Just got my first quail!!!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by sniper338, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. sniper338

    sniper338 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    San Antonio, Texas
    I just picked up some birds from a old man here in town while visiting my parents. They are all bobwhite quail. I wanted to try my luck with them and see how they do for me, I am going to get some coturnix quail next week maybe too.

    These I got today I got 9 females and 3 males. The old man didn't really seem to know much, its a wonder how he hatches and keeps them alive. He had about 15-20 per cage that was about 2ftx3ft and 8 inches tall... they were over crowded. Their feathers are roughed up some, not too too bad though. They didn't seem to fight much though, so no problems there yet.

    Heres where my kicker comes in... He said he hatched them in june or july of this year... so they are 5-6 months old. He hasn't been getting any eggs out of them though. BUT BUT he didn't take real good care of them. He didn't keep a light on them. They were kept in a shed with one window in it so that's all the light they got during the day time only. There were no lamps or anything to keep them a little warmer than whatever temp it is outside... he fed them wild game bird feed and milo... never added any crushed oyster shells or nothing to food. They were basically getting just enough attention to live.

    I have a feeling that these birds should be laying by this age, and with a whole lot better living conditions, good feed, A LIGHT ON THEM, and heat lamp to keep my cages area in my shed at a more decent tempature these birds will probably start to produce and start looking better... I don't know much as this is my first shot as playing with quail, but I have a feeling that I can get them into better shape and make them happier birds... They seem to be pretty lively. Once I got them into my cage and got them some food and water and stuff they seemed to calm down a whole lot more than when they were in the cages at the guys place I bought them. They are looking a lot more relaxed and acting much tamer. I'm sure they are nervous and stressed a little from being moved around a little, but they are acting better already.

    I guess you can say I feel like I pretty much rescued some trouble birds haha. We will see what happens though.

    Anything else anyone think I could do to get this birds breeding and laying quicker? I'm about to put a sand bath box under the light for them to play in and lay in, hopefully the light will warm up the sand a little as it is cooler down here in texas right now..
     
  2. QuailRaiser

    QuailRaiser Chillin' With My Peeps

    well, if they are in a stressed environment, they wont lay but that dosent seem likely. they may just be adjusting, my first ones didnt lay for 3 months. sometimes they also just shut down for the winter, and wont lay despite artificial light. this happens rarely though
     
  3. FinaC

    FinaC Out Of The Brooder

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    Sniper,

    If they are just now about 5-6 months old you should start to get eggs soon. From what I've read, Bob Whites don't start to lay until they are about 6 months old but I don't have experience with them. I have the Japanese Coturnix quail and mine start laying at around 6 weeks. I started off with some rough looking birds also from a lady that raises them to sell picked eggs at the market. Mine are getting game bird feed along with some crushed eggs shells. I also use some apple cider vinegar in their water which helps to keep the poo smell down and aids their digestive system. Be sure to use ACV that has "with Mother" on the bottle if you decide to do this also. I mix about 2 tablespoons per gallon of water and they don't seem to notice a difference in taste.

    I started off with about 22 birds originally and I've become addicted to hatching the eggs. I'm on my 4th incubation now and am close to having 200 birds. I know it sounds like a lot (and it is) but we are raising them for both eggs and as meat birds for the family (and there are a lot of us and we love to eat) but I'm just now getting to the point where we're going to start processing some birds for the freezer. Just one small step we're taking towards self-sufficiency.

    Your birds will LOVE the sand but I'm not sure that they're going to actually lay in it. My quail pretty much just squat wherever they are and lay but maybe Bob Whites are different.

    Good luck with your flock!
    Fina
     
  4. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hold the presses. There is nothing wrong with your birds. About the only thing in common between Bob Whites and Coturnix is the word quail. Bob whites are first year birds like chukars and many other gamebirds, which means they reach maturity the first mating season they enter after they have reached appx 20 weeks of age. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do to get them to lay until spring/summer of next year, without full artificial lighting and darkness (periods of darkness must be absolute and undisturbed). Where I am in California if I keep bobs they start laying for me end of April beginning of May. If your running a light turn it off they don't need them. They will only lay for a few months before shutting down again until the following year so don't be alarmed when that happens. You can expect as much as 100 eggs a year (during season) from a good laying bobwhite hen.
     
  5. sniper338

    sniper338 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    San Antonio, Texas

    Just making sure I am correct here... I AM putting lights on them now set for 14-15 hours a day... I am using a clear heat lamp just outside of the cage as it is cool outside 50s-60s during the day, and 30's at night here in Texas right now... ( they seem to really be enjoying the little bit of heat!!)

    So if I keep them a little warmer, and keep light on them can I have a better chance of getting eggs sooner, or more eggs??
     
  6. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    They do not need a heat lamp. Blocking out the draft with plastic or plywood is sufficient. Bobwhites live in many snowy areas so cold really isn't an issue for them as long they are out of the direct wind.

    They will lay in spring and no sooner unless you put them on a lighting schedule. If that's what you want to do here is some information on the subject. I don't recommend doing this unless you are producing bobs for a reason like meat for market or a hunting club.

    Read this

    Also read this

    Keep in mind running artificial light schedules is going to shorten the lifespan of your birds.

    It is my opinion after reading your questions that Coturnix would suit you better as quail go. They lay easily and often, you can get as many 300 eggs a year from a Cot hen (not more than 100 from a bob) the eggs are bigger than bob eggs by quite a bit too.

    Hope that was helpful.
     
  7. sniper338

    sniper338 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    San Antonio, Texas
    Thank you! good info! I am sure coturnix is the way to go for me too. That's my plan in the end. I just wanted to get some birds going to get in the process of upkeep and maintaining them some before I get to hatching eggs and running the coturnix full schedule. I am raising them for meat so I know to coturnix is what I am going to want. I just cant get any locally right now. I'm going to have to order some and hatch them out. These bobwhites just give me something to do until I don't need them anymore, then I can eat em too.
     
  8. QuailRaiser

    QuailRaiser Chillin' With My Peeps

    yeah depending on the area, Coturnix can be easy or difficult to find
     
  9. sniper338

    sniper338 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas
    They aren't easy to find here. I have two people that I have found selling them within the surrounding 150 miles. I may just have to get a breedin program rolling to sell birds as they don't seem to be that many. I am sure other people do it here and there but they aren't listing any for sale anywhere
     

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