Raising quail as a hobby is fun and rewarding. Quail eggs and meat are desirable and easy to obtain. Different breeds of quail are acquired for different reasons and choosing the correct breed can be simple with the right information. The Bobwhite quail is the most popular breed among farmers, and the Tuxedo Blonde, Silver and Tennessee Bobwhite quails are common to hobbyists.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Hatching eggs
- Quail incubator
- Food dish
- Starter diet
- Water basin
Purchase a cage or coop for the quail. Quail require proper housing in order to lay eggs and grow properly. Most quail aviaries are wire with a solid wood or plastic roof that can be taken off to clean and access the entire coop. The housing should be made of wire and fully enclosed to prevent the birds from escaping and predators from coming in. Some coops have a wire floor as well as walls to prevent the fowl from eating their faeces, which can cause an illness called ulcerative enteritis, which causes the birds to become extremely sick or even die.
Choose a breed of quail that will suit your need. An important choice for the hobbyist is to select the breed that will produce large quantities of eggs or have good meat and social skills. Others have good meat but lay few eggs. Bobwhite quails lay large amounts of eggs, usually 15 eggs at a time, and thrive in captivity. Corturnix quail, also known as Japanese quail, are game birds raised for eggs and meat. This breed lays eggs that are popular restaurant quail eggs. Harlequin quail are native to the United States and are the common quail to hunt and can survive in captivity. This breed is great to raise for its meat.
Hatch and brood quail. Raising quail from eggs is simple and has a high success rate. After collecting the eggs, they should be laid in a safe container that has a maximum humidity level of 70 per cent and is 15.6 degrees Celsius. Do not put the eggs in an incubator until at least seven days after they are laid. Once in the incubator, the temperature should be maintained at 37.2 degrees Celsius and have a moisture level of 86 per cent.
Feed quail the right kind of food for correct meat and egg production. Birds raised for meat have a different diet than birds raised for breeding and eggs. All quail eight weeks old and under should be feed quail starter food. This special blend of starter has a high protein content that allows the birds to grow correctly. Once the quail has reached eight weeks old, switch it to the proper food for its purpose. If it is a meat bird, it should eat finisher diet. Birds raised for breeding and laying should eat a developer mix of quail food. Once the layers begin to produce eggs switch them again to a layer-specific mix. Water should be supplied continually to the birds of all ages. A simple bird water holder works well for quail of all ages.
Tips and warnings
- Allow the birds access to fresh clean water at all times.
- Collect eggs several times per day for maximum laying.
- Do not allow birds to eat their faeces. This is usually fatal.
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