How To Raise Quail
Raising quail is a popular hobby. People often raise these small game birds for their eggs and meat. In fact, they are considered by many to be a delicacy. With the population of quail diminishing in the mid-atlantic, some people are raising this variety of bird to sell. If you are interested in raising quail, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you get started.
Quail are quite easy to raise. Their small size makes them a great choice for the urban farmer who doesn't have a lot of land space. You only need a small area to keep a large covey of quail. Another great benefit to raising quail is that they are known to be fairly quiet and docile birds.
When buying quail, most experts recommend a ratio of two to one - two females for every male. The Coturnix quail are a great breed for beginners to raise. They start laying eggs as early as six weeks of age and can be prepared and eaten at 5 weeks. You can hatch your own quail using an incubator, or you can buy baby chicks. Be sure to check with your state Department of Conservation to see if you need a permit to keep quail. They are considered to be wild animals and many states require a license to raise these game birds.
When building your quail cages, the upper part of the cage should be open mesh wire allowing plenty of air circulation and enough room for the birds to fly around. If you do not keep your cages inside some type of shelter, you will need a solid roof overhead to protect your birds from the weather. Build the cages off the ground to keep predators away such as dogs, cats, skunks and hawks. Check the cages often to ensure there are no small holes that the quail can escape through.
Be sure to keep the cages clean at all times. Quail manure has a high ammonia content and it should be cleaned out daily. You can add some of it to your outdoor compost pile. Always have plenty of fresh, clean water available - a plastic quail waterer base designed for small game birds is best. You can buy commercial feed for sporting birds that has great nutritional value. Also, quail like to eat fresh greens, small insects and seeds.
Whether you are keeping quail for eggs, food, or just as a hobby, they are an easy and fun breed to raise. Check with your local Southern States for all the supplies you need.