Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How To Raise Quail

Quail are wonderful birds for meat and eggs. I hadn't thought about keeping them until I got twenty with some turkeys from a neighbor. l didn't know much about the cute tiny birds except that they needed a heat lamp and a predator proof cage. Since then I've received a lot of emails and facebook inquiries about how to raise and care for them.

I was at our local co-op picking up feed for them and met a very nice gentleman that raises hundreds of them. He was kind enough to give me some pointers. First they need a very secure enclosure because of their tiny size. All kinds of predators will try to get in to eat them. Hardware cloth is the best. You can find it at feed stores locally or online.

I had an A-frame cage from last year that wasn't being used so I did some reinforcing and added a secure door. Then put in their heat lamp, food and water. For food I bought regular chick starter, you can also use game bird starter and don't forget to add small rocks to the waterer until the birds get large enough to not drown in it unless you are using the kind with a very small base.

There are many health benefits to keeping Quail as well. Especially the eggs. Quail eggs have been used for a very long time to treat various ailments in the human body.  Asthma, Coughs and Allergies to name a few. Many people are allergic to Chickens and their eggs. Chicken eggs can cause itching, nausea and even vomiting. Not so with quail eggs. They are not only allergy free but they help to fight allergies in your body due to a special protein they contain known as Ovomucoid. So if you are allergic to Chicken eggs, you will be able to eat Quail eggs. The eggs are also known to improve your memory, boost your immune system, they are rich in iron and contain so many more vitamins and minerals that aid in good health.

By raising your own quail for meat, like all birds and animals you know what you are eating. No mystery meat! Quail can dress up wonderfully.  A Jumbo Coturnix Quail can weigh in at nearly 14 ounces, and a Jumbo Bobwhite can yield up to 16 ounces! While Bobwhites take much longer to grow and won't be ready for butchering until 14 to 16 weeks of age or sexually mature until 6+ months of age, Coturnix Quail are fast growers and can be ready for the table at 6 to 8 weeks of age and laying by 9 weeks of age.

The gentleman I spoke to said the the Coturnix are OK if you are wanting meat and eggs for yourself but the Bobwhite are best if you want to raise birds for sale. They are what people are used to hunting and want to purchase. Just know that if you plan on raising them, you will need an incubator. They are not very good at hatching their own eggs.

Mine were getting bigger so I needed a new larger house for them. I didn't have anything that was suitable for small birds so I decided to raid our scrap pile and build something. I used plywood, 2x4's, chicken wire and other scraps and came up with a usable house for the quail. It's about 8 feet long and 4.5 feet high with a solid back, top and side. I wanted to be sure they had plenty of protection from the weather and predators. It's very important that you use hardware cloth up the sides for a quite a ways so they can't be reached by predators as they sleep at night, because they roost on the floor. I'm going to add more to this pen today.

There are easy keepers, give fresh meat and eggs and their manure is excellent for the garden. Quail poop is like brown gold for your garden. It's low on odor and isn't very messy to deal with. Shovel up your excess quail manure each week and move it to a garden manure bin to age until it breaks down before using it on plants. It is high in nitrogen, and when fresh, it can burn plants. In the heat of the summer, if the manure does emit much odor, a light covering of lime will eliminate it and sweeten the pile. You can find some more information and yummy recipes over at Backwoods home.

I hope this answers some of the questions and gets you started.

Do you raise them? Let me know any tips and tricks you use to have healthy birds.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for taking time from your day to stop by and leave your thoughts on our life.