New to BYC: In Anchorage, AK - interested in quail

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by CreepyCrawly, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. CreepyCrawly

    CreepyCrawly Hatching

    Jan 21, 2015
    Anchorage, AK
    Hi All. I live in Anchorage, Alaska. I have a menagerie already, but am looking to add to it. Currently I have 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 parrots, 4 lizards, and around 40 snakes (boas and pythons). I keep and breed the snakes, and have for years wanted to breed my own prey for them. In recent years there have been many problems with rodent suppliers nationally, and I have lost a snake myself to a bad rodent. I did lots of research on feeders and breeding feeders, and found that quail actually are a fantastic prey for boas - which is my primary focus. Years ago I had considered trying to breed my own feeders, but the prey I have been feeding - rats - are illegal to keep in Anchorage. But now that I discovered quail are a good food source, I'm thinking much more seriously about breeding my own feeders. It'd be a nice bonus for me to be able to eat meat and eggs from them occasionally, and possibly even sell some off to other reptile keepers, or people just wanting meat birds or eggs.

    I picked up a trio of button quail a couple of weeks ago, not thinking there is much difference in the different types of quail. I figured a quail is a quail. Well... these things are so dang tiny! I don't think the buttons will make a very good food source. I would need 6-8 of these little things to feed to some of my larger snakes as a meal. But I've learned a lot from them. Supposedly I have two females and a male (I've tried sexing them myself, but no luck), and according to the people I got them from, one female had been laying regularly, and the other female should have been getting ready to lay any day. Well... I've not gotten a single egg from them. Also, since I've gotten them, the "females" have been picking on the male, and the back of his head is bald with a pretty big scab now. Then the back of the head of one of the females is looking picked at. Finally I separated all of them. They're in plastic tubs with air holes drilled for ventilation, aspen shavings on the bottom, and Kleenex boxes to hide in. They each have a bowl of crushed egg shells, oyster shells, and chick grit along with 20% layer crumbles and water. Every 2-3 days they get mealworm treats. I don't know what their problems are. The one I believe is a male is silver (he has a bib). The "females" are tuxedo colored. I clipped their wings to keep them from flying and pooping all over the house when I clean them. They're very cute, and I love their quiet, soft little chattering, but I will probably be trying to find them a new pet home.

    Now that I know more about quail, and have done more research on their keeping and care, I'm looking at the larger coturnix varieties. I've learned a lot about their husbandry, but am still trying to work out a few details. My main quandary is whether to keep them in the house in a spare bedroom, or try to keep them outside. It gets cold here during the winter, but not as cold as some places. But I would like to keep them laying fertile eggs year round, so that I can continually hatch and raise the quail I need as feeders. Would it be best to try to keep them in a spare room with something like sweet pdz to keep the odor down? Or should I try to keep them outdoors in weatherproof cages with artificial heat and light to keep eggs coming and keep them from freezing? Or should I keep them in my shed, with the artificial light and heat? If I keep them outside I would probably keep them in shavings or straw to allow them to bed down in it to stay warm, but indoors I'd rather have them on a wire floor over a pan to make cleaning easier. On one hand it'd be nice to have them not in the house. But on the other hand I'm feeling it will be more expensive to keep them outside (electricity) and I would have more worries (water freezing, eggs freezing, being unsure if they will produce or not, etc).

    Also, from what I've gathered, most people cull their quail by pulling or cutting their heads off. I don't mind doing this for quail that I might be eating myself, but for feeding my snakes I'd like to keep them intact. Most people use CO2 to gas their rodents to kill them humanely while keeping them safe to eat, but I'm not sure if this is possible with quail. Otherwise I suppose I could try to pith them, though that's not my favorite option. Any ideas or suggestions?

    I've done quite a few searches, and learned SO much. But I figure my situation is a little on the unique side compared to most here.
    1 person likes this.
  2. matt44644

    matt44644 Songster

    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan
  3. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO.

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC!
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] We're glad you joined us!

    Unfortunately, I don't know much about quail. I would recommend posting your questions in the Quail section of the forums: Quail

    Good luck with them!
  5. hennible

    hennible Crowing

    Welcome to BYC
    A user named @Alaskan lives sorta near you and also keeps quail... But not for snake food :D
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    I don't know much about quail, so I suggest that you post in the Quail section. I hope you can find the answers you need![​IMG]
  7. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to our flock. My family and I have visited Alaska on several occasions and love it there. I'm a chicken person and don't know much about quail (never had any), but they sure are cute little birds. Definitely post on our quail section at and take advantage of our quail experts there. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck with your quail.
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Wonderful intro! So glad to meet you and have you be part of our flock!
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Yes, Alaskan knows all about surviving in Alaska and quail. He frequents the "Old Folks thread." here on BYC. You may want to contact him.

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