Please indulge me

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Jocasta, May 20, 2011.

  1. Jocasta

    Jocasta Songster

    Apr 8, 2011
    I'm really getting into raising our own meat at home. I don't have a farm, or even a particularly huge garden. I have successfully raised our own chickens, am working on turkeys and am seriously considering quail.

    I am after a few answers if you guys would be so kind.

    Firstly, everything I've read so far suggests you can keep quail in rabbit hutches - only that you'll have to be sure to give them extra insulation over the winter as they are not so hardy as other fowl. In order to provide enough housing for layers and meaties, I was figuring that I'd stack four to six hutches, providing I can get hold of some. (I've got a little cash to buy one or two should I need to) As such, I've been scouting freecycle for hutches. I've had one guy come back to me saying he's got spare hutches but I can't keep quail in them as apparently it won't work. What's everyone's take on this?

    Secondly, what's so hard about raising quail? What are the most common issues that people experience?

    And what's the best breed to get for meat and egg production? Although to be fair, with all our chickens, my main purpose will be meat.

    Many thanks for anyone indulging me in what are no doubt pretty tedious questions.

    Jo x

  2. Stellar

    Stellar The Quail Lady

    Feb 6, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    With rabbit hutches you have to be careful if you are planning to have them outdoors. I have all my quail indoors in a barn settings so the rabbit hutches work great in my opinion, as well as rabbit cages, and aviary cages (whatever I find really...I got a lot of birds)...

    But if you are wanting to have them outdoors, make sure the top is secure, the sides have small wire so no little hands can reach in. It really isn't tough to raise quail, well depending on the species...Jap. Coturnix are the best for eggs and meat in my opinion. They mature fast, incubation is on the fast side, and meat is tasty.
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Rabbit cages/hutches work fine if they are made of rabbit wire(No bigger than 1/2" x 1") if you plan to keep them outside. Otherwise, almost anything can get into their cage. I kept mine for at least 18 months in rabbit cages made of 1" x 2" wire on the sides and 1/2" x 1" wire on the bottoms. They were inside our 'open' barn so were mostly out of the elements. I put feed sacks on top of the cages since most of my chickens roosted above the cages in the rafters. I had cardboard boxes in their cages for them to sleep/snuggle in if they got chilly. This worked fine until last winter (winter of '09/'10) when we developed a huge rat infestation. The rats could easily get through the wire of the cages. Since the barn is open on one side with a dirt floor it was impossible to keep the rats out of the barn. I tried covering the cages with smaller wire but they still managed to get in the cages. I lost quite a few quail that winter. I ended up putting all my quail in one huge pen I had made for some younger quail. It worked, but I've still not been able to re-separate the different colors.

    If you have them outside (not in a building) you'll want to make sure that at least part of their pen is completely enclosed (as in a rabbit hutch) and that the top of the pen is also covered. My pen has 1/3 completely enclosed and 1/2 of the rest of the floor is solid to give them some place to rest their feet and extra protection from 'grabbing' predators. It is also closed on all but 1 side.

    The best to get for meat would be the jumbo browns. You have to be careful about who you buy from, several people claim to have jumbos but few do. QLOFM has pretty good-sized jumbos, along with a few others on this board. I don't, I have pretty birds [​IMG]---what's left of them anyway. One benefit of the browns (other than their enormous size) is they are easy to sex. Goldens are easily sexed and come in jumbo size but most are not as big as the browns.

    Here is a pic of my 'Fort Knox' quail pen. It is almost 8' by almost 3'. Roughly enough space for 24 birds by the 1 sq. ft. per rule or 32 by the .75 sq. ft. rule. I've had as many as 40 birds in this pen with plenty of room to spare.
    Last edited: May 20, 2011

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