Whether for physical or financial survival, learning how to raise quail is a must when you’re homesteading or preparing for when SHTF!
In this article:
- The Homesteader’s Guide to Raising Quail
- The Benefits of Raising Quail
- How to Prepare an Area to Raise Quail
- Raising Quail: Tips for Daily Care
- Where To Purchase Quail
- The Guide to Buying Quail
Useful Tips on How to Raise Quail for Eggs and Meat
The Homesteader’s Guide to Raising Quail
Want to learn how to raise quail? You’re not just one of the few because more and more people across the United States are raising their own food.
From cattle and goats to pigs, rabbits, and chickens, people are able to put fresh meat on the table all on their own. In this day and age, raising and growing your own food is becoming more of a necessity.
When SHTF, it’s comforting to know you can provide for your family. So take the next step in your homegrown protein-raising and adopt some quail.
As a matter of fact, raising quail is becoming more popular. Homesteaders and farmers (rural and urban) across the nation are having great success in raising this pint-sized fowl.
They are smaller than your average chicken, which means they take up less room, and they are easy to care for, too.
The Benefits of Raising Quail
Let’s talk about the benefits of raising quail for meat and eggs in more detail. Why have they become so popular?
This unassuming bird only happens to be one of the best options around for fresh eggs and meat. Here’s what quail can do for you.
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1. Quail Lay Eggs Every Day, Just Like Chickens
If you decide on raising quail for your farm, you can look forward to their eggs. Coturnix quail lay daily just like chickens, and their eggs are spotted and speckled.
They are eaten just like chicken eggs and you’ll also find plenty of recipes for their eggs and meat.
In many parts of the world, quail eggs are considered a delicacy. Their eggs are smaller, so you will have to use more of them.
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About 3-4 quail eggs are as good as one chicken egg. But, their quality is comparable to chicken eggs.
2. Quail Are Perfect for the Urban Farmer Who Cannot Raise Chickens
Where cities and towns do not permit chickens, raising quail is your best option.
Another great plus is quail do not crow. Instead, their calls are quiet chirps and coos giving little indication of their presence.
So they’re much less likely to annoy your neighbors than a 4:30 a.m. rooster wake-up call. It is important to note you cannot let Coturnix quail free-range (like chickens), as they fly very well.
3. Quail Take Up Less Room
As a general rule, quail need one square foot of space per bird. Raising quail this way means they’ll be less prone to behavioral issues and lead happier lives.
A 2′ x 8′ hutch is perfect for 12 quail. Unlike chickens, quail do not perch; instead, they lay on the ground.
They do not nest like chickens either and lay their eggs wherever it suits them.
When raising quail in your home, keep this in mind as you build or purchase a hutch for them. You don’t want them living in or laying their eggs in their own manure.
4. Quail Mature Quickly
Unlike chickens, Coturnix quail mature and start laying eggs in just 6 to 8 weeks (after their birth) — a blink of an eye compared to the 7-month wait period for chickens.
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5. Quail Are Hardy Creatures
Although they’re not invincible, quail are hardy birds which do not get sick frequently. As long as their environment is kept clean and are not crowded into a hutch, quail have few health issues.
Only make sure to clean their feeders and water containers weekly. Scrub any manure out of their hutch to avoid issues such as coccidiosis and quail disease.
What is Coccidiosis? This is a parasitic disease in the intestines of animals which spreads from one animal to another through infected feces.
Also, make sure they are kept out of the elements so they neither get too hot nor too cold. Successfully raising quail is easy, and I think you’ll find them as rewarding as keeping chickens!
Let’s go over the following steps on how to raise quail successfully:
- How to prepare an area to raise quail
- Raising quail: Tips for daily care
- Buying quail: The type of quail that is the most recommended and where to purchase them
** Note: Since buying mature (adult) quail is ideal for beginners, the following information is for adult quail care ONLY.
How to Prepare an Area to Raise Quail
First, find a space in your yard or on your balcony where you can hang quail cages or hutch.
Next, clear the space underneath in which to place straw. This will help you to collect and remove waste.
You can also decide whether to house your quail in a different sort of housing, like a rabbit hutch or something similar. However, set the cage up in a way which prevents diseases since quail waste is high in ammonia.
Purchase a long, narrow cage and hang it from an overhang on your house, garage, or balcony. Choose somewhere with access to light, but is blocked by strong winds.
Most quail cages are built of open mesh wire since the birds need shelter, but plenty of air. They should be housed away from predators, including pets.
Hang some lights around the cage, too. This will allow you to increase egg production in the fall and winter months.
The birds need 15 hours of light per day to produce eggs, but any more and they will become stressed from lack of sleep. Decide how many birds you need based on your egg consumption.
Figure out your weekly chicken egg consumption. It takes 3-4 quail eggs to equal one chicken egg and your mature females should lay one egg every day.
Plan to get one female bird for each chicken egg you eat.
Note: Quail eggs can be consumed like chicken eggs; however, it requires more birds to produce the same amount.
Raising Quail: Tips for Daily Care
- Provide quail with clean drinking water, then clean and refill their water containers daily.
- Change the straw beneath the cages daily or you can add some of it to your compost. Quail waste is high in ammonia, so it must be changed often.
- Clean the cage out if any waste starts to build up and wash it once a week to avoid disease and illness.
- The food should be a ‘laying fowl’ mix starting at five to six weeks of age. Special laying food is available in most feed stores. Ask if it is good for laying birds before you buy it. If you are raising quail for meat, change their food to a ‘finisher diet’ instead of a laying fowl mix.
- Keep the animals undisturbed after six weeks of age. The females will start to lay and they will have poor egg production levels if they are exposed to other animals, noise, or other disturbances.
- Consider adding fresh greens, seeds, and small insects to your quail feed.
Where To Purchase Quail
There are options on where you can purchase quail. Go to Craigslist or look in your local paper first.
The best idea is to use contacts in the local livestock or urban farming community to get birds which are acclimated to your area. Also, try local ranch or farm supply and feed stores.
If they don’t get quail each spring with their chickens and guinea fowl, they may be able to order them especially for you. An important tip when buying quail: Buy at least two females for every male, but keep males separated.
A preponderance of females will ensure plenty of egg production in your flock. At the same time, you’ll probably only be able to house one male in each cage.
If two or more males are kept in a single cage, the dominant male may attempt to kill all other males. This is to ensure only he will be able to mate with the female quails.
The Guide to Buying Quail
- Raising Coturnix quail is highly recommended. They aren’t just good egg producers but they can also be kept as meat and are really easy to look after. Note: If you’re looking for quail that lay bigger eggs you should go for the jumbo Coturnix.
- Coturnix quail usually start laying at 6-8 weeks when they mature. From then on they will lay one egg every day.
- Other popular breeds to consider are the Scaled Quail, Gambel’s Quail, or the Bobwhite Quail. However, Coturnix quail is the most recommended starter breed.
This video from Living Traditions Homestead will show you basic quail care and how to tell male from female:
Growing and raising your own food is one of the essential survival skills you need to know. Raising quail for meat and eggs will give you an endless supply of valuable protein you won’t need to go through hell and high water to catch in case SHTF.
Raising quail for profit isn’t a bad idea either for your financial survival. Learn how to raise quail with these tips and enjoy the amazing benefits which come along with it!
Would you consider raising quail in the urban areas! Let us know your thoughts about it in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 7, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.