School Project: Project Based Learning - Raising Quail

Discussion in 'Quail' started by aarmau, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. aarmau

    aarmau New Egg

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    Oct 20, 2012
    I am a teacher and we are currently studying bald eagles. As part of our bald eagle studies we are attempting to hatch and raise quail. We have had a successful hatch of 13 quail from 20 eggs. The quail are doing great in their brooders and with a live camera feed and such the students are learning like never before.

    I am far from a bird expert and am seeking some advice.

    We would like to keep the quail throughout the year and have them lay eggs so we can continue the process and eventually have the students take the incubators home to see if they can hatch them on their own.

    Before we get to that point we obviously need to keep them alive. What would be our best method of keeping the quail alive after the brooder?

    We were thinking of building a flight pen at our school. We also have a small courtyard where we thought of netting the top of the courtyard so they cannot escape. The issue with this is that we live in Iowa and winters can become quite cold.

    Does anyone have a good suggestions, sites, or help so that we can treat these quail with great care so we can continue to learn from them throughout the year? Thanks for any help.
     
  2. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2012
    It kinda depends on the species of quail you're raising. I'm assuming button quail?

    You could keep them outdoors in a flight pen as long as you have multiple hides, a covered area to protect from wind and rain, and a heat source.
    I wouldn't let them roam in the courtyard because they'll lay eggs wherever and you'll have to hunt for them, and it's harder to control their temperature, and most schools' ground maintenance use chemicals on the landscaping that could kill a sensitive bird. A pen inside the courtyard, though, is ideal as it will protect them from wind and isolate them from many predators.
    Another thing that may affect where they are kept is what they're being fed. I found when i got my quail that the chick starter they were being given made their feces reek something awful. This may be an issue in an enclosed courtyard. You can make them less stinky by feeding a high quality and/or organic game bird feed and provide green leafy vegetables every day. Chlorophyll is a natural deodorizer.
    Raising them on bedding like corn husk will also reduce the smell as opposed to raising them on wire, and it's better for their feet... but it's more expensive to replace the bedding and it takes a little longer to clean out the soiled bedding as opposed to just scrubbing the wire.

    One thing to consider is that button quail are monogamous in nature and will sometimes revert to territorial behavior in captivity. Males can and will fight to the death, pluck other birds bald, and mutilate unwanted females. They can usually be kept in co-ed groups and will establish a pecking order, but if you start to notice birds missing feathers or see a male chasing other birds, he and his chosen mate should be separated from the others into their own pen or the problem male should be culled.
    As a fair warning, this behavior can manifest overnight without warning and you could come in one morning to find multiple dead or mutilated birds. That might be kinda traumatic for the kids.
    If you decide to separate each male and one or two females, pairs and trios can be kept in a guinea pig cage with corn husk or pine shaving bedding.

    This is also a potential problem with Coturnix quail, although not as likely.

    If you want eggs you'll either need to wait for spring or provide a light source that gives 14 hours of light per day. Considering the busy holidays are approaching, it might be in your best interest to let the quail grow up a bit and hold off on the light until January at the earliest.

    Good luck and i hope you and your students get as much joy and enrichment from the quail as we here on the forum do!
     
  3. aarmau

    aarmau New Egg

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    Oct 20, 2012
    Thank you so much for the reply. You raise some great things to consider that I had not though of before. I just want to make sure I understand everything that you mentioned.

    The quail will be alright outside in during the winter as long as we keep them out of the wind. The courtyard is enclosed on all four sides as it sides in the middle of my building. The only open space is up top with no ceiling. Building a pen and placing it in the courtyard they should survive during the winter or should I build a pen and keep it indoors in a classroom?

    We purchased Georgia Giant Bobwhite Quail eggs and that is what we currently have.

    Do you have any suggestions about how to go about building a pen for the quail. I was looking at pictures in the forum, but am thinking of building something somewhat simple and easy as I would like my students to build the pen.

    Thanks for your help. You have given me plenty to think about.
     
  4. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2012
    They'll need a heat source and a shelter to protect them from the frost, but yes, you can keep them outside.
    A heat source would be something like a heating bulb put into their hide box. I've also seen people talk about covering their pens with a tarp to protect from snowy weather.

    I'm afraid i don't know as much about the raising of bobwhites, but i think they'll live together in a group without trouble and shouldn't need to be separated. I think they also take a lot longer to start laying, like six months. Hopefully somebody who has experience with that species can chime in.

    What age range are your students and how much room do you have in the courtyard? That might have an effect on the design of the pen, though i'll admit that i'm in central California where it never snows and the way i'd build a pen for outdoor birds might not work for Iowa. It's a diverse forum, though, so you should be able to get better advice than i could give. [​IMG]
     

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