Raising Quail: What You Need to Know
The common quail is a game bird that people often hunt and eat. While it’s an edible species, it’s less common for people to eat quail in the United States than in other places worldwide, including France. One thing you might not have known is that you can raise quail on your land. These birds don’t take up nearly as much space as other animals on the land, such as horses, cows, pigs, and even chickens.
They’re much smaller and are often easier to manage, making them an excellent choice when choosing animals to bring on your land. Before you get started, there are some essential things you need to know.
I confess I have never raised quail, but I feel an urgency to learn everything I can in order to be more self-sufficient, including raising quail and other food sources. Mark and I have discussed raising quail so we have our own meat. We can’t afford a small farm, but we will be moving to an area where we can expand our energies to have control over our food chain. Stay tuned, I will be writing even more topics similar to this one. We have talked to others who have raised them, we can do this. And you can too if you have a bit of land.
In case you missed this post, 30 Pioneer Skills We Cannot Lose
Raising Quail: What You Need to Know
The Best Reasons to Raise Quail
Before buying your quail, breeding them, and keeping them on the land, it’s good to know some of the reasons to get these birds on your property in the first place. For starters, quail can provide you with some meat, even though in small quantities per bird. If you don’t mind killing them when they reach a certain age and size, you’ll have food to put on the table for yourself and your family.
Of course, you may not like that idea, and not everyone does. You can still keep them around if you don’t want to kill the birds to eat the meat because they lay eggs.
Quail eggs are just as delicious, if not even better, than the eggs that chickens lay. In addition to getting eggs from your quail, you won’t have to worry about these birds taking up nearly as much space as other birds and animals. You can work with a limited amount of space and still provide them with what they need to feel comfortable while they mature to become a meat source, or just to provide eggs. Keep in mind that quail eggs are smaller than chicken eggs, but with the right conditions they can supply your family fairly well.
Quail birds lay multiple eggs each month. If you have several quail hens living on your land, you could end up with up to 12 eggs per day, which is a big deal. Not only can you save these eggs and make different meals with them, but you can also sell them and make a profit.
People are always looking to buy fresh quail eggs, especially professional chefs preparing food at local restaurants. If you’d like to turn this into a source of income for yourself, you can do just that by providing the quail with the perfect environment.
When your birds have enough food, water, and space, they’re more likely to lay eggs at a steady pace. Keep those conditions suitable for the birds because it will work out in your favor! You may want one of these, Quail Egg Shell Cutter
The Quail Temperament
If you know anything about chickens, you know that some breeds are more aggressive than others. Some chickens love being handled and taken care of by humans, while others run the other direction and even attempt to attack. The situation is similar when dealing with quail.
These birds can get aggressive when it’s their breeding season, but that doesn’t mean they’re all feisty and unpleasant to be around. It’s important to know that these birds like to have their own territory, so you don’t want to keep too many of them in one spot.
If they’re overcrowded and dealing with small, confined spaces, these birds are more likely to be aggressive, not just with you, but also with the other birds on the land. If you don’t want these birds fighting all the time, provide them with plenty of space and keep a decent number of hens and roos in specific areas. You don’t want to have too many hens and not enough roos or vice versa.
Providing Food for the Quail Birds
If you’re having quail birds living on your property, make sure you’re supplying them with the right type of food. These birds like feasting on grains and seeds. You can buy a large package of grains and seeds for the birds to enjoy throughout the day.
One of the best ways to make sure your birds are eating properly is to set up bird feeders throughout the premises, making the seeds and grains easily accessible to these birds when they get hungry. You can also put water out for the birds, changing it regularly to ensure that there is always more than enough water available.
You should also know that these birds do enjoy eating fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to supply fruits and vegetables all the time, but you can give them to the quail when you’d like to treat them to something special.
Berries are an excellent choice because they’re small and more accessible for the birds. However, you can give them just about any fruit or veggie, as long as you’re chopping it up beforehand.
Increase Comfort with the Right Conditions
Make sure your quail birds feel comfortable while living on your property by setting them up with everything they need. In addition to hanging up bird feeders and providing water, you’re going to want to use some bedding to keep these birds comfortable while they rest and lay eggs.
Pine shavings are an excellent addition to the area where you’ll raise your quail. If you don’t want to use pine shavings, you have several other great options to choose from, including straw, grass hay, and sand! Be sure and get construction-grade sand, it’s easier to keep clean.
Choose which option you’d like best based on comfort for the birds and affordability. If you’re providing a comfortable environment, you can expect to have happier, non-aggressive quail to deal with while you’re raising them.
5 Reasons Why We Should Raise Quail
- Quail are small and take up very little room.
- Most cities will let you raise them (always check you local ordinance).
- Quail are a pretty cheap investment to get started.
- Feed costs are cheaper than chickens.
- It’s recommended we keed our bird ratio: 1 rooster for every 4 – 5 hens.
How Do I House My Quail?
You will need at least 1 square foot for each quail you are housing. This would be the least acceptable amount. They would appreciate a bit more space, that’s for sure. More space is best, if available, but keeping predators away is even more critical.
Do I Need Nesting Boxes?
Yes, we will need nesting boxes so the quail will roost and to provide the needed security from predators. Quail need a comfortable place to lay their eggs and it will help keep them well behaved. Straw, sand, grass, and hay works well on the bottom of their flooring. They need it for dust bathing to keep mites away.
How soon do quail start laying eggs?
Egg-laying can begin as early as 7 weeks.
How many eggs will a quail hen lay each year?
Yes, the eggs are small but can lay up to 300 eggs per hen in a year.
How soon can the quail be readt to be butchered?
Most quail can be butchered between 7-10 weeks of age.
How much meat is on a typical quail?
When butchered, a mature quail will have between 10-14 ounces of meat.
Raising quail takes some effort. First, you’ll need to provide these birds with comfortable living conditions where they can mate, roam around, and eat as they please. However, providing care is rewarding as you can build a bond with these birds, and even get eggs from them.
You may want to keep the eggs for yourself and your family to eat and enjoy, or sell them to others to make a profit from having quail on your land.
Now that you know more about raising them, you may want to purchase several of these birds to bring home to your land. May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images, Three Quail Carcass Depositphotos_10620240_s-2019, Young Quail With Eggs Depositphotos_48398225_s-2019, Twelve Fresh Quail Eggs Depositphotos_459677324_s-2019
19 thoughts on “Raising Quail: What You Need to Know”
Protection from predators can not be overstated. They sing and predators, like myself, listen and hone in on the sound. When it’s the same place they become trained to know they are there. If thwarted they will learn that but if successful they will learn that.
Love me some pickled quail eggs mmm mm
Hi Matt, I feel strongly we will have to raise our own meat, any meat. Of course, we can hunt for meat as well. I have told you before Utah is big into deer hunting and whatever else is legal to hunt. I’m too old and so is Mark so we are going to try raising small birds and rabbits. I will have to make some pickled quail eggs! Great comment, keep them protected from predators! Linda
I’m glad your moving to where you can do what’s needed
Hi Matt, thank you Matt, I will keep you posted. Linda
Quail are smaller than chickens but it would take 3-4 quail eggs to equate to 1 large size chicken egg. For anyone seriously considering raising fowl, I’d go with chickens or ducks and maybe geese. Depends on how much space you have. I’d also use construction grade sand as the flooring in their coop and in their run. Sand is easier to get their droppings out of than any other “bedding.” I use pine shavings in my nesting boxes. Again, it’s easy to clean and it smells good.
But I’ll stick with chickens–larger eggs and more meat and I doubt they are harder to care for than quail.
Oh, I’m glad you are re-locating to somewhere you can have small livestock.
Hi Ray, oh this is great information. I will add “construction grade” sand to the post, that’s a good one. It’s been a big job to declutter and get ready for a move, but I hope in the end it will be better. I’m sure I will be emailing you for tips on raising chickens. Linda
I built the foundation for my small coop out of treated 4×4’s two layers high. I spiked them together then installed 1/2″ hardware on the bottom side using fence staples. I did that to keep snakes, rats and other vermin from being able to burrow under the perimeter and come up inside. The coop itself it predator proofed with hardware cloth and and a tray that sits under their roost that I can pull out to make cleaning easy. It has three small hinged doors and one larger one, (one for easy access to the nesting boxes, one to access the sand filled slide out “poop” tray, one they use to access their run and the largest one to make cleaning the sand filled floor easier. If I lived somewhere I had to worry about raccoons I’d put locks on all those doors AND the door to their run, because it wouldn’t take any time at all for a raccoon to learn how to operate the simple slide locks currently in place.
I’d start small–maybe only 4-6 birds. I recommend Delaware’s. Good dual purpose breed with a gentle disposition.
You staying in Utah? We’d love to have you guys in Arizona.
Hi Ray, we are building a small home on our daughter’s property in northern Utah. I’m actually excited to see my grandkids more often. I have missed out on having family around for the last 10-12 years. Holidays are lonely for me. Mark has had a good time golfing here but I’m done. I love being with people, I miss it more than I can explain. I will keep you posted, I would love to have you as a neighbor! I wish we could all be neighbors, right??? I need like-minded people. Linda
Hi Ray, thank you for the tips on the chicken coop! Linda
I agree with you Ray. Chickens are easy to keep. We had chickens for 3 years , before we moved to our current house, where we can’t have them. We learned the hard way with chickens, we went through 3 coops before finally getting a good sized one that could keep them from the elements when needed. We live in Texas. One thing we did and it was a huge time saver when it came to cleaning out the coop. We put the coop up on cement blocks and put linoleum as the base with shavings over it. If we ever got a deluge of rain and it was muddy and wet on the floor of the coop, simply shovel up the wet shavings and put down dry ones. So I recommend getting a big enough coop to start with. My kids and I really miss our chickens.
Hi Melissa, I love hearing this, we all need tips because we may all be raising them sooner than later. I live in an HOA and you may read you can get around an HOA with chickens, well, that may be true, but the city tells what size lot is acceptable for quail, chickens, and rabbits. My lot is too small in my HOA right now. Mark and I cannot have any of these. We can have 2 two dogs. Thanks for the tip on concrete and linoleum, good one! Linda
I’ve never eaten quail. I’d be more likely to raise chicken, though. I’ve had dealings with them before. My grandmother raised chickens, now, my daughter does. As well as bees. Yum for local honey. I will be looking into chickens, soon. I just have to get hubby on board.
Hi Deborah, I’m writing about chickens as well. I believe we will all need to have some sort of meat to raise sooner than later. Linda
Great Linda! I agree we all need to raise some kind of meat. And vegetables as well. I’m hoping we can reclaim our garden spot this fall. It is so overgrown with wild blackberry vines. And we need to cut down our peach trees. They have blight and all you can do is cut them down and bury them. My plum tree has it, too.
Hi Deborah, oh the fruit trees, that’s a bummer. Oh, I love blackberries, although, I have never grown them. I agree we need to have a garden as well. Linda
Hi Linda! We raise German Angora Rabbits for their wool and meat. They are wonderfully soft and fluffy. Germans don’t shed, which means they need to be sheared. They are 10-12 pounds when fully grown. Keep on posting!
Brenda in Minnesota
Hi Brenda, oh my gosh, I love hearing this. I’m working on a post about raising rabbits as well!!! Squeal! You raise them, I love hearing this! Thank you for your kind words, I will keep posting, we have the greatest people like you in our comment forum! Linda in Utah!
I used to hunt quail in CA when I was a kid. I went with my Dad and when we were ready to go home I got to target practice on the 22. I also was able to shoot his shot gun . His was a bit big, but I was able to handle it just fine. Quail tastes really good. The ones in the desert where we went to, were probably smaller than the ones raised at home. That was also the first time that I encountered a rattle snake, It was when they are molting and I came close to one in the sagebrush. My Dad told me to freeze and when he was by me, told me to get out of the way so he could shoot it. That is the only time that I remember jumping straight in the air and landing many feet away! We went back many times after that but I was very cautious!
Hi Cheryl, oh my gosh, I love hearing stories like this! Mark used to hunt quail in northern Utah. OH, the rattlesnake story, oh my gosh, I can’t imagine the fear!! My grandson was hiking with some friends here in Utah and heard a rattlesnake then he saw it! He said he was never so scared in his life! He was about 22 at the time. Best story ever, jumping straight in the air, YIKES!! Linda