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Quails take city hotels by storm

The bird the Bible says God gave Israelites to eat during their 40-year journey in the wilderness is gaining popularity in Nairobi.

The flesh of the small bird, regarded a nutritious, has been introduced to menus in a number of hotels.

Medical practitioners are also recommending its tiny eggs for people with cancer, asthma and HIV/Aids because they are known to increase the CD4 count.

Middle class

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says it is receiving at least 60 applications every day from farmers intending to rear the birds in Nairobi alone.

It is mandatory for KWS to license farmers to rear the bird as it is classified as endangered.

Elizabeth Leitoro, a KWS senior official involved in quail farming training says the institution has to inspect structures before farmers are allowed to keep the birds.

“We must ensure certain standards are met,” said Ms Leitoro.

Popular restaurants such as Ranalo Foods (Kosewe) and Sunset Grill on Tom Mboya Street have it on their menu but owners lament the lack of consistent supply.

According to Mr David Shikoli, a manager at Ranalo, a meal of two quails and ugali goes for Sh500.

“We are yet to have reliable supply. That is why we don’t serve quail daily. There are seasons when supply is constant,” said Mr Shikoli.

Mr Tom Waudo, the Sunset Grill manager, said the delicacy is popular among the middle class.

“Quail is more delicious than chicken. Unfortunately, erratic supply hurts our menus,” he said.

But it is their small eggs that have peculiar characteristics. They cost between Sh50 and Sh80 each  while a full grown bird goes for Sh150, according to farmers already in the business.