Quail decisions

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  • Quail decisions

    Posted by FatherFigure on September 12, 2022 at 2:20 am

    We had some coturnix quail (jumbo wild) come into maturity over the last few weeks. The roosters were aggressively establishing their order and there were some injuries along the way. I find it helpful to keep a few empty cages on deck to isolate an injured bird as breeding can get rather aggressive as well. Things kind of sort themselves out when the right balance is achieved. Long story short, I had all my spare cages filled with roosters. Each one was giving their all to attract attention regardless of the light cycle. While doing my chores I was making notes of the most frequent offenders. I made some tough but also necessary decisions today. We live in a suburban area and a certain level of courtesy and respect should be expected. Tonight is a quiet night with a little extra meat in the freezer. Have a great evening all. Shalom.

    Hanidu-Acres replied 1 year, 5 months ago 11 Members · 18 Replies
  • 18 Replies
  • JerseyGiantChick

    Member
    September 12, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    Graceful for their blessingare I guess.

    Yes it helps to separate the sexes as soon as possible, we do that also with the chicks.

  • Nora36

    Member
    September 15, 2022 at 11:30 am

    I’m also in suburban area, it has it’s challenges raising quail and keeping chickens. We wanted to raise chickens, but we can’t have a rooster. That was why we added quail. This is our 3rd yr raising quail. It’s still not easy deciding who stays and who goes. We can’t keep all the roos, they get too vocal.

  • FatherFigure

    Member
    September 15, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Roos are definitely vocal at times. When I’m up at 5:00am and listening to them before lights on, I’m sure my neighbors are not a fan. Fewer Roos fewer calls. I’m on year one myself.

  • FortElswyrFarm

    Member
    September 15, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    The best ways to keep the roos quiet and calm are darkness, plenty of girls, or freezer camp. Or keep them farther away from your house if you’re able. We have one in our tractor that is just as loud as our chicken rooster. 😀 But really he’s the only one that makes much noise, and not that often. The others are usually very quiet, and we have six boys out there.

    If we add roos to our flock, we add them in the proper ratio to hens at about four weeks old. They still get a hormone surge at 7-9 weeks and can get a bit uppity, but if they draw blood, they’re gone. No sense keeping them when they’re easily and quickly replaceable with a gentler roo.

    If you have a bachelor pad, keep them away from the sight and sound of the girls as best as you can.

    I’ve found the best way to keep the aggression down with my Coturnix quail roo growouts is to keep them in the dark to postpone maturity as long as possible. It also means they crow later and less often.

    We separate boys and girls as soon as we can. I only have feather sexable colors, so we start at two weeks and rarely have to switch anyone (the lighter colors can “change their spots” at the last minute more than others). From that point, the girls have a light but the boys are in very dark conditions. It postpones maturity as long as possible. It also helps to keep them busy with greenery they can eat and play with, and of course every quail’s favorite, sand baths. 😀

    We can usually make it to seven weeks without a scuffle. Our last batch actually made it to eight weeks (and processing day) without a single issue. Our batch this time is seven weeks today and we had someone get mean last night. Thankfully my daughter was able to single out the bully right away, so he’s in isolation at the moment and will probably stay that way until we process them next week.

    • FatherFigure

      Member
      September 16, 2022 at 2:41 am

      That is all really great advice. The jumbo wild I raise are feather sexed while the rosettes can only be vent sexed. I ordered the rosettes to get started while waiting for the jumbo eggs to come in. The rosettes seem much more passive than the wild. I also try to keep the peace as much as I can and drawing blood makes the decision pretty fast. I live in a suburban area so space and placement is a factor for sure. I will definitely try to keep the lights low on spare Roos. Sometimes they’re going off at 5am before the lights go on.

  • culdesacgrocerygarden

    Member
    September 25, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    Grateful for this thread. It has probably kept me from making a big mistake by getting them. Since I live in an HOA neighborhood, in a city that doesnt allow “livestock” and in a culdesac which means our yards are super close at the front there is no way I could get away with having them live on my deck.

    • FatherFigure

      Member
      September 25, 2022 at 11:51 pm

      The Roos will tell all your neighbors what’s up well into the night if they’re not occupied. If you were just raising them for egg production then you wouldn’t need the Roos and could probably get by. If that were the case then I would recommend the jumbo wild. You can sex them by the feather pattern on the breast. (Hens are speckled, Roos have like a rust color no speckles) you may get by just keeping one or two Roos for egg fertilization. I’d hate to make them sound like the noisiest creatures on the planet. I did have them separated and some away from the hens. When you get the mix right it’s not bad at all. My neighbor seems to have ordinance enforcement on speed dial and it has not been an issue. I don’t think she even knows I have them. Nothing would happen but she’d be the one.

      • culdesacgrocerygarden

        Member
        September 26, 2022 at 1:41 pm

        Thank you FatherFigure, that is really helpfull. I was considering them mainly for eggs. Right now I am drowing in eggs from the Amish CSA that I did this summer, and from my daughter but wanted to have a back up source for the future.

      • Squashmania

        Member
        October 26, 2022 at 12:40 am

        Look into water glassing your abundance of eggs for later when they are less plentiful. It works quite well.

    • KimC

      Member
      October 11, 2022 at 1:05 am

      <div>I also live in a suburban area with close neighbors, but am able to have the jumbo Coturnix quail. I got them around mid-March this year and have them under a fruit tree to fertilize the tree through my compost pile, so there is less maintenance related to keeping them. </div>

      I had a few loud males that had to go to freezer camp, but did some research and found a grower online who believes the noisiness is a genetic trait, so he won’t breed the big mouths (or the aggressive ones). I thought that was interesting. The males I have remaining are quiet. The females are not even as noisy as the wild birds in the area and they make many interesting sounds that are pleasant.

      I was also told that quail are considered “birds” (as in those that are kept in cages as pets such as finches or others), so they are not considered livestock in most areas. I suppose it depends on your local statutes though. I have found them to be fun, interesting and very good to raise for eggs. I have not tried to incubate any eggs yet because I don’t really have a good space to expand the quantity, but I really enjoy the eggs (and have been whisking and freezing the extras for this winter in case they’re needed). I call them one-bite wonders. They’re highly nutritions, delicious, and easy to prepare just like chicken eggs.

      I hope you won’t be discouraged from trying them. It really can work, even in the city. In fact, I think they’re a great alternative for those who are prohibited from raising chickens.

      • culdesacgrocerygarden

        Member
        October 11, 2022 at 2:36 am

        Thank You Kim, that is really helpful.

      • KimC

        Member
        October 11, 2022 at 3:11 am

        I’ll be curious how things work out if you decide to try them. Best wishes.

    • Squashmania

      Member
      December 4, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      You could TOTALLY have a group of hens on your deck! Don’t let your HOA Bully you. Fantastic fertilizer, Epicurian delight eggs. What’s not to love? You can find ppl on Craigslist selling eggs for hatching or birds. The birds can be a little more. Sexed juveniles can be around $1/ week of growth up to about $8 for a confirmed laying hen, but they are prolific and quiet! They can be sexed at 3-4 weeks by a seasoned pro, or as soon as they start crowing, into the freezer. It’s not a huge rooster crow, and can be mistaken for local songbirds.

  • Dale1234

    Member
    December 8, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    I have 3 (2 hens and a roo) in my living room. The hens you can’t even hear unless you are in the room and the roo doesn’t crow often (few times a day). They aren’t noisy birds and make less noise than many “pet” birds. Though I could definitely see how having a bunch of roosters all the time could be too much I doubt anyone would even realize you had them if you just had a couple for breeding and some growing out for the freezer.

  • KenJr

    Member
    January 7, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    I’m getting back into quail after a hiatus. I wasn’t pushing my quail for profit but I sold some here and there and I’m sure I ultimately lost money with them because of poor management strategy. This time I’m either selling or butchering my extra males. You can’t do this sort of thing and procrastinate or be lazy or you’ll hemorrhage money.

  • KimC

    Member
    December 10, 2022 at 12:29 am

    There are always predator issues with poultry of any kind (as far as I know). I would never be able to leave chickens out in open air here (and I have a completely fenced yard), even during the day, because of neighborhood animals.

    My quail are in a completely enclosed cage made of metal sides and section dividers, metal mesh wire, and the bottom is coated wire, for the sake of their feet. The cage is on top of a DIY three-sided compost bin made from free pallets standing on their ends, placed under a mature tree.

    When the quail arrived, I placed a heavy shade cloth across the back of the cage to prevent anything from seeing in or reaching through from the back (the cage is close to the fence). Then I placed scat mats on top of the cage to prevent anything from getting on the top or trying to reach through, or just stressing the birds by their presence. I had previously purchased the scat mats (heavy plastic with prickly, pointy protrusions on one side that would be uncomfortable for any animal to walk or stand on, and impossible to reach through). I originally got them to keep squirrels from digging up my raised beds, pots and grow bags (and cats too, but the squirrels have been far more destructive, damaging and annoying than anything else).

    Last, I used another roll of the scat mat stretched across the front of the cage covering the feed trough and openings so the quail could stick their heads out to eat in peace without fear of being grabbed or decapitated while eating. I attached it with dollar store heavy spring clamps in the center and on each end so I can easily remove part or all of it to access the front of the cage to care for them and easily add food.

    In winter, or when it’s forecasted to rain, I place a piece of clear, corrugated plastic sheeting (the kind that can be used on patio roofs or DIY greenhouses) over the top of the cage (but under the scat mats) to keep the birds dry and hopefully hold in heat or at least keep it less cold or windy during winter. I removed the plastic cover this summer for air flow and to try to keep them cooler. It has worked well.

    I set up a trail cam to see what kind of issues might present themselves and discovered that there’s an opossum, two or three cats and some squirrels that run the fence line. The cats are the most regular. I’ve only seen the opossum about once every couple of weeks, or less, as it passes through on its way to wherever it goes. Right after the birds arrived, the opossum and a couple of cats tried to investigate and get on top of the cage, but the prickly scat mat did its job and kept them off. Since then they all seem to leave the birds alone and go their merry way back and forth across the fence rail as though it’s their freeway, without even paying attention to the birds or the cage.

    If I was doing it over again, I think I might be tempted to use four T-posts and suspend the quail cage at the four corners secured to the posts instead of placing it atop a DIY wooden structure that will eventually rot and decay (although the pallets do contain the compost pile better than an open structure would).

    I really appreciate having my delicious quail eggs, and find the birds enjoyable and interesting, and easy to care for. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that three or four of the hens have continued to lay so far well into Fall, even though not necessarily daily, but pretty much every other day. We are well under the 12–14 hours of daylight they say is required to get eggs, and have been for some time. That’s truly been a blessing.

    I hope you’ll reconsider quail. I think they’re a fantastic option, especially for people who aren’t allowed to have chickens due to space, local regulations or HOA rules, noise restrictions, etc.

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