A MAN from Newhaven who hatched supermarket eggs said he is proud to now be the dad to four quails.

Alex McDowell bought 24 branded quail eggs for £6 at Sainsbury’s in Old Shoreham Road, Hove.

He also purchased a £60 incubator on eBay, and warmed the eggs for three weeks.

To his surprise, four of them hatched and he soon had a brood of birds.

He said: “My other half said I was a nutcase. Everyone thought it couldn’t be done, including myself: but it worked. I’ve hatched not one egg, but four.”

Mr McDowell had been planning the project for months. After hearing a similar tale about a man who ended up with a chicken using the process, he wanted to test whether the story was all it was cracked up to be.

So he fired up the incubator, rotated the eggs regularly, monitored the humidity, and waited.

He said: “Some people think they’ll just crack open of their own accord. But it takes a lot of work.”

Mr McDowell said the quail chicks are now healthy and growing up fast. He plans to send them to a quail farm run by a friend. Failing that, he hopes to “convince his mother to build an aviary.”

A spokeswoman for the British Egg Information Service, the body which represents the UK’s chicken egg industry, explained it is not usually possible to hatch standard supermarket hen eggs because they are mass produced and not fertilised. Roosters are not involved.

But small-scale quail farming results in a few slip-ups.

Mr McDowell said: “Because it’s a lot harder to differentiate between male and female quails, a few males slip through the net.

“This leads to the rare occasion where an egg is fertilised and put on a shelf.

“That is, until some weird man comes along and tries to make food come alive.”

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said an investigation is taking place.