Raising Coturnix Quail can be one of the most sustainable and beneficial poultry breeds for your farm. One single quail, from egg to processing or lay is only about 8 or 9 weeks. This means this is an easy breed for us to reactively hatch, especially in a time of uncertainty.
Read my top tips for hatching, raising and managing a quail flock for your farm, or backyard.
Hatching Coturnix Quail
When setting quail eggs in your incubator, set at 40-45% humidity for 15 days. Using either an automatic turner, or hand turning multiple times a day. At 15 days, increase the humidity to 60% and stop hand turning.
Coturnix quail are one of the easier hatches we have experienced. Many people compare it to “popcorn” as the hatch is swift, and efficient. Where there was once just eggs, you suddenly have an incubator filled will little quail.
Leave the quail in the incubator for up to 24hours until your hatch is complete. When you remove them, transfer them to a brooder with a brooder plate or safely installed heat lamp, access to quail crumble (preferably milled to be even smaller) and a safe water dish (insert marbles into the water to eliminate the chance of the tiny quail drowning)
Raising Coturnix Quail Babies
Coturnix Quail need to eat a high protein food. Many feed stores across the country will sell a “wild game feed” that is 23%, 25% or higher protein food. On our farm, we provide our quail with a 28% turkey GROWER crumble which meets their dietary requirements.
In addition to freely supplied feed, we offer them garden and home greens (either safe weeds like chickweed, clover and dandelion) or spinach and kale excess from the kitchen and garden.
Freely offered oyster shells is also recommended. Coturnix Quail go through rapid growth from hatch to week 6, so keeping up with their dietary needs is important at this stage to ensure you have a healthy adult flock.
By week 4 your quail can be hardened off the heat source- do this slowly to ensure they adapt to the natural temperatures. By week 6-8 your female quail should start laying. By week 8 your male quail will be ready to process or breed.
We recommend breeding the largest quail in your flock- even if you are only breeding for eggs, the larger birds will be healthier and more robust.
What You Need For Your Quail Habitat
Coturnix quail do not “pop” like other quail (shoot straight up and potentially cause head injuries) so the height of their pen can be lower. Many people raising quail as a production food use breeding style cages, or even small animal cages.
Our coop includes a large indoor space where the quail often lay, or can huddle out of the wind and weather during our cold canadian winter.
Their outdoor space includes dirt to dig in, and hiding areas. Check out the video below for a tour of our coop, and additional information on raising coturnix quail.
What You Need To Know About Raising Coturnix Quail
Coturnix Quail are an easy bird to raise. They are quiet compared to a flock of chickens, and while their eggs are small they are packed with nutrition. One quail egg contains only 14 calories but is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and choline. Quail eggs are richer in vitamins and minerals compared to chicken eggs and they also contain 140 per cent of Vitamin B1, compared to 50 per cent found in chicken eggs. There is a belief that quail eggs are known to help fight allergy symptoms because of the ovomucoid protein that is contained in them- so could be an amazing option as a natural allergy solution for those who are suffering.
For those who want to process their quail, it is an easier experience than plucking and cleaning a chicken, and while you need a greater quantity of the birds for a meal, their meat is consider tasty and delicious. You will have to process the quail yourself, unless you are getting into a commercial operation and have a commercial abattoir who will process for you.