Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Raising Japanese Coturnix Quail

Quail are an ideal bird to raise.They are easy, take up very little space and provide meat and eggs in a very short time. Quail start laying eggs at about 8 weeks old. If you want the meat, by 8 - 12 weeks they are ready to be processed.
 In the 6 - 8 months for a chicken to provide the first egg, a quail would have laid anywhere from 180 to 240 eggs. It takes about 5 - 7 quail eggs to equal 1 chicken egg... So, while you wait for your chicken eggs, you can enjoy quail eggs on their own, or in your favorite dishes.

Day old quail are about the size of a bumble bee.

 They will need to be in a draft free container with heat, food and water. Be sure to have a screen on top (unlike the picture) as it won't take long for the feathers to grow in and they will be flying out.

As they grow, they will need to be put in larger brooders. We have ours in the barn, with added heat, then they progress to the larger brooder without added heat...

 ... until they are all feathered out and ready for the large grow-out pens.

5x8 are acceptable pens - which equal 1 sq. foot per bird, minimum. Bigger is better, of course. Our pens are 6x10, 7x10 and 8x10


Our growout pens feeders

Because the birds do fly, they are usually not free-ranged. They are also a favorite food of many predators: raccoon, skunks, rats, foxes, coyote to name a few. So, we keep our quail egg layers in pens in an enclosed, heated room in our barn.
To protect them from their flighty nature, we keep them in cages that are 3' long, 12' high and 16" deep.

 They are fed in cans placed outside the pens and are watered daily.

The wire floor is extended beyond the cage, which catches the eggs and rolls them to the front.

To add to the enrichment of our birds, we provide a weekly dust bath. We use chinchilla dust. 
We also add to their nutrition by giving them greens - grasses and clover.

We are currently not selling eggs or quail