Quail Setup

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Quail Setup

Post by Kitsu89 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:11 pm

So I was considering hatching some quail eggs but first I would need a set up for them. I've had ducks, guineas and chickens but never quail. How large of a setup do you need for 3-4. Living in NY I assume they would need a small section protecting from the elements. Ideally I would like to make the structure moveable. I honestly just want them for pest removal, ticks, crickets, spiders, etc.
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Re: Quail Setup

Post by Marigold » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:00 pm

Hi Kitsu99 and welcome to the Forum.
It's quite a culture shock when you transfer to quails after other types of poultry, at least I found it so. I expect you're thinking about Coturnix quails, which are the slightly larger ones that lay edible-size eggs? They come in many pretty colours, both males and females. I would recommend you to get a copy of Practical Quail Keeping by Sarah Barratt which is a really excellent modern paperback on starting with quails. There are lots of different setups as well as practical advice on caring for the birds. Some of the pics are of my birds and accommodation actually.
Quails are fairly resistant to cold but cannot stand damp conditions. I found it best to keep mine in indoor cages in the winter months, with a small LED light in each cage to keep them in lay, as they require a minimum of 14 hours a day of good light to do this. I also used these cages when breeding youngsters until fully feathered. In summer I kept them in a moveable rabbit run on grass. If hatching, you would have to have a heated brood box to start with, gradually weaning them off heat until they're about 4-6 weeks old, depending on ambient temperatures. As with chicks, probably best to wait until thee weather gets warmer and they can get out in the sunshine.
Quails are easy to hatch in an incubator but you must incubate dry throughout, adding no water at all until they're ready to pip. They then grow very fast and are sexually mature and can lay eggs from 6-9 weeks old, if hatched in Spring when the light is good enough, or if given artificial light. I would advise you to spend a few weeks researching what you need and finding a good breeder next Spring who will either supply eggs to hatch or young adults hatched next year. As they mature so fast, there's really no point getting older birds at the moment, best to wait until the days get lighter and warmer and some young ones come along, or some eggs which are more likely to be fertile once the Spring gets going and the parent birds come well into breeding condition. If you hatch your own, you'll have to watch out for the randy habits of the young males, who can damage the females when attempting rough mating. They cling on to her head with their beaks and tear out her feathers and skin when shaken off, it's really more a rape than anything, blood all over the cage. In the end I got rid of all the boys and after that the remaining girls lived long, happy and productive lives. If you don't intend to breed your own, and are planning on buying young birds, I would advise just getting females for this reason.
They don't need much space, I found that my cages which were 3ft by 2 ft were big enough for 3-4 birds, which is a nice size group. Of course, like chickens, more run space is always best, but if kept in an aviary-tyoe enclosure in order to clear up pests, be aware they're great escapologists and you will need to plan with this in mind.
Have a browse through the old posts in this section, lots of us have been sharing what we've learned over the past year or two on here.
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