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Newb's Questons Re Facilities for Coturnix

Discussion in 'Quail' started by NeilV, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. NeilV

    NeilV In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2010
    Tulsa, OK
    Hold on to your shorts, folks, I've got lots of questions, and here are the ones for today.

    I am interested in getting quail for family food. I am basically wanting them for meat. My thought would be to initially start out with either Jumbo or Texas A&M Coturnix. I really think I'd like Bobwhites better, but I am worried that starting with them could be too difficult for a goober like myself.

    As an intitial matter, I understand that life is weird and that predicting the future in an agricultural endeavor is a little dicey. I don't expect anybody to use calculus. I'm just trying to make plans without any clue what I'm doing. I need some ballpark guidance about what facilities I need to acquire to have a quail raising operation that provides a reasonable, ongoing supply of quail. I would butcher in batches and freeze the surplus. However, if I'm going to get into raising quail for food, my goal would be to supply my family with 300 quail each year. That works out to about 37 meals for a family of four. I like to make sausage, and I would probably turn some hatches directly into sausage. (I have some recipes for chicken thighs that would probably make some great quail sausage.)

    As I understand it, what I would need is to have a cage or cages for breeders, an incubator for eggs, a brooder for little chicks, and a larger pen for growing them up. Is that basically right? Am I missing something?

    How many breeder hens would I need, on average, to make sure that I had enough to quail to supply 400 quail per year, a family of four with an average of 8 quail per week, assuming that the operation runs along with basically ?

    I am assuming that 1 square foot per bird for the breeder cage would work, with one male for 5 females as a good average on the male/female ratio. Does that sound right?

    What capacity incubator would I need to keep this operation going, and how many hatches per year would I need to shoot for?

    Would it be a good idea to plan to stop raising chicks during winter, so that I would focus my work for the warmer parts of the year?

    How much brooder space, in square feet, should I plan to have for this setup?

    How much grower pen space, in square feet, would you recommend for this setup?

    I know that's alot, but I really need to get a feel for what would be involved in setting this up BEFORE I find myself in the big middle of an out-of-control mess.


    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010

  2. BobwhiteQuailLover

    BobwhiteQuailLover Country Girl[IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.

    Sep 25, 2010
    JJ will be here soon........
  3. Whitehouse Quail

    Whitehouse Quail Songster

    Jul 1, 2009
    Quote:Note: what I outlined above, with 25 new quail each week, is very small once you become addicted. It really is quite easy to expand once you get a basic grasp.

    Also, insted of having one hatch every week, you can get more breeders so you will have eggs to eat, plus larger hatches.

    Hope this helps! I will update later with larger numbers of breeders.
  4. Rainwolf

    Rainwolf De La Menagerie

    Aug 4, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    My Coop
    Quote:Well if I was going just for meat to freeze I'd go with batches such as 4 or 8 groups a year to raise and process.
    that means you would need 100 live chicks (4 times a year) or 50 live chicks (8 times a year)
    you can collect eggs for a hatching up to a week (you can go longer but I find after a week the hatch rate goes down)
    So for 100 egg batches (good for 50+ live chicks depending on hatch rate you have) you would need to get at least 14-15 eggs a day
    and for 200 egg batch (again 50% live chick rate from hatch, adjust based on your hatch rates) you would need 28-29 eggs a day

    based on the above I'd go with 20 hens 2-3 roos for the 8 batches a year
    or 40 hens 5-6 roos for the 4 batches a year

    Based on space you may want to have smaller batches more often
    I process birds at 6-8 weeks
    Indoor brooder for 3-4 weeks, outdoor brooder for 3-4 weeks
    so you could go monthly with 35 birds a month so about 60-70 eggs a hatching so 10-11 eggs a day collected for 7 days which means about 15 hens and 2 roos

    All the above depends on how often you want to process, how much space you have and etc.

    Incubators are kind of a personal choice. The size would be based on what your plan hatch size would be.
    My hova-bator works but takes a lot of work to maintain temps as it is really picky. holds 120 eggs easy
    My turn-x incubator is a dream for keeping temps but I figure it holds about 50-60 quail eggs max. I use it for small batches and button quail hatching.
    My homemade incubator runs great but that is because I spent the $ on the thermostat that maintains the temps.

    Hen to roo ratio can be between 5-10 hens per roo. I go with 1 to 8 and my fertility is very good.

    1' square works per bird but more is better

    Winter hatch rates depends on your setup. If you drop the temps to fast on the birds they can die due to "cold shock" (thats what I call it anyhow)

    I use a large tote or aquarium for the indoor brooder size again depends on how many you plan to hatch at a time.
    Outside grow out pen again depends on how many but I'd say maybe 1'sq per 2 birds for grow out minimum more is better.
  5. Petej

    Petej Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    PDX area
  6. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    Quote:Hope you like pickled eggs, too. Hint: When overrun with quail eggs, a blender becomes a necessity. Drop whole eggs in, blend then cook and feed to the chickens. They love scrambled quail eggs and shells.

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