Raising Quails for Meat and Eggs

Quails are pretty hardy birds that are very easy to keep. They require little space and eat a variety of foods. These are considered omnivorous. Have you ever tasted quail meat?

Their meat is full of flavor compared to chicken and very nutritious. The meat flavor depends on varieties because some are known to be prolific layers laying up to 300 eggs per year.

If you compare quails with chickens, they will eat less food, use little space and are not noisy like the early morning rooster crow. This means they can be kept in an urban parking setting.

Best quail breeds

There are many different varieties of quails. They can either be kept for eggs or for meat or as dual purpose breeds for both meat and eggs.

Coturnix quail

Coturnix quails are the easiest breed of quails to keep as they have a very calm temperament. They are also known as Jumbo quail, Japanese quail or Pharaohs quail.

If you want a breed that will give you both meat and eggs, this breed is a thumb up for me. This quality makes them considered as a dual purpose breed.

They are known to offer lots of meat than other quail breeds. When it comes to egg laying, Coturnix are prolific layers as they can lay 300 eggs per year keeping your egg demand met.

They reach maturity very early at seven months they are ready for slaughter and the hens start to lay eggs. Very little space is required when raising them and also very little attention too.

Gambel quails

Are Gambel quails good for meat?

The gambels are a desert species of quails.  They are known for having a tuff on their foreheads that looks like an antennae. 

They are found on the arid regions of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. If you plan to raise them, government licensing is required.

Many people who raise them do it due to their colorful plumage. They take six months to reach maturity hence not suitable for commercial purposes. 

Gambel quails require a lot of care and attention. They will easily escape and fly away in the wilderness as they are a wild species.

When they raise their young, they feed them for longer periods than other quail species. This makes them take longer periods to reproduce.

Mountain quails

Mountain quails are not common and for those who raise them, they do it mainly for their colorful plumage. If you can afford them, they are a good addition to include in your aviary.

They are known to be aggressive like their cousins Gambel and Bobwhite species. They take about six months to reach maturity so they are not a good option to those who expect meat and eggs soon.

Raising this variety of quails can be a bit tedious because you will be required to hand feed their young and give them maximum attention.

Bobwhite quails

The Bobwhites are commonly raised by people as they are excellent meat birds and are also used as hunting birds.

There are different types of Bobwhites and are also available in different sizes. The only thing that makes me not like them is that they don’t produce many eggs.

Keeping them in the United States you will be required to have a license as they are native birds. When mating, they became very aggressive and are better kept in pairs during this season. This helps minimize cases of fighting among males.

You will have to wait for six months before they reach maturity to harvest them or get the first eggs. They are easily startled and can easily fly away so it is good if you raise them in cages.

California quails

They are kept for their colorful plumage as they are ornamental birds. You can easily mistake them with Gambel quails. They are fond of foraging on the ground and are often seen in parking’s and public spaces.

Can be kept in aviaries together with parrots and are known as the official bird of the State of California.

How to raise meat quails

Raising these birds for meat is very simple for me as all they require is space and quality feeds to fatten them up and gain market weight quickly.

Feed your meat quails with a high protein feed of 30%. I would advise you raise breeds that reach maturity early like 7 to 8 months .Breeds like Gambel and Coturnix are best examples of quails that reach maturity early.

Most quail farmers who raise them for meat prefer to raise them in the dark as they will have minimal movement and lay very few eggs due to the absence of sunlight.

Keeping them in quail cages will deny them a chance to exercise flight muscles making them utilize every calorie converting it into flesh.

Separate your meat quails from other domestic birds like chicken to minimize cases of bullying and avoid them from competing for food.

Don’t forget they drink water. So, make sure you provide clean and flesh water daily.

Raising quails for eggs

The difference between quails raised for eggs and those raised for meat is that those raised for eggs require a diet that is rich in calcium. Calcium is important as it will help in shell formation. If you want to venture in quail farming, you need to know what quails eat.

When you raise species like the Coturnix, they will ensure that your demand for eggs is met as they are prolific layers. However, they only lay continuously as long as they are well taken care off.

How many eggs do quails lay?

These birds can lay anywhere in the quail coop. Mostly they will lay on beddings but it is good if you provide them with nesting boxes if you want eggs laid in one place. Eggs laid anywhere can easily get dirt or get contaminated especially if they are meant for incubation.

Those who want to raise quails in regions that experience long hours of darkness like northern hemisphere, will mainly get eggs seasonally due to the dark periods.

You can provide supplemental light to your laying quails if you want them to lay continuously.

Some common question people ask

Is quail meat good for health?

Despite quails being small bodied, their meat is rich in proteins, phosphorus and iron. Quail meat is very rich in flavor than chicken and you can enjoy eating it.

Is quail meat better than chicken?

Apart from being more flavorful than chicken, quail meat is known to have 4 times more vitamin C than chicken meat. Quail meat is also richer in minerals and amino acids than chicken.

What does quail meat taste like?

Quail meat taste just like chicken but the difference is that it is full of flavor making it good than chicken. They also have tiny eggs that are very nutritious despite being very small. They are known to speed up bone recovery meaning they are very rich in calcium.

What kind of meat is quail?

Quails are classified as poultry and they are known to have white meat. Some quail species especially those that have a chance to exercise their flight muscles tend to have darker meat. If well roasted, the bones can be eaten together with the flesh.

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