I have become totally impressed with a new project of mine. Coturnix quail have been in my sites for a few years but a few months ago I took the plunge.
I purchased a couple hundred chicks from a well-known breeder Jared Winand from Pennsylvania. Starting with good stock led to a fast-successful start!
Why Coturnix Quail? First off, I chose them because I didn't need a permit to raise this type of quail in my area. Quail are prolific and can be kept in small places.
This was also my reason to choose this amazing little bird. I want to see if it makes sense for even people in apartments to keep quail for eggs and meat!
The Coturnix Quail have been domesticated for over 2,000 years. This long-time domestication makes keeping them in small places easier but they have forgotten how to incubate eggs. So, if you want to have your own chicks you need an incubator or bantam chicken to hatch them out. In rare cases you might find a quail that goes broody.
Quail meat is delicious and so are the eggs. The eggs have some special attributes that make them more valuable to eat than regular chicken eggs. People with egg allergies can eat quail eggs without fear of any reactions.
Quail are also much more quiet than other poultry. Even a quail rooster can go unnoticed in most cases. If you just want eggs then you won't even need the rooster.
Coturnix quail eggs are so much healthier for you! These Coturnix eggs are delicious at one fourth the size of a chicken egg. Some Asian hospitals even prescribe raw quail eggs to get rid of some 300 diseases. I'm not sure about all the medical claims but I guess they can't hurt. I eat my eggs raw, boiled, fried and really love the baked goods made with them.
This is just a start I could write a book on all the benefits and studies about quail eggs.
Quail meat is such a healthy meat source. Quail are easy to keep and tasty! Cooking can be as quick at 4 minutes per side on a hot cast iron skillet. Processing is simple for anyone and you won't even have to worry about plucking feathers.
Quail are packed full of vitamin A, B, D, K, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc. That's just scratching the surface of this valuable food source. If you have problems with degenerative eye issues eating quail can actually bring back your vision with its mineral content!
Some other amazing affects you will find from eating quail meat are clearer skin because of the fatty acids and clearer thinking from a properly nourished brain. Adding quail to your diet will fill a hole that most have with today's diets to even improve our immune system.
Keeping Coturnix quail is really easy. They aren't the best fliers so short cages are just fine. In fact, having shorter cages can actually keep your quails from hurting themselves. Coturnix quail take short fast flights and end up crashing potentially hurting themselves. Keeping a short cage won't allow them to pick up enough speed to get hurt.
This caging requirement is what makes Coturnix quail easy to keep in small areas such as apartments or garages. Some people keep the quail in outdoor flight cages which is also fine but you will have to worry about predators and parasites.
The weather won't hurt your quail either. Keep them out of direct sunlight and block them from the wind and you will have happy quail. You can even keep your quail outdoors year-round.
If you plan on keeping a rooster to fertilize your quail eggs the ratio needs to be right or you will have fighting. Fighting will keep your hens from laying as well as they could and they will end up cannibalizing each other. Keeping one male (rooster) to 4-5 females (hens) is a rule of thumb. Keeping a group that were hatched together rather than bringing in a new member will also help prevent fighting and injuries.
Hens will last about 8 months and then should be culled to make room for new stock. Since it only takes 6-8 weeks for hens to lay you can easily come up with rotating birds out for new layers.
Photos property of Richard Bogdanowicz.
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