Japanese quails

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valeriebutterley
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Japanese quails

Post by valeriebutterley » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:52 am

I have just sent for 12 Japanese quail eggs, mixed colours, I wondered, what do you feed them, how long to they take to hatch, the eggs will be going in my Brinsea Octagon 20 eco, at what temperature?

Do they fly, and can they be garden tamed easily like chickens? do the boys crow, Iv'e heard they do, and can any odd boy left fertilise eggs from his sisters?

Any help at all will be very much appreciated.
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Marigold
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Re: Japanese quails

Post by Marigold » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:18 pm

Hi Val, how exciting! You will find them very different from chickens, but all your incubation and rearing experience will come in handy. A lot of your questions will be answered by reading past threads in this section, but the best book is Practical Quail Keeping by Sarah Barratt. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Practical-Quai ... il+keeping
and some of my own threads and bits of video are on p.6 of the Quail subforum viewtopic.php?f=37&t=5755

Meanwhile; incubator temperature 37.5-38C; turn eggs several times a day, stopping after 14 days; incubate totally dry until turning stops; at that point put a cloth or other grippy liner to cover the surface where they will hatch as their legs are so tiny and frail at first (think hatching bumblebees) and turn up the humidity for pipping; expect the hatch on Day 16. No point trying to candle the eggs as they have such confusing camouflage patterns on them, and the shell is so thin that the less they're handled the better. However, this does make hatching quick and easy, usually, they just sort of cut round the top of the egg like you would do a boiled egg at breakfast time. Dry off then transfer to brooder warmed to same temp as the incubator, as usual. Feed fresh chick crumb, scattered over the floor to start with, and provide water initially in a shallow dish with pebbles in to prevent drowning, then progress to a drinker with a lip that projects through the brooder mesh, to keep the brooder dry and clean. Cleanliness and dryness of brooder v. important, they are really dirty little things and it's not possible to poo pick as they do such tiny squidgy poos. I set up the brooder by cutting several layers of old cotton sheeting to fit the floor, with newspaper underneath, and then gently rolled up and removed a layer when it was dirty, taking care not to roll up a chick in the process! They will need heat as usual to start with, but they feather up very fast so you can reduce the heat a few degrees every day or so and they should be pretty well feathered up and off heat indoors by 4 weeks.
Yes they certainly do fly, straight upwards and outwards, when alarmed, so you need a mesh over the brooder and also the run when they're out of doors. Normally they're ground feeders though, and like to be able to take refuge in little huts or under little bushes for camouflage. I didn't find that mine got very tame but there again, you're better at that sort of thing than I am. My main problem was with the boys, who always seemed to make up the great majority of the hatches, and their aggressive tactics when their teenage hormones clocked in overnight and then they raped and badly injured the girls by gripping their heads with their beaks and not letting go when they were thrown off, causing terrible injuries. I had to cull all the boys, after which the girls settled down peacefully together and laid well for several years.
Its no good, Val, you'll just HAVE to find out how to post pics on here - or take some videos, upload them to Youtube and send us the link!
valeriebutterley
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Re: Japanese quails

Post by valeriebutterley » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:59 am

Marigold, many thanks for the information, have initially just bought 12, so if only half of them hatch and half of those are boys, I may end up with 3 or 4 first time. My family persuaded me finally, and a tiny quail family I can just about cope with at the moment, I am trying to get the size of my flock down. It is getting a bit unmanagable sizewise. Nobody dropping of perch, and I keep hens like my lone Cornish game, who has not laid an egg for years, going. I can expect 8 years longevity from the Croads, etc., etc.!!!!!!

DO wish me luck.
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Marigold
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Re: Japanese quails

Post by Marigold » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:01 am

Oh yes, definitely good luck! If the eggs are fertile, they aren't difficult to hatch, in fact quails seem to be remarkably tough little birds and certainly live life in the fast lane. Nearly all mine hatched from both sets of eggs that I incubated as a complete beginner, so with all your experience it won't be hard for you if the eggs are good. As you'll be hatching in early March, you should get eggs by the end of April - none of the hanging about for 6 months to lay that you get in chickens! What are you planning for their accommodation this Spring and Summer? bearing in mind that they don't roost at night, they just go to sleep on the floor wherever they may be, so it's more single-storey, bungalow accommodation, either a covered rabbit run on grass or a large guinea pig cage indoors, no nestboxes needed, 1-2 sq. ft of floor per bird, when you know how many you're keeping. Plus a small hamster cage as A.& E, they're prone to injury. There are some photos of my outdoor summer setup in Sarah Barrat's book, if you're interested.
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