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Locating suppliers for quail and quail food

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi Again,

It looks like I will start with the Cortunix Quail.  Now I just need to locate a reliable supplier.  I'd prefer to start with chicks.  Does anyone know of a reliable supplier?    I'd like to start with around 20-30 birds.  I've looked at Craigs list and haven't found anything locally.  I'm not sure if e-bay is the right way to go.  Any suggestions?


Also what type of feed do you folks use?  Do you make your own feed or grind another feed smaller?  I know you need grit, but what else do you need to ensure the quail are getting a healthy diet?  Do they need anything for trimming their beaks on or nails?


Thank You,


post #2 of 9
I'm not sure where to get chicks but James Marie Farm has excellent quality eggs that you could hatch. I highly recommend you start with good quality genetics. Some backyard breeders may be inbreeding their stock to the point that their birds are very small, not as fertile, may not lay as many eggs and may also have physical defects.

JMF has multiple varieties of Coturnix quail. Some grow very large and will do nicely as a meat bird. They also have a line that lays very large eggs very consistently.

Robby at JMF is a fantastic guy with perhaps the greatest knowledge of Coturnix quail in the USA. If you get a hold of him on the phone, have a pen and lots of paper ready to take notes.

An incubator can be purchased very cheaply at a feed store but I recommend doing your research first. I did lots of research and for my hobby scale incubator, I settled on the Brinsea incubator instead of the foam incubators. With the Brinsea, you just plug in and and you're ready to go.

For feed, go with a high quality non medicated game bird feed with 28-30% protein. Purina Startena non medicated game bird is probably top of the line.

If you keep your quail indoors, you should give added vitamins in their water or food because they are probably not getting enough sunlight.

You should also have a brooder or heat lamp set up to keep the quail at about 100-95F the first week and drop the temp by 5F every week until you reach the ambient air temp.

Good luck, quail are a lot of fun and very rewarding.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 


Thank you for you extremely helpful advice.  I have heard about James Marie Farms.  How do you prevent excess interbreeding among your stock of quail or do you regularly replenish with a good stock?  I mean how do you tell who's bred with whom and etc.  That part of this seems a bit confusing to me.


I'll make sure to get in touch with Robby.



Thank You,


post #4 of 9
Hello SuseyQ,

I'm still new to quail so I'm not the best person to answer your question. You can see this thread has some information on breeding:

I plan to replenish my stock if I see a decline in the size of my bird, decrease in number of eggs and egg size, decrease in fertility and decrease in overall health of my birds.

I also plan on breeding my own birds through line breeding but this is just a small side project I have. It takes careful planning, a lot of cages and careful record keeping to keep a single line going. It is much easier to replenish the stock birds about every 2-3 years.

post #5 of 9

If you'll post your city and state, someone on the list might be able to sell you some chicks.

as with a lot of things, be wary with Craigslist. Some dealers are reputable, and some are not.

post #6 of 9

Hi Susey,


As you're just starting off, I would highly suggest that you just get 3-5 birds from a local source so you can gain some experience and confidence before you jump in with 20-30 birds.  Give them whatever 24% or higher protein you can find locally, your municipal water and a 2'x2' or 2'x3' cage.  Don't worry about anything fancy like rolling the eggs for collection or grit.  If the feed doesn't have 2.5% calcium, you can give them some oyster shell free choice or crush up their egg shells and feed them back to them.   That's all you need to get started.  You don't even have to give them a dust bath right away.


If you have to drive 100 miles each way to get the birds, that's what you should do.  I know it seems like a lot just for 3-5 birds, but you really can't learn about keeping animals from reading about it; you have to jump in and do it and you'll be much better off starting small.  You'll never get things perfect and trying to start that way will keep you from ever starting.  Don't let "perfect" get in the way of "good enough".  I've fallen into that trap in the past.


Once you get a few birds you'll see how they behave and what issues come up in your environment.  I've actually got 3 hens in my basement, though I built an outdoor pen for them because it's not worth dealing with my freezing temps for a few quail.  I've run chickens through the winter for the last 3 years, so I know what I need to do, it's just not worth it, especially given how quickly the small eggs freeze and how they seem to lay right up to bedtime, unlike chickens. 


Don't worry about a licence, genetics, breeding, incubating or even culling.  Just get started, get comfortable, and that will give you time to find a good source for your next batch. 

post #7 of 9

I am also interesting in raising quail, but am about 4-6 months out from starting (need to set-up my quail hut, and do some additional work to my yard first).  I appreciate all of the advice I am reading here, however - very helpful in gaining additional knowledge and confidence for my first brood. :)

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

​Em Ty,

You have a lot of good advice.  I did finally locate some "local" quail, but they are a good 5 hours away.  Things are pretty spread out in our state.  But that is some excellent advice.  I'm just trying to discern what type of hutch to build and where so I can get the birds.  I have pretty much all the other basic information I need.  I want to do this and I want to have enough for personal use.  That being said I'm not sure if I should build a beginner hutch and then add on or what.  I'll be calling the quail farm shortly, but can't go pick up until a weekend so I have to be free enough to pick them up since it will take more than 10 hours.  :)


Thank you again,


post #9 of 9

If you get 20 feet of 2' hardware cloth you can make two 2'x2' cages pretty quickly.  That would give you enough room for 8-10 quail to start off.  If you've got that far a drive, I'd probably go with 8 to start.  You can get away with a 1 quart waterer in each cage and a dish for food, or one of the 20" chick feeders with head holes.  They'll waste the food like crazy if you just use a dish, but that'll get you started and give you time to make or buy an external feeder.  A PVC pipe with a slot cut out or some eavestrough downspout cut open will give you a trough that you can wire to the outside so they can't scratch the food out.  You can even use 1 trough between two cages to feed both at once.


You'll find that the 1 quart waterers will need to be refilled every day for 4 quail; they drink much more water than you'd expect.


Good luck on getting started.  I think you'll find it's a lot easier than you think, once you dive in. 

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