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Raising quail

 
Posts: 14
Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
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My family has hatched quail, and they are good for eggs, but the eggs are tiny. Quail can die very easily of shock, and are very shy creatures. Ours dogs have leaped into their cage and actually scared the pour things to death! They aren't good pets for cuddling and hugging.
 
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Welcome to Permies!

Can you describe your families' set up? What type of coop, etc? Do you think quail are good for the dinner table?
 
Grace Hinchliffe
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They are not good for the dinner table! Their coop is a cage on the wall of the shed
 
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"Locally harvested Organic quail" fetch a good  price round here.
 
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Location: cornwall, england
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Quail do well with branches and bushes to hide under. This keeps them calm and provides protection.
Many people keep wire on all 6 sides of a quail coop to prevent predators jumping in or digging under.
Of you don't like the eggs or the meant and don't want to sell them then it's time to cull and pick different live stock surely?
 
pollinator
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Location: ALASKA
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Wolf Fang wrote:They are not good for the dinner table! Their coop is a cage on the wall of the shed



Don't know what kind of quail or quail eggs you are eating, but quail is one of my favorites.  I've never fooled with laying quail, but have raised quail for both meat and dog training for many years.  I found them quite easy to care for and quite hardy.  To me they are a good poultry for small areas and can be kept on a small lot with few problems.
 
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Location: Florida
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We love our quail! What breed are you raising? We've done cortunix, jumbo bobwhite and now have a growout pen of native bobwhites. None of mine have ever been scared to death... and with kids and dogs I would think that would be enough to do so. I've been able to sell the birds and the eggs, and although the eggs are small they are regular in production. We hard boil them for snacks. We raise ours in pens on the ground so they stay busy all day. We had some of the cortunix become pets (mealworm treats help!)but the bobwhites are flighty.
 
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The hardest part about raising quail is not eating them.  
I've just about got my "free range" area for reintroducing bob white quail to our area.
My hardest part will be keeping the dogs away from the free birds, but those that survive will be free to live as quail should live.
Those that will be for eggs and table will be in heavy wire 1/4 inch mesh cages in the chicken area.
 
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Location: The Carolinas
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I love quail, I remember as a kid my grandpa had a huge fly pen and had hundreds, we also used to hunt them but stopped years ago as they are getting scarce.

I'm thinking of getting so bobwhites to raise bot for meat and eggs and some to release. I don't have much room for chickens so I though quail would be a bit easier.

What would be the best coop setup?  
 
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As a kid growing up in Kansas, we looked forward to fall for quail and pheasant season.  To this day, quail are my favorite game bird.  Yes, they are small, but they are wonderfully tasty.  My dad used to clean them and mom would hardly even want to cook those little drumsticks, but as a kid, that was my favorite part.  

I currently raise chickens but I'm thinking about adding quail to the animal integration on my "operation" (READ: suburban yard with WAY too many trees).  I have such wonderful memories of eating them as a kid.  There is a Mexican restaurant down in Rosarito (15 miles south of Tijuana) that has a big cage of quail inside the front door.  I'll often order the quail --- they'll catch and dress the bird to order -- doesn't get any fresher than that.  My thinking is that if we had a nice cage/coop filled with 50 quail or so, it would be easy enough to kill 2 birds for my wife and I and enjoy them for dinner.  Not as big of a commitment as a whole Rhode Island Red or Bar Rock.  

But can you free range them the way you can backyard chickens?  Or once you open the cage, are they all gone forever?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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No Marco, you can't free range quail, they will fly off, never to be seen again (unless you tagged them and then went hunting and got lucky).
We keep quail in 1/4" mesh cages and that is inside a 1/2 inch mesh cage since coons love a quail dinner.

Redhawk
 
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Location: Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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What was your question? Or are you concerned about them in some way?

Quail are skittish and nervous, and they flush up when startled, as they do in the wild. Cages need to have soft tops (such as small gauge chicken wire) and/or welded wire. I never build cages more than 2 feet tall, as they can flush up when they get nervous and actually crack their heads open and sometimes die. They cannot be free ranged, as they can easily become prey for raccoons and/or foxes and/or rats. Quails don't roost up high, they hide down low - as they do in the wild. Cages should sit low on the ground - if they are suspended more than 3-4 inches, rats get under the cages and will pull quail's legs off at night when they are sleeping. It is horrifying. Please make sure rats cannot get under the quail's cages!! It's a really good idea to do some research on how quail live in their natural habitat and then work with that knowledge to help them thrive in captivity. We have aviary cages that I built and put over a trough that collected their poop in sawdust shavings, of which were deposited in the worm bins. Everything was closed up tight and only 4 inches off the ground - the trays slid right underneath and quail would roost in milk jugs (see below).

Quail eggs are nutritious and buttery. They are good for all types of eating. They are of course small, but it's only an issue if people want it to be. I just figure it's part of their charm.

Quail need a sand or dust bath handy and places to hide and shield themselves - like branches or boxes cut out or something. Milk jugs that have a window cut out of the side and filled with sand are excellent for this. They can't be pets unless you feel like putting an ungodly amount of time into taming and hand feeding them, and then if that's your bag, right on.

Coturnix quail (pharoah or D1 brown speckled) are all dark meat and have a gamier taste. They are smaller in size.  Texas A & M quail (all white) are beefier and have more lean meat that tastes more like chicken. They are heavier than regular coturnix quail. We have raised both and have found both have good qualities. I would raise Texas quail again. Hardier, less prone to leg breakage and braining themselves on the tops of cages. Just a tougher bird, all around. And snow white pretty. There are other kinds, too, but we have no experience with them, so I'll leave those alone.

Anyhow, hope all this helps. If you aren't impressed or interested in keeping them, a lot of area farmers would be interested - their eggs fetch a novelty price and hollow eggs are routinely sold for crafting. Also there is HUGE market in the Seattle area for ethically and organically raised quail from area farmers. I'm sure Vancouver wouldn't be that different....
 
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