Questions regarding quail

Discussion in 'Quail' started by HHandbasket, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Hi everyone,

    Been lurking a little bit in this section for the last few days, and thanks to all you fine folks here, DH and I are also now interested in getting a few quail for our little backyard farm. I have a couple of questions for the experienced folk here:

    1) What are the best breeds of quail for beginners?

    2) How many quail should one start with?

    3) Do you need a mix of males/females?

    4) When I was younger, I remember eating some delicious quail eggs as a "delicacy". What about for every-day eating/cooking?

    5) What are their egg-laying habits? (Fairly prolific? Laying season or year-round or ???).

    Also, anything anybody wants to post about their quail, any pics, stories, personality traits of the birds, how you got started, what we would need to get started, etc., would be great. We are thinking to just get a couple (we already got eaten alive with chicken math, don't wanna fall into the same trap with quail math).

    Oh, one more thing... when I was a kid, it was illegal to hunt, kill, or eat quail in California because it's the state bird & you could only eat the eggs, or at least that's the story my dysFUNctional parents told me. I hear quail is good eats, tho. Is it only wild quail in California that you cannot kill/eat, or were my parents as full of hooey about that as they were about everything else?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

  2. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Crowing

    Mar 2, 2009

  3. Petej

    Petej Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    PDX area
    My Comments in Bold

    Quote:To answer the question as too how I got started:

    My Father in law began with just a few [​IMG] a few years ago for meat and [​IMG], and a friend of his asked if he ever tried Quail. He hadn't, so he got a few hens and started producing eggs and growing the birds for meat. he decided he liked the eggs better, so that's where he ended up. Now fast forward five years and this is where I am. About a month or so ago (November 2010) my wife and I moved into the family farm and took it over while my In-laws moved to the Spokane WA area to help with My Grandfather in Law. This move accured at almost the perfect time as the house we were renting from my In-laws developed a serious plumbing leak.

    Since their move and our subsequent take over of the farm, we have started remodeling the other house in prep for it to be rented out again.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  4. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Where are you located?? We're looking for a place to rent that'll let us have more chickens (we're city dwellers at present, wanting desperately to be country folk/hobby farmers).
  5. Rainwolf

    Rainwolf De La Menagerie

    Aug 4, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    My Coop
    JJ's post is spot on as usual [​IMG]

    For a first timer I'd suggest getting a old rabbit hutch and making the bottom wire no bigger then 1" squares. (I use 1/2" squares hardwire.)

    If you hatch eggs then know that you will most likely end up with to many roosters so they would be good for testing if you like the meat after 6 weeks.

    If you start with live birds make sure you get them from someone who knows what they are doing so you get the right female to male ratio... or get twice what you want to keep and pick the best then eat the rest. (some will pawn off mostly male groups just to get rid of males and make the rest of us good breeders/sellers deal with the issues caused by new owners getting mostly roosters)

    I'd do like JJ says and have 2 groups. 1 roo and 5+ females.

    To make really tame handle them when you feed/water and they get really docile but they do fly so if outside I'd trim flight wing feathers to help keep them in yard if they escape.

    You can get a lot of help here on BYC so just ask us if you have any more questions!
  6. Petej

    Petej Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    PDX area
    I use an old rabbit hutch for my little birdies.

    Works awesome!
  7. Robo

    Robo Songster

    Jul 15, 2010
    I would start out with about 10 coturnix. I would keep 2 roosters to 8 hens. Four quail eggs equals one chicken egg. If you get 8 eggs a day you can have an egg for yourself every day. If you want them to lay in the winter you will have to give them lighting. I use Christmas lights in my small breeder pens full of trios of coturnix. This way it won't cost much.

  8. Stellar

    Stellar The Quail Lady

    Feb 6, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    You can house them in rabbit hutches and staple christmas lights on [​IMG] works for small numbers [​IMG]
  9. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    The others assumed you wanted quail for eggs and were going to get adult quail? I wanted mine for meat and to grow them out quickly. That's the Jumbo Coturnix. I don't know if you need a permit for the Coturnix in CA, 30 years ago you didn't. But you definately do for Bobwhite and the other quail.

    Because I wanted to raise them for meat, I started out with 110 eggs and bought the quail trays for the egg turner for my incubator. I use the big tubs from Wal Mart to brood them in to begin with. Move them to an outside brooder then a grow out pen.

    Now you have to decide. Are you going to keep breeders for your own eggs to eat and for hatching.
    YES, Pick your largest for breeders and use ratios as given and put them into breeding pens or a different community pen. (Your grow out pen you will want to keep available for growing your hatchlings out for the next generation and/or meat). Process the rest for meat.
    No - Then buy a few adults as stated above to raise for their eggs. Or buy eggs as you need them and hatch and grow them out for meat. Or do a combination.
    MAYBE: Buy adults or start out with a few breeders from the ones that you have grown out and that you have selected for size, you will have some eggs and can hatch them if you want. Expanding your quail numbers and the work of building/buying cages until later. You may not even like them, my DH didn't at first.

    Oh, and somewhere along the line you may have to decide how often you are going to hatch - this is also going to depend on which quail you choose to raise. Coturnix lay year round, well pretty much. The others are seasonal.

    In other words, there is no one way that you raise quail or one reason to raise quail. Some poeple want the meat, some want the eggs, some want them because they like a particular color or they like the calls that the males make. Some just like to hear them and watch them. I love watching my breeders and listening to them, chat. I get upset about something, or things start moving to fast, you'll find me out with the quail listening to them and watching the chickens.

    Quail math -- if you think chicken math is bad. Wait until you start doing quail math. It is much worse, if you have room for a 100 chickens, you have room for a thousand quail or more. However the ray of hope is that they are much smaller than chickens, and their living space is also smaller but absolutely necessary. After all you can't let them free range. So this can make them much more expensive to raise. Also the fact that their feed - Gamebird Feed is more expensive.

    But they will call and sing for you.

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