Despite their tiny size these little birds have grown to be quite popular among poultry lovers. Although quail are regarded as a game animal, raising quail is a common staple for homesteaders. Raising quail is a great way to become more sustainable, especially if you are short on room where you live. There are many reasons that quail make a great choice for backyard homesteaders and homesteads of all shapes and sizes
13 Reasons To Raise Quail On Your Homestead
- Raising quail is a great way to add a source of protein to your homestead through meat and eggs.
- Quail are much smaller than chickens and ducks and don’t require as much room meaning you can raise quail in your backyard.
- Quail are much quieter than chickens and ducks, making them great choices for backyard homesteaders.
- Quail mature much faster then their popular counterparts.
- Quail eggs are packed with vitamins and minerals. Despite their tiny size, their nutritional value is three to four times greater than chicken eggs.
- Quail eggs contain 13 percent proteins compared to 11 percent in chicken eggs.
- Quail eggs also contain 140% of vitamin B1 compared to 50% in chicken eggs.
- Quail eggs provide five times as much iron and potassium.
- Unlike chicken eggs, quail eggs have not been know to cause allergies or diathesis. Some believe that they actually help fight allergy symptoms due to the ovomucoid protein they contain.
- Quail are smaller and easier to process than chickens or turkeys. also don’t have to be plucked. If you’ve ever processed your own birds, you’ll know how time consuming plucking can be.
- There are several ways that you can make money easily with quail. Bakers will often pay top dollar to have quail eggs to bake with. You can also sell the meat at a good price since the birds are considered a delicacy. Quail chicks fetch a higher price than chickens do.
- Quail meat is considered a delicacy, the lean white meat has a rich flavor that is succulent and juicy. If you raise quail at home, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious meal that came from your backyard.
- With the proper care quail are quite hardy animals.
Complete Guide to Raising Quail:
Before you jump into raising quail with both feet, you’ll need to prepare for them. Quail are pretty easy and low maintenance to take care, but it’s important to be prepared, and ready for them before getting started.
Housing for Quail
Before you bring home your first quail, they will need a safe place to live. You’ll need to decided on a type of enclosure for your quail, there are quite a few to choose from. From tractors, to aviaries, to stackable cages. You can build a cage, or purchase a prebuilt cage to raise quail in. Here are some options you can choose from:
- Quail Tractor
- Quail Aviary
- Stackable Quail Cages
- Quail Ground Pen
- Quail Hutch
- Wire Cages
- Quail Flight Pens
What is right for you to raise quail will depend on your end goals. Do some research and decide why you are raising quail, and then find a set up that works for you.
What to feed Quail?
Quail are considered granivores, they will eat seeds and leafy, green vegetation, as well as insects and commercial feed. They are especially fond of millet and cracked corn. You should feed your quail a game bird food, you can find this at your local farm supply. Some experienced quail farmers will feed their quail chicken feed, but if you are just starting out raising quail it’s recommended to use game bird food.
Where can I buy Quail?
When you decide that raising quail is the right choice for you and decide on a breed you want to get started with it’s time to buy some quail. You can buy quail from a hatchery or check craigslist for local farms or hatcheries selling quail. You can also check livestock auctions. You can usually purchase full grown birds, chicks or hatching eggs. I’ve bought both hatching eggs and full sized birds and had great success with both. If you decided to start with hatching eggs check out our article on hatching quail eggs.
Equipment needed to raise Quail
To raise quail on your homestead you will need:
- A cage or encloser to house them.
- Feeder and waterer
- Nesting box (optional, but some recommend having one)
You’ll also need feed, and water for your quail.
Space Requirements of Keeping Quail
How much space you need to raise quail is going to depend on how many quail you have. A good rule of thumb according to the Penn State Cooperative Extension guide is 1 square foot per quail in floor pens (chickens, by comparison, require about 4 square feet per bird).
Because quails are territorial, they will also need adequate space at feeders and waterers (about 1 inch and ⅓ inch each, respectively).
The rearing conditions will also vary based on what purpose for which you plan to raise them. Hunting preserves want fast-flying birds, so they will need more space in their cages to spread their wings; birds raised for eggs and meat will need more controlled temperatures and less light
Common Quail Predators
Quail are small little creatures, many small mammals like to eat them. Some predators to look out for when raising quail including raccoons, foxes, squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, dogs, snakes, and cats. Hawks, owls, rats, and weasels will also hunt for quail eggs.
If you are raising quail select a pen that will be able to protect your birds from predators. Using a mesh wire like hardware cloth over the top, and ensuring that their are no gaps in the pens where animals could get in.
Raising Quail For Beginners
Raising quail is a great way for backyard homesteaders to add a meat source to their homestead. Quail are low maintenance, quite and easy to raise making them perfect for small backyard. Quail are versatile and can be raised in many different ways depending on your end goal.
Before you go, check these out!