What you should know about Keeping Quails
Meat, eggs and a fun hobby; these are the primary reasons for keeping quails. While most other types of fowl require a farmyard setting with plenty of room, even city dwellers are able to raise these small birds if their zoning requirements permit.
What are quail?
Members of the pheasant family, quail encompass several different varieties including the common quail, the brown quail, the rock-bush quail and others. The bird is small and rotund; remaining on the ground for the majority of the time although they are quite capable of brief yet rapid spurts of flight. A few of the species are migratory in the wild.
Why raise them?
The meat and the eggs of quail, especially the Japanese and the button quail varieties, are delicious and nutritious. They are also considered to be somewhat of a delicacy, and therefore tend to be high in price when found in food stores. Therefore, raising quail can be a lucrative venture if there is a market for the birds in your area. The tasty birds can also provide the keeper with enough meat and eggs for their own sustenance.
For some people, raising birds such as quail is simply an enjoyable hobby. The birds are smaller in size so require little room. As compared to other game birds, quail are relatively quiet. These attributes make them popular for rooftop apartment keeping or for city keep where space may be limited.
Before acquiring birds, it is necessary to set up their cages. They can be of homemade variety or prefabricated. Many people use rabbit or chinchilla cages for keeping quails as they are quite similar in style. Fashioned from wire on all sides, the cages are durable and easy to clean. Cage size will depend on the number of birds that are kept. These cages can be either placed outdoors or indoors; however, weather conditions will be a consideration. Quail cannot be subjected to direct sun, rain, wind or sudden changes in temperature. A cage that is mobile will be ideal to enable the keeper to move them indoors when inclement weather threatens and outdoors when fine.
Food and water receptacles are the next accessories needed. There are numerous suppliers that offer a variety of feed troughs for the game bird diet foods as well as those to offer a continuous supply of water to your birds.
Since quail enjoy taking dust baths when in the wild, providing them with the means to do so in captivity will help to keep your birds happy. A plastic container with low sides can be filled with clean sand for this favorite activity.
Keeping quails will eventually mean that you will be involved with their breeding process. The male of the species is polygamous, meaning that they will mate with any female quail at any time. It is generally recommended to have one male for every two females, especially when breeding the birds is desirable. People who raise the quail for meat will need to repopulate their community, since the birds are ready for the dinner table by the age of 5 or 6 weeks. Given the fact the birds are so small in size, one serving of quail could involve two or three birds. In addition, the keeper must be prepared to incubate the eggs until hatching. Once the baby birds arrive, they should be moved into a brooder to provide the ideal conditions of dryness and warmth to help them survive.
Different reasons motivate different people to consider keeping quails. Whether it is for the meat which is both delicious and nutritious, or for the eggs which are considered as a delicacy or simply for the sheer enjoyment of keeping birds, it can be a fun and interesting venture.