Started raising quail for meat/eggs

Discussion in 'Quail' started by SEP Board, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. SEP Board

    SEP Board Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi [​IMG]

    Just found this forum and joined. I'm the administrator of the SEP Board (Survival and Emergency Preparedness). That board, just as the name implies, is all about the plethora of topics associated with emergency preparations (food, water disinfection, medical, shelter etc). We also have a section on self reliance. As such, I've been making efforts to become more self reliant. I have a great garden established (for several years now). I raise rabbits and just got interested in raising quail. Doing research led me to this forum and I've already learned a lot.

    I built my own cage (learned how to when I designed the rabbit hutch and cages). Prior to finding this forum I purchased a Kindle book off Amazon that seemed to have a decent amount of information in it to get started. I built it 4 feet by 2 feet and 12 inches high (1/2 inch mesh). Monday I purchased 6 female and 2 male coturnix quail and brought them home. Seller indicated they were 3-4 weeks old. They seem to be doing fine so far but reading through the threads here I realize I've started with the wrong food. I bought a 50lbs bag of Purina Game Bird Maintenance. The love the feed but it only has 12.5% protein which reading through various threads seems to be much too low. The same feed store also has the Purina Game Bird and Turkey Startena which has 30% protein. I've seen that recommended here as what is needed for growing them well. So I'll pick that up tomorrow.

    Here's a question; what can I do with the maintenance formula? Should I use it and just mix a bit in with the 30% formula or is there something easy and effective that can be added to the maintenance formula to bring the protein up to the needed level? Suggestions would be appreciated.

    I plan to DIY the incubator as I like DIY projects. I've seen some good YT projects that seem to have yielded good results. My plan is to do another 4x2 cage to fill with what I'm able to hatch out. From what I've read here and other sources, a 4x2 cage should be sufficient for up to 12 quail? Suggestions on that are also appreciated. Would a couple of males and the rest females be fine for a 4x2?

    Thank you and look forward to continued learning from everyone.
     
  2. paneubert

    paneubert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could mix in some high protein treats to the lower protein feed. Think of things such as scrambled eggs, mealworms, etc...

    Or just mix it in to your higher protein feed, but at a lower ratio. Do something like 2/3 higher protein and 1/3 lower. That way you get rid of it in a decent amount of time, but don't sacrifice the protein by much.
     
  3. SEP Board

    SEP Board Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, that sounds like the best option. Rather than keeping the feed in the bag I purchased a couple of 5 gallon buckets at Lowes and filled them up. I placed a couple of silica gel packs in them to absorb moisture to keep them fresh. I'll do the same with the new feed and then mix them like you suggest.

    Oh, I've also started collecting my egg shells from breakfast. I nuke them for a minute and then grind them up very fine to add to the feed for the calcium. They seem to like it quite a bit. I'm just not sure on an actual amount to put in the feed so right now I do a sprinkle every time I fill up the feeder.

    Reading that a dirt bath is a good think so I'll probably figure out something to put in there tomorrow with a bit of dirt for them. I do put dirt and sand on the brick underneath the cage as well for them to get the grit they need.
     
  4. 2chicksagain

    2chicksagain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    add some diatomaceous earth to your water.. it really helps. Even though it says its a pest killer it is edible and very healthy for quail, and it can help prevent some diseases.
     
  5. SEP Board

    SEP Board Out Of The Brooder

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    I have some of that actually. Very good stuff. What diseases would it prevent? And how much would you suggest adding? I have one of those typical plastic screw in bottles that you turn upside down into the plastic plate.
     
  6. coturnix condos

    coturnix condos Out Of The Brooder

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    I did the same thing. Bought the wrong feed when they were chicks. I just held onto the maintenance feed till they were older. We are also working on our sustainability. Have an awesome garden and a rainwater collection system that also waters the quail. Quail compost for the garden and the quail eat the veggies. It's an awesome cycle
     
  7. paneubert

    paneubert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Another option is to feed the crushed shells completely separately in a different dish. That way the quail are given it as a choice and not as a requirement. They will know when they need more calcium and will go eat the shells. Some people even just crush the shells and place them in the dust bath. Apparently the birds are smart enough to eat the shells out from the dust/sand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  8. paneubert

    paneubert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I use a rain barrel to get the water for my quail water, but I sometimes get a little wary since the water is slightly cloudy. So far so good though! At least I know I am not watering them with chlorinated or fluoridated water.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  9. SEP Board

    SEP Board Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the replies and advice. I have a rain barrel set up as well, right next to the rabbits and quail so it's very convenient.

    Looking forward to when they first start laying and giving the incubator a go.

    Currently have 8 in the 4x2 cage. That sound about right or can I up that to maybe 10 or 12? Right now it's 6 female and 2 male. If I can reasonably go to 10 or 12 should they all be female or is another male a good idea?

    And thank you again.
     
  10. Tabasco Jack

    Tabasco Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would hold off on giving them calcium until they start laying. And I'd keep them on high protein until at least 8 weeks. They'll be fully developed by then.

    I feed the 30 % protein feed until 6 weeks. Those that I want to keep as breeders get switched to a layer feed. Those I'm going to butcher stay on the high protein for another 2 weeks. Some folks feed the high protein all the time.

    You'll need to keep an eye on your roosters. Two roosters and 6 hens is one rooster too many. They may over-sex your hens, they may not be able to mate at all due to fighting, or they may be okay. Just keep an eye on them.

    Good luck with it.
     

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