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Help in getting started - Page 2

post #11 of 18
I found my birds via craigslist. In Texas you have to have your gamebird breeders license ($27 for the year) so I got my birds from
Some that had some. I've bought babies and adults. And yes, Browns and golds I just meant color. Lozuufy has a nice golden male in his pic.

My quail that i have raised very rarely fly. The good thing is- they don't have good survival instincts so they don't go far. The adults I've bought are more flighty since they weren't raised by me. I keep them in cages that have a door on the side rather than a top opening pen.

If you have good ratios you could just use the egg pen as your breeder pen and the a pen for males. I don't keep my males too far because we butcher our males at 6 weeks so they don't really get to the fighting stage. If I do have older males that are "extra" I just keep them far enough that they can see the males and it's even better if they can't hear the other quail too. I've read the ratio that for meat you can havek them at 4-5 birds per square foot. I had just under 2 birds per square foot recently and didn't have any trouble out of them. My egg birds/breeders get 1 square foot per bird. Less than that leads to more head picking and messy feathers. The more space they can have the happier they'll be, like any animal. And I agree- one male for every 5-8 females is what i stick with.

Another tip- at atwoods (or other farm supply store) they have a brown bottle that is called pick-no-more or something. I'll post a pic later. It smells like dimetap and you stick it on the heads of birds that have been picked or bloodied to keep the other birds away. When my ratios and square footages are right I rarely need it.

As for predator loss, I use hardware cloth on my cages (pics later!) so that snakes/coons/owls can't get it. They are raised and as for damaging their feet- I would think the smaller squared hardware cloth might be easier on them? But I provide a nest box (Rubbermaid with a whole cut so they can get in) and I put hay in there. They love that and lay most of their eggs there. I also proved some hay for them to walk on and even some branches for them to hide in and I think that gives them a little diversity and a break from the wire.

I'm in east Texas so my climate is a bit different than yours. I provide a heat lamp in the winter. They use it sometimes but usually pile up in the nest box together and do just fine. I set the nest box door near the heat so mate some of it will go in there. I just buy brooder heat lamps and I use red colored bulbs so they have light but it's not too bright. Red bulbs are supposed to reduce pecking/cannabalism in chicks too. In the summer I sometimes use a low watt bulb that provides a little light but they usually go in the nest box or on the other side of the best box in the dark anyway. I like the light for if I do late egg checks or look outside at them.

Man, I may have given too much info. I'll post some pics of my set up in a bit. Any more questions let us know- lozuufy has a lot of good stuff too.

And keep looking around- you'll get differing opinions- ask four people and you'll get five answers haha. But pick and choose what works for you and you'll be alright.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

That's quite an extensive setup.  So you have an outer coop surrounding the inner hutches?  I'm not sure I can do anything quite that extensive.  I only have enough space for the quail and since I'm technically in town I have to stick to quiet birds.  There are tons of wild quail around where I live so I shouldn't have any issues at all.  I was thinking about 3 males to 15-20 females.  But I'm not 100% sure if I can get this ratio or this few so that's what I'll have to check on next.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 


Thanks for all the good insight.  I had heard about the bright light possibly causing pecking, but I didn't know the red light was the answer or at least one of the answers. 


I think I'll have to change my location some as it sounds like I may need some electricity and I only have one location for external electricity.  This means they will have to be western facing and I'm a bit concerned that they may get too hot in the summer.  Also the western sun can get quite bright especially in the evening.  I can use some type of shade cloth to aid in these areas, I believe.


I don't desire to pay any licensing fees or anything since at this point I'll be raising them for personal use.  Do you have to show you have a license in order to purchase quail?


I guess I'm a bit confused about the egg pen and the breeder area.  How do you determine which eggs you are keeping and which eggs you incubate.  I'm assuming you are raising/breeding for the next generation so you continue to have eggs and hens to produce.  I know with chickens we kept our rooster separate and wouldn't eat fertilized eggs, is it the same with quail?


How do you find a reputable supplier on Craigs list?  Just pot luck? 


So it seems if you have separate birds for meat, you keep them in closer quarters to "fatten" them up, so to speak.  But I'll assume you mostly eat males, right?  How do you know when it's time to eat a hen/layer?  Do you "mark" your birds in some way such as nail polish?  It seems it could be difficult to keep track of the different generations and such.  Also how do you determine which hens are no longer laying or are becoming less productive? 


Do you use a similar size box for nesting and the sand?  Or should the sand box be larger?  What type of branches do you use, I'm assuming they don't have any leaves on them or minimal leaves since they will just fall off.  Don't worry about "too" much information.  I'm processing it all and getting a pretty good idea regarding how to do this.


Thank You,


post #14 of 18
Can you move your quail cage? You only need electricity for the heat lamp and you won't need that in the summer!

I can't speak for New Mexico but in Texas you don't have to have a license for personal use, just the number of the license of the person you got it from. Generally anyone who is licensed will be reputable. If they don't have a license, that doesn't mean they aren't reputable. Just a helpful filter for Craigslist. You could always call your local feed stores. They might know people or have ads up on the bulletin boards.

If you don't want to eat fertilized eggs then yes you will need a separate pen for breeders.

Might help fatten them up- the meat birds are also in smaller quarters because they are smaller- typically people butcher them at 6 weeks. Mine are in the "meat pen" from 3-4ish weeks on. As for layers, I asked JetCat the same thing earlier who said that a females laying life is about two years but she only has good fertile eggs for a year. So she will lay for two but you only incubate from hens less than a year old. They also told me they still taste pretty good, not tough like older chickens.

Ok marking birds- you can order bands for your birds. Identify by color or number on the bands. And my sandboxes are small post I containers called "shoeboxes" and the nest boxes are like... 10 gallons sized maybe? And branches- pine branches. Even when they die the needles stay attached. They love to play in hay too.

Does that help? I like answering questions, but I'm no expert. Really answering your questions helps me too believe it or not. I'll post a couple pics.
post #15 of 18

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 


Thanks for your responses. The pictures help a lot as I can see how you use the branches and hay.  Do you use several of the sandboxes?


Is it a problem to eat fertilized eggs?  I expect as long as you take the out daily it shouldn't be a problem, but I know it wasn't too exciting to get a fertilized chicken egg in it with either blood, what appeared to be an eye and feathers forming.  This has been my experience with some fertilized chicken eggs.  It's my understanding that these birds don't brood so you have to incubate eggs for future generations.


I like the idea of the colored bands.  I have 3 locations that are possible.  Two are in a dirt area and one is on a concrete slab.    Only the concrete slab has an electrical outlet.  Do you provide extra light to extend the laying season?  If so what type of light do you use?  Are the white birds also quail?


I already checked the feed stores locally but they don't carry them.  I was disappointed because we do have a Tractor Supply in town and I know they carry chicks and ducklings.


It's really good to know the length of time the eggs will be fertile.  I heard you were supposed to also track the different genetic lines to prevent too much interbreeding, but that seems sort of tricky.  Do you just get new stock if you don't have sufficient variety?


What about the "breeding" males, how frequently do you need to replace these?  I've heard quail typically live 2-4 years.  Does that seem about right?


Thank you again,


post #17 of 18
I have 10-20 birds in a cage and the one box for sand is all I use.

Here's some good info about those spots you see in the egg:
And youre right- coturnix very rarely go broody.

In the summer just see how many hours you have sunlight. If I do put a light in there, I just use a normal low watt bulb, not a heat lamp. I want to hook up a solar light so I don't have to worry about a plug. You might look in to that.

I'd say replace males at a year, get new stock occasionally and 2-4 years is probably right, but their fertility and usefulness is less than that. You can eat the older birds for meat or keep a quail retirement home, which some people prefer.

As for the feed stores- I meant look on their bulletin boards where people advertise and -if it's a local small feed store, ask the owner directly. He will know the people that come in and buy quail supplies and gamebird starter and he might point you in the right direction.

You have the knowledge- you now need the birds!

Oh and the white birds are Texas a&m bobwhites. They have a lighter meat than other quail. But so far, my experience is that they aren't great layers. Not as good as my coturnix. The golds and Browns lay about 6 eggs per week per bird.
post #18 of 18

Here's a podcast with a ton of info about quail.


It covers the following questions at the times indicated.  Jack's also got a few other podcasts that cover a few more questions, but this should get you started.  Jack's in Texas, just outside of Fort Worth and has a lot of experience with keeping and brooding other birds too.


  • What type of quail do I have [time stamp 13:45]
  • Do I have a good book on quail to recommend [time stamp 15:20]
  • What type of quail gives the best yield of meat and eggs [time stamp 16:25]
  • What is the difference between a Texas A&M Quail and a Brown Quail [time stamp 17:30]
  • Why am I likely to switch from A&M back to Browns [time stamp 21:00]
  • How would you breed to get white quails if you wanted that [time stamp 23:03]
  • Since birds like Bobwhites get bigger why not raise them [time stamp 26:45]
  • How do I find quail to buy locally [time stamp 28:35]
  • What is the biggest initial cost in getting set up [time stamp 31:49]
  • What bases do you really need to cover before getting birds [time stamp 36:43]
  • How small a number makes sense what is the lowest number you’d recommend [time stamp 40:43]
  • What is there optimal stocking density, how dense is just too dense [time stamp 43:30]
  • How would you set up quail in a rack system – IE garage style [time stamp 46:52]
  • How would you set up quail in caging but out doors [time stamp 51:32]
  • How would you set up quail in a “quail tractor” [time stamp 56:49]
  • How would you set up a coop/run style of thing [time stamp 1:04:00]
  • How will my rotational aviary work [time stamp 1:05:55]
  • How can you automate watering [time stamp 1:12:28]
  • How can quail be integrated into a composting system [time stamp 1:14:10]
  • Why can’t you “free range quail” or use electro net systems [time stamp 1:18:23]
  • How can you deal with mosquitoes and flies around your quail [time stamp 1:21:22]
  • Could you do quail “seasonally” and not keep them though winter [time stamp 1:24:40]
  • What do I feed my quail  [time stamp 1:34:00]
  • Why do quail get prolapse or weak shelled eggs [time stamp 1:37:50]
  • What special needs do they have diet wise [time stamp 1:39:37]
  • How to you minimize feed waste [time stamp 1:40:15]
  • What is the best breeding ratio [time stamp 1:42:58]
  • Can you grow 100% of the food your quail need [time stamp 1:44:20]
  • What about really hot climates [time stamp 1:50:38]
  • What about really cold climates [time stamp 1:51:42]
  • What do they taste like, is the meat dark, light, etc. [time stamp 1:53:10]
  • Why do I skin vs. pluck my birds [time stamp 1:57:10]
  • How do I slaughter and process my quail [time stamp 2:00:06]
  • How many eggs do they really lay [time stamp 2:06:40]
  • My birds are old enough but not laying, why [time stamp 2:09:22]
  • Why are quail eggs better than chicken eggs [time stamp 2:12:02]
  • What is the brooding process [time stamp 2:19:56]
  • What is the incubation process like, what type of incubator works best [time stamp 2:22:16]
  • How many birds do I need to eat quail once a week and eggs three times a week [time stamp 2:26:52]
  • What are the input and out put numbers, feed, time, production [time stamp 2:37:18]
  • Can you legally sell meat in _____ [time stamp 2:41:15]
  • Can captive quail really be part of a regenerative system, isn’t it small scale factory farming [time stamp 2:47:50]
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