Introducton to Backyard Quail Farming
Quails are well-known as a miniature bird in the world and raising Quail in the backyard can be both fun and profitable. The advantage of raising these birds in the backyard is very easy for beginners because it is the smallest variety of domestic birds. Also, this not only makes starting this farm at any home is easy but also profitable than the other poultry farm. Quail are also susceptible to disease. Quail farming in the backyard for meat and eggs has become a fun hobby for many urban homesteaders. Quail are small and easily farming in the backyard and you can have eggs and meat year-round.
A Step by Step Guide of Quail Farming in the Backyard
Quails generally require less space than other backyard poultry. But even though the birds are small, Quail present their challenges. Because Quail can fly, their enclosures need to be extra secure, and they are vulnerable to predators due to their size. Quail can go from hatch to butcher weight in about 6 weeks. During that time, the Quail eat much less than the average meat chicken.
There are different breeds of Quails are available, and some breeds more suitable for backyards than others.
Japanese Quails are mostly suitable for backyard farming which is a popular multi-purpose bird and they lay well, are resilient in most weathers, and are a good choice for backyarders. Japanese Quails are a small ground-dwelling bird.
Benefits of Backyard Quail Farming
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There are many benefits of backyard Quail farming, for example;
- Quail can be raised easily in small areas because they are a very tiny creature.
- The cost of food and shelter for Quail farming is very low, and they don’t require dedicated farmhouses.
- It has a very low initial start-up cost, anyone can start a business with a small amount of capital. But, they become mature in a short time. This growing process is so fast, actually in just 5 to 8 weeks.
- Furthermore, a single female bird 150 to 300 eggs in a year. Also, meat and eggs are healthy and tasty.
- Quails are a smaller sized bird, so the birds can be raised within a small place.
- The feeding cost of Quails is lower than chickens or other poultry birds.
- Diseases are less in Quails, and they are hardy.
- Quail birds grow fast and gain maturity faster than other poultry birds.
- It is prolific and has a short generation interval.
- Quail meat has low calorific value and high protein content.
- It is one of the cheapest sources of animal protein and also adopted as backyard farming for egg and meat production.
- For rural poultry and backyard, Quail farming can be started with minimum investment.
- Space requirement and demand for feed supply is less in comparison to other livestock like poultry.
Raising Quail for Meat and Eggs in Backyard
First, consider the eggs. Yes, Quail eggs are small, and you’ll need multiple eggs to equal what you’d get from a chicken. But Quail are extremely efficient layers. It’s believed that approximately one bird will lay around 300 eggs a year. And where chickens take their sweet time to start laying, Quail start producing eggs around 8 weeks of age. Quail are good at converting the feed you give them into high-protein eggs. Depending on the breed of chicken you’re comparing against, the difference can be quite a lot. Quail begin laying eggs at 6 weeks of age, the average hen being 18 to 22 weeks of age. Considering the premium Quail eggs bring at the market or sold to high-end restaurants, you can see that these eggs come with big profit potential.
Backyard bird keepers might not be interested in raising Quail for meat, and the small fowl do present opportunities in this area for small farmers. (Though it’s worth noting that feed conversion efficiency is not one of the benefits Quail have over chickens.) The small birds are easier to harvest than chickens. They’re simple to cook and have a taste distinctive from chicken, with a gamey flavor that’s milder than other game birds like grouse or woodcock. Once an egg-laying chicken’s high-production period is over usually around a year and the birds’ meat has toughened. So after an egg-laying bird’s production starts to fall off (also around a year of age), the meat will be versatile for cooking purposes.
Suitable Temperature and Light for Backyard Quail Farming
Temperature – The suitable temperature of the backyard Quail farming is 21 to 32°C. But depending on varieties they can sufferer from heat stress at a different temperature. Mostly, Quail birds feel comfortable in between 22-25°C.
Light – Quails egg production is dependent on light. Hence, to get enough eggs. There must be 16 hours of daily lighting (including daylight) from the 9th week to the Quail bird farm.
Light is a very important thing for Quail farming. The newly born baby birds do not survive in cold temperature levels. So, every time you collect them to reproduce them, you want to ensure temperature using light in a separate case called Brooder.
Light can achieve by using sunlight and electric bulbs. Ensure 13 hours light till they become 7th weeks older. Eventually, increase the lighting by one hour for every week. This means you have to provide one extra hour of lighting. And, this process will continue until the total lighting time per day is 15 to 16 hours. More importantly, to produce maximum numbers of eggs, they will require 16 hours of light when they are about 9 weeks old.
Moisture Requirement for Backyard Quail Farming
This bird can easily adapt to 40 to 70% relative humidity. However, the relative humidity of the house is 55 to 60% good. Quail are unique as they are tiny game birds, smaller even than a bantam-breed chicken. Though smaller isn’t always best for everyone, it makes Quail an ideal species of poultry for people who live in crowded urban areas. You can keep your Quail in a small backyard coop or cage without too much trouble. Just make sure you have proper measures for sanitation in place to avoid issues related to smell, disease, and issues.
Equipment Needed to Raise Quail
You will want to invest in good feeders and waterers for Quail farming. It will have a smaller opening that can prevent messes and will be ideal for both a coop and a cage. Drinking founts that you might already have for chickens can also be used for your new Quail, but you will need to pay attention to their location. An elevated drinking fount is best. Quail mostly like to forage and play and are almost guaranteed to spread feed and dirt into their drinking water supply.
If you are raising young Quail or chicks, make sure you add some pebbles into the bottom of the drinker as with chickens; this will prevent the little ones from drowning. Then, any kind of drinker will work for your Quail of any age.
Equipment for raising Quail is not too different from the equipment you want to raise other types of poultry. You need;
- A place for them to live
- Feeders and waterers
- A flight pen if you’re raising Quail birds that will be released
- A brooder to raise young Quail
Hatching Your Quail Eggs
Deciding to hatch your Quail eggs is a smart choice, mainly if you already have an incubator and can commit a little bit of time each day to the endeavor.
Incubating and hatching Quail eggs is just like hatching eggs from other poultry species. You will want to aim for 45% humidity for the first 15 days and increase the incubation to about 65% for the last 3 days. Your Quail eggs will incubate at similar temperatures to chicken eggs (38°C). Remember, you will need to turn the eggs every 2 to 4 hours to prevent the embryos from sticking to the shell.
Housing Requirement for Backyard Quail Farming
Many people raise Quail birds in cages instead of coops. Then, this makes it not only easier for you to care for your birds (and save money) but also to keep them safe from predators. Either a coop or cage is fine, but make sure you provide birds with at least one square foot of room at a very minimum. Quail are unique in that they thrive in more confined spaces. While it’s true that you must provide as much space for them as possible, you don’t need as much space as you would for larger birds like chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Quail hens require nesting boxes but keep in mind that it won’t always guarantee that your eggs will be laid in the same spot each time.
When choosing the location for Quail farming, you have to balance the need for proximity to the market, with the cost of land, security, and a good water supply. When you are planning to construct a Quail house in the backyard, you have to select a site that is well-drained with plenty of natural air movement. The right housing must have proper ventilation and the right lighting. Ventilation is essential so that adequate air exchange can take place. Lighting stimulates Quail birds to lay eggs. If you want to produce eggs year-round, you will want to install adequate lighting in your facility. You must have equipment including brooders (for the Quail chicks), feeders, and drinkers, and a lighting system. You will need Quail cages, which is where you will keep the mature Quail birds and the layers. If you purchase layer cages as housing for Quail layers, these cages will already have the laying nests, feeders, and drinkers, etc.
Feeding Management for Backyard Quail Farming
Quail bird requires a high-protein diet, and adults do well with a 22% protein feed for meat or game birds, commonly available at local farm supply stores. Chicks need a higher-protein starter feed than chicken starter feed, but only for the 6 weeks between hatching and maturation. Each adult Quail will consume 18 grams of feed per day, and if they have an efficient, low-waste feeder, a 40-pound bag will last 20 birds about 2 months.
Feeding is important to increase the meat and egg production from Quails. A lack of feed or water will reduce resistance to diseases, and subsequently increase flock mortality. You have to feed the chicks with Starter mash. When they are mature, you can then give them finisher feed or layers mash, depending on whether you are raising the Quails for eggs and meat production. You can feed Quail birds with the same feed used for chickens. You have to provide water for your Quails. Quails require water for temperature regulation, waste removal, digestion of nutrients, and lubrication of joints.
The feeding must be balanced, economical, and preferably with locally available material that may be used for feed formulation. In backyard Quail farming agri-byproducts and household leftover food grains can be utilized for maximum profit. In backyard Quail farming it is always advisable with minimum input maximum gain. Though, for commercial or medium to large scale Quail farming balanced ration with 2700 to 2800 ME (Metabolizable Energy) Kcal/kg of feed, 22 to 27% protein and adequate calcium (3%) particularly during laying period and phosphorus (0.8%) along with vitamins and minerals may be provided in Quail ration. During the early stage, that means in the starter and grower period the demand for essential amino acid and protein is more and for optimum growth molasses at the rate of about 6 to 8% may also be provided at least for 3 to 4 days.
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How to Start Backyard Quail Farming
For raising backyard Quail farming, you require sufficient knowledge of how to efficiently raise the Quails, good management skills, and a good business plan. Quail eggs are more nutritious than chicken eggs. The demand for Quail birds and eggs is high. Quails can be mainly raised for meat, or for laying eggs, or both.
Quail birds are colorful birds, efficient eaters, and dependable layers. Quail birds are small wildfowl that can be raised in a backyard cage. Quail birds consume little feed and require extra care to produce healthy, gourmet-quality Quail eggs and meat. Quail probably the smallest avian species used for the production of eggs and meat. It attains the status of viable commercial poultry enterprises because of prolific egg production and meat yield. These are small and easy birds to look after but do need time for feeding, refilling water containers, cleaning the cage, checking up daily, and collecting eggs. You may also encounter several problems while raising Quail for the first time. People raising Quail for eggs or meat prefer to produce them out in welded wire cages. The wire helps to keep the eggs and birds from becoming soiled. Quail hens need 14 hours of light per day to produce eggs.
Common Diseases in Backyard Quail Farming
Diseases are less in Quail birds, compared to other poultry birds. But you have to take good care and manage them properly, to keep them free from diseases. Good care and management is a must for backyard Quail farming. Normally, they are not provided with any disease preventive vaccines. Quail chicks can’t tolerate weather change and sudden temperature level change. So they get affected by the disease if they experience sudden temperature changes. Be careful during this period. Following diseases are harmful to the Quails.
Coccidiosis - Mix 2 grams coaxial 20 with 1-liter water and serve it to the Quails for 3 days. Otherwise, feed this based on the advice of a veterinarian.
Ulcerative Enteritis - If the Quail get affected by this disease, mix 1 gram streptomycin with 1 liter water and serve it to the Quails for 3 days. This will stop ulcerative enteritis disease.
Problems with Raising Quails in Backyard
Some issues to consider when raising a backyard Quail;
- If raising Quail birds in the backyard, it is shocking just how much poop even a small flock of backyard Quail can produce. Like chicken manure, you cannot put it straight on the backyard garden. It has to be composted for several weeks to several months, depending on weather conditions. Be sure you know where it will go. Make sure check the bedding you are using doesn’t create soil issues in the garden as pine shavings, sawdust, and wood ash can acidic and crushed corn cob takes years to decompose. Conduct soil tests before adding it to the backyard garden.
- Quail bird-like to play with their food and as much feed is kicked out of the feeder onto the floor as goes into their bellies. Then, half of the feed can be wasted, regardless of what feeder you use.
- Quail can never run out of clean and fresh water. Like with any livestock, you will need a means by which to keep it from freezing in the winter season. If you cannot do that, then you will want to thaw and refresh their water at least 3-4 times a day. They will poop in their food as well, so you will want to monitor that closely to keep it clean.