Raising Quail

click on image at right to see all the photos>>

            If you have just a small place but are looking for an animal you can still raise for meat or to sell quail might be a good choice for you.  They require very little space, mature fast and eat very little food. We have been raising Corturnix quail (LD1) for 3 years now and have been fairly pleased with the ease of raising them.

            We built our own cage out of 1�x 1� wood and hardware cloth. It is 4 ft long, 16 inches wide and 19 inches tall. It will easily fit 9 adults. I have seen sites that say you need 2 square feet per adult bird but I think that is a bit ridiculous.  I have also put extra quail in large birdcages. My cages are in our back shed so is protected from rain and sun if you build yours outside you will have to have a solid top to protect them.

            There is commercial game bird ration you can feed your birds but it isn�t really necessary. You can use regular birdseed or chicken laying mash and they will do just fine and lay really well. They of course need fresh water available at all times.

Corturnix eggs are a beige color with brown spots. Each female will lay an egg almost every day. Though small, these eggs can be used for anything a chicken egg is used for and don�t taste any different to me. They also make great pickled eggs.

Quail do not usually set their own eggs in captivity. If you want to hatch your own you will need an incubator. We have a still air, Styrofoam incubator with a turner that has worked very well for us. Just remember to follow all the directions for incubating. We keep our incubator at about 100 degrees. Always keep water in the bottom water slot and make sure to open the incubator each day for about a half hour. Corturnix eggs hatch in 17-18 days and will need to be put in a brooder when dry. I do buy game bird starter to feed the quail chicks.

            Corturnix quail mature very quickly. Females will mature at 6 weeks and may begin laying eggs if nighttime temperatures are above 60 degrees. Males mature at 8 weeks. They should reach a weight of 8-10 ounces.

            If you are raising quail to eat you can butcher them at 6 weeks. They are very easy to pluck and do not need to be put in hot water first. You cut and clean the cavity just as you would a chicken. They are excellent stuffed and baked like a chicken and we have also put a can of cream of mushroom soup over the top of them during the baking and they are wonderful this way as well. Quail are the most tender meat I have ever eaten, even better than Cornish Game Hens.

There are several different types of Corturnix.  I myself am buying Texas A&M eggs this year to hatch. They are mostly white, some with black spots behind the head. They are also a few ounces larger than the Corturnix LD1 and have more white meat. Some other quail you can raise are  Bobwhite, Button, Tuxedo, Manchurian Golden, Giant Corturnix, Australian Speckled Fawn, Texas JumboWhite, British Range Dark, California Valley Quail, Gamble Quail, Chestnut Belly Blue Scale Quail, Texas Blue Scale Quail and many others.

Some place you can buy quail eggs and adults are: www.eggbid.com,            www.moonlightbirdfarm.com and www.poultrystuff.com. I have bought from these last two and they package very well and have a good supply of eggs and good service.


                                Rebecca Whitford