New wanna-be quailer with questions - what do you DO with the males?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by sphanges, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. sphanges

    sphanges In the Brooder

    Feb 16, 2013
    Hi all,

    I am looking into coturnix quail for mainly egg production but I'm also interested in raising and selling chicks. I'd be working on a fairly small scale as my backyard isn't huge and I don't want adult birds inside. I'm in Auckland, NZ so it's pretty warm here (no snow) and the below prices are in $NZ in case they seem really high :)

    Ideally I'd want a couple of males with 4 or 5 girls each to live in a 3x4 outside pen - this would suit me just fine! However *getting* that many females is proving to be a problem as most breeders sell them only in pairs, and the pet shop wants $30 per female or $38 per pair.

    I can buy an incubator for $150 and a few dozen eggs at $1 an egg, which will enable me to get the varieties I want to have plus sets me up for the future if I want to hatch and sell chicks or expand my egg production and will pay for itself vs buying mature females.

    HOWEVER - for both the first hatch and future hatches - what do I do with all the males? If I'm only running 1m/5f then I'm going to have lots of spare. There doesn't seem to be much of a market for just males, and while I don't object to holding on to a few while I sell them, from what I've read they will all need seperate pens once they reach maturity if kept without females, and I just don't have that many extra pens!

    I am absolutely not opposed to the idea of eating them, but I can't kill them myself (I'm just too soft) and I live alone with my kids so there's no one to kill them for me. I don't know of any butchers who would take live animals, we don't have "feeder" animals in pet shops here (since we don't have snakes or many of the pets who require live or dead whole food). I don't think the breeders I have seen know what to do with them either as they always have heaps of males for sale but rarely females.

    Any tips? It's the main thing keeping me back from buying my incubator and diving right in.

    Thanks for any advice!


  2. Kylesquails

    Kylesquails Chirping

    Sep 7, 2012
    Greeting from across the ditch:) that's very expensive for quail, over in Australia females are 5- $10 at the most. buy an incubator and hatch your own its a great experience. once your excess males start to crow at all hours i,m sure you,l have no trouble processing them. they are very tasty to
  3. sphanges

    sphanges In the Brooder

    Feb 16, 2013
    Even with the crowing I'm probably still too chicken! (scuse the pun). I can buy from breeders at about $10/female but can't find any who will sell me the number I want, and definitely can't find my preferred varieties at the moment except as pet shop birds or fertile eggs.
  4. oktx

    oktx Chirping

    Jul 2, 2012
    Find a locally owned restaurant or ask around at the Farmer's Market near you. They might know of either someone who will dispatch for a fee or a portion of what they butcher or buy the birds outright from you.

    By the way, the first time I dispatched a spare male, I cried like a baby. The second time was little better, still feeling horrible but being more experienced about it. I think that if you watch some online videos and read up on it, you might find it isn't near as difficult as you think. If you have someone to hold the bird and pull the head away from the body slightly, you will find that a sharp pair of garden shears does the job fast. They don't tell you this in the videos but the next step is that you need to plunge the whole thing in ice water to stop the heart beating. It sounds really difficult and it is at first but honestly I'm glad I learned to do it. Hoping to raise some more for meat birds this Spring.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013

  5. sphanges

    sphanges In the Brooder

    Feb 16, 2013
    Thanks. I've been asking around and hope to find someone to help me out, at least at first. I have read various methods and seen the pictures, so I'm not squeamish and maybe one day I will get there. I just don't think I'll be able to do it to start with :)

    Bought my first quail yesterday, 1 male and 5 females. I got 3 eggs yesterday in the 3 hrs before dark and 3 today so I'm guessing a couple might be a bit unsettled by the move still. I was pleased to find a place that would sell me extra females especially as I got the colours I wanted. Next stop, an incubator :)

  6. Mikedero

    Mikedero Songster

    Mar 22, 2012
    Watertown CT
    Check out the livestock auctions near you. I picked up 6 yesterday for 3.00 each 1 male and 5 female (Bobwhite)

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