how or where to learn about breeding?


14 Years
Sep 23, 2008
Austin TX
I want to raise coturnix quail for meat and eggs on a small scale in an urban setting. I'm not finding much information on how to breed birds to preserve or improve the colony, how to keep records, when to cull, and so forth.

Does anyone know of a good reference/tutorial for managing a breeding flock?


You can expect to maintain your small colony if you keep buying in eggs every 2-3 generations(so if you keep your hens 30 weeks that's not too often!), but 'breeding' as such is not really possible unless you have enough animals, and even with new blood, you may easily end up with an unthrifty strain at those small numbers.

For example, I set 60 eggs per hatch, hatch 40, 20 of those are male, and out of 20 hens, I have 4-5 that are outstanding and good enough to breed from for my personal purposes, but nowhere anywhere near what would be required to improve or even maintain 'quaility'.
If you replenish eggs about twice a year, is it better to use different hatcheries?

I'm thinking that favoring one hatchery might result in hatching relatives of birds I hatched earlier.
if you hatch eggs from 4 different breeders and band your hatchlings you can breed them for a right good while before inbreeding occurs depends on who is doing it but a lot of folks do not consider line breeding bad just inbreeding. Inbreeding would be sibling to sibling
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This is quoted from my website...I just like it
It is just a basic info kinda thing. But you can also use the guide as reasons to cull or if they don't fit your criteria you can cull.

Finding a good breeding stock can be a problem as Japanese Coturnix can be found in many areas and there really is no "quail blood lines" when compared to chicken, turkey, and other fowl. The best advise I have is to seek a breeder who has tested their birds against diseases and that has knowlegde about the breed. This is also with hatching eggs. Quality eggs come from quality birds, therefore ask the breeder questions.

People seem reluctant to invest time and money in the search for good stock but buying a good breeding stock is not a normal casual purchase. Starting with a good stock is the most important single factor in the success of any quail enterprise.

With any of the color varieties, picking up a plump, round quail, fully feathered. You should not be able to feel the keel right off the bat. The keel is the extension of the sternum (breastbone) which sticks out. However, if there is fat to insulate the bird, you should not feel the keel right away unless you poke and prod. If the bird is very skinny and the keel can be visably seen, the bird is most likely sick and you don't want that one. Check the feathers and make sure there is no sign of mites or lices. When looking into the eyes, they should be clear. The bird should be be alert as well. There should not be any discharge coming from the nostrils. The beak should not be crossed, but even top and bottom. Make sure the feet are of good quality. If the the feet are puffy, swollen, or red, the bird may have bumblefoot, which is a bacterial infection. This is a cause of being on wire too long with no soft areas to rest, but also on unsanitary flooring (too much feces).
whatever is good about a bird line breeding generally makes it better whatever is bad about your birds it gets worse unless you keep really close tabs on your stock and almost know what is going to happen before you breed them it is probably not the best idea for someone just starting out the guys that raised chickens around me mainly did OEG's and they would hatch like crazy and cull really hard and when they had their birds where they wanted them then they would line breed line breeding is always vertical never sideways.
Father to daughter, son to mother, brother to sister. You really don't have to worry about inbreeding for a few generations, but a refresh in stock is good every couple years or so.

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