Help in getting started

Discussion in 'Quail' started by SuseyQ, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. SuseyQ

    SuseyQ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2016
    Hi,
    I'm new to the group and I'm interested in raising quail or other game birds. I've heard quail are the easiest to raise and quietest for the suburbs. I have an acre of land, but I do need quiet birds so I'm wondering if quail is the most recommended bird for quietness? I'm looking for the easiest type of birds to raise as well. I'm raising the quail for personal use. (I'm allergic to chicken and duck eggs.) I'm trying to discern what type of quail to raise where I live, southern, NM. Bobwhites roam freely here, but I'm not sure wild Bobwhites are the answer. What types of quail are the easiest to "hatch", brood, nest, and overall raise? What type of home is best for them and where should it be located? I have an area on the western and southern side of my home that offer some protection from wind. Is there a particular location that is best for quail? I've heard eastern facing is best, but that would be my front yard. Also I'm a bit concerned about predators such as coyotes, fox, owls and the like. Will these predators tend to come into a yard that is fenced in? We of course have Roadrunners here that are natural predators to quail. I've heard that caged quail aren't as smart as wild quail, is this true? I've also heard that you need to keep the home warm and provide 16 or so hours of light for egg production. What type of heat/light source do you folks use? In NM we're a tad warmer so I'm wondering how much heat I need to provide? Do most folks do their brooding, incubating, and nesting indoors? Sorry I'm a tad new to this so I don't know all the correct terminology and such. I've heard that homes off the ground are best. What type of flooring do you folks use? What type of roofing is best? Does anyone know of a reliable source of eggs or chicks???? What about food? Do you make your own or do you have a preferred brand? What do you feed the chicks? Thanks for any and all support in advance.
     
  2. Lozuufy

    Lozuufy Pigeons are nutty Premium Member

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    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]
    I raise Coturnix quail, they lay the most eggs, mature faster (6-12 weeks from hatching to laying, usually is about 8 weeks) and are MUCH more calm than other kinds of quail. Female coturnix are very quiet, but males will "crow" which doesn't bother me but some people might find it annoying.

    A YouTube video of male coturnix quail sounds, it is kinda louder in real life.


    There are some articles on quail in the other poultry section
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/other-backyard-poultry-ducks-quail-turkeys-geese-etc

    Here's a great thread with lots of good info (on Coturnix quail)
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/102281/coturnix-quail-basics-information-and-pictures-galore
     
  3. SuseyQ

    SuseyQ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lozuufy,
    Thank you for the information. I have heard the Coturnix are best from many. Are these Japanese the Jumbo Japanese, Normal Japanese, Italian, British Range, English White, Tuxedo, Fawn or something else? I've read the Texas A & M is more for meat. Are any of these Cortunix? If so do you know anything about the different varieties? Are any of these white meat? Do you know which taste the best? I've heard Bobwhites are best for eating, but hard to raise. Yes, I would like a calm bird. Have you been able to tame yours? I've heard you have to separate males or they will fight to the death once they mature (start crowing). I know you can have females together. Are they happier in groups or by themselves? Also do you keep a male in with the females or do you keep the males separated all the time? Last questions.....
    Do you know of a good book to read for quails? Do you know of a good supplier of chicks/eggs? What type of location is best for raising them outdoors? (I've heard eastern facing, but I don't have that option.) Lastly does the climate you live in impact what breed you raise?

    Thank you so much,
    Sue
     
  4. Twoandhelp

    Twoandhelp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok. The a&m is more of a "white meat" bird but not as white as a chicken breast. Coturnix are probably you're best bet. Not very loud, pretty easy to mess with and easy to incubate. As for varieties, the plain ol' browns are easy to find and, in my neck of the woods, are about $3 for a mature egg laying bird. The Goldens are beautiful. Those are the only two I've used.

    They will give you more eggs than the bobwhite, hatch quicker, and mature quicker. Also, if they DO accidentally fly out, my coturnix fly a very short ways then sit, frozen in the grass til I pick them up. The bobwhites are more flighty. So have a system that makes it difficult for them to escape with the door open. The coturnix taste great and are pretty simple to clean. We just had some yesterday.

    I keep my ratio in my egg pens at 6-8 females per male. And I pick my nicest males because some can be turds. In a breeder pen, 1 male and 2-3 females is good. But for egg production for one person 5-7 females and a male will work nicely (most of mine lay 6 out of 7days per week). If you hatch them, I keep them together until about 4-5 weeks then separate, then eat the boys at 6-8 weeks. Someone might have more experience and better ideas of when they need to be separated. My male pen I keep away from female pen or else they can be aggressive to one another.

    As for books? I've gotten all my info from this site, 104homestead.com and Pinterest. Climate does have an affect. What kind of seasons do you have? I'm in Texas. Mine are outside and I give them a covered pen, plus a next box (aka Rubbermaid with hay) to give them a wind/rain break. I raise mine with no bedding other than their nest box. I do provide a sandbox. They LOVE that. Stays off some boredom.

    Oh and you want at least 1 square foot per bird for the Coturnix.

    Ok any thing else? I think I got all your question marks.
     
  5. Lozuufy

    Lozuufy Pigeons are nutty Premium Member

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    Yup, those are all different colors of Coturnix, Jumbos have just been bred to be larger for meat, Texas A&M are also larger for meat (and eggs too) their white feathers some people prefer for plucking purposes because they don't leave dark pin-feathers in the skin. It is easier (in my experience) to skin them rather than pluck.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1077360/quail-meat
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/129174/processing-quail-pictures-warning-graphic#post_1554953

    My quail are pretty tame, they all come running to me when I bring them food in the morning. I do have a few that like being picked up, they make cute little angry noises when I pick them up while the others are eating though lol.

    I have a biggish cage (about 8x14) that has my 43 quail, 9 pigeons, 3 doves and 1 house sparrow in it and they get along pretty well. There are only about 7 mature male quail in there though, so that really keeps the fighting down. Mine seem to love being in a group, I keep the males and females together.

    I live in Massachusetts, last winter it got down to -20 degrees fahrenheit and my quail (I only had 4 at the time) were completely fine with wind protection and a pile of hay to snuggle in at night. This winter the cage is less wind-proof but I have more quail so they can snuggle in the hay and so far have had zero losses from cold. I even hatched some babies in the fall and put them outside without heat when they were 5 weeks old and they did fine despite the below-freezing temps during the nights.

    [​IMG]
    Last fall my quails hanging out in their favorite corner


    I'm not sure what good books would be, I did research on the internet (mostly BYC) before getting my quail.

    I get quail hatching eggs from different sellers on ebay usually, but James Marie Farms also sells eggs http://jamesmariefarms.com/
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  6. SuseyQ

    SuseyQ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the different sites you shared. They had a lot of great information!
     
  7. SuseyQ

    SuseyQ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2016
    Twoandhelp,
    Where did you get your original birds? When you say brown and golds does that mean the coloring of the Coturnix?

    What in the world do you use/do to minimize bird from flying off when you open the door?

    Do you need to have a male bird in the egg pens? So if seems you keep three types of pens at all times, one for eggs, one for breeding (which you then incubate) and then possibly a pen or so with other males for meat? How much space do the males that you're keeping for meat need? Can you actually keep more than 1 male in a pen together? I heard they will fight to the death. How far do you keep them away from your females?

    What do you do to minimize possible loss by predators? What types of pens do you use? I've heard it's best to keep them off the ground but I've also heard the wire can be hard on their feet.

    What part of TX are you in? I'm in NM so we have low humidity, hotter summers (up to 109, but likely average around 95), we have a windy season where the sand blows around a lot, we do get freezing weather and we do get snow (though typically not much). We located about 4,500' high so that is why we get colder weather. Here the days can be warm (even the winter days are typically 30-50), but nights can drop easily by 20 degrees which can mean teens in the winter months and 80's in the summer.

    In TX do you need to provide heat for them? Also do you use lights to get eggs year around? I was wondering if you can stagger the lighting so that they don't die prematurely (ie. 1 pen has extra light while another doesn't)? If you use lighting or heat what type do you use?

    Do they hide in the hay? What do you keep your hay in? I have heard you need to provide twigs and branches for hiding and such. Do you find this to be true?

    Thank You,
    SuseyQ
     
  8. SuseyQ

    SuseyQ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2016
    Lozuufy,
    You can raise your males and females together? Do you breed and collect eggs in the same pen? I've never heard of anyone doing this. What is your ratio of male to female and what breed of quails do you have? What do you do with your doves and pigeons? We have lots of wild dove around here. It looks like you have a wide variety of quail.

    Do you keep the cage inside a building? Or is it outside? Do you provide additional light?

    I surely have a lot to think about.

    Thank You,
    SuseyQ
     
  9. Lozuufy

    Lozuufy Pigeons are nutty Premium Member

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    I raise them all together, then when the males reach maturity I remove some of them and put them in a separate cage til I can sell them or eat them. I am breeding for "smarts" cause most coturnix are "not all there upstairs" [​IMG] so all my breeder male quail have to prove themselves before I let them stay. One test I did was letting some of the more aggressive males outside to see if any could survive. Only one out of 13 was still hanging around after a month, he would come running to me when I came outside in the morning to do the chores cause I would bring him snacks. One morning when I opened up the chicken coop the chickens all ran out and so did the quail! He had actually hopped up the 1 foot to the door opening and went in the chicken coop on his own! After that I put him back in the pen, and he is here to stay.

    I have about 5-8 females per male, I forget the exact ratio at the moment

    Here are some pictures

    [​IMG]
    Here is my setup, pic from last summer. The small cage in front is what I use to put extra males in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    This is the smart male, he's the golden one.


    I'll reply more later, but gotta take a break from the computer for now.
     
  10. Halcomb6

    Halcomb6 New Egg

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    I would like to ask a question too while we have a beginners thread. I purchased jumbo Coturnix a week ago. I have them in a hutch style area and I have a 3:1 female male ratio. With plenty of light and warmth. They had already stopped laying for winter, when will my artificial light jump start their rpoductive systems into laying eggs again? It's been 6 days so far.
     

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