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.
Texas A and M/Jumbo White
Tibetan (Dark 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!