Starter feed for Coturnix quail

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Duck Drover, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,427
    143
    169
    Apr 8, 2013
    Washington
    I bought game bird "starter" at our local feed store and now that I emptied the bag I am looking at the tag on the bottom and I think I got the wrong feed. I asked for "starter" yesterday when I got another bag of feed and that bag is the same thing. It says growth and plumage on the side but it is only 20% protein instead of the 30% protein in Startena, which is what I thought I was buying.

    Apparently I just raised Texas A&M Coturnix on a "breeder" feed for the first 6 weeks so now is when they need this feed but for the past 4 weeks they have not been getting the protein they need for optimal growth. We are only eating 6 males and keeping 10 (8 females and 2 males) for breeding so hopefully it is not critical with this first batch but I have another batch of 2 week old quail so I need to make sure I am feeding them correctly.

    I know our store only has 2 game bird feeds so I don't know if they gave me the wrong feed at load out both times or if this is what they are selling as starter and I need to find actual starter feed somewhere else. The other feed I think is the maintenance feed with only 12.5% protein. I am going to call and find out if I got what I ordered or if I got the wrong feed.

    I am going to look for the "Startena" feed with 30% protein and continue feeding this 20% growth and plumage that appears to be "Breeder Layena" to my six week old quail. Is there anything I should do for my older breeding group that was shorted on protein during their phase of rapid growth?

    If quail are being used as breeders rather than meat is the lower protein an issue or will I still be able to use them for breeding? I have plans to replace at least 4 females with spots on their bodies with white bodied females from this next group that is unrelated to the solid white rooster I am keeping from the first group (the second rooster may go with the 4 females or become meat) so it is basically 5 quail from this first group that I intend to breed if the lower protein is not a problem for breeders.

    I know some meat birds that grow too fast are not suitable for breeding and must be butchered but I don't know if this is true for quail too. If I find the Startena feed I can gradually mix it with the Breeder Layena since the feeding chart printed on the bag indicates that Startena is designed for 0-6 week old quail and the Breeder Layena feed is recommended for 4 weeks before and during laying. The Coturnix quail start laying at 6 to 8 weeks old so that would mean the Breeder Layena feed should be started when they are 2-4 weeks old.

    Once I am hatching my own quail eggs I want to be sure I am feeding the correct feed. I am guessing I should feed hatchlings the Startena until I can vent sex the males, then keep the male butcher quail on Startena while switching the females to the Breeder Layer for breeding. I got these two batches at two weeks old so I am not sure if they were on Startena or something else for their first two weeks but I can ask the two different hatchers I got them from (in to have unrelated quail for breeding) since I still have their contact information. I will eventually be keeping only my biggest and whitest females so I will cull more heavily once I get a breeding program going.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Once grown, there's little you can do to compensate for the amino acids that were missed during growth.
    If available you can add a fish or meat meal to the feed to raise the protein.

    I've noticed that the bag of game bird starter and game bird maintenance feed is exactly the same. But reading the guaranteed analysis tag shows that the starter is 28% protein and the maintenance feed is 12.5%.
    That illustrates the necessity of reading the tag on every bag of feed one purchases. That is for protein and calcium content plus the date of manufacture. Many stores will keep feed available for sale that is 6 months old or sadly, a year old.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  3. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,427
    143
    169
    Apr 8, 2013
    Washington
    I called the feed store and their turkey starter is 30% but I don't know if it should be fed to quail or if it is just for turkeys since this feeding chart lists Startena as quail starter feed.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,427
    143
    169
    Apr 8, 2013
    Washington

    I should have looked at the tag on the bag but I thought I had the right feed because it has "Growth and Plumage" printed in large letters. I realized my mistake too late so I want to make sure I get it right for my 2-week-olds.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I think the turkey starter would be fine. In spite of the difference in size, they're both galliforme game birds so have similar requirements.

    I feel you. I was looking for the 12.5% to mix with a little grower to feed my adult roosters.
    The bags are exactly the same - growth and plumage.
    I use those two bags and tags in my poultry classes to drive home the point about how important it is to use your head and the actual guaranteed analysis tags to make a decision.
    Most people don't read the bag at all. There's all this wording on there and it is there for a reason.
     
  6. Dani xxx

    Dani xxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    225
    44
    66
    Oct 23, 2016
    Farnham common bucks uk
    I add fish food 27% to my quail layer pellets 20% to up the protein as I got some superstarter crumbs but it was medicated so can't eat the eggs which is why I have them so I have been sieving out the crumbs from the layer pellets I will not be making that mistake again good job I love the little monsters and getting plenty of eggs too ! X [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  7. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,427
    143
    169
    Apr 8, 2013
    Washington
    My second bag I bought is actually what I should have had the first time so I think they loaded out the wrong feed on my first order. Now I need the 20% for my older quail outside and the 30% for the younger quail. I can give the older quail some of the 30% mixed with their 20% feed but it looks like I made an irreversible mistake by not checking the tag. I will be sure to check every time going forward.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by