Best breed for a beginner...lifespan....releasing into wild...etc.

Discussion in 'Quail' started by NicInNC, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. NicInNC

    NicInNC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2008
    North Carolina
    Here go the questions.....

    What is the best breed of quail for a beginner?

    What is their lifespan?

    I read in the sticky that someone "moves out birds over a year old for newbies"...does that mean you release them into the wild? Can they survive having not ever been in the wild before?

    Where do you buy the correct food for them since they can't eat chicken crumbles?

    How often do they need cleaned out?

    I notice most people have wire flooring in the cages. Is there a reason for this? Does it not hurt their feet?

    Are they pretty easy to tame (in other words, do they allow you to hold them. My chickens love to be held)?

    Why do YOU raise quail?
  2. Quail27

    Quail27 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    I am a fan of coturnix, but then again, I've never raised any other type.
    Their lifespan is 2-5 years.
    It is illegal in most places to release them in to the wild. I know some breeders will sell off their older birds or butcher them. Me, I think that if you're going to sell them, you need to be upfront about their age and what it means. It's not right to sell them to a newbie and have that person be buying your rejects/old birds without knowing it. I butcher and eat mine.
    Mine do eat chicken feed. I also give oyster shell, grit, wild bird food (seeds), and leftovers (occasionally).
    They are very messy. I don't keep mine on wire, so I take out all the bedding from their pen once a week. People keep them on wire to cut down on having to clean. It certaintly makes it easier and allows you to pack more into small spaces, but I have noticed a definite difference in the "happiness level" of my quail since moving them off the wire. They love to scratch in dirt, dust bathe, "swim" in the bedding, and dig around. On wire, all mine did was stand around 90% of the day.
    There is a huge difference in the temperaments of the different varieties. I have smaller sized tuxedos and they are flighty, nervous birds. I have some larger (not jumbo, but big) sized browns and they can be handled and don't scramble to get away from me. I have one brown that is a pet and lives in the house and will let himself be petted and hand fed. None I've ever met like to be held, but some do not mind petting or sitting on laps. In my experience (and it may not be everybody else's), the larger the bird, the more docile they seem to be. This probably has something to do with them being more domesticated and farther from their wild roots.

    I raise quail because they grow so fast, don't make "livestock sounds" (so my neighbors assume there are just wild birds around, not something like chickens), and because I can keep breeding groups without rooster crowing (quail males do crow, but it isn't the same).

    I keep coturnix in particular because they grow the fastest, require the least amount of room, have enough meat to eat, and lay as much as chickens. I call them urban chickens.
  3. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Nearly every state requires a permit to release. Some do not allow release by the average person at all. Quail will not survive if they aren't raised to. You also need a very specific land setup for quail to survive at all. People who change out their flock regularly sell or butcher them. Probably the latter more with quail. Many raise quail more for meat than eggs. You also may need a permit to sell quail or eggs and occasionally you need a permit to own quail at all in your area. I trade extra meat to friends instead of selling it because I'd have to obtain a permit and stamp for every package I sold.

    Gamebird crumbles would be ideal to feed if your feedstore has it. Most do. Others feed whatever they can get including chicken feeds but preferably something not medicated. Gamebirds may overdose on the medicated feeds and I did have a bunch of sudden deaths when I had to use a medicated feed for a few weeks. It stopped when they were put back on nonmedicated.

    Coturnix would be one of the most laid back and easiest to care for. They can get pretty tame but probably won't come running up to you and love being held. They just don't really mind being picked up out of their pen if they are handled often enough. Mine panic less than some of my chickens. Some other quail species can be a lot more flighty and may not tolerate handling as well. I don't know the full lifespan of a coturnix. Mine get their heads whacked off as soon as the next generation is fully laying.

    I like using solid floors with shavings for mine but quail are very very messy. I quite regretted not having a wire bottom pen when I raised a whole bunch of them at once for meat. I built a huge pen in an old barn out of shelving grids but still had to move it around constantly and scrape out then lay down fresh shavings regularly. A few pet quail in a large pen can work out if you are willing to do a lot of cleaning. Otherwise the wire bottom cages require the least effort and help cut down on disease since the quail are never on dirty bedding. Many don't even have to clean then because the quail poop falls on to the ground underneath and composts or mixes in to the dirt. Some of the wire quail pens do have a wooden section so they can get off the wire.

    My quail are mostly dog food. They are cheaper and less work to raise than chickens. Also very easy to butcher. With a pair of gamebird shears you can dispatch a quail and butcher it in your kitchen sink with minimal cleanup. Even bantam chickens make quite a mess in the house doing that and I just did 3 full size roosters recently. I didn't really have much choice but to kill them outside which I've been avoiding because it's steadily been in the negatives F for a month. Then skinned them quickly and finished inside before I and the meat froze. Butchering a quail isn't comparable in effort to butchering a chicken even if we are talking about very small chickens and jumbo quail. Even if you don't want meat quail produce more eggs by weight for less feed and definitely less space than a chicken.
  4. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 2, 2009
  5. Overeasyplz

    Overeasyplz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    Mine are for meat, but they aren't hatched yet [​IMG]
  6. NicInNC

    NicInNC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2008
    North Carolina
    [​IMG] It sounds like the majority raise them for food. I can't butcher my own food. I wish I could, but I'm a weenie and can't. I can't even harm a snake.

    I've been lurking in the pigeon forum too and think I may opt for them rather than quail.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by