Never Owned Quails Please Help.

Discussion in 'Quail' started by TylerWaugh, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. TylerWaugh

    TylerWaugh In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2013
    I have been researching Coturnix Quails and I have decided to start a small breeding group. Whenever i'm getting into a new species of animal I create a simple care sheet for reference and am hoping people with quail experience will look at this and tell me what to add, remove or change. It is not in sentences i make my sheets easy and in point form.


    Coturnix Quails
    Reasons to Raise
    Take up very little room.
    Very hardy bird/ disease resistant.
    Quiet for the most part.
    Can be raised in many different situations; urban or rural. Some people even raise them on balconys, in basements, garages or a spare bedroom.
    Cheap to raise.
    Convert food to protein efficiently.
    Quick incubation period, grow to maturity/ butcher size quickly.
    Great layers, lay every day or almost every day.
    Grow to about 3.5 – 5oz. Females are larger than the males.
    Jumbos grow to 8 – 14oz
    Lay eggs March – September. Year round if given artificial light.
    Some lay 1 egg per day others lay every other day, the amount of eggs depends on the hen and its living conditions.
    Less egg production after 1 year old, it would be recommended to replace the layers after 1 year but if they are still producing eggs it is best to keep that hen.
    Only live to around 2-3 years of age.
    Hens that are given the winter off from laying are likely to continue laying efficiently until the age of two.
    Start laying around 6-8 weeks old.
    Food & Water should always be available.
    20-25 % protein for adult birds, up to 30 for young birds.
    Oyster shells should be supplemented for laying hens.
    Non-Medicated Game Bird is the ideal food.
    They can also eat duck, goose, turkey, chicken food as long as the protein % is correct.
    Mealworms, crickets, wax worms and other insects are good to add protein to a diet.
    Millet, fruit/ veggies make great treats.
    To prevent wasted food you can feed small amounts of food multiple times a day.
    1 square foot per bird. Some say .5 or even less but that seems inhumane to me.
    Foliage, dust bath, and hiding places should be provided.
    Cage should be 8 inches or taller because quails jump when startled and can cause injury.
    I recommend an outdoor cage where the birds have the ability to forage and roam, with a small indoor area to store the food and water and shelter the birds from the elements.
    .5 inch mesh is recommended for the sides. (and bottom if an outdoor cage is not possible)
    Quails are territorial birds and if you are adding birds to a pre-existing colony it should be done in a neutral territory to prevent conflict.
    The simplest method to sex a quail is to look at the throat/ breast feathers the female will have a light brown/ tan coloured breast with black speckles. The males have a rusty brown or red coloured breast with no speckles.
    1.5 breeding ratio.
    Try to simulate wild conditions to urge the hen to go broody.
    Reach sexual maturity around 6-8 weeks old.
    Lay about 5-12 eggs.
    Not all breeding age birds should be bred, you should know which ones shouldn’t be bred. Birds not fit for breeding could be used as laying hens, placed in a pet home or culled/butchered.
    Avoid in-breeding, in breeding can be used to capture a good trait or gene in a bird but it can also bring out the bad traits. I recommend not inbreeding more than 1 – 2 generations and outcrossing should be used to add new genes into your gene pools.
    Try to keep track of any chicks you plan to keep, you can use id bands, creating pedigrees will help with keeping track of inbreeding and outcrossing.
    Fertile Eggs / Pre-Incubation
    Always handle eggs with great care, quail eggs are easy to damage.
    Fertile eggs should be collected at-least once a day 2-3 times is recommended.
    Don’t keep unhealthy looking eggs, toss these.
    Never wash fertile eggs!
    Eggs should be kept at 15* pre-incubation, only keep eggs out of the incubator for a week.
    Most of the time artificial incubation is required but on occasions the hen will brood. You can also use a broody chicken to take care of the eggs but all chicken eggs should be removed first.
    Incubation period is 16-18 days.
    Turn eggs at least 3 times a day, stop turning after the 15th day of incubation. It is recommended to turn eggs every 3-5 hours but for some people that is not possible.
    Still air incubators should be kept around 101*- 103* Fahrenheit
    Forced air incubators should be kept 99* - 191* Fahrenheit
    Keep humidity at 50-60% but go up to 65-72% 3-4 days before hatch.
    When you start to increase the humidity you should decrease temps .5* – 1* Fahrenheit.
    Do not assist the birds out of the shell even if they struggle.
    It may be tempting to open the incubator while the chicks are hatching but don’t open it, it is best to leave it closed.
    Keep the incubator clean, disinfect after every clutch.
    When chicks are placed in brooder gently dunk the beak in the water to show it where the source of water is located.
    Ensure brooder bottom is completely covered with the bedding of your choice.
    Startled quails jump straight up, use a soft roof to prevent broken necks or head injuries.
    Feed Game Bird Starter, crumble is fine.
    Some recommend placing pebbles, marbles etc. in the water bowl to prevent drowning. Water bowls should be disinfected daily.
    Keep brooder clean, cleaning intervals depend on amount of chicks and size of brooder.
    Brooder light should have a cover on it and be placed 18 inches away from the floor.
    Quail chicks are usually housed in a brooder 3 – 5 weeks.
    When chicks are first placed in the brooder the ideal temp is 97* - 99* Fahrenheit and should be decreased by 10* every week until the heat matches the outdoor temperature. If the quails will be housed indoors just decrease temp until they are thriving in room temperature.
    Some recommend observing temps with a thermometer but the chicks will generally tell you what they need, if they are all huddled together fighting for warmth they need more heat and if they are staying away from the light they need less heat.
    Use flat trays for food for the first 3-5 days and then convert to chick feeders.
    Don’t place chicks with adult quail right out of the brooder, give them time to grow up. The adults could kill the young chicks.

    Pharoah – Wild Type. Dominant
    English White – White or white with spots. Recessive
    Texas A&M – Meat version of English White. Recessive
    Manchurian – Wild pattern Golden/ Yellow colour. Dominant. Homozygous Is Lethal!!!
    Tibetan – Wild type but darker.
    Jumbo – Larger bird, any colour morph.
    Tuxedo – White stomach with coloured back. (White or A&M x Tibetan) Recessive
    All coturnix quails are dark meat except for the A & M variety.
  2. HunterH

    HunterH In the Brooder

    Jan 17, 2015
    Everything seems about right except the A&M quail aren't white meat, and many people have 0 problems inbreeding them for many generations when breeding for traits (size, colors, etc.).
  3. TylerWaugh

    TylerWaugh In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2013

    I read a few pages that said A&M produced white meat, why do people think that?

    i.m.o inbreeding should only be done more than 2 generations unless you understand genetics and understand when you've gone to far and need to source an out-cross.

    The reason i think different bloodlines should be in one colony is because most people wont/ cant keep track of which baby is from which parents and having all different bloodlines will lower the chances of breeding closely related animals too much after you begin to keep babies to replace old birds. And i also think new birds should be added every once in a while to add new genes.
  4. TylerWaugh

    TylerWaugh In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2013
    I changed the in-breeding part of it, and took out the thing about white meat. Thanks again!

    Avoid in-breeding, in breeding can be used to capture a good trait or gene in a bird but it can also bring out the bad traits. I recommend not inbreeding more than 1 – 2 generations if you do not understand genetics and outcrossing should be used to add new genes into your gene pools. In breeding should only be done by people that know what they are doing, in-breeding can be beneficial in securing a trait in your lines but can also be a bad thing for your flock.
  5. TylerWaugh

    TylerWaugh In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2013
    I have a few other questions if anyone wants to answer.

    1. can you tell the colour of a chick at birth? (weather it will be white, wild type, tibetin etc.)

    2. is jumbo a genetic mutation or genetic morph or is any quail over a certain weight considered jumbo?

    3. does this breeding set-up sound good?

    1 male 10 females.

    have a "break cage" for the hens to give them a break from breeding and have 5 in the break cage and 5 in the breeding cage?

    if this is a good idea what would be a good schedule?
  6. James the Bald

    James the Bald Songster

    Jan 6, 2013
    Fred Thornberry, the Texas A&M professor who perfected the strain to create the large white quail, stated during a press conference that his quail had white flesh. Everyone understood it to mean "white meat", but he was referring to the skin.
    I recently responded to a thread about somebody concerned about "inbreeding", and one study on quail followed a line for 17 generations (sibling matings), and the only noticeable thing was reduced fertility. Just me, but I would introduce a fresh line every few years.
  7. Sill

    Sill Songster

    Dec 30, 2013
    Tempe, AZ

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