JIT meat flock?


12 Years
Feb 8, 2009
I'm working out a quail meat production plan for our family homestead. The goal is to produce enough birds for 2 meals/month and minimize the ongoing expense and labor. Working out how many batches is relatively straight forward, with collection, incubation and growout from March until June.
The question I have is, does it make sense to reduce the layer flock during the "off" months - essentially 10 months out of the year - where I won't be incubating the eggs and growing out the hatches? I don't have need of the eggs, and feeding 6 birds for 10 months rather then 17 would reduce the overall costs and labor significantly.

What this entails then would be to ensure that the 4 foundation hens would continue to lay (or start to lay) through December and start incubating enough eggs in Dec and January to rebuild the flock back up to the 14 hens + roos in time for the March production and growout. The math gets fuzzy because there will be a number of roos in the rebuilding hatches, but I'm ok with having a few more birds in the freezer. I'm just trying to find the right balance of cost/labor to get at least the number of birds needed for the year. I would also expect to bring in new roos every few years to avoid line breeding problems.

Does anyone do this or am I overthinking the problem?


Quail Geek
Premium Feather Member
May 15, 2019
Sonoma County, CA
If you're looking to support the minimum number of birds, then it makes sense to reduce your laying flock during the winter. You can always bring egg production back up with artificial light, but if you're not eating the eggs, there's no reason to do that.

It sounds like you have inbreeding covered, which is the only other thing to think about.


Oct 5, 2020
So. Cal.
It might be less work to buy hatching eggs every year, then hatch their offspring once or twice, and reduce your feed costs to 0 the other months. Maybe do that math for that.

Quail are fragile and dumb, so I have gotten into the habit of keeping a few backup birds around, but yes, I plan to reduce the flock after my next hatch.

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