Breeding quails at home is not only useful, but can be profitable. Small birds with dietary meat and very healthy eggs are in demand, so quails are often bred not only for their families, but also for sale. Let’s talk about this in more detail.
The benefits of quail breeding
The popularity of breeding quail for meat or for obtaining eggs is due to the advantages of keeping this bird:
- The small size of quails means that they require much less space than chickens or ducks. There is no need to equip a separate poultry house, it is enough to find a place for several cages. An average quail is five to six times smaller than a chicken;
- Quails – birds are quite unpretentious, it is certainly necessary to take care of them, but there are no special requirements and conditions, except for the temperature regime;
- Quail meat is valued for its delicate taste and abundance of useful trace elements. This is a dietary product that is in demand by those who monitor weight, go in for sports. Quail meat is useful for children;
- Quail eggs contain significantly more vitamins and microelements than chicken eggs, there is no cholesterol, and they do not cause allergies. For example, the iron in a quail egg is about four times larger;
- Quails rarely get sick, do not need expensive vaccinations.
All quail breeds can be divided into egg, meat, meat and decorative. The latter are not of particular interest to us; among the rest, one can single out such popular breeds in our country:
- Japanese quail. Chickens lay over 300 eggs a year, weighing 9–11 g, so they are valued for this quality. The birds themselves are small – about 150 g. The mutant form of the Japanese quail is marble, the same in terms of egg production;
- English black and white quail. They differ in plumage color, they carry up to 280 eggs per year, but the carcass is larger – about 190 g;
- Kaitavers or Estonian quail. Up to 310 eggs are carried per year, while the weight of a carcass can reach 200 g;
- Pharaoh. The largest breed of quail, so they are bred mainly for meat. Carcass weight reaches 350-400 g, eggs are also larger – up to 16 g, but egg production is about 200 pieces per year. There is a variety of the Texas White Pharaoh, also large, with a similar egg production;
- Tuxedo quail. Belongs to meat-and-meat breeds, is large enough and lays about 220 eggs annually.
They contain quails at home, as in poultry farms, in cages. Usually one cage measuring 30 by 30 cm and 20–25 cm high is more than enough to accommodate a quail colony in the amount of one cock and four females. For mass breeding, one square meter cage can accommodate up to 50 birds.
Some people think that males and females should be kept separate, but most owners who breed quails at home prefer to keep birds together. Both options have pros and cons: in the first case, it is necessary to adhere to the principle – there should be fewer cockerels – 1: 4, in addition, fights can arise between them. In the second case, the cockerels will have to periodically be hooked up to the hens in order to receive fertilized eggs. In addition, it is often not so easy to recognize the gender of a chicken..
It is not difficult to buy a quail cage now, the choice is great. A finished version with all the necessary dimensions 55x100x28 cm, designed for 40 birds, made of moisture-resistant plywood with a front mesh wall will cost about 5.5 thousand rubles. A completely metal cage for 10-15 quails can be found for 1.6-1.9 thousand rubles, and a three-tiered cage for 90 heads will cost 12.7 thousand rubles.
You can, of course, make a cage with your own hands. Experts categorically do not recommend completely wooden or plywood options in the form of a box. The front wall should be mesh, with cells up to 20 mm in size, so that the birds freely push their heads to the feeder and drinker, but cannot get out.
A homemade quail cage can be on a frame made of wooden beams or a metal profile. The prerequisites are two pallets. The first one will be intended for eggs, because the quails are carried simply on the floor, so it will be very convenient to collect the eggs – the mesh tray is tilted. The second solid metal pan is used to collect excrement. Cells are made from scrap materials..
Some even keep quail cages on the balcony of a city apartment. In a private house, bird cages can be placed in a separate barn, in a poultry house, even in a garage. At the same time, it is important to maintain the optimal temperature regime for quails: they feel best at temperatures of the order of plus 18 ° C. Too hot – more than 25 ° С, and too cold – less than 12 ° С – this is destructive for quails, they will stop rushing, they will begin to lose feathers.
Important! The constant temperature regime, we admit, is the main disadvantage of quail breeding – in winter, the room with their cages will have to be heated, in summer – cooled, otherwise the birds may simply die.
We admit that special prepared food for quails is not so common. If you decide to feed the bird with purchased compound feed, you can prefer a special composition for broiler chickens, it is marked as PK-5-2. In the early days, quail babies are fed, like chickens, boiled and finely chopped eggs, then finely chopped greens are also added. You can add cottage cheese and millet to the diet of quail chickens, but only on the third day.
It is also possible to make compound feed for quails on your own, this is a more profitable option. The composition of such a mixture should include: grain (barley, corn, wheat) in a milled form, cake, a little salt, feed chalk, bone meal, broken shells, chopped greens. You can add soybean meal, peas, feed yeast, bran, food waste from the kitchen, including cleaning vegetables.
On average, one quail eats 25–35 g of feed per day, depending on the breed. It is important to adhere to this dose to maintain normal egg production. At the same time, female quails are usually larger in size than cockerels, and therefore eat a little more. Quails are fed a maximum of three times a day, but strictly by the hour.
The second minus of quail breeding, which must be noted, is that at home, as a result of centuries of selection, these birds have practically lost the ability to breed chicks on their own. To get chickens, you will have to use an incubator, purchased or created by yourself.
For breeding chicks, eggs are used that were laid 7-9 days ago, if the conditions in the incubator are correct, after about 17 days you will get very nimble, but tiny chicks weighing only about 8 g. For them, you should prepare a separate box with bedding for the first time , provide heating with an electric lamp, and immediately after hatching, hold in the incubator until they are completely dry. Already at two months, chickens catch up with adults in size.
If you do not breed quails, but buy, then a daily chicken will cost about 35-40 rubles, a weekly – already 50-60 rubles, a monthly – 120-140 rubles.
A few tips for breeding quail at home:
- Quails, like chickens, eat and rush only under light. Therefore, in winter, indoors, it is necessary to provide a light source for at least 15-18 hours a day;
- For the prevention of disorders and diseases, periodically quail should be soldered with a solution of potassium permanganate or a tablet of chloramphenicol diluted in a glass of water, diluting this solution with drinking water in a ratio of 1:10;
- Once every 10 days, it is necessary to arrange ash baths for the quails. To do this, a low container with a layer of ash two to three centimeters thick is placed in the cage. Swimming in ash, the bird destroys parasites, this is important for its normal state. Wood ash can be thinned with fine sand in a 1: 1 ratio;
- For quails, in addition to the temperature regime, air humidity is important at least 50% and not higher than 70%;
- The first signs of illness will be falling to your feet, lameness, loss of feathers. Such birds should be placed in a separate box or cage, treated;
- Quails live in captivity for 9 years, but only as decorative birds. It is worth keeping them for the sake of eggs no longer than 8–10 months, then the egg production and quality of the product drop sharply. True, quails begin to rush 35–60 days after hatching. You can slaughter quails for meat in two months, and after a year it is advisable to change the entire livestock.