We’ve been raising Quail for 6 months and the overall consensus is they are delicious to eat, make excellent eggs, are fun to watch and they are incredibly stupid. We still haven’t figured out how they survive in the wild, but they truly are super easy to raise.
Why should you raise quail? Its simple, they don’t take up the space chickens do, they start laying between 6-8 weeks old, the eggs are a super food, roosters are ready for butchering by 8 weeks old, and they are so quiet compared to chickens.
I said they were stupid right, ok good because yeah they are the least intelligent bird I’ve raised. Mostly I think this because I’ve watched them get startled and fly up into the roof of their house not just once, but over and over. They also lay their eggs all over the place, Ive even found one in the water dish. They are pretty wild animals in comparison to ducks and chickens, they don’t seem to understand the concept of person bringing food, water and treats is ok, instead they see us and think “OMG they are here to kill us, run and hide!” Then they proceed to scurry all over the house, running into walls, flying into the roof and hitting the chicken wire at full speed. Seriously they just don’t ever learn!
Quail babies are so tiny! These were our first 4, I really should have gotten more than 4 to start but I didn’t realize just how small they would be and how little they eat. So we added a few more along the way. The cute sleeping in our hands phase only lasted about a week and then they didn’t want to have anything to do with us. But they were pretty funny to watch. They were fast little buggers who jumped and flew around all over. For a brooder it was pretty easy to just set them up in a little rabbit cage, they only used the heater for the first 2 weeks and then they had all their feathers. Thats another perk to quail, they get fully feathered super fast. So they could go outside by 3 weeks.
See how big they were at 3 weeks and already had all their feathers. I still had a heater in there but they never used it, they slept on top of it at this point. Feeding is pretty simple, I just got the meat bird feed and threw it into the blender for the first few weeks to make it tiny and they were able to eat it without any issues. Housing them is super simple also, we probably could have kept them in the rabbit cage until they were 6 weeks old but we built them a house outside so we wanted them moved out there. Quail only need 1 sq ft per bird so each level of our house can have up to 12 full size quail. Its pretty amazing to have that many in a small space. For now we just have the 2 levels, top is for the adults and the bottom is for growing out the juveniles. Its very basic and simple, we chose to go with the wood pellets instead of the wire bottom because it keeps them warmer in cold temps, keeps the eggs from cracking and gives them something to dig in. Plus since they are so small, the bedding lasts for at least a month! Heres our 2 story quail house:
And of course here are a few of our full grown quail. Still adorable even if they are little crazies who I have to make sure they don’t escape because they could fly away.
If you have the stomach for butchering the extra males, then yay for you! I personally had to have Micah do the butchering and I did the clean up. Compared to chickens, once again way easier. Each bird took me about 10 minutes and that was because it was my first time. We have 10 males right now in our juvie house that we will process in 2 weeks and its the easiest process ever so I will do them all at once and it will only take me maybe an hour. Chickens take me at least 45 min per bird because there is a process to make sure its done correctly and I take my time with them. I won’t get into the details but there are so many videos on you tube to show how simple it really is.
So yeah, Quail are fun and super easy to take care of. They make the perfect addition to any urban farm with limited space. They don’t take much time or effort, I love them! Plus the roosters taste amazing!