The "are quail worth it" answer thread

Discussion in 'Quail' started by zaylinda, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. zaylinda

    zaylinda Songster

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    Nov 29, 2009
    Tacoma WA
    "are quail worth it" seems to be a frequently requested topic, so I thought maybe we could all do a little quail math - post it on this thread - have it added to the sticky - and be able to refer people to it from time to time.
    Sound good to anyone else?

    I'll start.
    This first bit I already posted a few months ago before I got quail.

    Are Coturnix worth it for for me for eggs?

    quail eat 1/2oz food per day
    8 quail would eat 25lbs of food in 100 days (8 is how many I want)
    25 lbs of game bird starter costs $9 locally
    4 bags of food / year costs $36
    quail hens lay about 200 eggs per year (conservative estimate, with supplemental light)
    8 hens x 200 eggs = 1600 eggs / year
    a chicken egg is equivalent to 3 to 5 quail eggs.
    1600 eggs / 4 = 400 chicken egg equivalents per year
    400 / 12 = 33.3 dozen egg equivalents
    a dozen eggs at the store costs about $3
    33.3 x 3 = $99.9

    For a savings of $64 annually, I can have the excitement and pleasure of raising quiet birds in my own backyard!
    (of course, this doesn't take into account the many other costs involved with keeping quail)

    Second Section - all new and exclusive to BYC!

    I was asked recently by my Partner "How many quail would we need to have to eat them regularly?"
    This was a good question, and not one I had thought about much.
    By the next evening I had the following info for him.

    Incubator = 24-26 eggs max (brinsea mini eco)
    assume hatch rate of approx 75%
    = 18-20 quail every 18-20 days max production
    4 quail per 2 person meal = 4-5 meal every 20 days.
    or approx 7 quail meals a month

    each hen = 1 egg/day
    each egg lasts approx 14 days before incubation
    2 hens lay 28 eggs in 14 days.
    hens = 2 minimum with current incubator.

    Each rooster needs >5 hens to prevent violence
    Should try to prevent inbreeding
    = 2 roosters, 12-16 hens optimum

    12 hens lay 168 eggs in 14 days
    with current incubator, eat 214 eggs, incubate 26 eggs, every 20 days.
    = 18-20 quail and 214 eggs every 18-20 days.
    approx 7 quail meals and 321 eggs a month.
    (save eggs 2-3 days before incubation)
    (eating eggs = 26 chicken egg equivalent/week)

    (what we will have soon)
    7 hens lay 98 eggs in 14 days
    with current incubator, eat 114 eggs, incubate 26 eggs every 20 days
    =18-20 quail and 114 eggs every 18-20 days.
    approx 7 quail meals and 171 eggs a month
    (save eggs 4 days before incubation)
    (eating eggs = 14 chicken egg equivalent/week)


    Theoretical section

    12 hens lay 168 eggs in 14 days
    with bigger incubator = 126 quail every 18-20 days
    4 quail per 2 person meal = 31 meals every 20 days.
    or approx 46 quail meals and 72 eggs a month
    (we would be eating a lot of quail)

    7 hens lay 98 eggs in 14 days
    with bigger incubator = 73 quail every 18-20 days
    4 quail per 2 person meal = 18 meals every 20 days
    or approx 27 quail meals and 42 eggs a month
    (still kind of a lot of quail to eat)

    Now it's your turn - post the numbers on why quail is worth it (or not) for you!
     
  2. Riffecreek

    Riffecreek Chukar Junky

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    May 29, 2010
    Dunnville, Ky.
    I'll post my #'s on proven facts in about 8 weeks.. but I do see some problems with your figures!!

    O.K. # 1 problem is
    7 hens lay 98 eggs in 14 days

    WRONG!! on the avg. they lay 200 eggs per year. so 200/ 364 = 0.55 eggs per day avg. which would only leave you with 53 or so eggs every 14 days.


    #2
    assume hatch rate of approx 75%
    = 18-20 quail every 18-20 days max production
    4 quail per 2 person meal = 4-5 meal every 20 days.
    or approx 7 quail meals a month

    You will loose 5% of these chicks to random things.

    quail eat 1/2oz food per day

    Every study that has been done on meat type quail has an avg.. of the quail eating 1/2oz food per day.. that is from day old to 8 weeks old.. the avg will me ALOT higher when they are held past 8 weeks of age!​
     
  3. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Columbus,IN
    Not asnwering specifically but I am in the process of getting rid of my quails... They dont have enough meat on them and if anything frightens them they stop laying for a week or two....
     
  4. GBov

    GBov Songster

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    So far mine are worth it from enjoyment alone [​IMG]

    But the one I have butchered so far was a lovely meaty morsel and easy to pluck as well. Actually stuffed it into a duck with a bunch of quail eggs and slow roasted the lot.

    Yeh, quail are worth it!

    I will be doing a cost study with my next hatch. Feed for 8 to 10 weeks + electricity for bator and brooder = how many pounds of meat at what cost per pound. All of my hatches from now on will be for meat so it should be easy enough to figure out. Well, most of them are for meat, the best and biggest of the girls will join the breeders. Keeps the kids happy and makes more eggs for me. Win win!
     
  5. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    Your extra quail can go into the freezer for future meals, when they aren't laying. You have to give them a rest , several rests during the year. You have to brood to replace your breeders, normally done once or twice a year. They won't lay as well in extreme heat or when very cold. They are prey to everything.

    As the saying goes, don't count your chicks before they hatch. I just set 110 eggs, have 79 hatchlings. Several days later I am down to 75 chicks. In 6 weeks I need to have 2 meals for 9 people plus appetizers for invites, and my 21 Females and their Males set aside for breeding. I plan to have enough to feed this family of three 1-2 meals a week, there after. My new breeders will get to have the winter to recuperate from the breeding season, older ones will be processed, unless they are special for some reason.

    I will have 1M-(3-4F) and I am already spotting for breeders at 5 days old. 2 males with 12-15 hens is not going to get you a very high fertility rate. Actually 1-5 isn't 100%. I wouldn't go over 1-4 from what I have read. I would not hold eggs over 5 days for good fertility and hatchability. I collect chicken and plan to collect my quail eggs thru day 4 and set on day 5. That will give me my 60-80 eggs for hatching. I can hatch every 2 weeks if I want except for 4 times a year when I hatch my chicken eggs. I won't have to hatch that often with these numbers, but then my daughter may want a few hundred for her freezer. She is on a strict heart healthy diet, under doctor orders. Quail is on her menu, beef is not allowed, so make that for a family of 6 not 3.

    Are they worth it. Individual servings are ideal. They can be grown out, processed and frozen for future use. You can grill several dozen at a time and individually or group freeze them for meals or snacks later. Raw or cooked they take little freezer room. Being in a Hurricane area, I'll probably can 8-16 Quarts for emergencies. (Around here an emergency is whenever I don't feel like or have no time for cooking). I declare emergency's quite often and like to have home processed food on hand.

    They add diversity to your diet and they are basically fat free. Though recipes like to wrap them in bacon if skinned, that is good, though. They are heart healthy so replacing red meat for 1-2 meals a week is very good for you. They take up very little room. Not to mention pickled quail eggs, deviled eggs, a dozen egg omlet. If you raise them, you know what they have been feed, how they were treated, processed, etc. Store bought meat does not agree with me and with allergies on the rise, we try to raise what we can and be more self sufficient at the same time. Well, we have to by grain and/or feed.

    Yes, they are worth it. I do wish I could get my game bird starter so cheap. I just paid $15 for a 50# bag. Even at that price, they are still worth it, to us.
    They are definately cheaper than doctor and medicine bills. By the way a healthy serving of meat is 3-4 oz. Not a 16-24 oz steak, that is the norm now. No wonder heart disease and diabetes is on the rise.
     
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Colorado
    FYI: Red meat does not cause heart disease. Carbohydrates do. The consumption of red meat and saturated fat is way down while sugars, starches and grains is way up. That is why everyone is so unhealthy.

    Anyway...are quail worth it? Yes! They lay a lot of eggs and sing beautifully. They are my most low maintenance critter I have.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  7. zaylinda

    zaylinda Songster

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    Nov 29, 2009
    Tacoma WA
    Quote:WRONG!! on the avg. they lay 200 eggs per year. so 200/ 364 = 0.55 eggs per day avg. which would only leave you with 53 or so eggs every 14 days.


    #2
    assume hatch rate of approx 75%
    = 18-20 quail every 18-20 days max production
    4 quail per 2 person meal = 4-5 meal every 20 days.
    or approx 7 quail meals a month

    You will loose 5% of these chicks to random things.

    quail eat 1/2oz food per day

    Every study that has been done on meat type quail has an avg.. of the quail eating 1/2oz food per day.. that is from day old to 8 weeks old.. the avg will me ALOT higher when they are held past 8 weeks of age!​

    I appreciate your input, Riffecreek, but I do wish you had put it more politely.
    My current quail (uglyducky babies) have been laying every single day since they were 8 weeks old, not even missing a day when I packed them into a crate and drove them four hours away into a new home - not when I changed their food - nothing seems to phase them. Therefor I felt it appropriate to use 1 egg/day in my calculations.
    I have so far not lost any babies, though I am sure I would if I were producing on the level I am writing about.
    I got my 1/2 oz/day number from http://gallus.tamu.edu/library/extpublications/jpquail.pdf (page 7, right above disease prevention and control) it specifically mentions that adult quail eat 1/2 oz/day.

    Also, Buttercup Chillin, I agree with your assessment of portion sizes. I find a single quail to be quite sufficient... but I am a dedicated bone-nibbler. My Partner doesn't agree so much - usually he eats all he feels he can get off a quail, and then I have the other half! [​IMG] but we both agree the flavor (and the satisfaction of raising our own food) is well worth it!

    Thanks All! Keep the answers coming!​
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  8. GBov

    GBov Songster

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    Apr 3, 2009
    Quote:And they are funny! Mine make me smile and laugh and just watching them makes me feel good [​IMG]

    Any pet that is so useful ranks waaaaaaay above our poxy family dog for being worth it lol!
     
  9. holachicka

    holachicka Songster

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    Folsom, CA
    My 31 are only a week old, and I have butler bobwhite eggs in the mail! I can't wait to try them. I do love reading about everyones opinions and thing it would be great info for the sticky! Good idea and keep up the responses!
     
  10. Riffecreek

    Riffecreek Chukar Junky

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    May 29, 2010
    Dunnville, Ky.
    I appreciate your input, Riffecreek, but I do wish you had put it more politely.

    If I offended you, I am sorry. I wasn't trying to be rude, I was in a hurry to go feed and gather eggs.

    Here is some more input.

    One way of raising these for meet is to not keep breeder birds. You use your meat birds for egg production from the time they start laying hatching eggs until you butcher them. The first eggs they lay are what we call pullet eggs and I will not hatch these. If you are running on a 2 week turn around on your incubator, You would hatch out of your meat birds for 2 weeks.

    My plan is simple, and will use selective breeding practices while I have no "breeder" birds on the place unless there will be a span in between meat groups. I plan on hatching every week and placing these into brooders that are attached to 9 pens, all with roll out floors. They will be brooded for 3 weeks before released into the grow out pen and finished out there. I will selectively butcher the slower growing ones out of pen at 6-7 weeks old to help with feed conversion as a slow growing bird means more feed to finish them to market weight. Before the rest are butchered, they will fill my incubator with eggs for the next batch of biddies then be sent to the table. By butchering the slower growing birds at 6-7 weeks old, you are selectively breeding to the larger, faster growing quail in each group, At U.C.L.A.( I think), their study showed that in 7 generations of selective breeding, you can manipulate their body weight upwards (or downward) by an average of 1 ounce per bird. So in 56 weeks, you would have 8 groups of selective bred quail, and 2 setting of eggs too that should show a measurable change in body weight and weight gain from where you started. They should start to become more uniform in size, all share a faster growing trait. and so on.. I'll post more when I start getting set up to go into mass production using this cycle. I have to finish feeding.

    Again, I didn't mean to be rude. This is what happens when we get in a hurry to post in between chores!​
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010

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