020, General Guillermo Frias unveiled the hair-brained scheme for Cubans to eat ostrich and crocodile meat to substitute for other types of protein. There were supposedly big ostrich farms under his management, but we never heard that any meat was actually sold.]