Just looking for some general advice, total noob.

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Pit Bull, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Pit Bull

    Pit Bull New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2013
    I would love to get into raising quail for eggs, possibly meat but I'm not too worried about that part yet. I really would love to have some chickens, but it's illegal.

    I love the birds, I'm not just looking for something to use and abuse, they're be spoiled rotten - and they'd probably get names and never be eaten.. But I know next to nothing about owning them. I know they rarely incubate their own eggs - at least the Coturnix and Bobwhites that I've been researching. Are there any who will incubate their own fairly regularly if given the proper habitat? I don't want to spend a bunch on incubating them myself, because I wouldn't want a many to hatch, just every now and then to keep the breeders going without purchasing new ones - which I can do if it's just more trouble than it's worth. They're readily available in the area.

    I live in Virginia, and as anyone who lives near here knows that the weather has a mind of it's own year-round. How will that impact keeping them? I know the breeders around here keep them out year-round. What is the BEST type of setup for for them? On ground, raised, mesh/wire floor, solid floor, etc. ?


    Any advice is welcomed. I didn't want to jump into keeping the little guys without talking to some people who really know what they're doing.
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC and the quail forums!

    Quail are a fun little bird to raise and keep. However they can be distant and aloof. So do not expect cuddly feathered birds. All quail have generally forgotten the art of incubating their own eggs. So if you want to hatch chicks, you will have to do that yourself.

    Coturnix quail are a good beginners quail and are easy to raise, mature quick and start laying early and tolerant of humans. They are kept in a colony of one male to 6 or 7 females. Keeping two males together will cause fighting and too little females, and the males will mate them to death.

    They can be kept in cages, or pens as they are called, rabbit hutches or aviary style settings. Although Coturnix quail can tolerate 1 square foot per bird, it is advisable to offer them as much room as you can afford. This will keep them in better health in mind, body and spirit and will reduce fighting. You can use a solid floor with bedding or litter or keep them on wire. Give them a natural setting with cut branches for privacy and security. As long as they have a place to get completely out of the wind, rain and snow, most quail can tolerate the brutal cold. Misting them with water and using fans will keep them cool in the heat of summer.

    They require gamebird food of 24% to 28% protein and love the treats....greens, fruits, berries, seeds, meal worms, etc...

    Keep them wormed once or twice a year for good health.

    Good luck should you dive into quail!
     
  3. Pit Bull

    Pit Bull New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2013
    Thank you!

    I had planned on converting a decent sized area, about 10'x20' for the birds with as natural a setting as I can give, with shrubs and rock/wood features.

    We have a lot of 'predators' like cats, raccoons, and the like that roam at night. Will that stress them overly if they hear or see them at night? I know some birds can't handle stress well, if so I can build short walls they cannot see over.

    If the males cannot be together, will they still be comfortable if a male is in a neighboring enclosure?

    And this might be a silly question, but what rules are there when it comes to water - are these birds liable to drown if they fall in a shallow pond? I have a few on the property and I wasn't sure if it would be safe to have it accessible to them.
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Predators can stress the quail out and cause them to fly straight up or into walls and ceilings. I gather you are considering an aviary style setting. I keep my birds in aviaries as well and found that keeping the sides covered, about 3 feet up from the ground, keeps things from looking in at night, and give the quail a more secure feeling. My birds paced the fence line for weeks on end when I first started out, so by covering up the lower part of the aviary, this calmed them right down and kept them safe from snakes, paws, and other things. Oh, and make sure to build it like fort knox. Really. These night time critters have a lot of time on their hands and will work at something until they get in for a quail meal. So over kill on the building is expected. :) Do not use chicken wire as it can be ripped apart very easily. Use 1/4 or 1/2 inch hardware cloth for covering things. Should you use chain link fencing, cover it with hardware cloth. Bury all wire very deeply. I used railroad ties. I buried one tie completely and then placed another tie on top of the buried one and did this for each wall. Then attached dog kennel panels, and covered the chain link with wire. Nothing can dig under buried railroad ties. Build a high ceiling in case the birds flush up and you don't want them hitting the roof and breaking their necks.

    I would avoid a pond of water. Should the quail become scared at night, go after each other, or what have you, and they end up in the water, they will probably drown. So any water features need to be very shallow. Quail do not water bathe and can drink out of poultry water fonts. So water features would only be for your entertainment. :)

    However the shrubs, brush piles, and natural growth will be much appreciated by your quail.

    If all these quail have been raised together, you may be able to keep them together during the off breeding season of fall thru spring. So during breeding season of spring thru fall, and you keep your males with their females separated but in sight of each other, mixing them back together for the winter becomes easier since they will continue to recognize each other thru a fence during breeding season.
     
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