Raising Quail for meat / eggs

Discussion in 'Quail' started by ScreminFlea, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. ScreminFlea

    ScreminFlea New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Hello! We are looking at options for birds to raise for meat and eggs in our back yard. We live in a subdivision with a homeowners association and some pretty strict rules, so I don't believe that chickens are an option if we want there to be some sustainability / reproduction built in, as I don't think we can keep a rooster due to the noise. Because of this, we're looking at quail. I understand they're pretty quiet. Our back yard backs up to about 30 acres of woods, so we don't have neighbors to the rear, and there is a lot of natural bird noise associated with the woods that I believe will camouflage the quail noise. We're open to other suggestions, but, as the moment, quail seem to be the best option.

    So, that raises some questions.

    What are the pros and cons of raising quail?

    Are there any special concerns associated with raising them under these conditions that I have not yet considered?

    Which are the best variety for our purposes?

    Is there a question I should be asking that I haven't thought of yet?

    I'm leaning toward jumbo Coturnix at the moment, as they seem to be good meat producers and egg layers, but I've only been looking into this for a short time, so it's likely there better options out there that I'm simply unaware of.

    Again, we're not stuck on quail, if there's a better bird variety out there for our situation, I'd certainly consider it. Any advice would be appreciated. We're not excited about the small size of the birds or their eggs, but we are happy with the nutritional value of each.
     
  2. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Good advice there and I think quail may be your best option.

    If the stealth mode thing works for you, you could possibly try about 3 or 4 chicken hens later unless their egg song would rat you out on the quail thing.
     
  4. ScreminFlea

    ScreminFlea New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Thank you for the responses. It would seem we're on the right track here at least. I had intended to get an incubator anyway, but I was unaware that they wouldn't brood, that's good to know.

    ChickenCanoe, I have been considering getting a couple of chicken hens as well. Reading up on them on this site and others, I was leaning toward the Australopes. I didn't really see much regarding how much noise they make though.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    For chickens, I highly recommend these breed selection charts. Lots of information on personality, characteristics, size, egg production, color and size, etc..

    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/chickenbreedcomparison.pdf

    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    A rooster is no louder than a barking dog, a lawnmower, weedeater, boom box, motorcycle etc., actually not as loud.
    Hens are pretty quiet. They'll get into a squawking match when one lays an egg for about 10 minutes or so but early morning there are no crows.
     
  6. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in a densely packed, residential area, in a medium sized city. The houses are about 15 feet apart (or less). I can spit in any direction, from the middle of my property, and hit a house. Our ordinance doesn't explicitly allow "livestock". I haven't had any complaints from neighbors so far....even having a banty rooster from time to time.

    I keep the quail and the few chickens in the garage. I only let the hens out when I'm in the garden supervising. Regardless of whether chickens are no more noisy than a dog barking, if they're not permitted then you're taking a chance.Personally, I find even little chickens to be resonant. I love my girls, but they lay far less than the quail and are noisier.

    Things to consider with the quail.

    -- What will you do with the feces?
    They poop a lot and it is smelly. I suggest having a waste management plan.
    -- Can you get a high protein feed, without medication, year round?
    My closest feed store went out of business, Tractor Supply only carried medicated Game Bird feed in winter. Now I drive 15 miles out of my way for proper feed.
    -- How will you secure them against predators?
    My friend, across town, has a terrible ferile cat problem....ONE cat got in his well secured pen....past all the traps....it wiped out more than 30 birds in one night. I had a dog push my garage door open once; it killed all but one chicken. Depending on your area, there are a host of other predators; raccoons are tough and clever, weasel & snakes will fit through chicken wire like water through a seive.

    I really enjoy the quail. They are a great sneek-a-crop. They have laid really well for me. They did stop when the days got short. I let them rest for a little while, then I hung a light in late January and they started laying periodically.
     
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  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Excellent points.
     
  8. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    If you are worried about the quail being smelly look into 'fermented food' - just search for it and you'll find all sorts of info. My four boy coturnix outside just get dry crumbles, but my breeding/laying groups inside get fermented feed. I had to bring in two boys from outside for awhile and man, did they stink! So fermented feed is definitely the way to go! It's a bit more work on your part but I now know it's totally worth it!

    Bantams, especially the very small ones, are quieter than large chickens. We have two Old English Game bantams (we are about to get two more we love them so much) and, although they are supposed to be noisy, they are not. They talk to us, occasionally demanding food, and don't make much fuss when they've laid an egg. I'm amazed how fast they tamed down. The guy we got them from had to catch them in a net! But a week or two inside with a lot of handling and hand feeding had them tamed down very quickly. They don't lay a huge number of eggs and you need two of their eggs to equal a standard one, but they are a great little chicken.

    I'm in New Zealand but here chickens are considered 'poultry', whereas other (non-bird) farm animals are 'livestock', so you may in fact be allowed a few chickens, just not a cow!
     
  9. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    JaeG - I was only speaking to my city laws, where I live. Where I am, the ordinance includes poultry and fowl under the definition livestock. That language and law will vary by state, county, city & township in the US. I know the bantams are quieter than larger breeds....but if the OP is trying to keep them secret, I think that chickens will be hard to keep secret. I TRY to keep mine secret, but my neighbors all know what I'm up to. I'm just lucky not to have been busted so far. The quail are much less distinguishable.

    But, I suppose what volume is appropriate will depend on the density of housing and how nosey the neighbors are.
     
  10. ScreminFlea

    ScreminFlea New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2015
    These are some good points! Thank you!

    I'm not sure I have the answer to all these questions just yet, in fact, they've raised a few questions.

    Regarding the feces, I have a worm farm and a compost pile. I would assume that either would be a good place for the feces, but I'll have to look into that. The fermented feed sounds interesting.

    High protein feed, I'm not sure about, but I'd be surprised if this is hard to find here. I'm in suburbia, bordering on rural areas. There are a number of feed stores close by, and I'm certain at least one of them must carry something like that. Additionally, I do have a worm farm that I use to make castings to make worm tea for my garden. Because of the aquaponics, I was considering setting up a black soldier fly colony as well, as an added protein source for the tilapia. I understand that chickens love the soldier fly larva, I would imagine quail would as well, but I don't know for sure. Those larva are 40%-45% protein based on what I've read, is that an adequate protein source for quail? What is recommended?

    As for shelter, I was already resolved that I would have to build a pretty secure coop for them. We do have some cats and dogs around here, but I've killed raccoon, possums, snakes of various varieties, and other potential predators that have found their way into my yard despite it being surrounded by a 6 foot fence. I keep a high powered air rifle by the back door for just this purpose. My sun conure spends a good bit of time in a cage back there enjoying the sun. His cage will keep him in, but it won't keep a predator from reaching in there.
     

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