Pheasants and Partridge compared to Coturnix "Japanese" Quail?

Discussion in 'Pheasants and Partridge (Chukar)' started by Sid Post, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. Hello, new guy here with little to no experience with these types of birds.

    I see a ton of information extolling the virtues of Coturnix "Japanese" Quail over all other birds for a small farm, backyard, self sufficient type of operation, and similar uses due to their fast weight gain, reaching breeding age and eating size early and, being very efficient in terms of feed conversion and space requirements.

    How do Ringneck Pheasant, Chukar Partridge, and Hungarian Partridge compare? Are they productive for eggs or meat? How much space do they need for daily living and nesting?

    Do any of these complement Coturnix or other types of quail well?

    (East Texas, USA)
  2. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    Honestly and please don't take any offense to this, if you have to ask that question you really should start out with coturnix quail. The birds you listed are literally from different places all over the world each from it's own complex eco system and none are truly the same to raise.

    First off most people aren't patient enough to raise any pheasants for partridge for eggs or meat. They only lay during season which is from May to August and depending on species will only lay 25-100 eggs. White meat birds also don't top the growth curve till around 20 weeks generally and can almost never be processed before 17-18 weeks without taking a loss with what we pay for feed as hobbyists. Also this whole group of birds that we will call "not coturnix" are more nervous and aggressive. Cannibalism comes very easy to most of them if you make any mistakes raising them. I don't mean a little rough housing, I mean murder and consumption or serious maiming if you got lucky. They are a finer flavored bird but require a serious amount of experience to raise efficiently. And then there is the space factor. If you short change these breeds on space they'll kill themselves and each other in short order. Most require more than 1/2 sq ft each of brooder space and no less than 4-6 sq ft per bird for chukars and bobwhites but pheasants require large enclosures or they'll break their tail feathers aside from murdering each other. Also most of these birds must be housed in pairs or trios during the breeding season without exception so it requires a lot more intensive setup.

    Japanese quail are all dark meat, have been captive bred as much as 4000 years, can be processed at 8 weeks and are usually also laying by then. They lay about 280 eggs a year and can be pushed beyond 300 with artificial lighting. They are incredibly docile compared to the others you mentioned and can be housed much more easily by the hobbyist since they only need about 1 sq ft each. They colony breed and are best kept with 1:4-1:7 Roo:Hens ratio .

    If you google it there are guides written off of research done by UC Davis, Texas A&M, and MSU for raising chukars and bobwhites. The general guide in my sig covers some of it too. Pheasants are their own thing all together and you'll want to search the archives here and soak up all the info you can from the pheasant gurus especially with the ornamental stuff because there just isnt a lot of easy to find info on the right way to raise pheasants. Most info you find won't mention square footage but will have a lot of detail on devices to curb cannibalism. No matter what anyone ever tells you, only in rare exceptions do you need to trim beaks or use blinders. Most people that trim beaks and use blinders or other mechanical cannibalism deterrents are either doing commercial style production or are keeping their birds too crowded or in too little space.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  3. Thanks Don! Yes, I realize these birds come from all over the globe. Reading what I can on the error'net, I got some conflicting information; hence my post in this forum.

    I have a large area to house birds and yes, growing up on a farm in Oklahoma I realize the breeding seasons and egg laying potential is definitely different from the Japanese Quail. Farm to market times are also dramatically longer but, the value of the adult birds is substantially different too.

    What I read online suggests Partridge is a good compliment to the quail but, as noted the egg potential is seasonal and farm to market times are longer. Pheasant seem to be a long reach for a novice but, they seem to be raised on some small "hobby farms" which suggested it was at least worth asking the more knowledgeable in this forum. Pheasant certainly do seem to need a lot of space so, that probably isn't practical but, if small farm operations in different parts of the world can do it, it made me wonder how and what I was missing.

    Best Regards,
  4. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    Chukars have stormed the gates as a meat bird in recent years and if you've got the drive to learn and set their space up properly you'll do just fine with them. They really aren't all that hard to handle if you do you research and ask questions when you have them.
  5. Thanks Don!

    When the weather warms up, I'm looking to build a 35'x12' "production" bird habitat.

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