Are you considering raising quail on your homestead? Well I hope so because these are fun little birds that offer neat benefits. Before we cover the perks, let’s discuss which quail breed to get started with, especially if you’re new to quail.
Beginners should begin with Coturnix because they’re the hardiest of all quail. The key word here is hardy, meaning you’ll encounter fewer problems.
Many think raising quail is similar to raising chickens, there are similarities as far as techniques but when it comes to breeds everything changes.
The coturnix quail, also known as Japanese quail were imported to North America in the late 1800’s from Asia and Europe. These quail have been domesticated and offer several sub categories best known as the British Range, Tuxedo, English White, Manchurian Golden and Pharaoh.
You may encounter breeders that use different sub names, each category has its own unique color pattern turning your flock into a mix of pretty if you desire.
Keep in mind these little birds are tough, for that reason I took my experience a step further and raised them on the ground naturally in a protected environment.
I’m often asked, “What’s the purpose of raising quail?” the answer is simple, for the purpose of eggs, meat and enjoyment.
Quail have a short life span, around 3 years so it makes sense that you would also raise them for meat in addition to eggs. These quail mature at 6 weeks and often begin laying eggs between seven and eight weeks; one coturnix can lay up to 300 eggs their first year.
The enjoyment factor arrived when I decided to raise quail on the ground. This allows the birds to rediscover their instincts like flying, hunting for bugs, and nesting on the ground. These birds we’re blessed with amazing instincts so why not let them live in a way they can be utilized?
If you’re raising native breeds like the Bobwhite then I would include raise quail for release.
Simplify the Process
On our farm it’s important that we provide the most natural environment for all our animals, this includes all the birds. We do our research first to discover the best environment. Some of the set ups we use for the quail may take more effort to establish, but the long term effort decreases.
Quail raised in cages offers ongoing expenses, like shavings for clean bedding. I do use small amounts of hay when temperatures get cold or wet but it’s not enough to include as an ongoing expense.
The hay helps them stay warm and dry in their shelter boxes.
It’s a wonderful thing to watch quail fly in a protected environment beyond a small cramped cage setting so don’t rule out a natural environment even if others say it’s impossible and won’t work.
Why Coturnix Quail is the Beginners Breed
- Hardiest of all Quail breeds.
- Variety of Sub Categories – This offers a variety of feather patterns.
- Raise for eggs- up to 300 that first year.
- Short life span so also raise for meat.
- Simplify the process and raise them on the ground.
- Enjoyment – this is what makes it all worthwhile.
My first quail flock was the coturnix and I’m really glad I started with the hardiest breed, it offered the opportunity to learn with confidence so when it came time to experience a new breed like the Bobwhite I didn’t let my struggles and lessons learned defeat my goals.
Raising quail is a great addition to the homestead, backyard, or farm. Don’t let their size detour what could be an awesome experience. To learn more about raising quail get my book – Quail Getting Started – It’s jammed pack with everything you need to know to get started, including building plans.