A Guide to Raising Quail

Bobwhite Quail are just one of the many types of quail that you can start raising in your backyard or city lot.
Bobwhite Quail are just one of the many types of quail that you can start raising in your backyard or city lot.

Raising Quail: A Beginner's Introduction

Backyard hobbyists, gamebird enthusiasts and hobby farmers have been raising quail for thousands of years. Quail are small gamebirds that are used for eggs and meat. In fact, quail meat and quail eggs are considered a highly-valued delicacy. The small size of quail makes them an excellent choice for backyard hobbyists and city dwellers who are unable to raise larger species of poultry, such as chickens or ducks or geese. Quail can be raised in a smaller area than other poultry, and are relatively quiet and docile

One of the most popular types of quail to raise is Coturnix quail. Those raising Coturnix quail often refer to Coturnix as "Japanese quail." You can start raising coturnix quail in a bath of ten to twenty, with six Coturnix quail raised in every square foot. Thus, you can raise a large amount of quail in a small area. Mix up the quail genders. Many quail experts suggest a ratio of two to one (two females for every male quail).

Coturnix quail make excellent quail for beginners because they are hardy, start laying quail eggs at a young age (approximately 6 weeks) and can also be prepared and eaten at 5 weeks of age. Thus, if you are raising quail for a strictly commercial and utilitarian purpose, you can turnover your Coturnix quail quite quickly.

There are many other types of quail, including the popular Bobwhite quail. You may consider raising other species/breeds of quail after you've been raising Coturnix quail for a while.

Housing Quail in Your Backyard

Prepare your coop or quail cages before you get your quail from a local breeder or hatchery. You have many options when choosing how to house your qail. Some individuals choose to build their own quail cage, while others utilize a pre-made coop, kennel or cage. One of the easiest ways to house your quail is to use a rabbit hutch. The small size and structure of a rabbit hutch makes it quite useful for raising quail.

Tips on Housing Your Quail: Use a wire floor to keep your quail separated from their droppings. When choosing a house or coop for your quail, make sure there are no small holes through which your quail can escape. This can be a problem because many pet cages are not made to contain quail, whose small size makes them apt to squeeze through small holes. The largest holes your wire should have is 1-inch in diameter.

Feeding Quail

Feed your baby quail with poultry starter feed, such as turkey starter or chick starter. Due to the very small size of quail, especially baby quail, you may need to buy poultry feed in crumble format (as opposed to pellet form) and may even need to smash the feed even more to make the small feed pieces smaller.

Place the feed in a small feeder. You can use a commercially-manufactured poultry feeder, such as a chick feeder made for chickens. You can also use a homemade quail feeder by cutting a milk carton or small cardboard box. The first time you feed your qail, place the quail near the food dish to show them where it is located.

Always make sure your quail have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Poultry Equipment Suppliers for Quail

You may purchase and obtain a variety of poultry supplies, such as brooders and feeders, for your quail.

In Canada, you may contact Ontario's Berry Hill Limited (800-668-307).

The United States offers far more options for quail breeders and quail supplies. Cutler's Pheasant and Poultry Supply, Inc., in Michigan, is one example (810-633-9450). Another prominent poultry supplier is GQF Manufacturing in Georgia (912-236-065) and Seven Oaks Game Farm and Supply in North Carolina (910-791-5352).

Contact a local breeder or scan your telephone book's yellow pages to find quail sources nearer you.

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