How To Raise Coturnix Quail: A Beginner's Guide to Feeding, Breeding and Raising Coturnix Quail
By Rhi Johnson
Coturnix quail, also known as Japanese quail, are beautiful gamebirds and make great gamebirds to raise for not only their social features but for their quail eggs as well. Coturnix quail eggs have become a delicious delicacy in restaurants and when you order them, this is usually the Coturnix quail responsible for laying them. There are some things to consider when raising Coturnix quail though and failure to remember these very important quail-raising tips can render your Coturnix gamebirds unacceptable by the restaurant industry.
Housing Coturnix Quail
First thing to remember is how to cage Coturnix quail. It is important that the coops or cages are safe from predators to protect the Coturnix quail. Fox, cats and raccoons can easily invade a coop. Coturnix quail often fly vertical and can gain enough speed in a short distance to break their necks on the top of the coop. Thus, it is very important to build a predator-resistant cage for your Coturnix quail birds. Like other fowl, Coturnix are susceptible to most of the same diseases that affect other species of poultry such as chickens. Therefore, it is wise to raise Coturnix quail in a separate area away from your backyard chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.
Coturnix quail mature very quickly. The incubation period for Coturnix quail is only 17 days. Fertile Coturnix quail eggs should be incubated at 99 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit with an incubator humidity level of 60%. In six weeks, the average weight of a Coturnix quail will be 5 – 6 ounces and at only 8 weeks will begin laying eggs. Coturnix quail reach proper slaughter weight of 7 – 8 ounces by this same time. During the brooding period, Coturnix quail should be kept clean until fully feathered. Heat in the brooder should be lowered by 5 degrees each week until the heat lamp is turned off. Coturnix should be protected from cold draft, food and water shortages and fed starter feed (high in protein) until they are 6 weeks old.
Your Coturnix quail can eat different foods for different reasons. Most feed stores sell Coturnix feed specially formulated for quail and other types of game birds. You can also supplement the Coturnix quails' diet with chopped greens or fresh grass. Leaves and other vegetables should be chopped or shredded very fine. The male Coturnix quail can be fed just about any type of table scraps such as bread, cakes or just about any stale bakery product.
More About Raising Coturnix Quail
The Coturnix quail eggs should be gathered at least twice a day to keep them fresh. If you plan on hatching Coturnix eggs for replacement purposes, you should get a few male Coturnix quail birds or cocks from a different quail breeder source so inbreeding does not occur.
A male Coturnix quail can be identified by the rusty brown color of his feathers on the upper part of the throat and lower breast. They will begin to crow by 5 - 6 weeks of age. Their voice has been described as a loud castanet type crow. They will usually crow throughout the night during the normal breeding season.
The female Coturnix quail are generally heavier than the male. The coloring is similar to the males with the difference being that the feathers on the throat and upper breast are long, pointed and a cinnamon color. The tan breast feathers are typically black striped. It is possible for a female to lay between 200 and 300 eggs per year.
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