BackYard Chickens › Breeds & Supplies › Other Poultry › Quail › Coturnix Quail

Coturnix Quail


Pros: fast incubation, fast maturation

Cons: licensing if required by State?

Jumbo Coturnix (Japanese Quail) a fast-growing, excellent entry level "game" bird for meat and eggs.


incubation time is very short, chicks grow very fast and with good stock and strict husbandry efforts a decent covey of birds can be propagated to produce meat, eggs and new stock.


Many different breeders have created "call names" for their birds. These, sometimes colorful, "call names" may have in time evolved into "lines" or "strains", e.g.,. XLD1, Texas A&M, James Marie, etc


Basically, the "Jumbo Browns" and "Jumbo Whites" are the larger Japanese Quail.


When looking for quality foundation stock it may be best to search out multiple breeders and split your order of hatching eggs amongst several.


If you order hatching eggs via web or mail make sure to ask the breeder several questions.


- What are the exact weights of your breeder birds?

- What is the hen to cock bird ratio?

- How fresh are the eggs I will receive?

- How big are the eggs I will receive?

- What color birds will I receive and will they breed true?

- Is there a guarantee on package shipping and delivery date?


The Quail forum is a great place to start.


Good Luck!





Pros: Eggs are great, meat is better.

Cons: Finding game feed can be a challenge

I raise coturnix for both eggs and meat. Easy to keep, non aggressive to people. Laws vary by state. For someone without a lot of room, its a great answer to fresh eggs! Really enjoyable birds, can be quite personable.


Pros: Small, Prolific, Quite, Beautiful

Cons: Flighty, Somtimes hard to keep alive when chicks

These are a good breed of quail for beginners. They can lay eggs all year long if given the right conditions even on snowy and rainy days ( my chickens quit laying ). They are very quite and the males have a soft and beautiful "crow". My quails have recently been moved to quail run instead of a hutch and fly around crazily at times and I am afraid they will hurt themselves. My quail chicks sometimes do good and sometimes not so good. My first batch of quail I had 50 hatch and 45 lived another time I had 50 hatch and only 11 live. Overall a very good bird.


Pros: Great Egg Producers, Great meat, Perfect Pets, Many colors!

Coturnix quail are part of the "Old World Quail," a term used to describe quail in the phasianidae family of birds. Coturnix Quail, the Chinese Blue Breasted "Button" Quail, and the African Harlequin Quail are classified in the "Old World Quail" grouping.

The Wild European coturnix, also classified as Coturnix coturnix (common quail), have been widely distributed throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe, along with several sub-species. The Japanese Quail, Coturnix japonica, from which our domestic quail have been developed, are sometimes considered to be a different species, but in actuality, is identical to the European Coturnix.

They are a migratory bird, dwelling on the ground. Egyptians used to capture them and keep them as pets at the beginning of the 11th century because of their "singing" capability (which is quite entertaining). By the 1900s, the small birds became popular in Japan for their meat and eggs as they mature very fast and are prolific egg layers. There is a lot of history behind the coturnix which is fascinating.



Uses: Meat, Eggs, Pets




There are a lot of discrepancies in size with Coturnix. Many don't believe that the bird can reach a certain size, if not more. The fact, however, is that Coturnix can reach a certain mark, due to selective breeding, good stock, proper diet, and housing. 





Jumbo Pharaoh

Texas A and M/Jumbo White

Jumbo Italian

English White



Tibetan (Dark Range)



Red Range

Tuxedo (in many combinations)


Many colors can be combined.


Finding a good breeding stock can be a problem as Japanese Coturnix are found in many areas and there really is no "quail blood lines" unless breeders have a proper program. The best advise I have is to seek a breeder who has tested their birds against diseases and that has knowledge about the breed. This is also with hatching eggs. Quality eggs come from quality birds, therefore ask the breeder questions.

People seem reluctant to invest time and money in the search for good stock but buying a good breeding stock is not a normal casual purchase. Starting with a good stock is the most important single factor in the success of any quail enterprise.

With any of the color varieties, one should pick up a plump, round, and fully feathered quail. The keel should not be felt right off the bat. The keel is the extension of the sternum (breastbone) which sticks out. However, if there is fat to insulate the bird, one should not feel the keel right away unless there is poking and prodding involved. If the bird is very skinny and the keel can be visibly seen, the bird is most likely sick, which in turn, is not desirable to start a flock with. Check the feathers and make sure there is no sign of mites or lice. When looking into the eyes, they should be clear. The bird should be be alert as well. There should not be any discharge coming from the nostrils. The beak should not be crossed, but even top and bottom. Make sure the feet are of good quality. If the the feet are puffy, swollen, or red, the bird may have bumblefoot, which is a bacterial infection. This is a cause of being on wire too long with no soft areas to rest, but also on unsanitary flooring (too much feces)



Quail eggs are Nutritious!

1. are a remedy against digestive tract disorders such as gastritis, stomach ulcer and duodenal ulcer.
2. can help cure anemia increasing hemoglobin level and remove toxins and heavy metals from blood.
3. help in the treatment of tuberculosis, bronchial asthma, diabetes and vegetative-vascular dystonia.
4. have strong anticancer effects and may help inhibit cancerous growth.
5. help eliminate and remove stones from liver, kidneys and gallbladder.
6. may accelerate recuperation after blood stroke and help strengthen heart muscle.
7. are a powerful stimulant of sexual potency. They nourish the prostrate gland with useful substances, phosphorus, proteins and vitamins and therefore help restore sexual potency in men.
8. promote good memory, enhance brain activity and regulate the nervous system.
9.strengthen the immune system slow down aging of organs and increase the life span.
10.improve skin color and strengthen hair making it shiny and voluminous. That's why quail eggs are used for facial and hair care masks.






Pros: good egg layer

Cons: very high strung

A very amusing energetic bird, I have now have them hand trained but it took a lot of time and patience. Very high strung and nervous. Hops very high and takes off when startled.

Lays almost daily. The eggs are about the size of a thumb nail. Look great boiled and put whole into

salads or as garnishes.

I feed them the same chicken crumble that I feed my chickens. Plus vegies and grains.


Pros: grows fast and lays like crazy

Cons: Predators love quail as much as humans

Pros:  The grow fast and can lay consistently with 12 hours of light. They are not very noisy and most do not mind human contact.

They can be moved to an outside growout pen in 3-4 weeks and ready to harvest around 7-8 weeks.


Cons: Predators love to eat quail too!  Must have a secure pen for quail.

Mature quail will pick on and even kill younger quail if introduced into the pen. Must keep younger quail in a different pen until they are mature.

Too many males can lead to picking and death. Must cull extra and aggressive males. I use a ratio of 1 male to 2 females and have very few problems.

They will waste lots of food if given the chance. Best option for me is to feed 2x a day to prevent excessive waste.



Pros: Easily tamed, small

Cons: Flighty, nervous

I have 3 mature Coturnix quails. If you raise them from a young age, they can be very tame and friendly and you ca handle them a lot but if you acquire them at an older age, they might be very skittish. These quail can fly very high but only for short periods of time.


For the best results, you should try incubating their eggs and raising some chicks. The chicks are really tiny and imprint very quickly, especially if you only have one. You must interact and handle them frequently or they will lose interest in you when they are adults. However, it is recommended that you should keep more than one individual, as they are quite sociable.


If you are new to raising quail, you might want to try out raising these delightful birds!


Pros: Fast Maturing, Great Layers, Dark Tasty Meat, Variety of Colors, Small, Quiet

Cons: Flighty (prone to injuring themselves), Smelly, Kill Grass, Messy, Finding Feed

We recently got half a dozen of these little birds in a variety of colors to keep primarily as pets and egg layers.

Because we've seen such a huge difference in temperament depending on color, I will describe each below.



Hands down our favorite variety. They are a good size, lay medium to large eggs, and are extremely bold and friendly. We initially got two, but both turned out to be males and we had to get a third female. All the whites are very easily handled and, when allowed out, don't try very desperately to escape our clutches. Our white female is actually very protective of her cage mate and has actually feigned injury to us to protect her (even though they are both girls).

The males we've had of this color were not male aggressive (meaning you might get away with having several males together as long as there are ladies to go around).

While not particularly important, our white male is the WORST tidbitter. He doesn't tidbit at all.



In my eyes, the prettiest of the varieties. Their dark beaks and pale faces give them a hawk-like expression, which is aided by their generally bold but flighty nature. Both of goldens (one male and one female) are very watchful. Our male is tamer than the female, but neither are very suitable for holding. Their eggs are medium sized and they tend to be smaller than the other color varieties (bigger only than the wildtype color).

Males of this color can be very aggressive with other males.

Again, while not very important, I love that our golden male is obsessed with tidbitting. He does his best to look after his ladies.



Our favorite egg layers. Our Tibetan was a big girl to start and lays large eggs (she has even given us several double yokers). She's a wild little thing but pretty. She shows the most potential for broodiness, which is important if you wish to have a bird raise chicks for you rather than an incubator. Our Tibetan hasn't been especially greedy with the food either, letting the male or her female cagemate eat the good tidbits.

We haven't had a male of this variety so I cannot say if they are good with other males or good with their hens.



The least favorite of them all. Our normal girl is small, lays small eggs, eats all the worms (greedy), and is flighty to boot. I can think of no reason to get this color variety over any of the others, UNLESS you are getting a jumbo brown (this color variety but bigger). At which point, bigger bird, bigger eggs, and probably tamer.

We haven't had a male of this variety so I cannot say if they are good with other males or good with their hens. But again, I can't think of why you would get this variety when there are better ones out there.




One of the major pros of having quail is their size. Because they are small, they have smaller space requirements and can even be kept indoors. As a rule of thumb, 1sq ft per bird is acceptable but I prefer to give them 2sq ft. Even at this spacing, they are lawn killers. High ammonia in their feces combined with their tendency to scratch holes for nesting means grass will not survive unless you move their run frequently. This problem can be remedied by keeping birds in solid bottom coops raised off the ground.

If you don't clean their cages on a regular basis, be prepared for a mighty stench.


The second major pro is how fast these bird grow. They mature in about two months, so eggs and meat become available very quickly. However, this growth rate requires high protein content that is hard to find locally or even online. Wild, these birds probably eat a substantial amount of insect as part of their diet. Offering them mealworms, waxworms, crickets, etc that you can buy at the petstore not only provides interesting variety, but also essential protein to their diet. Alternatively, scrambled eggs or ground beef can help if you find your feed isn't high enough in protein.

Be sure that your feed is NON-MEDICATED!!!


Pros: Matures fast, great layers, excellent meat

Cons: None that I can think of!

The Coturnix quail is the best quail breed out there. They are great layers, which are small to medium in size. They mature fast, so you don't have to wait long to get meat out of them. Their meat is tender and delicious.

Coturnix Quail

These quail are often referred to as Japanese, Pharaoh, or Biblical quail. It is said that the weak birds were captured while flying over the Mediterranean Sea and then domesticated by the Egyptians.

Breed Colors/VarietiesThere are many colors including Jumbo Brown, Tuxedo, White, British Range, and Manchurian.
Breed SizeLarge Fowl
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

700this is a picture of a male notice the chest is all a rusty red color. 


400this is a picture of a female notice all the speckles on her breast



Breed Details:

The birds as chicks need a 26% or higher non-medicated Game Bird Starter(GBS). They need a drown proof waterer and feed. As adults they weight between 8 and 14 ounces. There are Jumbo varieties and regular which weighs less. They will lay all year round if given 14 hours of light a day. LED Christmas lights work great for this. They mature in 6-10 weeks, and will lay very often unlike the clutches laid by bobwhites. While they are not good for dog training they are much more efficient for meat and egg purposes. They hatch in 16-18 days and need 45% humidity for the first 14-15 days and then 60%+ for lockdown. These are great for a beginner wanting to raise game birds as they are less aggressive. All colors of coturnix are the same. They may look different, but they lay the same and taste the same. They are great for cleaning up the bottom of an aviary and they make great pets.




BackYard Chickens › Breeds & Supplies › Other Poultry › Quail › Coturnix Quail