The Quail Train Steams Ahead

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 fellas9779318075?profile=original9779320053?profile=originalItalian chick above

9779320858?profile=originalPharoah or wild type above.

9779321853?profile=originalEither a rosseta or tibetan. My fav colour.

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  • I was thinking of a net that was moved about like an amoeba. The shape could be adjusted to the terrain.You could move it about by repositioning the pegs. With Vetiver clumps all over the place, there isn't any need for uprights. You'd want a weave gauge that was snake proof....and overhead coverage  against wild birds, especially kookaburras.

    My guess that a similar rig may also suit guinea pigs -- but there, you'd need some means to prevent tunnelling. My other half won't let me slaughter and serve Cavia porcellus.

    She won't eat tripe either!

    Some people...!

    More meat though...maybe in time I can introduce cuy chactado to the domestic menu. But first, wee poultry cuisine.

    7575215485?profile=RESIZE_710xNot quail. Nor rat.

  • Oh, and yes Dave.  You need to keep them dry and safe so some kind of lock up cage with a roof is important.  In my experience, if they get soaking wet for too long they will die. They don't need a nest box though.  They just drop the eggs and ignore them.  

    I like the poo because I only have a small number of birds.  In fact, I'll be transitioning back to 8 jumbo adults and 4 young birds each season over three cages that are 1.2m long and about 60cm wide.  

    Doug farms them properly for meat and eggs.  I take the eggs but only eat the meat to manage the flock (eg. too many males, birds getting old etc).  In my opinion they are great eating, in both senses. Quail egg scissors make eggs very easy to use (it's a game changer).   

  • Ok let me just begin by saying that I am not your typical quail raiser. The numbers that I am breeding requires a significant investment in time. Another thing about quail that most people dont realise is that they are poop machines, in fact once the quail are out of the brooder it becomes more about poop management than anything else. I had these ideas about growing them out on grass in tractors but unless you have an acre of grass this is just not feasable, I have just 12 birds in one tractor and it needs to be moved every few days, then the flies and smell start! I do have an aversion to keeping them on wire like I did for my last batch, so spent today building a new grow out cage. It has removable trays of plywood with a 60mm edge that contain the rice hulls, plus a small tray of sand. At one end have a small section of wire with water cups over it(need seperation from bedding and cups).

    Going to build j feeders to hang on the doors. 

    Will take a photo tomorrow.

    Will post my rough sketch.

    In regards to food, they need lots of protien to grow at the speed they do, when egg laying they also need protien as they are laying 6 a week and each egg is almost 5% of their bodyweight.

    My sketch.7566743492?profile=RESIZE_710x

  • The netted coup isn't a bad option.  I have a puppy cage thing a few metres square - you definitely need to net the top.  Mine can go over a 6 foot fence.

  • Well that was interesting reading.  Each gardener has worked out what they need and what will work for them.  Great to see, so at most, each protein meal would be about $3 each bird.  Sounds good to me.  My dogs would prevent me from having quail, they are fox terrier and they go at any thing that moves fast.

    I notice that they can live in old kitchen cupboards off the ground.  Do they need the ground or grass?

    Doug uses bedding that looks like husks, is that rice husks?  As long as they don't eat un-natural man made feed, I think they would have a good little life.  Protected from the chicken hawks and predators with plenty of feed and clean water.   Well done, farmers.

  • After reading this and noting the image...I think I have had a DIY revelation.tenor.gif?profile=RESIZE_710x


    ...stretched over the Vetiver and tent pegs for

    Free Ranging Quail Farming.

    I guess I need a nest box and an all weather cubby as well.

    In the context of my garden, the coop made from netting seems practicable.

    For incubation....maybe a small bag of eggs tucked inside my underpants.

  • I'm a simple lad who uses chic starter with occasional duckweed treats.  

  • You want muscle, not fat if you’re going to butcher. But yes, quantity is absolutely everything.
  • Obesity is not going to be a problem if going to kill and eat but could possibly be if keeping to breed but could be what quantity as nearly everything is bad in excess and can even die from drinking too much water.

  • Google (infallable font of knowledge that it is) seems to suggest that too much can cause obesity and doesn’t provide balanced nutrition. Neither chicken or quail have honey-eater adaptations, which means nectar (let alone refined sugars) aren’t part of their natural diet so it makes sense to me—but I’m not an ornithologist. I don’t worry about giving them a few sweetened leftovers, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to add sugar to their diet. Hummingbirds or something would be different, but I think they really would be fiddly to butcher. (Bad joke)
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