The Survival Podcast Forum

Farm, Garden and The Land => Live Stock, Critters and Aquaculture => Topic started by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 08:29:27 AM

Title: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 08:29:27 AM
Thanks for you patience folks!

I just put the finishing touches on my "article" and will be posting it below.

Sorry about the delay in pushing this out, but once I started rolling on it there was just more and more things I wanted to add. After seeing that the word doc was at 17 pages I started to think that there are a lot of people out there who don't want to dive into it that deep, but want a little bit more of a visual as to what the process is. So I turned the information into a Prezi presentation, similar to a PowerPoint but online and free, link below. I also uploaded the article in the original word doc to Google docs so it can be downloaded and added to your personal library should you choose. I would like to apologize for poor spelling, grammar usage, and misused words beforehand. I am pretty dyslexic and writing is a very slow process for me. Please feel free to post any questions or ask for clarification and I'll do my best to help.


Prezi

http://prezi.com/kssuytlqgjs4/raising-quail-for-meat-and-eggs/?kw=view-kssuytlqgjs4&rc=ref-37650931

Downloadable version on Google docs

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByiJcRgkjkCmMTVGMWJ4UXVlTXM/edit?usp=sharing

Podcast Episode 1071

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/quail-for-eggs-and-meat

Flickr Photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moonvalleyprepper/
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 08:33:17 AM
“Raising quail for meat and eggs.”
Protein production on 1/3 of an acre.
By MoonValleyPrepper


(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8524/8472848440_02a1d300e2_m.jpg)

Why quail?
I decided to start raising quail for a few reasons. The first being size constraints. Living in the suburbs I am limited in space. I also face more regulations from authorities regarding what I can and cannot raise on my land. I could probably get away with raising some chickens and not having anyone complain, but there is no way that I could raise enough to supply my households needs on a 1/3 acre lot, currently we consume the equivalent of 15 chicken eggs per day. I am simply not willing to put forth the time and effort of raising and caring for livestock that will only have the potential to supplement 25% of my daily needs. If I’m raising something it’s there to replace the need to purchase something else, not to lower the amount I need to purchase. Upon researching the various options I had to add poultry to my system, I stumbled upon that article in the above link. Quail seemed like the perfect option for my situation and have performed better than my expectations.
The following is information that I have gleaned from countless hours of research as well as personal experience. I am by no means an expert on the subject, just someone who has done an obsessive amount of research before jumping in feet first. Please feel free to post any comments or questions, and I will do my best to help you out. Enjoy.
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 08:41:34 AM
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8366/8472848470_fc3b93f846_m.jpg)

About the breed

Coturnix Quail AKA Japanese quail, Pharaoh quail

During my initial research into poultry and livestock options I came across a book titled: Micro-livestock: Little-known Small Animals with a Promising Economic Future (BOSTID, 1991, 435 p.) available here http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/cd3wd/AGRIC/B17MIE/EN/B1143_5.HTM

In this book I read an article about quail that got this whole thing started. Below is a some excerpts from that article. Full text in link above.

 “Japanese quail have been farmed since ancient times, especially in the Far East. They reproduce rapidly and their rate of egg production is remarkable. They are also robust, disease resistant, and easy to keep, requiring only simple cages and equipment and little space. It is said that about 20 of them are sufficient to keep an average family in eggs year-round.
Commercial production is carried out, as in the chicken industry, in specialized units involving hatcheries, farms, and factories that process eggs and meat. However, quail have outstanding potential for village and "backyard" production as well. It is this aspect that deserves greater attention.

In the United States, the Pharaoh strain is the bird of choice for commercial production. Other available strains tend to be bred more for fancy than for food.

Quail eggs are mottled brown, but some strains have been selected for white shells.  An average egg weighs 10 g - about 8 percent of the female's body weight. (By comparison, a chicken egg weighs about 3 percent of the hen's body weight.) Quail chicks weigh merely 5-6 g when hatched and are normally covered in yellowish down with brown stripes.

Quail are hardy birds that, within reasonable limits, can adapt to many different environments. However, they prefer temperate climates; the northern limit of their winter habitat is around 38°N.

A quail's diet in the wild consists of insects, grain, and various other seeds. To thrive and reproduce efficiently in captivity, it needs feeds that are relatively high in protein.

The females mature at about 5-6 weeks of age and usually come into full egg production by the age of 50 days. With proper care, they will lay 200-300 eggs per year, but at that rate they age quickly. The life span under domestic conditions can be up to 5 years. However, second-year egg production is normally less than half the first year's, and fertility and hatchability fall sharply after birds reach 6 months of age, even though egg and sperm production continue. Thus, the commercial life is only about a year.

In some areas of Japan, quail are widely raised for their eggs and meat. However, Japanese originally valued the quail as a songbird. Tradition has it that about 600 years ago people began to enjoy its rhythmic call. In the feudal age, raising song quail became particularly popular among Samurai warriors. Contests were held to identify the most beautiful quail song and birds with the best voices were interbred in closed colonies. Even photo stimulation was practiced to induce singing in winter.
Around 1910, enthusiastic breeders produced the present domestic Japanese quail from the song quail. It was created as a food source and became a part of Japanese cuisine. During World War II it was almost exterminated, but Japanese quail breeders restored it from the few survivors and from birds imported from China. The original song quail, however, were lost. In the 1960s, commercial quail flocks rapidly recovered and Japan's quail population again reached its prewar level of about 2 million birds.”

Copied and pasted from:

http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/cd3wd/AGRIC/B17MIE/EN/B1143_5.HTM
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 08:46:28 AM
Process overview

Incubation  - 17-18days
Quail need to be hatched in an incubator, as the instinct to brood has all but been breed out of them. They require the same conditions as chickens, with a slightly shorter hatch time. Most eggs will hatch in 17-18 days.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8377/8472941172_72fa19971a_m.jpg)

Brooding – 17 – 21 days
A brooder is nothing more than a heated container for the birds to live in. The temperature should be kept in the mid 90’s until the birds start to feather out. The ambient air temperature for your brooder will determine the wattage of bulb you need to achieve this temperature.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8246/8641018305_831f4250cc_m.jpg)
 
Grow out - 21days +
Once the birds have reached 21 days they are feathered out and don’t require supplemental heat anymore. At this stage you can put them into a grow out container of your choice. This can be any container or system from a cage battery to a quail tractor, just something to contain them where they can eat, drink and grow.
 
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8107/8471756329_fde52be3d8_m.jpg)
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 09:11:49 AM
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8533/8642119770_8ef3b70607_m.jpg)

Housing requirements
   
Incubation

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8381/8642119462_00e62f2743_m.jpg)
 
Equipment

Incubator
Any incubator will work as long as you keep everything in the correct range, easier said than done. I have personally used a Little Giant and a Bower Top Hatch, both gave me similar results. In the future I will move up to a larger capacity cabinet style, probably homemade.

Thermometer
You’ll need a few of these. Make sure you calibrate them and are measuring the temperature where the eggs are.

Hygrometer
Used to measure the humidity, two is better than one. Make sure it’s calibrated, Google “hygrometer salt water calibration” for instructions on how to make sure it’s calibrated correctly.

Process
They require the same conditions as chickens, with a slightly shorter hatch time. Most eggs will hatch in 17-18 days. The eggs should be kept at 99.5 Degrees F if you’re using a forced air incubator, 101 for a still air. Humidity needs to be between 25%-50% for the first 14-15 days. The last 3 days are called the “lockdown” period and the humidity is raised to 60%-75%. The eggs must be turned at least 3 times a day, egg turner is recommended, cease turning during the lockdown period. Do not open the incubator during lockdown! Chicks can live for up to 24hrs in the incubator so wait until there are a few of them before you open it and quickly get them out. Read and follow the instructions of your incubator for best results.

Additional considerations
Incubation is by far the hardest part. If you have hatched other birds out, you should be fine. If you have never hatched anything before expect failures. Everything must be precisely kept in the aforementioned ranges, close enough works for horseshoes and hand grenades, but not incubation.

Egg storage is an important variable in the hatchability of your eggs. The general internet wisdom is to hatch eggs that are no more than 10days old. However, if kept in the proper conditions this can be expanded out with only a slight decline in hatchability. I personally know a commercial operator who keeps his eggs for 30 days and still achieves an 80% hatch rate using a commercial setup. Hatching eggs should be stored pointed end down, in a cool, temperature stable place. Basements or cellars are ideal for this, anyplace with a stable temp that doesn’t get over 75-80 degrees F should be fine. Also, turning the eggs that are waiting to hatch will help increase the hatch rate, an extra egg turner works very well for this.

Troubleshooting
Trouble shooting bad hatches is extremely frustrating. When you look up troubleshooting manuals on the internet or with your incubator instructions it’s a bit of a joke. Basically, recheck everything. Calibrate your thermometers, hygrometer, make sure the eggs are stored properly, there is an adequate number of males to females, 1 male for every 2-4 females. Make sure the light cycle is correct for the breeders, min 16hours of light. Make sure the breeders are healthy, ect..  Pretty much recheck everything, then try again.   


Brooding
   
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8389/8472848856_aceacba2f9_m.jpg)

Equipment

Brooder
A brooder is nothing more than a heated container for the birds to live in. The temperature should be kept in the mid 90’s until the birds start to feather out. The ambient air temperature for your brooder will determine the wattage of bulb you need to achieve this temperature. You can use anything from a 75w flood light up to a 250w heat lamp. Make sure your socket and wire can handle the wattage of the bulb you are using! I use a red flood light 75w most of the time, and add a second one in the winter. I also have mine wired to a dimmer switch for more control, but that really has been unnecessary. As long as the brooder is large enough the birds will self-regulate and get closer / further from the bulb as they see fit.
My brooder is 2’x4’ 13” tall made from scrap plywood, rubber maids and stock tanks also work well.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8247/8641018377_8a2311035f_m.jpg)

Feeder
Any type of chick feeder will work, store bought or homemade. I prefer to get the largest capacity that I can fit in there, just to make sure they never run out of food. If you use a feeder that the birds need to stick their heads into, it will reduce wasted feed as the stuff dropped will stay in the feeder.

Water
You can use a variety of things for this from a bowl with water to an automated system. I personally use a gravity chicken waterer for the first few days in conjunction with my automated system. After the first few days I remove the chicken waterer and let them rely on the automated system. If you use a bowl or chicken waterer, it is recommended that you put marbles or pebbles in the bottoms so the birds don’t drown during the first 2-3 days. I did this at first, then got away from it without any consequences, until one day I checked the brooder and there were 4 little quail lined up in a row dead with their heads underwater. It was a rather awkward sight, with the only thing missing being some white Nikes and Kool-Aid.

Bedding
It is recommended that you keep some sort of dry bedding for the birds to walk on. Pine shavings, shredded paper, perhaps leaves or straw, use what you can get. For the first couple of days lay down some paper towel, their legs are very fragile and if they slip, it might end in a damaged leg which is game over for that little bird.

Process
Once the birds start to hatch, wait until there are a bunch of them. Remember you do not want to open the incubator during lockdown any more than is absolutely necessary. I have also found that if you introduce birds into the brooder hours apart they do better in groups rather than individuals. If you notice all of the birds are huddled under the light, the brooder is too cold. If all the birds are pressed to the outside edge of the brooder it is too hot. If the birds are evenly spaced the temp is good enough. After the birds feather out supplemental heat can be reduced or eliminated. At this point you can move them to the grow out container, or just use your brooder as the grow out container if you want.

Additional considerations
Make sure the bedding stays dry, either through changing it or adding more. Quail have small feet that can easily get damages if they are kept in wet or mucky conditions. Depending on your stocking density you might need to adjust the bedding frequently.

The birds are golf ball- tennis ball sized when in the brooder. I have kept stocking densities of up to 12 birds / sq foot without problems. These were all birds of the same size, and from the same hatch.

Occasionally you’ll check the brooder and find one or two of them mysteriously gave up the ghost, it happens.  Try to look at it from the perspective that you just saved some feed on birds whose genes you probably didn’t want anyway. This usually doesn’t happen anymore after the first week.

Grow out

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8107/8471756329_fde52be3d8_m.jpg)
   
Equipment
After the birds have feathered out and don’t require heat anymore you can move them to the grow out pen. The grow out pen can be any container of your choice. This can range from a cage battery to a quail tractor, just something to contain them where they can eat, drink and grow. Large capacity feeder combined with an automated watering system is suggested to minimize work, but not necessary.

My grow out pens are 2’x2’ 9” tall, made from ½” x ½” hardware cloth.
The feeder is a 4” pipe with a slot cut out mounted on the outside of the cage. The door is made from 1”x2” hardware cloth, which allows the birds to stick their heads through to get to the food.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8398/8642119732_e222066731_m.jpg)

Each cage has its own water cup hooked up to the automated system.

Process
At 5 weeks from hatch the males will begin to “crow” at that point I graduate the culls to the freezer, I let the females keep growing until I need the space. I only cull the males at 5 weeks because I want to keep it quiet, and they annoy the hell out of me.
   
Layers

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8532/8472848536_cf58f9f445_m.jpg)
   
Equipment
The pens are exactly the same as the grow out pens, except they are on an angle. The rear of the pen is 2” higher than the front, or a 1/12 pitch. This allows the eggs to roll to the front of the cage for easy gathering. Not all of the eggs will roll to the front with this pitch, and you might want to increase it to a 3” differential, or a 1/8 pitch.
My laying pens are 2’x2’ 9” tall, made from ½” x ½” hardware cloth.

The feeder is a 4” pipe with a slot cut out mounted on the outside of the cage. The door is made from 1”x2” hardware cloth, which allows the birds to stick their heads through to get to the food.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8241/8641018433_57685df688_m.jpg)

Each cage has its own water cup hooked up to the automated system.

Additional Thoughts
I have kept laying hens at a stocking density of up to 3-4 birds / sq foot, these birds were all from the same hatch and had been kept together since they hatched.

Gather the eggs before you fill the feeder up. If you do that in reverse all of the birds will be at the front of the cage trying to get the food while you’re trying to get in to get the eggs.

If you get a sudden decline in egg productions check the water supply.  If the water line gets plugged or something malfunctions and the birds don’t get enough water they will stop laying almost immediately.

If you get spotty egg production, like hit or miss or less than you were getting, check the light cycle to make sure they are getting at least 16 hours of light.

Other housing methods

Quail tractor
Just like a chicken tractor but smaller, or the same size. Research chicken tractors, and design according your specifications. Make sure you make it strong enough to keep predators out!

Paddock shift
Possible, yes. Probable, maybe. I’m interested in trying this eventually just for growing out meat birds, no layers or males. Might work, might be a total disaster, might be way more work than it’s worth, might be a really fun experiment.

Quailtopia
Build your own system!
Complete with cedar shake roof, running water, granite counter tops, six car garage, and a walk out basement. You’re only limited by your imagination and your willingness to spend money on these little buggers.

Tips:
If you come up with your own housing design, build it tall or build it small. The quail have powerful legs and can jump up to 3’ straight up. This can lead to broken necks if the housing isn’t tall enough to accommodate or short enough to discourage. 
Also start small and scalable, make sure your plan is going to work before you start construction on your own personal Quailtropolis.
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 09:21:00 AM
Inputs

Feed
Quail are omnivores and will enjoy as varied of a diet as they can get. They will eat most things that a chicken will eat, as long as it’s small enough for them to get in their beaks. I am currently feeding mine 100% store bought food with the intent to lower that as much as I can through alternative feeds.
Store bought feed
 
Store bought feed is available for raising quail. It is similar to dry dog food in consistency, and not all grain or vegetarian based. When choosing a feed you need to get at least 24% protein for good egg production. They will survive and still lay with lower protein %, but you will get smaller eggs and less often. The higher the protein % you can give them the larger the eggs and meat birds will be.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8258/8674591381_c18a9678a7_m.jpg)

I use Purina game bird starter 27%-30% protein and have had no problems with it as a stand-alone feed.
Store bought feed is compact, readily available, stores well and is affordable at ~$0.50/pound. A laying hen will eat ~1pound / month.

I have been informed that the shelf life of this dry food is 2 months, second hand from a Purina rep. While I don’t doubt that it loses some nutritional value over time, I have never experienced any consequences to using “old” feed. I keep a minimum of 2 month supply on hand, knowing it probably has an additional 2-3 months of distribution time already on it before I buy it. I have never had a quail turn their beak up at it.

Alternative feed / supplemental nutrition

Black Soldier Fly larva
This looks to be a very promising feed. They turn food scrapes into protein at a very efficient rate. Good for zone 7+, but I am going to try it anyway in zone 6.

Meal worms
This might be my alternative to B.S.F.. Meal worms are somewhere in the 40% protein range, and are very low input. I will be experimenting with this soon.

Sprouts
Freshly sprouted grain, 2-4 days old, before it really turns into a plant. This is something I would like to try, and will be trying in the early summer.

Ticks
Apparently quail love to eat ticks. I am not going to propagate ticks, but if you have a surplus of them in your yard, tractoring quail might be the solution.

Seeds
Any tiny seed might have the chance at becoming quail food. Lambsquarter, millet, lettuce, anything with a small seed might be worth trying, especially if it’s abundant and can be grown with little to no inputs.

Other insects
Maggots, larva, beetles, ants and all types of creepy crawlies have the potential to be converted into delicious quail meat.

Water system
   
There are many different options for providing your birds with water. Each one has its own set of pros and cons. From bowls and crocks to automated systems pretty much any method that you can use for chickens can be adapted for quail.
I personally don’t have time to be cleaning and refilling 10+ bowls a day, and since I already had a gravity watering system setup for my rabbits it was really a no brainer to just tap into it.

I went with these watering cups.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8110/8641017795_05d5ca596f_m.jpg)

They do a good job at keeping things dry and the animals with a constant supply of fresh water. They can be disassembled and the O-rings can be replaced if needed. One word of caution, if you have hard water put a sediment filter in line with your system to prevent the cups from becoming clogged, happened to me once.

Also, these cups aren't supposed to “fill up” and the birds will never “learn” to hit the yellow doohickey to add more water to the cup. Instead the bird will try to get the last bit of water out of the cup, and accidentally hit the doohickey, causing more water to enter the cup. At first I thought the birds were too stupid to figure it out and I didn’t think they would work. Turns out they work, just not in the way I had thought.

Outputs

Eggs – Lots of eggs! 250+ per bird per year. Small in size, ¼ the volume of a chicken egg, but packed with nutrients. Some sites claim each quail egg has 4x the nutritional value as 1 chicken egg! Google it, you’ll be amazed!

Meat – Quail meat is delicious and extremely low in fat. It has a great natural taste and really doesn’t taste gamey or bland. Cook it similar to venison, or other low fat content foods. It dries out easily if over cooked.

Heat – Quail are warm blooded and will give off body heat. If you have enough of them in a contained space this could be an asset or a problem depending on your situation.

Organs – Dog food or people food depending on your preferences. My dogs have learned to recognize when it’s slaughter time, and always gather around for the spoils.

Feathers – Crafts, fishing flies, high nitrogen compost.

Skin – Compost, can be tanned for dog training / dog toy or so I have read.

Blood – Compost pile, or watered down and added to garden.

Poop – Brown gold, compost it!

Behaviors

Dust baths
Quail absolutely love dust baths! They will chirp and peep and take turns diving into it. Any sort of small container that they fit in can be used. Dollar store dishpans make great containers. Getting a container with slightly higher walls will help keep the mess in the container, but not too high that they can’t get in. You can use a lot of different things for the mix: play sand, dirt, ash, etc.. I also like to add a small amount of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to keep them mite free.

Singing and bobbing
If your quail are happy and they know it they will sing, chirp chirp. No seriously, the birds will start to recognize you and get excited when you get near them. For the most part they just peep quietly, but occasionally one will break into a song, I like to think they are singing my praises. It’s pretty funny when one starts singing, because the rest of them will pause and listen.

Crowing
The males crow. It’s nothing like a rooster, but it is a rather distinctive sound. Not all males are created equal, some have a high pitched shriek of a crow. While others have a lower pitch almost growl.

The distance that this will be audible will vary. With direct line of sight and the garage door, and windows open, I can pick up the sound at 50’ away. Further out from that it drops off significantly. With the garage door shut and the windows shut I can barely hear it at 20’ away. This all completely depends on the males also. The higher pitch call seems to travel significantly further than the lower pitch one.

Some males will crow incessantly, while others rarely crow.  I have found that the ones that are the most annoying are also the ones that taste the best. I’m not really sure why, maybe it’s in my head.
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 09:23:44 AM
Slaughtering

I do all of my processing with a sharp pair of kitchen shears.

First I hold the bird by its legs upside down facing away from me. I then take the scissors to the back of its neck and clip its head off into the compost bucket. I prefer to clip from the back of the neck as the bird doesn’t see it coming, it also insures an instant kill with the first clip, severs the spinal cord.

After that I pretty much do it exactly how “Fat Daddy” does it in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AEjAtvIfAOM

The only thing that I do differently is clip the rear vent before I pull the skin off, he pulls the skin off then clips the vent. Six of one, half dozen the other.

I’m also not as picky about the feathers, I drop the bird into a bucket off cool water after butterflying and found that a lot of the feathers will come right off the meat during this soak.
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 09:29:43 AM
Selective breeding

One really cool thing about quail is how fast they reach reproductive age. They mature to eating age in about the same amount of time as a rabbit, but reach sexual maturity in as little as 10 weeks. This means you could get through 4 generations in a single year. This makes it so you can morph and change your breed line very quickly, and adapt them to your climate / housing situation in a short period of time.

Here is a good primer on selective breeding. It refers to rats as the animal, but the information is relevant to any selective breeding. It’s a long read, but packed with information.

http://ratguide.com/breeding/breeding/breeding_methods.php

The breeding guideline that I have been following are from “The Tatanka Breeders Club” from backyard chickens. Basically it’s a community of people that have all set the same standards for selecting birds, and every once in a while they mail each other eggs to keep the blood lines fresh.

Their breeding goals copy and pasted from Backyard chickens:

"Tatanka" raising the Standard...Jumbo Coturnix (Japanese Quail)

BEAK:  slightly curved not flat.
EYES:  expressive, green.
HEAD:  large, wide. square when viewed from top.
NECK: thick, slight arch.
WINGS:  fairly small
BREAST:  prominent, full, well defined.
BODY: similar to other poultry meat birds, "like a brick" a fuller and longer fowl to increase egg-laying capacity and to produce a frame with more meat for commercial purposes.
BACK: breadth across the back is a desirable trait.
LEGS: well muscled thigh. strong to support weight.
FEET AND TOES: (4) evenly spaced, long toes
FEATHERING: rough feathering is common in larger specimens.

EGGS: greater than > 14 grams.

WEIGHTS: All birds male and female must weigh 280 grams by 42 days.

looks like these are the numbers we are shooting for:

Daddy, Digger & Moby Standards of Quailism

14 days ~80g
21 days ~130g
28 days ~200g
42 days = 280g+

Fat Daddy Clause
56 days ~350+

Link to the thread:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/629414/tatanka-breeders-club-meat-quail-project-with-history-discussion-pictures-and-videos

I think it might be cool to do the same thing and see if we can’t make our own TSP Jumbo quail. Seems like there are a quite few people getting started, maybe we can set something up if there is interest.
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 09:35:20 AM
Suburban issues

Quail are a great option for people looking to raise meat and eggs in urban, and suburban environments. They take up little space, do well with high stocky densities, and are also very quiet. They are also easier to claim as pets if need be, and have fewer specific ordinances directed at them.

My basic philosophy is what people don’t see, smell, or hear they don’t bitch about. Every day when I check them I give the garage a quick sniff test around the outside before I go inside. If you want to keep the smell down you need to stay on top of the manure, not literally, but don’t let it build up. Keep it dry and covered and turn it into compost as soon as you accumulate enough to make a pile. The winter cold really did well to keep the smell down, which was good because carbon to make a compost pile is hard to come by during the winter here.

For noise issues I make sure that at night and in the early morning the garage stays buttoned up, windows and doors closed. This way if one of the males starts with some midnight crowing it will not be disturbing to the neighbors. If a male is loud, or crows a lot I get rid of him. I would rather keep my egg layers and not get harassed than to give up the whole lot due to trying to keep a couple of males. Eventually after hatching out enough eggs you find some males with a quiet disposition that you can keep around for fertilization.
 
Be a good neighbor!
Having a good relationship with your neighbors goes a long way towards flying under the radar. Both my neighbors are gardeners so giving them compost is a great way to keep them happy, this works especially well when they see you outside turning it every other day and know that you put a bit of work into making it. Giving away eggs is also a great bribe to keep in their good graces. Give them a helping hand when they are doing some work around the house or loading unloading stuff. All of these tactics seem to work very well with my neighbors.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8532/8472848700_a1601fa7a6_m.jpg)

Tip: When offering compost, eggs, a helping hand or whatever use a little reverse psychology. Phrase it so they are helping you out by you helping them.

When they show up with a truck load of whatever.

“Let me give you a hand with that!” Works most of the time.
“Do you need a hand with that?” Usually ends in a polite, “Thanks, but I think I got it.”

Giving them compost.

“I have a ton of compost right now and am running out of places to put it, do you have anywhere that could use some?”    Works pretty well.
“Do you want any compost?” Doesn’t work that well.

Giving away eggs.

“Here take some quail eggs, my birds are laying like crazy right now and I’m running out of recipes for all of these.” Almost always works.
“Let me know if you ever want some quail eggs, I got a bunch!” Doesn’t work that well, they won’t ask.
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 09:41:43 AM
FAQ

How do I tell the difference between males and females?

The males have a rust colored breast, whereas the females have a speckled breast.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8531/8471756131_a8b6e55b2d_m.jpg)
Female

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8366/8472848470_fc3b93f846_m.jpg)
Male


How old before they start to lay eggs?

They will start laying sporadically at 8 weeks of age and get into heavy production by 10 weeks.

How long do they lay eggs for?

For the first 6 months to 1 year they will lay very heavily. After one year the production will start to decline. A 2 year old egg layer is an old bird, but will still lay just not as much.

What are the nutritional benefits of quail eggs?

Quail eggs are absolutely packed with nutritional benefits. They are considered by many to be a super food. In Japan they were once considered more of a medicine than a food. According to most internet sources one tiny little quail eggs has 4x the nutritional value as 1 chicken egg. There is a bit of information on this on the internet and in books, I don’t know for sure what claims are true, but most are similar to each other.

I can say from my own experience that my seasonal allergies are almost completely gone from eating about a dozen for breakfast every morning. I have also seen this same effect on my roommate’s dog that eats them exclusively. Her dog, an 8 year old pug, would lose 80%-90% of its hair in the early spring and be bald, ugly, itchy, and miserable all summer until the first frost. Numerous vet visits, and even a suggestion to put it down from a now former vet, creams, baths lotions, steroids, nothing helped. Last summer we switched her to quail eggs as an exclusive diet and for the first time in her life she kept all of her hair. Her energy level has gone through the roof; she will even play fetch with the big bulldogs now. She also had chronic ear infections which have almost completely disappeared. I don’t know what internet claims are true, but I can tell you there is definitely something there.

How much does it cost to produce a dozen eggs?

About $0.50/ dozen

How much does it cost to produce a full grown bird?

Buying 100% of their feed at $0.50/pound comes out to be about $2-$2.50 per bird.

How much does a dressed out bird weigh?

Depends on a lot of variables, but usually 1/4 - 1/3 lb.

What do you do with all those eggs?

Eat them, feed them to the dogs, pickle them, gifts, blown egg decorations, anything you can do with a chicken egg.

How do you preserve the meat?

Use it fresh, freeze it, or can it. 3 quail fit perfectly in a 1 quart mason jar, also usually equals about a pound for easy record keeping.

Why old world quail, Japanese, and not new world quail Bobwhites?

Bobwhites will get bigger than that Japanese quail. They also take about twice as long to do so, ~16 weeks. So more time for a larger bird. The bobwhites are also a little more wild and prefer to have a fly pen once they have developed.

The bobwhite also don’t lay nearly as many eggs per year as the Japanese, about 50% – 60% less around 150/year compared to 300+/year.

Now if you wanted to seed some birds at a BOL, and just keep some feeders and water to help keep them around bobwhites, Tennessee reds or any other new world variety might be what you’re looking for. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, just depends on what your situation is. Different tools for different fools.
 
My quail stopped laying, what’s going on?

If you get a sudden decline in egg productions check the water supply.  If the water line gets plugged or something malfunctions and the birds don’t get enough water they will stop laying almost immediately.

If you get spotty egg production, like hit or miss or less than you were getting, check the light cycle to make sure they are getting at least 16 hours of light.
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 09:44:16 AM
Resources

TSP episode 1071

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/quail-for-eggs-and-meat

Prezi: Raising quail for meat and eggs

http://prezi.com/kssuytlqgjs4/raising-quail-for-meat-and-eggs/?kw=view-kssuytlqgjs4&rc=ref-37650931

My Flickr pictures

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moonvalleyprepper/

Micro Livestock

http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/LSTOCK/001/Minor_Stock/Microlivestock/INDEX.HTM

White Quail Blog

http://whitequail.com/
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 23, 2013, 09:48:39 AM
That's all folks!!

Please feel free to post any questions or comments below.

Again, thanks for you patience and I hope you enjoyed.  ;)


*Be sure to check out the Prezi if you skipped it and read this instead. It has over 100 pics, 3 YouTube videos and about 75 slides.
Title: Re: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 23, 2013, 09:54:52 AM
wow - this is great.  Makes me want to switch over to quail! :P
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: shaunw8lftr on April 23, 2013, 11:53:35 AM
THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!   THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

:)
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Barton on April 23, 2013, 04:52:26 PM
Great job Brad. 

Your interview is the reason I started raising quail.  I'm up to 17 2 week old Pharaohs and 10 adult Texas A & Ms.  They are fun and I'm learning something every day.

Thanks for the inspiration,

Mark
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: chickchoc on April 24, 2013, 11:15:23 AM
+10 for an awesome job of posting information!!  I can't imagine how many hours you spent on this project.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: JoshRonin on April 24, 2013, 12:03:40 PM
++++Great Job.  Just went through the power point and loved it.  Great information.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: DieselMcStacked on April 24, 2013, 01:35:08 PM
Great info! Are there pans or trays in the pens that catch the manure or does it all drop to the bottom?
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Rutger on April 24, 2013, 03:08:11 PM
+1 What a great detailed post. Should be a sticky IMO.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: shaunw8lftr on April 24, 2013, 03:41:40 PM
+1 What a great detailed post. Should be a sticky IMO.

I second that! 
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on April 26, 2013, 06:10:46 AM
Great info! Are there pans or trays in the pens that catch the manure or does it all drop to the bottom?

Yup, I made some wooden boxes out of 1"x4" and plywood sealed with Thompsons water sealer. They work OK, but I am going to be switching to metal poop trays next.


Thanks for all the compliments!
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Ms. Albatross on April 26, 2013, 08:07:54 PM
Moonvalleyprepper

I hope you are writing a book!  This knowledge needs to be shared with the rest of the world.... :D
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on May 03, 2013, 08:34:19 AM
Moonvalleyprepper

I hope you are writing a book!  This knowledge needs to be shared with the rest of the world.... :D

Maybe a coloring book  ;)

I just invested in some A/V equipment and am planning on documenting this and some of my other projects, so I'll get it out there but maybe not in book form.

Thanks for all the positive feedback, keep the questions and comments coming!
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Silverfox on May 19, 2013, 10:00:32 PM
Thanks for all the Info everyone !!
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: desertpir8 on May 24, 2013, 01:18:34 PM
I wanted to post up a big "Thank You" to MoonValleyPrepper (Brad) and Jack for the the quail raising episode (ep 1071) and post up our success story.     

Thanks to you guys, I just cleaned and put up my first 12 quail yesterday evening that I hatched and raised myself from eggs. Its been an adventure, but being able to see (and eat) the fruits of my labor and learning this new skill has been an experience, has been amazingly rewarding and a real blessing with the amount of eggs (and now meat) we've been able to produce.

After listening to the show, I realized that this could really work well for our household.   We have a reasonably large lot in town, but the compact footprint and high production rate really sold us on the idea.   After getting the OK from the better half, we found a 30 pen coop on Craigslist for a reasonable price and got it set up in one of our sheds here at home.    I put in a self-filling low pressure fresh water supply, thermostatically controlled swamp cooling, and timer controlled lighting to extend the laying hours.    Following your advice from the show, our first hatch of 69 eggs (lost one egg in shipment) gave us an 89% hatch rate and 97% survival rate after hatch.   We built 4 DIY brooders from stuff we found at Walmart that worked great for the first hatch and we will be using in the future to allow scalability in production.    Our 25 hens are laying about 20 eggs a day now.   We've collected eggs now from our first breeding and will see how those hatch out in a few weeks! 
 
Our goal with our quail was to have enough production on hand to supplement our dog's raw diet with the eggs while at the same time providing plenty of eggs and meat for us, and fertilizer/compost for the garden.   We have a couple of huge English Mastiff dogs that require over 10lb of raw meat a day, which can be an extraordinarily expensive diet.    The quail are helping to supplement their food requirements and are reducing the overall cost of their feeding while providing us with eggs and meat as well.   I'd never had quail eggs before and found that they are so much tastier than chicken eggs!!   We love them!  The dogs can't get enough of them either.   Win-win for everyone.

Thanks Jack & Brad for the great show!

John
Mesa, AZ
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Ms. Albatross on May 24, 2013, 06:14:18 PM
desertpir8

Kudos to you for taking the information, running with it, and having such a great success!  I've been following this thread and the one called "Who all is looking at quail now?" with much interest. 

Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on September 10, 2013, 09:59:48 AM
desertpir8

That's awesome man!

Glad I could help you out, any issues with the heat down there in AZ?
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Barton on September 10, 2013, 10:30:06 AM
I finally ordered and installed the watering cups that MoonValley used.  What a difference!  No more dumped water in the pens.  Not many things smell worse than wet quail poo. 

I wish I had gotten them sooner.  A quality product.


Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Groundhogday on September 11, 2013, 12:31:07 PM
Very nice post, I just ate my male quail last week, BBQ'ed him with some dry seasoning and a lime inside of him. So tasty! I need to get more of these guys
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on September 24, 2013, 01:19:09 PM
Not many things smell worse than wet quail poo.

You ain't lying about that!

The only issue I have had with the cups was a few birds trying to use them to stand on, thus overflowing them. A small bit of scrap caging wrapped around stopped that issue.

Very nice post, I just ate my male quail last week, BBQ'ed him with some dry seasoning and a lime inside of him. So tasty! I need to get more of these guys

Congrats!
A lime inside.... brilliant! I'll have to give that a try, just put 30 of them in the freezer last Friday.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on January 14, 2014, 09:08:24 AM
Update:

I ended up doing a presentation on Raising Quail for Meat and Eggs at the Michigan Permaculture Convergence last Nov, 2013. While I was there I met a bunch of cool people and was approached by one of the organizers about collaborating and co-teaching with him. Having a background in English he offered to help turn my quail presentation / article into and Ebook, and in return he could host it on his site as a resource.

Enjoy!

http://greatlakespermacultureportal.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/BD-Ebook-quail-for-meat-and-eggs.pdf

Hosted at www.greatlakespermacultureportal.com Check under Resources>Tools.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: christphrmurray on January 14, 2014, 10:57:22 AM
What is a good way to learn about having quail when I was in 3rd grade we hatched some. Like how to tell male from female birds? What's good feed we used crushed dog food.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on January 14, 2014, 11:29:47 AM
What is a good way to learn about having quail when I was in 3rd grade we hatched some. Like how to tell male from female birds? What's good feed we used crushed dog food.

Click on the link above for the Ebook it's free, no sign ups or other BS, I walk through the process. There are also pictures to tell the difference between males and females, and a section on feed (both store bought and alternative).

There are also other links to more info in my signature, TSP Episode 1071, this thread, and a visual presentation (Prezi).

Feel free to post any questions, I always enjoy answering them.  :)
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: skas on January 14, 2014, 11:23:32 PM
I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing information you've put out there, Moonvalleyprepper.  I had been leaning towards chickens prior to your presentation and some other conversations I've had, but thanks to you (and a local guy [but mostly you]), we're planning to have quail in the not too distant future.

Very cool of you.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: skas on January 23, 2014, 06:02:53 PM
Brad,

What would you say are reasonable prices per egg?  Per, say, 3 day old chick?  How about for an adult layer?

Looking locally, I've seen prices from $2-5/egg, $4-8/chick, and $10-20/layer.  I've found them considerably cheaper online, but I'm not sure how reliable/trustworthy some of these are (or how many eggs might be destroyed in transit).


Is this a decent deal?
http://phoenix.craigslist.org/wvl/grd/4286687370.html
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on February 03, 2014, 11:29:20 AM
Brad,

What would you say are reasonable prices per egg?  Per, say, 3 day old chick?  How about for an adult layer?

Looking locally, I've seen prices from $2-5/egg, $4-8/chick, and $10-20/layer.  I've found them considerably cheaper online, but I'm not sure how reliable/trustworthy some of these are (or how many eggs might be destroyed in transit).


Is this a decent deal?
http://phoenix.craigslist.org/wvl/grd/4286687370.html

Skas,

Those prices seem pretty damn high to me. I've mostly seen birds going in the $1 range for day - week old one's. Full grown seem to be around $5. I got both my incubators for around $35-50 used.  If you can't find any locally you can check ebay they are between $0.16 - $0.50 / egg for hatching ones. Your hatch rate will be lower after shipping, but if all you can find is $2-5 per egg then I would go the ebay route.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: skas on February 03, 2014, 03:52:38 PM
Thanks for the advice!
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Barton on February 04, 2014, 02:08:28 PM
Skas,

Those prices seem pretty damn high to me.

Me too.  I sell my Texas A&Ms for 50cents per fertile egg.  ( I include a couple free extra if they buy more than a dozen) and $1 per chick to 1 week old and an extra dollar each week old until 6 weeks or more then they are 6 dollars each.  My flock paid for itself last year.

Check your local Craigslist for eggs or chicks.  That is how I started my flock.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: skas on February 04, 2014, 08:36:53 PM
Thank you, Barton.  I ended up getting them for much closer to what you and Brad mentioned.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: IKN on February 06, 2014, 05:54:59 AM
Great job with all the info, maybe one of the moderators should make a "Sticky" out of this so it stays at the top.
I would love to see some recipes/ cooking tip here as well.
My wife and I started raising quail last year, we had Coturnix, Texas A&M, and Bobwhite. Ended up with about 40-50 brooders and were butchering about 50-80 quail every other week running 3 incubators. Highest succcess rates on hatchings we found dealt more with humidity levels during the last few days. At the first sign of hatchingg, we no longer opened the incubator to turn eggs or check and would have a 85-95% hatch rate vs 40-50% when we did.
We froze some and pressure canned other. A quick easy meal we found was pressure canned quail with Ramen noodles. The meat just falls of the bone after pressure canning and it's almost like chicken & noodles, but takes only minutes to prepare.
We've tried grilling them a couple times, but they always seem to end up tough and dry. Anyone have any grilling tips for quail ???
Another question I have concerns crossbreeding. It seems the Coturnix and Texas A&M's would, but not the Bob Whites. My wife was thinking it may be due to the fact that they were incubated separately since we started raising them later in the year and incubated them by themselves instead of with the other breeds. Later, she wanted to try crossing the Texas A&M's with the Bob Whites to see if we could end up with white Bob Whites (LOL).
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Rags Danneskjold on February 16, 2014, 07:56:16 AM
Brad,
Great show. I know it was about a year ago but I've been catching up on episodes that happened before I found TSP.

 One small thing that I am confused about and tried to figure out from the pictures is the cage bottoms and poop.

Brooder- So the cage bottoms are wire with shavings on them? This confuses me because I would think that the shavings would just fall through wire, so I probably have that wrong. If this is correct, how often does the bedding (I think you would have to remove all of it?) get changed out?

grow out- Then for the grow out pens, what's the bottoms? Still wire? You mentioned that there were trays under to catch poop.
So... from the pics it looks like you have a 24x48x10 box, then another right on top of that. I cant tell from the pics, if there is a slot between stacked pens that you slide your tray into?
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: D-rock517 on February 17, 2014, 11:50:35 PM
Ive decided to start raising quail.i will be getting started once spring arrives. Thanks for all of the great information. Im a fellow michigander and have been wondering how this brutal winter has effected your birds.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on February 24, 2014, 08:09:03 AM
Brad,
Great show. I know it was about a year ago but I've been catching up on episodes that happened before I found TSP.

 One small thing that I am confused about and tried to figure out from the pictures is the cage bottoms and poop.

Brooder- So the cage bottoms are wire with shavings on them? This confuses me because I would think that the shavings would just fall through wire, so I probably have that wrong. If this is correct, how often does the bedding (I think you would have to remove all of it?) get changed out?

grow out- Then for the grow out pens, what's the bottoms? Still wire? You mentioned that there were trays under to catch poop.
So... from the pics it looks like you have a 24x48x10 box, then another right on top of that. I cant tell from the pics, if there is a slot between stacked pens that you slide your tray into?

Hi Rags, thanks for the kind words.

The brooder is at the very bottom of the system and sits on the cement floor. This is the only place that I use wood shavings. The grow out pens and laying pens have a wire floor with no shavings. Underneath each wire bottom cage is a box that slides out to empty the droppings. They are 24"x 48"x 4", though on my next redesign I am going to split them into (2) 24"x 24" x 4" trays. the 24" x 48" trays can get heavy and are awkward to carry down my ladder.

Ive decided to start raising quail.i will be getting started once spring arrives. Thanks for all of the great information. Im a fellow michigander and have been wondering how this brutal winter has effected your birds.

Awesome! Send me a message and maybe we can meet up if your local. The cold doesn't seem to bother them, though their water freezing does. I tweaked the water system for this winter hoping to keep it from freezing, but it didn't work. I've had to go switch over to giving them bowls of water since around Dec. I also cull down to about 3-4 per cage for the winter which seems to help.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Southron Homesteader on March 03, 2014, 09:58:21 PM
Thank you for all this info.  Been planning on quail since I heard your interview last year, just relistened last night.  I now have eggs in the incubator and finishing building my pens.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Roswell on March 04, 2014, 11:43:29 AM
+1 Thank you for this awesome and extremely detailed post!

Edit: Topic Stickied
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Roswell on May 14, 2014, 09:26:15 AM
Working up a copy of your design.  Thanks for the inspiration!

You mentioned switching to metal catch pans. Are you just going to bend sheet metal or did you find pre-made pans to those specs?
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Moonvalleyprepper on May 14, 2014, 01:37:10 PM
Working up a copy of your design.  Thanks for the inspiration!

You mentioned switching to metal catch pans. Are you just going to bend sheet metal or did you find pre-made pans to those specs?

Glad you found it useful!

I have not made the switch yet, spring tree planting and fencing has taken top priority for the moment. I'd say either way make them or buy them. If I end up buying them it will probably be these ones.

http://www.bassequipment.com/Cage+Pans/Metal+Pans/default.aspx

or the equivalent from Klubertanz

http://www.klubertanz.com/images/Klubertanz_Pg19.pdf

Doing it over I think I would buy or build quality plastic or metal ones. I've probably spent more $ on the 2 DIY attempts at them then I would have spent just buying good ones right off the bat.

If egg sales go good this year I'll be doing a full rebuild, or saving up to purchase a GQF one.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Cedar on May 14, 2014, 01:46:51 PM
Z made his own for his quail cages. He was running about 100 Coturnix. The pans are this type of material which looks like eraseable white board. And he built a frame around them. They are really easy to clean. I cleaned his poultry house for him a few times.

Cedar
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: LibertyBelle on June 17, 2014, 07:16:11 PM
I hatched out about 40 Coturnix and Texas A&M quail two weeks ago.  Raising quail is a first for me, so I'm sure I've got a lot to learn.  I'm hoping that I get at least a couple that will break the rules and tend to be really broody, as I really don't like brooding them in the house.




   

 


Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Hoxbar on June 26, 2014, 03:06:56 PM
I'm glad I found this post!  I was just given some Coturnix quail.  I listened to your show yesterday and it was a really good show with lots of quail info.  Now I just need to recipes! lol
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: PaddyMack on June 26, 2014, 09:35:04 PM
Great info!

Thanks for all the work you put into this, I have actually got into quail because of you  8)

Thanks and take care
PaddyMack
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Hoxbar on July 02, 2014, 02:37:06 PM
Since you have the quail in your garage, how do you control the smell of the poop?  Do you line the trays with newspaper or nothing at all.  I saw a lady using paper towels.  She complained that she was going through a roll every other day.  She was so upset over the poop situation that she gave me 17 of her quail just so it was one less cage to clean. 
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: jamendjr on July 04, 2014, 08:58:06 AM
Brad, fantastic stuff. Thanks for all the great information.

Did you ever test out that quail tractor? If so how did it go?
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: michael SI on August 04, 2014, 09:08:49 PM
Can anyone tell me where moon valley gets his quail stock?
I see all the helpful info but I do not see where to buy them... thanks
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Barton on August 10, 2014, 12:23:13 PM
Can anyone tell me where moon valley gets his quail stock?
I see all the helpful info but I do not see where to buy them... thanks

I found my first quail on my local Craigslist.  I had the option of grown birds or fertile eggs and I chose the eggs.  If you don't see any on your Craigslist, post a wanted add there and I bet someone will answer.  Another idea is to ask at your local feed store.  They will probably know someone that raises quail.  If all that fails, you can buy fertile eggs on eBay, but your hatch rate will probably be less than ideal because of the shipping.  I would try the first two options first.

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: LibertyBelle on September 09, 2014, 07:21:01 PM
Remember those quail I told you all about that I hatched out in June?  Well here is one of those babies now...with HER babies.  Don't ask me how, but I ended up with a broody quail, of which I've been told by various breeders is only a 1/100000 chance.  And this was my first time ever raising quail.   BTW, all of those are chicks from her own eggs.  I noticed that when she first started laying, she would only lay in the same corner each day, whereas the others just lay helter-skelter (and never in "her" corner).  So I just left her eggs alone.  After a couple weeks of laying, she began sitting on them, and the result was 9 perfect little chicks.  Not all of them are under her in this photo, as a few were out and about and around the water and feed dishes.  I'm hoping she passes her broody trait on to some of her chicks.  :)

(http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc381/CrackedLibertyBelle/IMG_8332_zps2d3a08af.jpg)

Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Barton on September 25, 2014, 03:54:50 PM
That is exciting LibertyBelle!   I never had it happen with my quail. 
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Ms. Albatross on September 25, 2014, 04:02:33 PM
I'm hoping she passes her broody trait on to some of her chicks.  :)

I hope so.  You might have a little money-maker there!  You could probably charge a premium for them   :)
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: LibertyBelle on September 25, 2014, 05:52:37 PM
Here is an updated picture taken today of her and her chicks (she's the big one with her back to the camera).  Even though they are almost as big as she is now, she's still protective of them. 
But they are big enough to move into their new coops now and will be doing so this coming weekend.   

(http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc381/CrackedLibertyBelle/QuailandChicksupdate_zps10a087d8.jpg)
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Samuel Fairlane on November 25, 2014, 11:12:43 PM
Remember those quail I told you all about that I hatched out in June?  Well here is one of those babies now...with HER babies.  Don't ask me how, but I ended up with a broody quail, of which I've been told by various breeders is only a 1/100000 chance.  And this was my first time ever raising quail.   BTW, all of those are chicks from her own eggs.  I noticed that when she first started laying, she would only lay in the same corner each day, whereas the others just lay helter-skelter (and never in "her" corner).  So I just left her eggs alone.  After a couple weeks of laying, she began sitting on them, and the result was 9 perfect little chicks.  Not all of them are under her in this photo, as a few were out and about and around the water and feed dishes.  I'm hoping she passes her broody trait on to some of her chicks.  :)

Awesome!
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: gilpin on November 07, 2015, 06:20:29 PM
I've had 20 quail for 2 months now.  They are egg laying machines!

Some have gotten bumblefoot.  I'm wondering what others are doing with birds that get it. Do you try to treat them or do they just go straight to the freezer?

I've learned that having the birds on the wire floor leads to bumblefoot. I have 4 birds with it now.  I'd hate to have to regularly whack birds if/when they get it. 
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: I.L.W. on November 08, 2015, 02:03:29 PM
It's a Staph Infection. You might put a few perches in the cages for them to rest on. A roosting bar will remove their feet from the ground for about a third of the day. Porcelain roosts are available from pet stores. These don't hold moisture and microbes like wooden perches do.

Beyond that, look at where the abrasions are on affected birds. If it's always the bottom of their feet, use a lower gauge wire for the cage bottoms. If it starts above the toes in the leg, it's likely from another type of injury. Make sure the cage wire is folded properly around the edges and there are no sharp wire ends exposed. I always grind down the ends after building a cage. Surprisingly, most commercial cages even ignore that detail.

Make sure the cages are clean. We're talking "Laboratory clean". If excrement is building up and it cannot be washed out in a few seconds every day, that's a flaw with the design of the cages. Sterilize the cages, look for hygienic problem areas (usually the corners), get a wire brush (like used for cleaning a grill) and keep it by the cages for easy cleaning. Copper wire cage bottoms are better, but you have to build them yourself.  Staphylococcus bacteria is unable to survive on a copper surface.

Think of the old chinese cages popularized when keeping canaries was fashionable. Cages were round (no corners), of anti-microbial copper construction, using thick wire, and the roosts were centered in the middle of the cage, not on the edges. This made for simple cleaning. In those days, they weren't feeding birds antibiotics or bringing them to the vet. Survival of their pets was predicated on good planning and design work, and they were pretty damn good at it. In fact, the designs of those cages were also very resource efficient, obtaining an optimal interior volume with minimal wire to enclose it.

Even the more squared victorian cages had some very good design consideration, and you can pick up some of them from antique stores pretty cheaply.

Here's a modern chinese reproduction.
(http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v3/1580094736/Antique_Copper_Color_Stainless_Steel_Round_Bird.jpg_200x200.jpg)

These scale up from holding 1 canary to being walk-in aviaries holding hundreds of birds. Yours needn't be as ornate as the one in the picture, it's just there to illustrate the design considerations. A Wire welder and some scrap romex from a construction site will do the trick. You could even work out a no-weld version if you had to.

New cages are not a necessity, they're a labor reducing luxury which could help with this specific problem. Plenty of people have success with cube-shaped hardware cloth cages stapled together. There's nothing wrong with those designs, and they do have advantages in reduced cost and better modularity which are very significant factors. But the Chinese solved this problem a few thousand years ago with nothing but clever design.

The affected birds should be destroyed. It sucks, but remember, 4 out of 20 is a hell of a lot better than their survival rate in the wild.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: gilpin on November 09, 2015, 01:39:01 AM
Good stuff.  Thanks for the info.  I had no idea about copper.  Perches are a good idea.

For now I am putting down newspaper and a layer of straw on top of the wire until I can get another cage built.  Talk about making a mess though. The birds kick that straw everywhere.   Then I will sanitize the old cages, laboratory clean.  I guess I will keep a spray bottle of bleach solution and rags handy in the future and clean pretty much daily.

Having several cages will make this quite a chore every day.  I wonder how the bigger  operations with thousands of birds combat this.  I've seen pictures of outfits with dozens of wire cages. There's no way they are wiping down the insides of those cages every day.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: I.L.W. on November 09, 2015, 07:02:09 PM
Commercially, the producers don't care about foot condition. If it survives long enough to get to weight, it's harvested. If it won't make it, they cull on the spot. It might be a bit of an overstatement that they don't care, they do take every reasonable preventative measure. Given the lifespan of the birds however, part of those measures is likely a supply of medicated feed as a standard course of action for all birds. Economies of scale in feed purchasing, and profitability over quality of the product make that a reasonable practice in larger operations.

On the home level with a few hundred birds, it's more labor intensive. Things like the round cages help. The birds crap everywhere, but it can be difficult to reach the corners of a rectangular cage and get a brush in there thoroughly. A little bit left behind builds up quickly.

You can also do a floor to ceiling walk-in cage with roosts. Basically a home aviary. You get fewer birds per square foot, but have a soil floor with deep mulching to absorb the droppings, much like a chicken coop. You could frame in such an enclosure with 1"x2"s and chicken wire for under $100 and get 50 birds in it easily. It makes egg collection a bit more difficult. Unlike chickens with nesting boxes, Quail will drop them anywhere on the floor. If you eat the eggs, it's probably more trouble than it's worth. But if you let them hatch the eggs, or only collect them periodically for the incubator, and don't mind a 50% hatch rate, then it reduces labor significantly. The only reason for a cage bottom is egg collection.

I have heard rumors of quail that will nest in one spot. I would love to see one of these mythical creatures for myself, lol. Perhaps it's a breed characteristic, I don't really know.

On a large production scale, I have seen cage rakes. The bottom wire is pulled very tight, but only goes one direction, from the back of the cage to the front. That allows a small raking tool to draw eggs forward and clean the rails of the cage. Here's a crude model of what I'm talking about (ignore the improper scale and absence of most of the cage, just a quick concept sketch, as I couldn't find photos online already :) )

(https://content-na.drive.amazonaws.com/cdproxy/templink/nkEW12T1QnWrNoffRZgaA6Tt9kDKPWcuXJ51L3QozWQLAYspN/alt/thumb?viewBox=1097)

The rake hole in the front is small enough that the birds cannot get out. It may have an optional door.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: undaunted6 on November 24, 2015, 12:07:19 PM
Anyone raising Quail in the VA/TN/KY area? I have a friend that would like to try some eggs and his wife wants to raise them. Thanks for any info!
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: gilpin on December 05, 2015, 04:01:48 PM
I put 50 eggs in an IncuView this morning. This is my first time trying to hatch some birds.  Very excited!
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: finnius on January 16, 2016, 04:40:16 PM
Hey all, is anyone in the North Georgia area that have some Cots? Looking to expand my flock but really don't want to drive the hour + to my regular guy.
Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: gilgoul on February 23, 2016, 02:10:15 PM
wow, moonvalleyprepper, thank you a thousands, I am just in the process of getting the project in, and will definitely go for quails too, as I believe chickens on my 1/4 of an acre (including home) wouldn't be realistic for my family (2 adults and three fast growing boys)


Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: gilpin on April 19, 2016, 02:12:17 AM
"You might put a few perches in the cages for them to rest on. A roosting bar will remove their feet from the ground for about a third of the day. Porcelain roosts are available from pet stores. These don't hold moisture and microbes like wooden perches do."

Turns out that coturnix quail don't perch, so don't bother with this.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: jb022270 on September 09, 2016, 10:36:30 PM
Hello I'm in the beginning stages of starting a quail egg biz and want to see what others are charging per dozen eggs. I will be 100% tractoring them minus my breeders. I'm in Geneva Florida if that helps for any locals. Thank you
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Da Li on October 26, 2016, 11:53:12 AM
A quick thought for all to consider...

I just did my first incubation of quail eggs (which was also my first incubation of any type of eggs).
Google wisdom says a 50% hatch rate is fairly standard, so I was quite disappointed with a 30% hatch rate (24 out of 75 eggs).

However! My incubation was done with the help of my Animal Science professor, who then had the class open up the unhatched eggs.
Turns out only 29 of the 75 were even fertile in the first place! Prof. suggested this is probably due to young males, and a 5 to 1 F to M ratio, which some would say is too high on the F side.

So adjusting for the infertile eggs, I had an 82.75% hatch rate. Not bad for a beginner!

So now I have another batch in the incubator and if there's still a low fertility rate despite the males being older, then I'll know I need to adjust my M/F ratio to 1 M per 3-4 F to increase their likelihood of being able to make all their appointed "rounds."

Typical management! Overload the workers and then get upset at the workers for "unacceptable" results! One man/woman/bird can only do so much in a day, haha!

Might be worth googling and learning what fertile vs infertile eggs look like and checking unhatched eggs. That way you don't end up eating your boys that are doing the best they can under the circumstances (like I almost did haha).

- Da
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: xxdabroxx on February 08, 2017, 04:59:11 PM
Just read this again, going to start putting together the pieces to get some quail this year.  I'm thinking between 12-24 should be plenty for me to start with. 
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Barton on February 09, 2017, 03:52:03 PM
When the hens are in full swing, you'll get about an egg a day.  They tend to pile up in a hurry.  :-)
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: Da Li on February 15, 2017, 12:50:13 PM
Just read this again, going to start putting together the pieces to get some quail this year.  I'm thinking between 12-24 should be plenty for me to start with.

I started with mine about 6 months ago. Word of advice, don't go cheap on feed.

I tried using a feed, supposedly formulated for quail, from a local family feed mill since it was cheaper than Purina. In the end it was more expensive.
1. Being a ground feed instead of a crumble, the birds were wasting a LOT (compared to the Purina crumbles) since it was so light and easy to throw around.
2. The local feed formulation is apparently off on calcium. My egg production dropped from 30 per day (from 35 females) to 18-21 per day from the same females. The birds also developed some egg eating habits, as they were trying to get the calcium from the egg shells. Now that I'm back on better feed, my production is back up to 28-32 per day (from 35 females) and I haven't noticed as many eggs/yolks in the poop trays below the cages.

I'd like to use a local guy, but I can't meet the one ton minimum for a custom mix. Price difference was $14/bag for local and $20 per bag for Purina (both using 50 pound bags). After figuring waste and reduced production, I figure the Purina is the better buy despite the higher price tag.

Just my thoughts!
Good Luck!

-- Da

PS... Between my wife and I, 30 eggs is few enough that we don't get overloaded, but also enough that we can have eggs every day.
Title: Re: Raising quail for meat and eggs
Post by: The Morgan Hill Homesteading Project on September 17, 2017, 05:29:20 PM
What is a fair price to pay for someone who has quail for sale? what ratio's should I buy for females to male?