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Humbolt

Keeping Quail Courtunix japonica

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Hi, about 6 months ago i decided to ditch the chooks.  Bantams who were too shifty about their eggs, finding a new place to lay every time.  The food bought heaps of sparrows and starlings and i reckon the local insect life took a battering.  Got fuck all out of it.

Enter King quail.  These cute little guys are so chilled and peaceful.  Very curious with more personality than chooks. They are happy in a small range, lay an egg (maybe 2) a day.  2.5 eggs = a chicken egg but the yolk is, for size, larger.  Making them a higher protein source. I've incubated and hatched a few, the little guys feed independently from day one. Easy to brood and incubate.  They eat a high protein pellet, budgie seed and will peck at greens and corn.  They also have a keen eye for bugs, i leave an ice cream container with food scraps in to attract thrips ect.

The best thing is that the kids can look after them, have a cuddle ect.  The chooks would go ape shit everytime youd go near them.  Ive definately noticed a decrease in invasive birds and the other day had a lucky leech on me, hopefully a more diverse insect population will return.

Now ive got some friends who are keen to do the same to keep as pest control for their hot house.

Does anyone else keep quails? 

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Edited by Humbolt
Incorrect ID
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Tried keeping em a few times up in NNSW. Everything eats them.

 

Wanted em for meat and eggs- the eggs are so lovely and creamy, and they're a fast and easy meal cos you can dry pluck them.

 

But everything eats them. First. Before you get a chance to.

 

Last try I made a ripper Fort Knox pen for em from bird mesh, ends sunk into concrete and corro put up around the sides. Goannas ripped that shit apart, let a fox in and when I went to rescue the rest I found a fat sleepy carpet snake under the floorboards with quail shaped lumps in it's guts.

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Very cute! Good luck raising them! 

 

Some people might not like hearing this but they taste really good too haha

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Good point Darklight, its been a whole new paradigm raising foul in fox free Tas.  Cats, Quoll and Goshawks are the quails biggest threats.  Nothing like trying to fend off foxes.

Not that i condone it but folk down here dump there roosters in parks, roadsides. They live long lives with no foxes about.

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Its mid Tassie winter (min -4c some nights) and these beaut little birds are still laying!  Often Im getting 6 or 7 eggs per day from just 4 ladies.  

Last month i had some young datura plants with aphid problems.  I put a plant in with them and within an hour all the aphids were pecked off.  Sensing success i put the rest of the affected plants in and they ate them wholus-bolus.  I thought fuk ive poisoned them!! But they actually seemed better for it.  I mused that perhaps they like a little something to moderate stomach parasites ect from time to time.  

They are always very curious about anything new in their world.

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OMG. That's fantastic. Mine didn't even last three months and yours are still going

 

I think I have quail envy :D

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The eggs are really nice in a salad with avo, maccas, greens and a bit of chilli in the dressing

 

Yeah was thinking about the bug eating aspect. If I ever get around to building another fort knox for some I'll be putting oyster mushroom buckets on bricks, hopefully the quail will eat any of the tiny flies that the mushroom buckets attract

 

Are they financially efficient? Reckon you get your moneys worth out in eggs? And are you planning on raising more from the eggs?

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Darklight said:

 

 

Are they financially efficient? Reckon you get your moneys worth out in eggs? And are you planning on raising more from the eggs?

 

For sure Darklight a bag of feed (game bird layer) is about $18 will last 4-6 months. They wont over eat. No other real expenses.  I sometimes give them budgie seed, corn, recently discovered they dont mind a Brussels' sprout.

 

Time wise they dont need much care.  Once or twice a week i put a dust bath in for them from the fine matter on the floor of the wood shed.  I never tire of watching them throwing dust over themselves and each other.  Otherwise i just visit to keep the water shit free. During the last summers bush fires they did about a month with me only visiting them 3 times after id laid out 1/2 a bag of food. 

The kids use the quail shed as a place to go when theyre upset, they have a lovely way about them that the kids pick up on.

 

The youngest is always pestering me to incubate more but i will wait till spring if indeed i do.  Unfortunately if you have more than 1 male, the boys will pick on a girl.  They can be very nasty indeed, going the eyes and face.  I understand that a hatched egg is more likely to be a male too.  So if i do incubate more they will be off to the pet shop prior to sexing.  Some have a consistent patterning for females so id be keen to breed from those so i could sex them asap.  Normally you can tell by squeezing their delicatates at about 6 weeks i think.

 

Gave some to friends for there poly tunnel but they didnt last long before they got a terminal case of cat.  Fort knox for sure DL.

 

 

Edited by Humbolt
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That's so good to hear re the costings, about half of everything I've tried ends up costing me money rather than saving it

 

Coupla decades ago I was raising them for meat from the spares.Like pigeons, you can dry pluck them, so they're pretty much an instant meal

 

Is not for everyone, I understand, but it's so little extra work and quicker than picking up pizza from town

 

I definitely now have quail envy

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I have some chooks but you have helped inspire me to give some quail a try as well, I'm going to set up a snake proof enclosure soon, maybe a month or two. 

Will post some pics when done : )

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hey @bardo, would be happy to post you up some fertile eggs if you want to incubate some when the time comes.  Eggs stay fertile for 10days without heat so plenty of time to post.

Edited by Humbolt
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Thanks a heap for the offer Humbolt, very appreciated indeed : )

There is a lady near by here who has the same type as you and going to get some from her, thinking about starting with 1 male and 3 females and take it from there : )

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Good to hear you can get some that have been sexed.  Young males can quicky go from 1st crow to becoming aggresive towards the ladies if another male is also about.  I got caught out once, bad news, they can be cruel.  

 

After plenty of discussion at the pet shop im pretty sure the breed is Coturnix japonica not chinesis as earlier stated.  King is smaller than Jap and not as easy to handle.  They shoot up like harrier jump jets!

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Yeah I had King quail, tiny. Prolly why they fared poorly against predators

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