Lets discuss a bird of a different feather. The cute and personable quail. I was proposing the idea of getting Coturnix quail to my dear and wonderful husband. Being the way I am, I researched like a mad woman and drew out a sketch of my proposed quail pen to show him (I’m thinking of something like this). So why quail? There are so many great reasons. While quail farming might not be ideal for every homesteader, they can fit into homesteads both large and small.
Reasons Why Quail Farming Might Be Right for You
- The eggs are considered a delicacy and bring in more money than chicken eggs. If you decide to raise quail, you’ve got to try your hand at making Little Devils. They’re also excellent pickled as a high-protein snack.
- You can have males in your flock without annoying your neighbors (which is great for us that live on a non-traditional homestead).
- They cost less than traditional poultry because they are smaller so they use less feed and bedding. In fact, with wire bottom cages there is no bedding to deal with.
- They are very low maintenance and their so fun to watch with their funny antics. They’re also just as hardy as chickens and ducks in extreme winters like we have here in Maine.
- You can sell juvenile and adult birds for eggs, meat, or hunting dog training.
- They lay an egg every day from 6 weeks on (depending on breed and supplemental light).
- In many cases you can have quail when you can’t have chickens (again, great for the non-traditional homesteader).
The Difference Between Quail & Chickens
I dive into things wanting to know everything you could possibly need or want to know. I’ve been reading books (I enjoyed Urban Quail-Keeping and Carole West’s Quail: Getting Started – she visited us and shared why she raises quail on the ground), meeting up with people who raise quail, and perusing the internet. Some things surprised me. I figured a quail would be much like a chicken, just in a smaller package. In some cases they are similar, but these are game birds, so some ways they are completely different.
Where chickens do terribly on wire floors (bumble foot), this doesn’t tend to be an issue for quail. I am looking at setups where they slant the wire floor so the eggs just roll right out to the front.
On the topic of eggs, did you know that in most cases quail don’t nest? They will just lay an egg wherever. The negative of that is that they also don’t brood. I heard maybe 1 out of 100 females will brood eggs. That means if you plan to breed and grow your quail “business” then you need an incubator.
Never one to pay retail for anything or buy something I could easily make, I’ve been looking into plans for DIY incubators using recycled/upcycled materials. Update: I’ve been hatching and brooding quail for a few years now and I’ve got some tips to help the process go smoothly.
So, quail experts, do you have any suggestions or important experience to share? Does quail farming sound like it might be right for you?
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