Getting quails for eggs - how old should they be?

Guille

In the Brooder
Aug 3, 2020
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17
31
Hello everyone,

I am looking at getting 2-3 quails as a project with my kid at home. The idea is to have fun and get some eggs as well.

There are some farms outside the city - how old should the quails the I buy be? Yoo young and they might be too vulnerable, too old and they might not adapt or not lay eggs.
Thanks a lot for the advice!
 
Jul 15, 2020
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Washington State 8a/8b
Since you want them for eggs I'm going to assume you're wanting Coturnix, I'd definitely suggest 3+, the more the better, I liked groups of 5-6 when I had them last, but they would need a bit of space, I wouldn't recommend just 2 adults however, they are a flocking bird. I never had issues with vulnerable quail, nor buying adult quail who had any issues laying. Coturnix begin laying at around 6 weeks, and lay for usually a year or two. The adults I bought back then were around 2 months and were VERY skittish and fearful of humans, they actually got rehomed to our friend since I was using them as part of 4H, pets and eggs, so wild birds wasn't for me. I never had issues hatching although I know I was fairly lucky, and I didn't hatch mass batches. If you're worried about weak chicks and failure to thrive chicks I'd source out someone local whose selling chicks between 0-5 days, before they get too big and feathered in and are still cute, look for ones who are active, clear eyes and noses and no bent toes or splay leg and you should be fine. Make sure to feed them crumbles which you have ground up (if you get chicks) and that it's 30% protein or more! :D If you don't mind more wild and not hand tame quail then buying adults (6weeks+) is no big deal, you'll for sure know gender at this age if you buy the standard Pharaoh colour, and near this age for other colors you should also be able to sex them based on calls (boys crow, females don't, like chickens!) so you know exactly what you're getting rather than having to rehome extra chicks. Which if you get chicks I'd suggest getting more than 3 especially, just in case of too many boys ;D good luck!!
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Sep 29, 2014
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New Zealand
If you are buying adults (6 weeks plus) they will take awhile to settle into a new environment. Birds that are already laying will stop for 4-6 weeks due to the stress of moving, so keep that in mind when deciding what age to buy.
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
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David, Chiriquí, Panama
I recommend buying japanese coturnix quail chicks (usually they are sold at about one week old). At this age, you won't know their gender, so I'd recommend getting eight to ten birds. The assumption is that half will be males, and you'll know gender by the sixth week, as the birds become adults. Keep the hens and select one cock for your flock. Look for a confident cock that the hens seem to like. Do not be alarmed if you see the cock grab a hen by her head/neck feathers to mate; even if the hens get some bare patches. It is their way. Process the excess males for meat or rehome them. Four hens per cock is a good ratio that will result in a high percentage of fertile eggs. Quail seldom brood their young, that instinct has pretty much been bred out of them. If you wish to raise their chicks into replacement livestock, you'll want to get an incubator. You'll also want to add vitamins and minerals to their water supply as typical game bird feed (what's fed to quail), is often sufficient for egg production, but NOT for healthy viable offspring from those eggs. Also note that chicken food is not game bird feed; the latter has a much higher protein content. Your flock will benefit from the added nutrition of the vitamin/mineral supplementation with better health as well, and it's an inexpensive addition to their diet.
 

Guille

In the Brooder
Aug 3, 2020
29
17
31
Thanks everyone for the recs! Getting 3 female 40-day olds tomorrow from a nearby farm, hope they adapt quickly (should be much nicer than at the farm)!
 

Guille

In the Brooder
Aug 3, 2020
29
17
31
So got 3 ones, and it has been interesting to observe some behaviour.

- A lot of interest in the dust bath, they clearly did not have one at the farm (they were at the typical metallic structures overlayed one over another)
- They are eating sand, my guess as well, its the grit that they never had before
- Still have not ventured into the closed coop layed above the ladder.Will they get there eventually, or should I better lay it on the ground to make them recognize it as a "home", and then move it up the ladder?

(attached my self-built cage)
 

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Kiki

#Winning
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
Jul 31, 2015
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My Coop
So got 3 ones, and it has been interesting to observe some behaviour.

- A lot of interest in the dust bath, they clearly did not have one at the farm (they were at the typical metallic structures overlayed one over another)
- They are eating sand, my guess as well, its the grit that they never had before
- Still have not ventured into the closed coop layed above the ladder.Will they get there eventually, or should I better lay it on the ground to make them recognize it as a "home", and then move it up the ladder?

(attached my self-built cage)
I'd get rid of the ramp and container set up too.
Put that container in the ground.
I'd also cut another hole in it. I believe you should always have one way in and one way out... Two openings on all containers so no one gets stuck.
 

Guille

In the Brooder
Aug 3, 2020
29
17
31
Seems like there is a consensus that Quails wont climb that ladder... haha will take that thing down.

Any concerns on them eating sand? Is it more normal to expect that since they probably never had before?
 
Jul 15, 2020
880
1,058
143
Washington State 8a/8b
I found quail excited about sand wether or not they've had it before, its also I believe a good source of grit so it should be fine :D people (including me!!!) Get worried about birds eating things they shouldn't but they really do avoid things not good for them 98% of the time!
 

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