Raising Quail

Quail are unique! They have different food and habitat requirements than chickens, and both species cannot be kept together.

Quail Eggs

The Celadon gene is a recessive eggshell color mutation that originated from one single bird. Many breeders have worked with it for a number of years, as getting birds to breeds true for the gene can be quite a challenge. Eggs used for hatching should weigh 14 grams or more. That means it takes 4 eggs to equal 1 chicken egg.

Hatching Quail Eggs

Calibrating Your Incubator: Eggs take just 16 days to hatch and you'll want to select eggs that weigh around 14 grams each (or more). You want to maintain 45% RH (relative humidity) in your incubator (although you can opt for around 35% if you prefer the 'dry hatching' method). Incubator temperature should be set to 100°F⠀⠀

Tracking Egg Progress: If you're keeping a spreadsheet, etc., your daily weight loss goal per egg would be .797% - on day 14 (lockdown) your goal egg weight loss should total 12% overall.

Day 14 (lockdown): At this point, you shouldn't open your incubator for any reason. Why? The thin egg membranes inside any pipped or partially hatched eggs will dry out quicker than you could imagine, trapping (shrink-wrapping) the chicks inside the egg. You also cannot normally help chicks out of their eggs if they are stuck, because the process of hatching actually develops important muscles in the chick, and you would likely end up with some musculature deformities (think the hunchback of Notre Dame).

Your Adolescent Quail at Week 14

I've heard so many people talk about how aggressive their quail are (our original 3 breeding lines were as well). But honestly, if you're willing to hatch some of your own offspring you can easily breed this out, as we did with our quail. Because who wants to deal with quail drama all the time?

We completely cut one genetic line from the breeding pool - they weren't aggressive, just unbearably nervous all the time.

With the remaining two lines I kept them near me during what many people end up calling 'the adolescent scalping week'. This is when the quail reach maturity, start crowing, and in many cases start attacking each other due to the onset of heightened hormones (quail do mature quite quickly after all, so it's no wonder this 1-2 week phase isn't subtle). I didn't use any of the bullies or injured quail in our subsequent breeding programs. It was that easy 💋

Our quail are sweet as buttons, as long as they're all raised together from birth - you don't want to go rearranging your breeding groups, as that still does cause some drama.

The other way to avoid drama (if you don't plan on breeding or hatching) is just to separate the males - the females are perfectly happy to live together in harmony 💗

It's easy to tell the males from females as long as you're willing to pick up your quail and look at their little bottoms. The females are bony around their vents, whereas the males are puffy and excrete a foam if you gently press between the vent and tail (flip the quail upside down to do this and don't let their little feet come in contact with your fingers - otherwise they'll kick and pop themselves right out of your hands) 👎

Quail can be such darlings. I know I had my doubts in the beginning just like many of you, but I hope this helps others out there in your journey with keeping quail.

Last tip - buy a mesh fishing net. If you haven't yet perfected your quail-handling skills, you'll be glad you have one. Escape artists are easy to retrieve if you have a net. We've never lost an escaped quail, and that's 100% due to the net, not my skills at sneaking up on quail 🤣

Quail Habitats for Happy (and Safe) Quail

How much space do quail need? 1 sq. ft. per bird is enough, provided the floor space is not crowded with additional objects such as feeders and waterers. However, the roomier, the better. Why not build a quail tractor for the entire colony?

That's all for now, chicken friends!