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Raising Coturnix

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
First of all ... I want to thank you guys for the site. First time poster but def not a first time reader. I have been reading these forums for almost a year now and have received allot of valuable information. So again thank you for all your contributions!
 
We accidently got into raising quail, didn't know the first thing about quail. I was actually searching for a rooster for our chickens when this lady offered for sale some coturnix texas A&M and browns.
 
Couldn't resist. Bought three of each. Three white and three brown coturnix. Wasn't even set up for them.  Four month ago these guys were just little things but we quickly learned how fast they grow.
 
Today we have 72 and counting. We lucked up and one of them were male! Life has evolved around these guys. Started off with an electrical spool repurposed into a quail cage, to buying a n incubator, to building a brooder, to building a 12' long cage to accommodate up to 75 quail at a time.
 
I have no pictures to share but have ideas for those who wish to raise quail. We raise them for the simple purpose of self sufficiency.
 
If you want a bird that will continue to feed you, to lay eggs that is considered to be a super food, a bird that will mature in 6 weeks and start laying eggs at 8 weeks of age, with eggs that will hatch in 16 days, the coturnix quail is the bird for you. They can get to almost a pound. We feed them high protein (28%) gamebird crumbles, they don't eat much, don't drink much, will give you fertilizer and are considered a more disease resistant bird.
 
I have read many silly things in the forums what you have to do to raise these birds. You don't have to do silly special things to raise them. Remember, in the wild, the biggest thing that will kill these birds are predators. In captivity, a dirty cage, over crowded and to much heat will kill them.
 
Raising them are simple .. Heres what I do. On a daily basis. Go to big cage, check water, check food, fill when necessary. Collect eggs, bring to incubator inside shed, set to side. In incubator (little big giant digital), I collect new hatches and throw in brooder. Wet or dry. I have 3 quail egg trays set up, for now and two chicken/duck trays in the auto egg turner. I left one tray out so that when a new hatch is born, they got a little space to get around in till i get home from work. I candle my eggs, daily, (yes i open the cover of the incubator daily). The first tray is new eggs. Once they are confirmed a fertile egg i move them to the middle tray. Each tray holds 20 eggs. In the last and third tray are eggs that are about to hatch, once they hatch, they just fall into the space where there is no tray. Once an egg hatches, i remove egg, throw in a box that goes into a compost bin for gardening and shift all eggs over filling all the empty holes. With a red carpentors pencil, I mark new eggs with a date, i.e., 10/13 and I can pretty much count on that within 16 days, a new chick will be born. Not all eggs are fertile but we can pretty much count on having 60 eggs in incubator all the time. At the current time, we put in 4 eggs at a time and take out 4 chicks a day. We have lost very little birds. Over the course of the time, 5 total. 1 drowned because the water dish was to deep. We had two with clubbed feet most likely because the incubator freaked out and got to hot. Temp is set at 99.5. 40-60% humid.
 
 IN brooder, I have white light, not red. The chicks pretty much start eating and drinking right away, soon as they get their balance in an hour or two. The older chicks pretty much teach them to drink and eat any how. The Light is about a foot from the floor of the brooder. The brooder is a 2.5' x 4' long, pallet bottom 1.5' tall wrapped in hardware cloth. The chicks can choose rather they want to stay warm under the light or not. Under the light is 100 degrees. Elsewhere is 75. Food and water are small quart size with attached trays so they can get to easy and don't drown. At two weeks old they go outside into the big cage with the "older folks". They have a 2'x2' box they can get in if they wish where they can nest in pine shavings and hay. The floor of the rest of the cage is hardware cloth. The cage is built off the ground by 4' tall to have easy access to and collect "fertilizer" as well as from predators. They are protected from rain as the cage is built under a 4' wide lean to built off the side of the shed.
 
Our lean to is currently 24' long and was considering building another 12' long cage, however, have found out that managing 75 birds at a time is probably enough. May still do it so to sell some/give some away to those who want to raise for the same purpose and in need. but for now, we spend maybe 30 minutes a day, checking on the older ones, feed and water, check on eggs, check on chicks, feed water and maybe an extra hour a week to change out the bedding.
 
This weekend, for the first time, will be a depopulation weekend for the purpose of putting up meat as intended. At best, we should be able to start putting away and eating up to 40 ounces a day worth of meat, and that is just a start.
 
To wrap up a long post, again, if your looking for a bird to help in self suffiency, this one I recommend.
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

I also wanted to add that because the days are getting shorter and birds usually slow down or stop laying eggs, artificial light on a timer is provided so egg production continues. Everything is low wattage and can be ran off solar when needed.

post #3 of 4

That's a lot of great information. Do you have any pictures of the quail cage? The cage is 12' long and the lean to is 4' wide. What are the dimensions of the cage? How much feed/month do you go through for 70 birds? Thanks for sharing.

post #4 of 4
I just got a lg 10200 with a quail eggs turner. So you keep the turner on all throughout the hatching period? Thanks.
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