Quail feed

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by KeithKZ, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. KeithKZ

    KeithKZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 4, 2016
    No chickens here...only quail.....

    I have some mearns and mountain quail and will be selling their eggs starting next spring. They are all young right now so I plan to just keep them on the Purina Startena until then unless you have a better suggestion. Next March/April (I live in southern Michigan) should I then switch to the Purina Layena Game Bird feed? The roosters will be eating the same feed as the hens as they are together.

    I also have coturnix quail that I use for dog training/hunting. I want them to be good flyers but if possible, I'd also like to have eggs from them to replenish my flock (I have an incubator and brooder) and also to eat. Is this possible or should I just keep buying hatched eggs from another breeder to replenish my flock and just only worry about using them for my dog which is the priority? Under those 2 scenarios, lets first start with what feed should I use if I'm only worrying about them being good flyers. Should I just keep them on the Startena or switch to the Flight Conditioner? If I want to use them for both flying and egg production, keeping in mind they are all in a community, what should I feed them? Anything other than the Laynea would require me to add some oyster shell in there for strong eggs.

    Thanks,

    Keith in Michigan
     
  2. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2015
    A good feeding program for your quail would be to feed them Purina Gamebird Startena from 0 to 6 weeks of age. At 6 weeks, you could then put them on Purina Flock Raiser or Purina Gamebird Finisher. Around 18 weeks, you should move the females over to Gamebird Layena and keep the males on the Finisher. If you can’t feed them separately, then offer the Gamebird Finisher product and supplement with oyster shell. The males should not be fed the layer feed as it contains too much calcium and could lead to health issues.

    For your coturnix, I would follow the same plan as above. You may want to consider separating the birds into a breeding flock and a “production” flock because you should really be feeding them differently. The breeders would also be fed as I mentioned above. The “production” flock or your flyers should be started on Gamebird Startena and then switched to Gamebird Flight Conditioner at 6 weeks of age. If you are going to feed them all the same diet, the start the birds on Startena, at 6 weeks feed them all Flight Conditioner, and at 18 weeks or whenever eggs start appearing add a feeder with oyster shell in it.

    Good luck!
     
  3. KeithKZ

    KeithKZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I thought the finisher was only for birds that were meant to be slaughtered?
     
  4. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not necessarily. Although that is usually what a finisher diet is intended for, it is really more a reference to the age of the bird. The bird's protein requirement is lower at that stage (6-16 weeks) but the energy requirement of those birds is higher. The Gamebird Finisher is formulated to be lower in protein yet higher in energy than the Startena formula. Like I mentioned, you could also feed Purina Flock Raiser to your bird instead of the Finisher. What your dealer has in stock (the Finisher is a hard product to find) and the price of either might direct you to the choice that best fits your situation. Either feed will get your bird's to laying age while providing optimal nutrition to your quail.
     
  5. KeithKZ

    KeithKZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok that makes sense.

    My mountain quail are 12 weeks old and are still on the Startena. I have a pair of mearns that are 7 weeks old that are also still on Startena. I'll switch them all to the Finisher (my local feed mill is able to order this for me). Next spring I'll add the oyster shell (I'm assuming I should start that about a month before the laying season?). I also what these quail to look their absolute best as far as size and color because I own my own business to start selling their eggs and plan on including photos of them in my advertisements. I also would like to have them at local county fairs.

    With the coturnix I had figured I needed to do what you suggested: Have a breeding flock separate from the flyers for the same reason you gave (different feeds). Now I can show this to my wife and have proof why she needs to let me build a flight pen for the flyers. [​IMG]

    FYI: Coturnix start laying eggs around 8-9 weeks of age. They mature very quickly.
     
  6. KeithKZ

    KeithKZ Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm hung up on what you said about the roosters shouldn't eat the Layena. I've had some jumbo brown coturnix since March. I only have 5 hens and 1 rooster but that rooster has been eating it all this time and I don't see any problems with him.
     
  7. KeithKZ

    KeithKZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Also, although Coturnix quail are pretty much full grown at 6 weeks, New World quail are still growing well beyond that. I'm not trying to be more of an expert than you are but honestly I would not feel comfortable switching from the Startena until about 12 or 14 weeks. What are your thoughts on that?
     
  8. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even though the New World Quail are still growing I would still switch them to the Finisher diet at 6 weeks. The birds will still grow on the Finisher diet. I recommend the switch at 6 weeks because of the rate of growth. Initially, the birds grow very fast. They put on lots of muscle early on, so they need lots of protein to provide a source of amino acids for muscle development. The energy level (calories) in a starter feed is lower because the animal needs more protein than energy at this stage in its life. As the animal gets bigger, the amount of energy needed to maintain the animal's body weight increases and its growth rate (muscle deposition) decreases. This means that their protein requirement isn't as high, which is why I recommend switching from the Starter to the Finisher. The Finisher still has enough protein to match up with the bird's growth requirement while also providing the amount of energy that the bird needs to support the growth and maintenance of the bird.
     
  9. KeithKZ

    KeithKZ Out Of The Brooder

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    I can believe all of that but my local feed mill gets all their Purina feed from a regional Purina distribution center in Indiana who said that Finisher is an obsolete product....they don't carry it. Thus, my local feed mill suggested I use the Flight conditioner instead which is pretty darn similar when comparing the statistical analysis. You agree?
     
  10. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are some subtle differences between the Finisher and Flight Conditioner. The biggest is going to be in the amount of energy (calories) in the feed. The amount of fiber in Flight Conditioner is much higher than in the Finisher product. More fiber means less energy. If you are preparing your quail for flight, then this is the approach I would take. If you are raising your quail for meat, then I would recommend Purina Flock Raiser for those birds. Flock Raiser and the Game Bird Finisher are very similar in nutrient composition. Flight Conditioner would work, but I would monitor feed intake and body weights of those birds if body weight is a key metric for you.
     

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