A common backyard farmer will raise quail for eggs and meat. Quail lay 15 or more eggs per day and can supply a steady amount of meat. Quail are easy to care for and maintain with the proper knowledge and tools. They do require time, patience and daily care, but they do give back with their laying capacity and social behaviour.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Quail pen/coop
- Fertile eggs
- Quail starter mash
- Food dish
- Water Dish
- Brooding box with low-watt light attached.
Choose a breed. There are several types of quail readily available to purchase. The most popular is the Bobwhite, because it is very social and lays large quantities of eggs on a regular basis. Coturnix quail are raised for their eggs specifically to sell to restaurants and markets. The Chukar quail is common for hunting and lays 40 to 50 eggs in one summer season. The Chukar quail is common in England, the Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand. The Chukar is one of the easiest quail to keep and breed in captivity.
Buy or make housing. Quail require little space to live. Common quail housing is rectangular with wire walls and bottom and a solid roof to protect from sun and rain. The housing should be able to keep out all predators, including raccoons, foxes, and rats. Some housing without floors can allow rats and other burrowing animals to dig their way inside of the cage and kill the quail. It is important to maintain the pens and check them regularly for signs of wear and to ensure it is secure for the birds.
Purchase fertile quail eggs. When starting to raise quail purchasing fertile eggs from a local farm supply store or online is simple and has a high success rate. Different breeds hatch at different times, the shortest being 17 days and the longest being 30.
Brood the chicks. Once the chick have fully broken free from their shell, place them in a brooding box that has a low watt light bulb, quail starter feed and a small water dish. Quail that are fully feathered can move into their permanent pens, and be given game bird mash and feed.
Collect eggs or meat. At six to eight weeks old, the female quail will begin to lay eggs. Given perfect living conditions, a quail will lay up to 300 eggs per year. Hutches of eggs depend on the breed of quail and living conditions. Good egg production will last about one year, after this the bird can be kept as a pet, or slaughtered for stewing, because the meat will be a bit tougher than younger quail. Birds raised for meat should be slaughtered at five weeks old or seven to eight ounces. The meat should be cleaned and used or frozen immediately.
Tips and warnings
- Ensure the birds have proper clean housing.
- Allow the birds to have access to water all the time.
- Check housing regular to ensure it is safe from predators.
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