Quails VS. Rabbits

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by sommrluv, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

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    Jul 17, 2009
    Bucks County, PA
    Anyone who has done both? Pros vs. Cons?

    This was the small amount I can come up with on my own..

    Quails...

    ready to butcher 6-8 weeks
    eggs are marketable as well
    plucking is comparable to chicken
    We both like to eat quail
    I have significantly more space than I would need to raise them
    Weather hardy for my area (Pennsylvania)
    Don't require a ton of coddling

    Cons
    not a ton of meat
    you still have to pluck them
    Dirty (?)


    Questions:

    How often should they be bred?
    Do they need a specific feed, or can they be feed corn and grains?
    Any issues having them next to a chicken pen?
    Noise?
    Aggression?


    Rabbits:
    Can produce a significant amount of offspring over the course of a year
    produce manure that can be directly applied to my garden
    need to be skinned, but the pelts would have a use
    We like the taste
    Is a "popular" protein right now
    I have adequate space & housing for them already
    Can eat weeds from the garden
    Hay is plentiful & cheap in my area


    Cons:
    Have heard they aren't as weather hardy as I initially believed
    Can bite
    Still need to be skinned

    Questions:
    How often can they be bred?
    Getting a breeding pair seems to be pricey
    Same question....can they eat corn & other grains, or must I buy rabbit pellets
    Do those raising for meat let them have ground space to exercise?



    Appreciate any help! Thanks
     
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    Why bother plucking the quail? Why not just skin them or pull the breast meat right off?

    Sorry--I am lazy.

    My big sell is the rabbits don't crow...BUT they are easier to get attached to.
     
  3. holachicka

    holachicka Songster

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    I am VERY interested as well! I've got 90 coturnix in the incubator, but love rabbit meat as well. I know that instead of plucking, most people end up taking the skin off as well. The noise level will depend on the type of quail you might raise, some are fairly quiet... I'm sure some of the experts may pipe in soon too! You may want to post this in the quail section, or do a search there, I think there was a simular post to this...
     
  4. feetsoup

    feetsoup In the Brooder

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    This might be OT, but I'll answer anyway.

    I'm just about to embark on raising meat rabbits myself, so I'll tell you what I've read, but keep in mind I haven't actually done this yet!

    Yeah, getting a pair is a little pricey, but start out with two pairs and the rabbit's notorious breeding abilities will soon have you swamped! People usually slaughter from 8 to 10 weeks it seems, and the doe can be bred back 2 weeks before that in order to give her a 2 week rest free of babies. The gestation period is 31 days. Litters average 8 kits, but can be bigger. If you want to grow your herd, the new recruits can be bred at 5 and a half months. As you can see, it's easy to get a lot of bunnies really fast if you're trying!

    Each rabbit does need its own cage which can be a little pricey starting out as well (they're likely to fight if housed together). I've seen the all-wire cage recommended most, and that's what I'm building right now. With all the supplies including a couple new tools, they're probably costing me around $25 apiece, but they'll last (Lowes had by far the best price on wire). They'll go in a nice shaded area outside with trays underneath to catch droppings, although if I had more space (and wasn't renting) I'd just dig a pit underneath and vermicompost the manure.

    I've heard they take cold pretty well, but not heat, which will be interesting here in Pasadena when the temps get in the hundreds... It's not a good idea to breed in either extreme heat or cold, though. The baby bunnies naturally aren't as hardy.

    There are some that pasture their rabbits or like to let them out in a pen from time to time to get exercise and fresh greens (something I'd like to do myself in the future when I have space) but it's not necessary. Make sure your lawn is chemical-free!

    You can mix your own feed or use rabbit pellets, with supplemental hay and snacks. I plan to do more reading about this but I get the impression that mixing your own rabbit feed is a little complicated (they need a mixture of hay and grain, and you need to make sure they have enough protein as well as the right vitamins). I'm just going to start with pellets/hay for simplicity's sake.
     
  5. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Songster

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    Yorkshire, Ohio
    I have done rabbits and just got into quail as an alternative. I just didn't like the rabbits thing. Although I am just to the point where my quail are laying, here was my reasoning for switching.

    You have to breed rabbits. Sometimes they take, sometimes they don't. You have to keep track of when you bred them, put in the kitting box, and sometimes they kill or eat their young after a month of waiting and wondering. Quail - As long as you have around a 4 female to 1 male ratio in pens, eggs should be fertile. Yes you have to incubate, but I have an incubator, and I enjoy hatching things.

    Rabbits-If you are successful at breeding, a rabbit can have around 30-40 babies a year at most, and that's if you're lucky. That equals about 125 pounds of dressed offspring per year. After you take out the bones, let's say you get 80 pounds of meat. A quail is capable of laying an egg a day from let's say April/May to September. That's roughly 150 eggs, maybe a little less if they don't lay everyday, so let's say 100 for easy figuring and bad hatches. So, if I have 4 females in a pen, that's 400 eggs a year from 1 cage. If each offspring only nets 2 oz of edible meat, thats still 50 pounds of meat. I think I am figuring low on the amount of meat, especially if you have a good strain of A&M's. If you have a pair of rabbits, you have two cages to take care of everyday, so if you have 2 cages of quail (4 females in each cage) that's already more meat, with the same amount of work, and in half the time. As far as processing, rabbits would win that one, because you're getting more meat per animal butched. Personally, I hated butching rabbits. I hated the screams. I think it will be much easier mentally to butcher a quail, as we do our own chickens. I am wanting to make a quail plucker.

    I have been feeding my quail Game/Bird feed. It is a little pricy, but a 50 pound bag goes a long way. I have meal worms, and plan on feeding them at some point. They have high protein and I should save some feed by feeding them.

    Another con of sorts, a rabbit can become a pet much quicker than a quail, especially if you have kids. Nobody wants to eat a pet.

    Not 100% sure, but I don't think it is a problem having quail and chickens together. I have my quail outside right now, but plan on moving them in the coop when it gets cold. They can handle the cold as long as there isn't a draft, just like chickens. There droppings are a bit higher in amonia, which needs to be controlled. The males can be a little noisy when they call, but it's nothing like a rooster crow or a bunch a hens clucking after one of them lays an egg. They can be aggresive towards one another, but i haven't expireinced any aggresion towards people other than curiosity pecks.

    Quail also have a much quicker time from egg laid to freezer camp or grill than breeding a rabbit until eating. If you set an egg the day it's laid, 18 day incubation, 6-7 weeks until you can butcher. Fromt the time you breed a rabbit (if she takes), 30 days gestation, then 8-12 weeks to reach 3-4 pounds dresses. That is roughly 25-30 days less for the quail. Plus, you can set a batch of eggs every week.

    This is the thought process I went thru when deciding to start doing quail. I may be off on some of these things as, like I said, I am just getting started. I started with 90 quail eggs. 70 of them hatched, and I have lost a few. I now have 9 pens with 5 quail in each one. They are around 8 weeks old right now. I have been getting 20-25 eggs per day already. I just set my first batch in the bator.

    Hope this helps! Goodluck
     
  6. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

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    Bucks County, PA
    Everything is EXTREMELY helpful! [​IMG]

    Is it sad, that with all of my reading on quail, I didn't know that I would have to incubate their eggs? How embarrassing.

    I've only ever cooked whole quail, so I think I would feel wasteful if I breasted them out (I do it with doves, though).
     
  7. holachicka

    holachicka Songster

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    Quote:Hey... Sometimes you'll never know unless you ask questions!!! [​IMG]

    P.S.
    I've never butchered or cooked quail, but I've been considering halving them... not sure if it would help with the frustration of picking at bones situation or not... but worth a try...
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  8. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

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    Bucks County, PA
    There's a way to bone out a whole quail that's pretty easy. Than you can stuff them or roll them or whatever.

    Some people put rice in them, some people nuts or fruit.


    Here's an easy video

     
  9. akcountrygrrl

    akcountrygrrl Songster

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    I guess it depends on what kind of quail and what breeds of rabbits you are talking about. Coturnix grow a lot faster than Bob Whites do. They will start laying eggs by about 8 weeks of age but are a little smaller than the Bob Whites. My Bob Whites seem to be seasonal layers whereas my Coturnix will lay eggs all year long. You can keep your quail in community pens with several males and lots of females together. I don't mix mine with the chickens and I keep them in a heated building in the winter in cages. Coturnix normally don't set their eggs but Bob Whites might. Coturnix are much more docile than Bob Whites and don't fly as well.

    Now, rabbits... Again, it depends on what breed you're planning on raising. Flemish Giants grow much slower than Californians and need much larger cages. You can keep your young rabbits in large community cages until they are butchering age (usually around 3-4 months old) but you'll want to separate the does from the bucks. Rabbits shouldn't be bred until they are fully grown (approx 6 months old for most breeds). If given proper housing, rabbits will do fine in the winter.

    Both quail and rabbits need good quality food in order to grow/develop properly. This usually means a commercial feed. Both quail and rabbits have their advantages and disadvantages. Only you can decide which is the right choice for you. I raise both because I really enjoy the meat from both and I also like pickled quail eggs. Good luck in whichever avenue you decide to go down.
     
  10. terri9630

    terri9630 Songster

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    New Mexico
    Why would you have to incubate the eggs? The quail around here seem to do extremely well on their own. Also check your state regulations. Here you have to have a permit and facilities inspection to raise quail. Rabbits are much easier. I keep ours in the shade with misters and on extremely hot days, a fan that blows across the cages.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2010

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