Raising Coturnix Quail is such a rewarding experience. Coturnix Quail is a great breed for beginners, easy to hatch, quick to mature, and an excellent dual-purpose bird. Your Coturnix Quail will reach maturity at 6-8 weeks of age. Here are some tips to keep in mind for adult Coturnix Quail.
Proper Housing Enclosure
You want to allow at least 1 square foot of space per quail in your quail enclosure. Overcrowding and boredom in your quail coop can lead to pecking or bullying. To keep your coop extra clean, look for a coop with a wire floor and a tray underneath for collecting droppings. A wire floor makes coop cleanup more manageable. You can use pine shaving, straw, or even sand for bedding in your coop. Quail need a place to dust bath often. It is good to provide a nest box but with a mind of their own, quail will choose to lay their eggs wherever they would like!
The height of your quail enclosure is one of the most important factors. Your quail should be in a 4' or taller pen, or a small hutch no taller than 10 inches tall. Quail startle easy and will fly straight up quickly. If your enclosure is taller than 10 inches, that allows them to reach a velocity that they will hit the roof and they will likely sustain a lethal injury. 4' plus is taller than they would typically fly. Anything in between is not a safe height.
Feather Sexing Quail
Most Coturnix varieties are feather sexable by around three weeks of age. For Pharoah plumage varieties, the chest feathers of males are solid copper while females have lighter cream chest feathers with black speckles. For other varieties, such as Golden Manchurian or Pansy, the males will have a bright red face and red feathers all around the back of their neck, also called a red mask. Other colors are often diluted varieties of the Pharoah, Manchurian, and Pansy, so will follow the same basic rules for feather sexing.
A "flock" of quail is called a covey. A male is a roo or cock and a female is called a hen. As long as males are raised together since before sexual maturity, there is no issue with having multiple males together. Coturnix Quail are sexually mature by 6-8 weeks. You can truly have a covey of any size, but a general guideline is a 1 male for every 4 hens.
16 hours of light daily is needed for quail to lay eggs. Coturnix Quail will lay nearly every day of the year under the proper conditions. Female Coturnix will begin laying when sexually mature, around 6-8 weeks of age.
Due to their smaller size, quail can be easy prey. It's important to have a predator-proofed enclosure for them. Predators can dig or even reach through fencing. Hardware cloth is highly suggested when building and adding predator protection to your coop. You want to protect from aerial predators as well as rodents and even cats.
High-Quality Feeder and Waterers
There are many different options for feeders and waterers for quail. When choosing a feeder, one with a grate over the top of the feed works well for preventing the quail from sitting in and soiling their feed. Quail adapt very easily to a nipple waterer system, which is preferred by many who raise quail. Nipple waterers keep the bedding dry, reducing any extra moisture in the coop. When brooding quail chicks, select waterers that have a smaller base, allowing the young quail to drink without falling into the water. and potentially drowning.
Because quail grow at a faster rate, they do require more protein in their feed. Adult Coturnix quail require feed containing 20%-22% protein and 2-3% calcium. Turkey layer/breeder/all flock feed is a great option for adult quail. Quail feed can be supplemented with sprouts and bugs as well as adding small grit free-choice.
Be sure your quail have the proper setup to reduce any chances for illness. Clean the coop often, many quail coops have a litter tray making cleaning very easy. Be sure to offer your quail a place to dust bath. Quail droppings can have a higher concentration of ammonia, so cleaning often is essential to prevent any respiratory illnesses in your flock. If you notice any illness with a bird, be sure to isolate your bird from the rest of your coop.
Chickens and Quail
If you plan on raising both chickens and quail in your backyard flock, you want to keep them housed in separate areas. Chickens can potentially pass diseases to your quail. Since your quail are smaller, they can be easily bullied by a larger chicken. Quail and chickens have different feed requirements as well. It is best to have dedicated coops for your chickens and for your quail.
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