info on quail please

Discussion in 'Quail' started by hdowden, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. hdowden

    hdowden Overrun With Chickens

    11,640
    220
    308
    Aug 14, 2011
    louisiana
    i want to get some quail to see if i like owning them but i have no idea on how to take care of them, what they are good for, or anything else. any info would be appreciated. i know there are a lot of good threads but there are so many to go through it would take forever to find all the info that y'all could help provide me, and you all might tell me something that i would have never thought about looking up as well. i would also incubate some eggs and raise some of them but i only know how to incubate chickens and with quail eggs being so tiny and small how would i go about incubating and raising those itty bitty little babies, had some at an auction this past weekend almost got some but again don't know how to care for them so it wouldn't have been fair to them then had no feathers coming in either? also how do tell who's male and who's female besides females laying eggs? again any other info besides what i have so far asked for would greatly help thank you.
     
  2. hdowden

    hdowden Overrun With Chickens

    11,640
    220
    308
    Aug 14, 2011
    louisiana
    what breeds of quail are there and which would be best for a beginner?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,022
    4,713
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Coturnix quail are the best starter quail. They are calmer than most quail and easier to raise. Quail can be kept in small cages, or pens as they are called, or even big open aviaries. Rabbit hutches work really well for 6 Cots. It depends on how you want to keep them. They are a bit different than raising chickens and have their own requirements.

    They will need gamebird food or turkey food. Something that has 24% to 28% protein. Oyster shell on the side for the layers. Coturnix quail need about 1 square foot per bird, but the more room you give them, the happier they will be. They are kept one male to about 6 females.

    If raised from young age, they can be quite friendly and will eat out of your hand. They do not like to be handled. They are a cold hardy species, as is most quail and can tolerate temps well below freezing, as long as they have shelter, can get out of the wind, warm bedding and stay dry.

    They are easy to incubate from eggs and start to breed and lay at 7 or 8 weeks old. Good starter quail for a beginner!
     
  4. hdowden

    hdowden Overrun With Chickens

    11,640
    220
    308
    Aug 14, 2011
    louisiana
    how do you tell the gender? do they like roost such as tree branches?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  5. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

    124
    11
    91
    Sep 9, 2012
    They're ground birds and don't need a roost, though i've found mine (i have button quail) do like to stand on top of tall flat things like cardboard boxes so that they can look around.
    If you're getting Coturnix quail the males and females have distinctive color differences for most of the color morphs, though the white ones have to be vent-sexed or you can just watch and see who crows. There's another coturnix thread that shows pictures of the genders in various colors for reference.
    Males can become territorial so if you have more than one male you might have to separate them eventually, but they often get along okay. Offering more space and several hides, like cardboard boxes with doors cut in the side, will reduce the chances of territorial fights.
    I personally found that purchasing pre-hatched chicks was a better way to get the gender ratio i wanted, but hatching is a very rewarding process if you don't care as much. Chicks can be raised in a brooder until 3 weeks, and given a heat lamp until they get all of their adult feathers (about 6 weeks).
    They LOVE dust bathing. You can give them a pie plate full of clean sand and they'll spend all day rolling around together. It's extremely adorable.

    You can feed just high-protein game bird feed (as above, 24-28% protein), or you can mix two parts feed with one part high-quality finch or quail seed to enrich their diet. Calcium is very important, and they'll need crushed oyster shell available at all times.
    They also like treats such as kale, broccoli, carrot, apple, sprouted birdseed, clover, timothy hay, and live bugs. You can give them mealworms, but not more than six worms per bird per day or they'll get fat. They'll also appreciate a hard boiled egg every now and then.

    I give mine a variety of foods because i've found it results in tastier eggs. And their eggs are small but super delicious.
    Corturnix start laying at about 8 weeks and will lay every day as long as they're warm and get 14 hours of light per day. If you don't want to provide artificial light through winter, they probably won't lay until spring but they'll be a little older and a bit stronger so you won't be as at risk for calcium deficiency or egg binding.
    They're extremely rewarding and fun birds, and i hope you get as much joy from raising them as i have!
     
  6. hi im a newbie with quails, this site has alot of great information about all types of quails, there is a great thread on coturnix quails, which are very simple to keep, i have 4 females and 2 males, i currently have 80 eggs in incubator should be hatching within a week, something of a project for me and my son to do, i give them plently of fresh water ,chicken starter crumble, cooked eggs veggies and fruit, i spend about 20-30 maintaning the cages a day and every 2 weeks give a wash down to the cages, i bought 2 cages which were approx 700mm wide and 400mm deep, but then i thought about building a apartment style system which is much easier to clean and can house more quails, its approx each section 1200mm wide 400mm deep approx 350mm height. i intend to breed and fill my cages up with nice colour quails. i will attached a pic of my cage. very simple to make. my boys enjoy picking up eggs from the cages, i usually get 3-4 eggs a day.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. hdowden

    hdowden Overrun With Chickens

    11,640
    220
    308
    Aug 14, 2011
    louisiana
    i will probably being getting some Coturnix.


    what do you feed baby quails after they hatch? they are so small.
    what about parasites such as lice or mites? what would be the best treatment for them?
     
  8. not to sure about treatment, to prevent sickness, keep well feed and clean, as what i have read gamebird starter or in australia chicken crumble starter.
     
  9. hdowden

    hdowden Overrun With Chickens

    11,640
    220
    308
    Aug 14, 2011
    louisiana
    when chicks (or whatever baby quail are called) hatch what temp should the heat lamp be at and for how long? do you drop the temp as they age?
     
  10. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

    124
    11
    91
    Sep 9, 2012
    They should be wormed once a year using Ivermectin that you can get from an avian vet or feed store. You'll need to weigh your birds so that you know the correct dosage per bird, but the nice thing about Ivermectin is that it will kill anything but tapeworms, including some external parasites. Feather mites and lice can be prevented with regular access to a dust bath.

    I don't know about the temperatures for a heat lamp (there are several hatch threads where you could get the correct info, though!) but you'll basically do the same as for chickens. Start warmer and then when they start to get their adult feathers at about 3 weeks you can gradually drop the temperature. They should have supplemental heat until about six weeks of age, depending on where you live and where they're being housed.

    When they first hatch, you can put game bird crumbles in a coffee grinder or crush it with a mortar and pestle. Try to make sure your food is at least 20% protein and ideally around 25-28%. Also make sure you get UNmedicated feed. The medicated brands will kill quail.
    You can use chicken chick starter, but it has a lot of fat and is formulated for a much bigger bird than a quail. I wouldn't use it unless there were absolutely no other option. It also makes their feces smell SO awful. That's what my chicks were eating when i purchased them and they smelled so bad it made me want to be sick the entire car ride home. [​IMG]
    A day of the "correct" food and the smell disappeared.
    Also be really careful about your chicks drowning in their water dishes. Put some marbles or pebbles in. I don't know why the feel a need to swim in their water bowls, but it seems to be a universal quail thing.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by