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My latest batch of quail is my most successful yet. Set 140ish eggs. After 14 days they were candled and only 7 were discarded as unfertile, another 7 or so looked suspicious but couldnt be certain. Day 18 saw a large hatch of 65. With another 20 hatch on day 19. Then the next 3 days saw another 20 stragglers. This is symptomatic of a cheap incubator as temperature varies throughout chamber so rates of development differ. In the first week had only 5 fatalities(which is pretty good these things are fragile). Upon post moretom of all the unhatched eggs there were 10 that did not fully develop, the rest were developed but failed to break out of the shells- a sign of unstable humidity, once again because of my cheap incubator. Am in the process of organising a quaility incubator/hatcher for later in the year.  There is so much to learn but its rewarding to see progress. A couple of pics of the little fellasItalian chick above

Pharoah or wild type above.

Either a rosseta or tibetan. My fav colour.

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Comment by Jeff Kiehne on August 21, 2020 at 9:25

How do you know that sugar is not good for birds as see a lot of birds that are attracted to flowers  and if grew sugar cane or sugar beet or sweet sorghum  could just crush and use the juice  or use a enzyme  to convert grain to sugars.

Comment by Lily on August 21, 2020 at 9:04
I wouldn’t put sugar in baking for poultry though—they don’t need it to find it appetising, and it isn’t good for them.
Comment by Lily on August 21, 2020 at 9:01
I’ve made bread to feed my chickens when I had a pantry clear out—wevilly flour, expired milk powder and almond meal and stale nuts etc, and mixed in a portion of sourdough starter and proved and baked it like bread. It worked well, although it didn’t look tremendously appetising for human consumption! But the chickens liked it, and I felt pleased it hadn’t gone to waste. Didn’t think of used cooking oil, that’s a great idea! I’ve given cooking oil that couldn’t be filtered and reused to the soldier flies before. They’ll consume kinds of gross, unhealthy, mouldy ooze that wouldn’t be good for poultry, plus citrus and onions etc—and then my chickens consume the larvae. Circle of life. :)
Comment by Jeff Kiehne on August 21, 2020 at 8:52

Have you tried making cake to feed  the birds like a carrot cake that has flour oil water  and sugar  as some of the ingredients could be waste like used cooking oil or fat off cooking and the flour could be ground up seeds and the carrot could be vegetable peelings and sugar is cheap to buy.

Comment by Doug Hanning on August 20, 2020 at 20:10

They can eat pretty much anything except the usual things that dont get fed to poultry. Tomato plants, avocados,onions and citrus.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on August 20, 2020 at 19:42

What can you feed quail and not make them sick.

Comment by Doug Hanning on August 19, 2020 at 17:01

This is my cost breakdown after raising 250ish so far this year. It costs me almost $2 to get a bird from hatching to 6 weeks old when I butcher. At the moment a butchered bird averages 160g, I will be working on getting that to 180g. Two birds is enough for me, Rachel eats one.

I keep 25 females and 5 males that cost me about $350 to feed for a year. So if I raise 350 birds to eat that adds another dollar to each bird I eat. So each bird costs me $3.

This is not taking into account all the eggs we get. I only keep eggs for a week to incubate. So the other 45 weeks a year we are averaging 15 eggs per day so about 100 per week- equivalent to 2 dozen chook eggs a week.

Because we have so many eggs we get one main meal a week outta eggs added to the 2 meals of quail. This means we get 3 meals for 18 dollars. 6 bucks a meal isnt bad.  I also spent about $200 per year on bedding but this is composted with manure so I dont buy much fertilizer.

Jumbo quail eat more but grow quicker so less time rearing and putting up with crowing. I will do a video in the next few weeks and show my setup.

Comment by Lily on August 19, 2020 at 15:07
What about cost to raise? What do you feed them, how much of it do you need, and where do you get it from for how much? I was doing some back of envelope calculations based on wild guestimation and came up with maybe $1.50 per bird in feed to raise to butchering age. That was based on a figure I found estimating 14-17g feed intake of an adult per day, and a 20kg sack of game bird starter for $30. 14g per day for 10 weeks is about a kilo of feed to raise a bird to adulthood. So less than that because they won’t eat as much when they’re small, but assuming it’ll be not that far off because I chose the lower end of the range and there will be wastage etc. What’s your experience? Do you supplement with scraps/grass/other? Does it make a difference to feed consumption?
Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 19, 2020 at 13:47

You can get an incubator for around $100.  You only need one if you want to raise your own eggs.  Depending on price, it's probably easier to buy chicks and grow them on.  You only need a 1.2 metre quail tractor or cage.  I find them to be little work although I do check water and food twice a day.  (Takes about 3 minutes all up.)  If you aren't buying to incubate then don't bother with males.  Take the eggs from the girls until they get too old (about 18 months) and then eat the old girls. Boys are for quick turn around meat (8-12 weeks) and to fertilise eggs if you want to raise your own.  I lose baby birds but rarely lose adults (then it's old age because I got too lazy).  They are a very simple source of two types of protein.  It only gets complicated if you incubate, brood and grow on your own.  

Comment by Dave Riley on August 19, 2020 at 12:40

I am so ambivalent about quailing. Too much work? Too fiddly? Too much build required?

I umm and I err.

But I did find an easy way into the backyard poultry:

Quail Kingdom is located somewhere in Caboolture and offers a range of products to suit the would-be quail wrangler.

I can PRE-ORDER live quails and fertile eggs!

I thought I'd get a few birds to eat. Grow them on -- then slaughter them.

This video I found useful.

Do I need an incubator? The arithmetic offered by the quail budget is quite good.

If it was rabbits I'd be at it already. But because this is Qld and the latest rabbit virus takes no prisoners, rabbit farming isn't an option.the industry has collapsed here in Australia.

And I have such fond memories of my bunnies.

Industrial poultry is not sustainable -- it also is a zoonosis for viruses. Free range isn't a panacea either as flocks can be infected by wild birds. This is a problem for all backyard poultry too, especially if the pen isn't completely enclosed.

Just on that, there is a very very strong case NOT to treat your chooks as pets to pick up and snuggle.

Ditto for quail.

Your cat or dog is so much more healthy than keeping birds.

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