Quails instead of chickens

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Opa Bee, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Opa Bee

    Opa Bee New Egg

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    Aug 8, 2013
    McCalla, Alabama
    I am looking for some advice on raising quail for eggs. I have had chickens in the past but my HOA doesn't allow chickens even though I don't have a rooster. I read that 5 quail eggs are equal to 1 chicken egg and are just as tasty. My question is can I keep the quail in the same coop ( 3X5) I had the chickens in (cleaned and sanitized of course)? I also have the coop in a top enclosed run that measures 10'X16'. Anyone made the change from hens to quail?
     
  2. Em Ty

    Em Ty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2013
    St. Clements, ON
    Hi Opa. I have both and I find quail eggs to taste a lot better than chicken eggs, and almost everyone who eats my chicken eggs says they're the best eggs they've had. My chicken eggs range from 55-85 grams and my quail eggs from 9-12.5 grams, though I've got some chicks in the brooder that should lay between 12-15 gram eggs. I'd definitely go for coturnix quail. They produce fantastic meat, too.

    You can use the same coop and probably keep as many as 50 in that space if they use the run. I keep my quail in 12" high cages and don't give them a run. They're very skittish and will stop laying for a while if spooked, so you need to consider that. I've got my chickens in a 4x6 coop (I'm not allowed to have them either) and I could house about 50 in there in stacked cages and still have room to brood 60 or so in the bottom of the coop. That would give me the ability to raise them for eggs and meat.

    The only reason I'm considering keeping the chickens is because they're so ****** good at eating scraps. They'll eat rabbit pellets and will eat the rabbit and quail intestines when I butcher. They also do a great job at working over my compost pile. I'm still undecided, but I'll send them to freezer camp if I ever get caught as it's a $5000 fine if you have them. If I didn't live in a semi 2 blocks from downtown, I'd want to keep the chickens for their ability to work, but space is at a premium here.
     
  3. Opa Bee

    Opa Bee New Egg

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    Aug 8, 2013
    McCalla, Alabama
    Thanks Em for the information. Is there a lot of difference in the care of 50 quail vs 4 chickens. Do the quail roost?
     
  4. Em Ty

    Em Ty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really don't find much difference between 8 chickens and 40ish quail. Once you're delivering water and food it doesn't take more time to do that for 8 or 80 animals, regardless of species. Hatching and brooding does take more time as you need to monitor them more, but it's not a big deal. I do feed my quail fermented feed, which takes a bit more effort, but is well worth it, I think, and my preference is to be able to set things up so they're good for days.

    Quail don't roost but they also lay eggs anywhere, which is why I use sloping cages with an exposed lip for egg collection.
     
  5. violamama

    violamama Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 6, 2016
    NW Oregon
    Hello Opa Bee-
    I'm a complete newbie but we do have 12 quail that just started laying a few days ago. We usually sub 3 eggs for a chicken egg, but that's "Jumbo" Coturnix. I haven't weighed ours yet so the other response may be more accurate. One thing I highly recommend is quail egg scissors because they are a bugger to crack & use. I think the membrane is stronger and I'm too impatient.

    I would think your quail will love that much space. Our previous home had a strict HOA, so I'm just trying to think of ways to keep their eyes off of you and your birds. There are two things that will get you noticed by an HOA: smell and sound. If they are hassling you about your chickens, they may not see a distinction when it comes to quail. I bet they would prefer to ban those, too. A lot of people have the idea that they're all the same anyway.

    Smell- Quail can be (I think) smellier than chickens especially if there is any moisture in the litter. But if you've kept chickens I bet you know how to deal with that so that your neighbors don't raise a fuss. We're going to try composting deep litter method, but again I'm new so others will have better advice.

    Sound- If I were in your shoes, I would get all female quail. I hear they may not lay quite as much, and if you want more you'd have to buy fertile eggs or chicks, but they're cheap and the quail roosters do make a lot more noise than the females. Male quail aren't as loud as chickens, but they're loud enough that they were too annoying to keep a few doors down in another room of our house even at a few weeks old. If that were going on near anybody's bedroom window and they already said no chickens, I guarantee you'll get complaints. We can't hear them at all in our garage downstairs. I think the girls sound more like crickets or frogs than birds, and therefor might stay under the radar of your neighbors.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Gatewayto

    Gatewayto Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2016
    Battle Ground WA
    I'm only 2 weeks into owning quails - and started to raise chicken.
    My wife dropped 35 adults quails on me one day and I had to build cages for them. From what I understand, quail does not need a run but they do need space in their cage. 1 square foot per quail and at most 1 male to 7 females.

    As Violamana stated, the noise factor is not that much, the male is not as loud as a rooster and the female sound more like frogs.

    EM TY had a pretty nice set up, slanted 1/2 inch wire floor to help collect eggs makes it much easier then opening the door/lid all the time (I have both slanted wire floor cages and solid flat floor cages).

    They do produce a lot of droppings!

    What I'm working on still right now is to keep them from pulling each other feathers out :( so sad, the back of my birds are mostly featherless :( - I increase them female population to 1 male for 10 females but still doesn't seem to help. That is something you most likely will run into once they start laying.

    Egg quality, from my research does have a higher protein contain than chicken egg. about 3 to 4 quail eggs to a Costco chicken egg.

    Our 1 and 3 years old daughters loves looking for and collecting quail eggs.

    I did have to end a couple of male quails and found the meat to be more chewy than chicken meat.
     
  7. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tempe, AZ
    The good and the bad about quail vs. chickens.

    Quail are quieter, and once you have a single male with 4-7 hens he doesn't crow much and blends into the background noise of wild birds. Just hens are even quieter so only keep a roo if you want fertile eggs. Quail don't free range at all, they don't come back and will get eaten by something due to their small size. Yes your coop (very well sanitized and top soil replaced) will work for quail except chicken nest boxes won't work for them. They need something smaller and on the ground. They do tend to lay all over but if you give them quail sized nest boxes on the ground they will learn to lay in them 80% or more of the time, saving you time and an egg hunt daily! I use small baskets or boxes with straw, grass and leaves and they love them.

    Quail droppings do smell more! They have more of an ammonia smell. If your coop and run allow the droppings to dry out before collection they will have little to no smell. However even the slightest amount of moisture will start it to stinking, a lot! I live in one of the driest places on this planet so as long as it's not rainy I can collect droppings a while until I decide to rake them up. Your results will vary according to your humidity and rain fall. Quail droppings are like gold to people that compost so you can collect and give them away to people that like to garden!

     
  8. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where your male quail old? I've not found them chewy unless they were very old or over cooked. I do rest the meat in the fridge a couple of days after soaking the meat in brine a couple of hours. The meat cooks quickly so it's best cooked hot and quick. Grilling is great!

    I've found that feather picking (other than what a male might pull from the head and upper neck during mating) to be a learned behavior and habit that is difficult to break, kind of like chewing your nails as humans. I had too many chicks in a brooder once and they started to feather pick necks, backs and rumps. They kept it up even after moving to spacious new lodgings! I eventually ended up culling all of them when I got tired of treating them for bloody skin from being picked. No they weren't fighting and it wasn't from mating, I was watching them do it. More of a habit they kept up even after they grew up. After that batch I've not crowded my chicks and haven't had that problem since.
     
  9. Em Ty

    Em Ty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    St. Clements, ON
    They're best at 6-8 weeks old, but still better than chicken at 8 months.
     
  10. Gatewayto

    Gatewayto Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2016
    Battle Ground WA
    I'm sure I overcooked them.
     

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