Questions about keeping Quail

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Athaid, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a few questions about keeping quail and it would be a HUGE help if you could answer them.

    1.Can I keep them outside in a 15x25 ft run?
    It can get cold where I live, and rains a lot, it can also get very windy.

    2. Can I keep 20 females and 5 males together? Can you eat the fertilized eggs?

    3. Can I feed table scraps, and organic chicken layer pellets? (Non GMO) If not, what feed do you recommend.

    4. What food shouldn't they eat?

    5. What sort of coop do I need? How big? Will they be safe and protected from the weather?

    6. Any other tips or info?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Also, If I breed a few of the quail to keep the flock going when older birds die, Can I leave the babies in with the adults after they're a bit older? and if I want to breed them ahain in the future will I need to buy more quail to make shre they're not inbred. basically, any info on breeding would help.
    Thanks
     
  3. SEP Board

    SEP Board Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    41
    Apr 7, 2016
    I'm not an expert, but I'll toss out my two cents:

    1. Sounds like a very good sized run. Do you have any type of enclosed shelter for them? Something to get out of the rain/wind if necessary?

    2. Right now I've got a 3:1 ration and from what I understand I could add some hens. Yes, you can eat fertilized eggs.

    3. Not sure about scraps, I use Purina Game Bird & Turkey Startena. 30% protein.

    4. Good question, I'd like to hear from the experts.

    They need grit to be able to digest the food. They love dirt baths. And layers need some extra calcium. I grind up egg shells and give it to them separately.
     
  4. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ah, thanks. We haven't built the coop yet, But I was thinking something close to the ground as they're ground nesting birds.
    Do they really need 30% protein? :eek: The layer feed I thought I would use is only 16%.
     
  5. SEP Board

    SEP Board Out Of The Brooder

    87
    0
    41
    Apr 7, 2016
    I made a mistake my first week by using a 12.5% protein feed. As they were still growing I found out it wasn't enough. So I switched to the 30% and I think I'll use that from now on as it's the same price for either at my local feed store. I generally see recommendations of higher than 20% while they're growing. I didn't really notice any size difference until after I switched to the 30% feed.

    So folks will supplement with meal worms and such.

    For the newly hatched it's been recommended to grind up the feed for the first week so it's almost a powder. Easier for them to eat. Then normal feed afterwards.

    I've also seen the recommendation to keep a low ceiling, like 12 inches. The reason is they jump/fly and can injury or kill themselves by smacking into the top if they have the room to get going. My cages are 12 inches though I've seen like 14 or so as well. I've also seen big enough to walk into on YT videos so either is fine it seems. If it's high enough to walk into then they aren't likely to smack the top it seems.

    I've also started putting a bit of hay in one corner for them. They seem to like it just fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  6. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good to know :) I'll be sure to supplement them. I found a trusted breeder who delivers fertile quail eggs, so I was thinking of buying three dozen. With a hatch rate of 70% I would still have about 25/26 quail. Where I live quail are very rare so their eggs sell for quite a bit. Do you know much about breeding? For instance, I know you shouldn't breed brothers and sisters, Parents with their children etc.. But can you breed a hen with an uncle? lol sounds so weird. Just incase I want to breed them in the future to keep my flock going.
     
  7. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,208
    239
    136
    Apr 20, 2015
    1) Yes, but as SEP said, a shelter is recommendable.
    2) Probably yes, in such a large enclosure, but in general it's not recommended to have multiple males in the same enclosure. I'd probably cut it down to 3-4 males. And yes, you can eat fertilized eggs.
    3) Yes for the table scraps, but as SEP pointed out, the protein in chicken layer feed is usually quite low. I believe research shows that coturnix quail need around 24% protein. Once grown, they can survive on less, but the egg production is likely to suffer. People usually use game bird or turkey starter.
    4) Avocado is probably the most likely mistake - it is poisonous to birds. Other than that, just use common sense and don't feed weird stuff like coffee, chocolate, overly sugary or salty foods, raw meat or things like house plants that might be poisonous.
    5) At least 1 square foot per quail (assuming they are coturnix), but larger is always better. If the height is above 12 inches and below ~5 feet, there is a risk of boinking injuries as SEP mentioned. You can pad the roof with foam rubber, make it from soft netting or similar to prevent this. Coturnix quail can handle cold weather, but they should be able to get out of the wind and the rain. Some people say their birds won't use ramps to get into a shelter, others say their birds use the ramp just fine as long as it's not too steep.
    6) On the grit thing SEP mentioned - that is actually not required when you feed them pellets. Those are water soluble. But if you feed them seeds, they should be supplied with grit. And as SEP mentioned, they need extra calcium when laying.
    7) In general it is not recommended to introduce new birds into a flock - they do best when raised together. But it works for some, and with the size of your enclosure, you might be one of those. There are several tricks to reduce territorial behavior of the birds and make it more likely that the introduction will be smooth. Those include moving the original birds to a different enclosure and keeping the two flocks right beside each other (separated by wire so they can see each other) for 1-2 weeks before putting them all together in the original enclosure. This way the enclosure will be 'new' to all and the birds will be used to the presence of each other before being placed together.
    You can inbreed for a few generations, but fertility of the eggs will start to decline if you do it for too long.
     
  8. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for all the info. We're going to build a coop about 6 inches off the ground, maybe less. I'll be sure to put plenty of shelter and places for them to hide within the run. The run is going to be 7-8ft high as it's a walk in run. It's going to be built "inside" an old ruin, basically there are two very sturdy old stable walls, and we're going to build the other two walls out of wood and wire and then mesh the top. Then build the coop against the stone walls to keep it as protected from the wind as possible.
    We're getting three dozen fertilized eggs from a trusted breeder, and we're going to hatch them ourselves. Just curious, If I end up with a high percentage of males what do you suggest I do?
     
  9. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,208
    239
    136
    Apr 20, 2015
    Eat them when they are around 8 weeks old :) They should be very tasty.
     
  10. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aha no I don't think I could bring myself to do that xD I'll have to give them to my aunt and uncle on their farm.
    Just one more question. How do you keep a coop ventilated but still warm? I'm thinking a small mesh strip near the bottom. They'll be outside in the day, but locked in the coop at night.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by