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Quail - Are they easy to care for?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by gumpsgirl, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    The lady I picked my little girls rabbits up from yesterday had a cute set up with her chickens and quail. I had not ever been around quail before, except for in Colorado where they were just wild and my dad hunted them. I fell in love with those little buggers and now I want some! lol! Is there anything special I need to know about them? I've looked into getting some quail racks for my turner, but know nothing about these little things. Any advice? [​IMG]
     
  2. Duck Keeper

    Duck Keeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 18, 2009
    Out in the Boonies
    Heh heh... I'm becoming addicted to their button-y goodness too! [​IMG]

    There's a lot of cheap 'quail rails' online.
     
  3. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I found some racks at Cutler's for fairly cheap, but I was curious about what I was getting myself into before I got into it! [​IMG]
     
  4. JewellFarm

    JewellFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Lebanon, Virginia
    They are easy to take care of. Mature at around 6 weeks, mine laid eggs by 7 weeks. I started feeding mine game bird starter for higher protein. I am feeding my newly hatched quail regular chick starter and they are growing and doing just fine on that.
     
  5. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    So do you start them out on the starter and feed that until 6 wks. then switch them to the game bird feed?
     
  6. mrsengeseth

    mrsengeseth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:i did.

    mine were slow to lay though.
     
  7. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    It is probably better to start them on game bird starter and leave them on it, though I just use chick starter now, they don' t grow as fast on it.
     
  8. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Got it! [​IMG]

    Other than feed, is there any other tips? Are they pretty winter hardy?
     
  9. eggsrcool

    eggsrcool Sussex Fanatic

    Very hardy in winter I believe. They dont roost or need nesting boxes as they wont use them. Love to dust bathe. Space is about 1sq ft a bird. They probably wont brood chicks. Male hen ratio is about 1:5 for good fertility. Incubation or Coturnix(sp?) is 16-18 days. Good luck [​IMG]

    ETA: The sticky at the top is very helpful!
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  10. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Are they buttons or coturnix? That makes a big difference.

    Coturnix are very winter hardy as long as they have shelter from the wind. Buttons have to be kept inside during the winter.

    You should feed them a higher protein diet their whole lives, probably at least 24% if you can get it. You can supplement their feed with crushed up cat food, eggs, meal worms or other insects. They also like greens and such, just like chickens. You'll need to supplement oyster shells as well once they start laying eggs. There is a game bird layena, but the protein is not that high.

    Coturnix come in different sizes and colors. The jumbo sized birds that I have didn't start laying eggs until they were at least 8 weeks old (most were closer to 10), but the pharoah (normal) sized birds can start as early as 5 weeks old. They will lay eggs everyday as long as there is enough light and it's not too cold. If you don't provide them with extra light in the winter, they should stop laying from about November to March, give or take. You should keep no less than 3 females per male, and at most 6 females per male to ensure fertility. The males can be pretty rough on the girls.

    The jumbo brown variety is very docile, I usually have to push mine out of the way when I'm getting eggs or feeding. They like to walk all over my hand and arm, and if I'm a bit late with their food, they try to eat me when I'm feeding them! [​IMG] But they are pretty nice. Most of the colors I have are pretty easy-going, but the jumbo browns are the best.

    They only need 1 sq. ft. of space per bird, but as with anything, the more you can offer the happier they will be. If you keep them on wire they'll need some part of their cage floor to be solid so they can rest their feet. There is also a coated cage wire you can use for the floor of their cage.

    If you plan on hatching your own, the coturnix take about 16-18 days to hatch, normally. Of course there are exceptions and surprises like anything else. The incubator temp is the same as chickens, but they seem to do better with higher humidity, around 50% for incubation. For the hatch you'll need to lower the temp of the bator 1 degree and increase the humidity as high as you can get (70%+). The brooder temp for newly hatched quail should be about 98-99 degrees for the first few days, but they can come off the heat fairly quickly. I've moved several out this summer around 3 weeks old. You'll also need a quail water base if you plan on starting with eggs or chicks. They can and will drown in a chick base (I know this is a 'duh' statement, but you'd be surprised how many people have had this happen. They seem to be attracted to water [​IMG])

    I can't think of anything else right off, so if you have any other questions ask away!

    But please let us know what type of quail you are thinking of, that would make a big difference on raising and caring for them!
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009

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