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I need lots of help. very new to this.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Let me start by saying I'm glad I found this site. I hope to learn a lot and do things right the first time. So thanks in advance for everyone being here who is willing to share their knowledge smile.png

I am looking for a bird that's easy to raise. I first thought chickens but they need a lot of space. Ducks are out because they need space and a pool. I've narrowed it down to either quail or Cornish hens.

Again I have NO idea about either. I did read a couple posts on here about quail. I read that there is a quail that matures at 8 weeks and breeds all year. Which sounds good but I don't know what bird is best for what I'm looking for.

I'll try to be quick. I have 4 dogs that I feed raw. 3 little dogs and a working line german shepherd.

My shepherd eats 2.5 to 3 lbs daily (depending on his
The 3 little dogs eat between 5 and 7 ounces daily.

I'd like to produce enough to make about 10 to 15 meals a day for them.

If quail is the best bird for the job, how many would I need? Can I use one huge cage or how many per cage and what size cage? Do I absolutely need an incubator and brooder? Don't the parents care for them? (Excuse my ignorance lol)

If I'd need too many to feed my shepherd, the quail sizes seem perfect for the 3 little dogs. How many breeders would I need for 10-15 meals a month @ about 5-7 ounces each for the 3 little dogs?

What would you suggest for my shepherd?

If you don't suggest quail, can you offer some help for another bird?

Thank you all so much for reading. I'm hoping someone will be able to help or offer better suggestions.

I'm also planning on breeding rabbits for them and need help there too lol but I'll have to find a different forum for that smile.png
post #2 of 7
Keep researching! Quail! Cortunix, Jumbo pharaohs are amazing birds. Are an efficient and low cost way to grow your own protein. Cornish hens are cornishxrock hybrid. A fast growing chicken that eat a lot and are butchered young. Quail are poop machines!! They sometimes drop dead after banging their heads on roof of cages or pens. But they often drop dead of obesity if allowed to go beyond 2 years. Many threads, web pages and Facebook pages for cortunix quail. I recommend quail. Build your cage setup first.

I recommend getting lots of ideas from interwebs and keep it simple. My cages are 2x3, 2x4 and 3x4. My brooders are large clear plastic totes for first week and hardware mesh wrapped outside brooder that are 3x4 and 4x4. Then you will need good incubator and hatcher system and all the accessories for brooding.

I started with 24 birds August 2nd, 4 males and 20 females in 1/5 breeding pens. I had good success with that number and ratio. I did 2 back to back hatches. After 2 months I had 150 birds. Processed the offspring roos and cull hens. I want eggs and meat so I keep hens and process the roos. We have chickens too for.meat and eggs. I am ready to save eggs again for replacements but I don't want chicks in my outdoor brooder till late spring. Use the best offspring hens for more breeding and get some new roos for the breeding. Make some more cages and become a hatchaholic. Good luck!!
Edited by nwfl - 12/12/15 at 11:15pm
Scratchin' in white sand
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Scratchin' in white sand
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post #3 of 7

I've never had coturnix myself, but I've been reading this forum for months so I've picked up a fair bit of second hand knowledge ^^

I believe I read about someone else raising them to feed their dogs, so I assume they are a good choice for this.

With regards to how many you would need, I believe most Jumbo Coturnix (which is probably the best breed) reach a weight of about 300 grams by 8 weeks, some might get to 4-500 grams.

Where as some coturnix hens might go broody if kept in a large cage or aviary in very quiet surroundings, this is rare, so yes - if you want to have a reliable food source for your dogs, you do need an incubator and a brooder.

You might be able to keep birds destined for slaughter at 8 weeks together in one big cage, but the males tend to start fighting around that age, so if you want them to get any older than that, you should probably separate them. Usually people advise one male for 3-7 females. You can weigh your chicks at 8 weeks and keep the heaviest as breeders to improve your stock generation by generation.

post #4 of 7

I actually raise nzw show/meat rabbits and jumbo cots, and I can give you very detailed metrics on what to expect for start-up costs (setup), feed, roi and timelines, to meet your targets but before I do...

 

Where do you live?  What do you have more of, time or money?  How much acreage or enclosed space do you have for (prospective) animals?  

 

Initial thoughts: A BARF diet for our beloveds can be tricky and costly.  Truthfully I would strongly consider supporting a local organic/ AWA approved farmer, unless you want animal husbandry to become part of your lifestyle.

 

If you decide to make the plunge, start small and grow slow.  As others have eluded to, there is a wealth of information here on the forums, and many experienced keepers and breeders that have opined extensively... a vast resource waiting to be searched!

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi supersymmetry,

I live in Ct. .48 of an acre. So definitely no land for farming. Which is why I'm hoping I can do some small caged critters. I plan on putting cages at the edge of the property. There's a small brush/tree line between us and the neighbor. This I don't think the neighbor would care. He's an old farmer, lived the farm life for years.

I definitely have more time vs money. I'm usually so broke I can't even afford to pay attention lol

As for supporting local farmers, I'd love to. I have posted on CL many times looking for farmers and for people who process their own meats. there aren't too many. And the prices here are pretty high. I grew up in vt and moved here about 6 yrs ago. And back home, I could have gotten lots of eggs or farm raised chickens or rabbit cheaper than here.

As for the b.a.r.f. diet, our dogs aren't on that one. They are on the prey model raw diet. Basically 80% meat, 10% bone 5% liver and 5% other organ meat. No veggies or fruits. Basically we feed them what a wolf, coyote, Fox etc would eat in the wild. They have been on raw for close to a year now.

Even if I can't raise as many food items as I'd like to help add different protein sources, even a few a month would help. We feed a lot of chicken. we can usually find it on sale for a dollar a lb or sometimes less if it's close to the sell by date. We give beef when it's on sale at a decent price or reduced price. Sardines & mackerel to add for essential oils. Coconut oil. Salmon that's been frozen for a couple months to kill any possible parasites. Chicken & quail eggs. (Only my gsd eats the shells tho)

I as able at once point to buy 6 whole rabbits (minus the heads because of that parasite) for 5 dollars each. Only issue is the man lives so far away it's not worth driving the 2 hours to get them.

So yeah.. trust me. I'm ready to put some time in this. My dogs are my everything. And my shepherd is my pride and joy. They deserve the bet I can do for them. Any dog does for that matter. smile.png

How hardy are the jumbo coturnix? Would they be OK in a coop/cage without heat in the winter? I would even build their cage with insulation if I had to. And make sure there was plenty of hay.
If hey can tolerate a new England winter, would a 1.7 ratio work? What would a rough estimate be for the amount of chick's 7 females would give? I'd have to make a brooder inside. What size incubator would I need? I know how to make them for snakes but you don't need to rotate their eggs. In fact that can kill them if it happens. Bird eggs are very new to me.

I have an issue sometimes with this site. It doesn't like to load at times. but it could just be my phone. It's pretty much time for the new one.

As for rabbits, we might get in trouble because that's off topic? If so you can private message me about raising them smile.png
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by workindog View Post

How hardy are the jumbo coturnix? Would they be OK in a coop/cage without heat in the winter? I would even build their cage with insulation if I had to. And make sure there was plenty of hay.
If hey can tolerate a new England winter, would a 1.7 ratio work? What would a rough estimate be for the amount of chick's 7 females would give? I'd have to make a brooder inside. What size incubator would I need? I know how to make them for snakes but you don't need to rotate their eggs. In fact that can kill them if it happens. Bird eggs are very new to me.

I have an issue sometimes with this site. It doesn't like to load at times. but it could just be my phone. It's pretty much time for the new one.

As for rabbits, we might get in trouble because that's off topic? If so you can private message me about raising them smile.png

 

I've just sent you a detailed pm as well.

 

Cots are very cold-hardy, however the extreme weather provides other challenges which can be detrimental to your animals health: primarily access to fresh clean water in severe cold, and excessive drafts that can kill a colony quickly.  If you do house them outside, protect them from direct wind, but do allow for ventilation.

 

A 1:7 ratio would work, but if I was raising quail to produce offspring I might go 1:4 (x2) - for two reasons... 1) you might have a slightly higher fertility rate and 2) in case something happens, you never want to have just 1 male.

 

Best of luck!

post #7 of 7

If they have everything they need, the hens usually lay about an egg a day. However, the fertility starts dropping if you leave the eggs for more than a week before incubating them. So if you have 7 hens, you could perhaps collect 50 eggs and then set them for incubation. They would then hatch about 16+ days later. With shipped eggs, people tend to be happy about a 50 % hatch rate, but with your own eggs you should be able to get 90% or even more, though it might take a few trys to get it that high - and if you intend to use a home made incubator, you might never get that high. By the way, all this is assumptions based on what I've read on this forum - I don't have an incubator. Say you have a 50-egg incubator and an 80 % hatch rate, you can get about 40 chicks every 3 weeks with 7 hens (that leaves the incubator empty for cleaning for a few days between each hatch, provided the chicks hatch on time - if the temp is too low, they can go several days longer than 16) :)

I've seen a couple of recipes for home made quail incubators on this forum, so do a search and you should be able to find a guide.

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