All About Raising Quail

By into the rustic - 4:08 PM

 

Best Backyard or Homestead Bird to Raise

Hands down, without a doubt, one of the easiest and best game birds to raise for eggs, meat, and compost manure!

I've raised chickens and roosters before, and as much as I love them, they consume a lot of food, are noisy, and take up quite a bit of space. 



Why Quail are the #1 Backyard bird

1.) Less Money on Feed- Obviously, since they are a smaller bird than a chicken, they require much much less feed to fill them up. They do require a high protein feed, at least 26% protein crumble for laying eggs and being a good meat bird. Or if you choose to have their roost in a natural habitat, they will find bugs and other protein supplements to keep them nice and healthy. They don't sit and eat and eat the feed, just what they need, so less waste!

2.) Healthier All Around To Consume- Their eggs are considered a delicacy, super healthy, higher in protein (greater yolk to white ratio), double the iron and riboflavin, and 1/3 more vitamin B12. They are also being studied as a natural treatment for Salmonella, amongst other health studies.

3.) Quieter Bird- The males do make a call sound usually at dawn and also more often during mating season. But, because its volume is much lower than a rooster, it can be confused with an exotic bird call. Not annoying to neighbors if you are considering a backyard brood.

4.) Eggs, Eggs, Eggs- The ladies will lay eggs daily and dutifully, and they are some of the most beautiful in color and design. If you are considering a source of income, quail eggs are much more valuable than chicken eggs.
 

5.) No Need To Build Nesting Boxes- Quail are ground birds, so they don't need a nesting box to lay their eggs, they will do it right on the ground. They love "hidey-holes" and burrowing in grass and twigs and branches. Even when they are hatchlings, I put a good amount of grass in their nursery, and they tunnel through it happily. When they lay eggs, it can sometimes be a bit of a scavenger hunt, fun for the kids to help with. Just watch your step!

6.) Love Birds- If you have a small flock, you can pair up your males and females, they mate for life! They will sleep together in pairs, and take turns protecting the eggs. They will also sleep with intertwined wings side by side. Otherwise, if you are unable to pair up because you have an uneven ratio, one male can usually handle about 5 females.

7.) Great Compost For Your Garden- Keep your garden looking healthy and green and flourishing, with this great compost maker. Please note, they need to be aged for the same amount of time as Chicken Manure. You can not add them straight to your garden or it will burn your crops. Click here for my Organic Fertilizer Chart to learn different aging periods for chicken and other animal manures and fertilizers for your garden.



Building a Quail Habitat

I'm a firm believer that whatever animal you are raising, that you should opt for the most natural, kind, and environmentally friendly housing. I understand people see them as food food food, but for me, a happy animal is a healthier animal, and if you are planning on consuming either their byproducts or they themselves, then it's in your best interest to keep them as content as your space allows.

The great part about building a Habitat for Quail, is it doesn't have to cost a fortune, it's simple to build, even in an hour or two, you can have one ready to rock and roll. 

Suggested Materials:

-Wooden boards (broken down pallets work GREAT!)
-Nails 1 1/2"- 2"
-Chicken Wire- 1-1 1/2" diameter (Quail are small and can fit through traditional chicken wire, the smaller the openings the better)

Quail only need about 1 foot of space per bird in the enclosure, and low height is best, no more than a couple of feet tall. They do fly a bit, and if it's too high they may try to take flight and hurt themselves against the top of your housing.

They like small enclosures to hide in, so you can make a couple of little hutches for them to hide in to put in your enclosure as well as some hay and branches in as well. 

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