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Quail raised in a pasture pen?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by NewsomeFarm, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. NewsomeFarm

    NewsomeFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Is there any reason that you couldn't/shouldn't raise quail in a move-able open ground type pasture pen like you would raise broiler chickens? Fresh grass, bugs, clean poop free ground every day. Predators would be the biggest concern I guess? And the birds flying out when you open the top to add feed?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Predators at night will get the birds. Quail are a midnight snack waiting to happen. So quail left outside need to be in something built like fort knox. A movable pen is not safe at night. And yes, if they do get out while opening the pen, you may never retrieve them as they do not come running back like chickens.
     
  3. NewsomeFarm

    NewsomeFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Let's assume that the pen is build well "predator proof" if you will, like it would be for the chickens. Is there any other reasons it might not be a good idea to raise quail in the pasture pens and to get the same benefits as you would from the grass feed, bug eating pastured chickens? Other than the quail flying out when the lid is opened? I might have to experiment with this idea. I have 120 quail hatching as we speak, and I might throw a dozen in my pasture pen when they are 3-4 weeks old just to see how well it might work. Unless someone can tell me something I might be missing about the whole idea.
     
  4. Sycamore27

    Sycamore27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The biggest difference between "predator proof" for chickens versus quail is that you can build an enclosed area with roosts and chickens will go there to sleep, thus being away from paws reaching through wire in the night. Quail don't roost and will normally sleep in the open, as they are adapted with the mindset of flushing straight up if disturbed, they think they need space to fly away rather than shelter to hide under. Often this will result in a sleeping bird right next to the wire sides within easy reach of a predator grabbing a head, wing, leg or what have you.
    Unless you have 1/2 or 1/4 inch wire you're likely to lose your birds, also for the sake of uneven ground and predators slipping under the pen side at night wire flooring would be a good idea as well.

    The other consideration is that if your quail are eating grass and weeds you can safely say they are not catching enough bugs to make up for the amount of protein that is displacing from their diet. You could fix this with higher protein food (going with 30% instead of 24%) or supplimenting with something like BSF or dried mealworms. However depending on how easily available higher protein foods are in your area, or if you're able to expend the time and energy for a BSF colony, and also the expense of doing any of these to balance their diet it may not make sense to keep them this way. If the aim is to give them enrichment and increased feed costs or effort isn't a problem then that may not be an issue.

    Just things to consider before pasturing quail.
    Good luck!
    Jessie
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    In the wild, quail are not that much of "grass" eaters. Much of their diet consists of legumes..the plants, leaves and fruit. Also hay type fodders, and other weed and seeds. Grass will not give them what they need. So as suggested by Sycamore, you WILL need to keep them on a diet of gamebird food as well. They just might starve to death without added food.
     
  6. veggiecanner

    veggiecanner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hang bunches of grass in their cages w/seed heads , they seem to like that and spinich that has bolted. They also like tiny peices of hay from the bottom of the barrel. but I dont see them grazing unless the grass has gone to seed.
     
  7. NewsomeFarm

    NewsomeFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    So, it sounds like there is no real benefit to put them in the pasture pens, if they don't eat the grass like a Cornish Cross Broiler chicken would. And I guess it would be a waste of time to have to move the pen everyday if the grass is not the main dish for the quail. My wire floor grow out pen works just fine, automatic water and large enough feeders to last 3-4 days. Thanks for your replies!
     
  8. veggiecanner

    veggiecanner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you bult it really well, and found a way to feed and water without opening it, and could roll it inside to harvest them you might be able to work it out.
    Or better yet find a way to roll it inside at night.
    My chicken tractor works so my chickens go out in it during the day , but they are trained to go back in to their inside coop at night. I had to that because we live in town and there is feral cats.
     
  9. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They don't lay egg in the nest box like chicken so you have to look for it on the ground.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
  10. veggiecanner

    veggiecanner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am using my old rabbit equipment for my quail, including their nest boxes. And all of my coturnix lay their eggs in the nest boxes. One did lay on the wire for a few days but the last 2 days she has layed in the box. So if you provide boxes they will use them.
     

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