Raising Quail for meat and eggs. I need some advice

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Debs55, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. Debs55

    Debs55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all I have been keeping chickens for eggs and meat (and chicks of course) for about 4 years now. We have recently decided to get into quail. While shopping for quali eggs a friend of mine offered to give me 9 adult quail. All I know is that their are 9 of them, they are laying and they are old. I figured I could get them and then hatch my own eggs. So here are my questions:

    1) we plan to use a old camper shell (like that goes on the bed of a truck for shelter). We are going to raise it up on lanscape timbers and put fence around it. then make shelves in the top for them to nest in. would a ramp or ladder be easier for them to access the top part?

    2) I know they eat game bird feed. could I feed then half game bird feed and half flock raiser? can they have scratch and BOSS like chickens?

    3) To keep a running colony for meat how many males/females would you keep at all times? I figued I would mark this odler birds and keep them since they are probably kind of tough now.

    4)Can you use a regular egg turner for quail eggs?
  2. Invision

    Invision Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2014
    Washington, Kitsap County
    Quail are wild, They wont do what you want them to. Mine use a ladder pretty well to get into there coop area but that is only because they have food and water up there.

    As far as them nesting in boxes, good luck with that, they are ground birds and though they may lay in those boxes every once in a while plan on picking eggs off the ground.

    They will eat anything you give them but you must make sure it's HIGH protein (Turkey starter or what I use Startena Game Bird Chow (recently started using fermented feed)).

    Don't keep the chicken near the quail and don't put the quail where chickens have been.

    Most importantly Search the forums, this post has been made in the past. Pretty much any question has been answered.
  3. Debs55

    Debs55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I did try to search but the search feature on this site isnt very useful. I knew they wouldnt nest per say I just meant they could be up their to get out of the weather
  4. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    They are ground birds and only go vertical in times of fear. They are very well adapted to cold weather about a half of a percent of the people who keep them actually need to take real weatherization measure. Basicially when it's cold just put plastic sheeting around the cages so the draft is blocked. Unless it gets and stay drastically zero in area protecting them too much from the weather will do more harm than good. They will only grow down feathers to protect them from the cold if they are allowed to be cold. Keep in mind they are are native to areas like china russia and western europe where it can get quite cold.

    You should only feed them game bird feed if you want them to have appropriate nutrition. 20% flock raiser is ok if you cant get gamebird food but its not the same quality of feed, game bird food is $5 more a bag for a reason. Just make sure calcium is less than 1% or it has negative health affects for roosters. If you give them treats you will need to give them digestive grit since the the crumble itself is water soluble they dont need grit if thats all they eat.

    Jumbo coturnix eggs can be run in a chicken egg turner but some breeds of quail you won't be able to.

    You can generate more birds than you can eat with just a few birds if you stayed on hatching them. Just 1 roo and 7 hens you could set 49 eggs a week so you really probably only need one group. Eggs can be kept for up to 10 days with decent hatchability before incubating.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Fat Daddy

    Fat Daddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2010

    Hello Deb, Your old camper shell will be fine. You can make the shelves but as said before, they likely wont use them.... It will be a place they can stay dry and get out of the wind when they want.... Pine chips or play sand inside they would really dig.... They are a hearty little bird thou. I would be more concerned about my fence being secure enough....

    I dont know why you'd want to mix the game bird starter with anything.... Im old school and give my game birds startena 30% from hatch to freezer.... I dont do alot of treats for quail. But kept to a min it wont hurt them. Cots thrive on "consistent".... cots need high protein....

    As to how many, That depends on how many you want to eat! your 9 will keep you in alot of chicks and eggs if you manage them right..... I always liked to run one cock bird to 3 to 5 hens. But have went up to as many as 9 hens with one very active little cock bird. Fertility was never a problem. Colony pens as you are think'n is a bit more complex because the cocks will always struggle for the girls.... You'll just have to see how that works out for your birds, some allow a male with no issue, some wont.... If you set eggs once a month. You can easily eat quail once a week..... You will find that the older birds are just as good on the table as the 8 week olds. In fact, I like a little more fat on mine, they grill better.

    If you run little giant or hovabator type egg turner for chickens, the ones with a hole in the center of each egg slot. Then yes, you can use these, I use them all the time. but you can only set 42 at a time..... The quail rails for these turners can be had cheap if 42 is not enough..... Id remove the eggs from them at lock down for quail will get stuck under them on occasion....

    Dont feel bad about ask'n questions that have been asked before..... There is tons of info in the old threads, and a lot it you will find no where else. But if everyone only used the search feature and asked no questions. There would be very few new threads, and I like new stuff to read.... Plus its nice to be able to derail perfectly good, NEW thread once and while! :) Good luck with your birds and let us know if we can help.... Bill

    EDIT TO ADD: I was typing at the same time as Don.....I think he has a few birds too..... :)
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  6. Debs55

    Debs55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the advie Bill. The only reason I said anything about mixing it is cause I always have flock raiser on hand cause I always have chicks hatching and thought it would make the game bird feed go alittle farther (it is more expensive here). The flock raiser is 20%. I have 2 homemade incubtors. One is one I hand turn in and usually use for shipped eggs cause it is small. the other is large and fits 2 egg turners. They are the ones with the holes so they may fit...I guess if they dont I could use egg cartons.

    Im thinking maybe to make the "colony" thing easier I may keep a permenant grow out pen going. Hatch eggs once a month or so. Butcher extra cocks and hens. Maybe keep a handful of new hens as new layers. Rotate out the old ones once a year or so. We LOVE quail around here and butchering then I know is easier than chickens so I want to kind of have a system down. With chickens we keep roos in the grow out pen till spring then butcher about 3 times and we never know how many we will end up with. I kind of want the quail colony to be a food source we can rely on being plentiful.
  7. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can make it pretty easy on yourself if you just time it so one group leaves the brooder a few days before your next group hatches. That way you only need one brooder and one grow out pen. You're always better off raising more birds than raising them more often for something on this scale. If you try to speed things up by hatching more often you pretty double the amount of equipment you need with every extra hatch within a 4 week period.
  8. Debs55

    Debs55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you yes that does make sense!

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