Episode-1717- Quail Keeping Q&A Edition — 34 Comments

    • Added to the resource links thanks for that and better a video with VVS than no video at all.

    • Thanks for that video! I have heard Jack explain it before and just couldn’t wrap my head around it..not his fault or explanation my brain just needs to see it for itself!

  1. when you talk about butchering 40 male quails that you grow seasonally, how long does that take? It took me some time to butcher a chicken, but I have only done a few.


  2. Anyone looking for hatching eggs go check out He has the largest Corturnix Meat and egg birds you can find. I suggest either “James Marie Pharaoh” or “Pharaoh XLD” Oh I have no dog in this hunt… He is just the top dog in the quail business in the country. He is on Facebook and you can call and actual talk to Jame himself.

  3. Keeping Birds in your garage check out GQF Breeding Pens. “0315 – 15 Section Quail Battery Breeding Pen” it is setup for 60 bird. It can hold 75 most times with out issues. Yes there pricey. Shipping is expensive. But it sure is a sweet setup. I have one. ( I sold enough eggs and birds to pay for it.) I have the wheels on mine so I can roll it outside for cleaning. Eggs roll out the front. Oh and automate watering with beak time watering cups. Believe Jack said he didn’t know if they had a web site… Yes they do.

    • I guess I don’t see how this is anymore humane than battery chickens laying eggs….?

      Looks the same to me.

      • ok… Well my birds get out to take dust bath at lease once a week. They get greens from my Aquaponics systems. It is still a breeding battery. I’m good with that. There not over crowed and the get my attention daily. If you don’t like it, that you deal. It is the safest place to keep my birds in a city neighborhood.

    • I second the GQF recommendation. I’ve used one for a few years for chicken brooding and it’s been as advertised.

  4. In a venture as profitable as quail one very well might do better financially to raise more quail rather than consume space to provide their feed… but it seems silly to claim that one couldn’t do it.

    You bring up protein as a constraint… when earlier in the show you mentioned how quail will eat anything they can [including flies and bees.] Setting up systems to attract populations of invertebrates into the cages [and breeding invertebrates for feed on a larger scale] are all totally doable, and many of these creatures feed primarily on high carbon material that’s ridiculously easy to grow. Grasshoppers and termites for example.

    [Yeah, BSF tends to require comparably high value feed and are only really good for processing scraps and as a minor supplement. BSF larvae tend to be excessively high in fat to be the primary feed component anyway. Similar goes for termites if fed alone.]

    You’re right on the space component, each quail is probably going to require several square yards for its feed [depending on climate and soils.]

      • Getting real numbers is going to require some experimentation [and, of course, the numbers will only be directly relevant to the conditions of said experiment.]

        That being said, I’m up for it. Been thinking about doing quails this year anyway, might as well get some valuable data out of it.

        • No it doesn’t yields and inputs are know. Quails needs are known, you could do this in a few hours of research if you want to.

        • The water percentage is excluded in such feed ratios I trust? Presumably if the animal is getting more water in its food it’s drinking less water rather than bulking up on the same amount of water it would have otherwise been drinking?

          Water content [fairly reasonable water content, ranging from about 30-45% or so of total weight] seems to be the only problem I’m running into in this theorycraft session.

          But then it’s only theorycraft, there are so many unknowns in natural systems that I find live experimentation [on a small scale prior to ramping up if succesful] far more valuable than hours of research.

      • Seems like comfrey @22+% protein could be a valuable plant for the aviary. Obviously still just a supplement, but everything helps.

        • Stock can generally consume comfrey up to about 15-20% of total diet with no ill effects. This is directly from the work of Lawrence D. Hills. The man who coined the term Bocking for comfrey.

          I would say I feed my ducks comfrey but the truth is they steal all my comfrey and graze it to the ground and any believe that you can’t get rid of it is wrong. LOL

          I guess the thing is as a supplement it is great, protein wise it won’t do much. 22% is for dried leaf, it takes a LOT of comfrey to make a pound of dry leaf. Now if you can get pasture to about 15% comfrey and other mixed herbs and grasses and rotational graze it you got something. For now at least though not an option with quails. But I do have a LOT of comfrey roots, I will plant some in the aviary, good idea. And likely the quail won’t murder it to the level ducks and geese do.

  5. Great show!

    Taught me a thing or two 🙂

    Frozen scrambled eggs in an ice cube tray…. brilliant!

  6. I would volunteer to time index the questions, but I’m pressed for time myself.
    However, if you want to create links in the audio to a specific time index:

    Link the MP3 file, and follow it’s URL with:

    The first number is the beginning of the time range, expressed in seconds, the second number is where the segment ends. Target the link to a new window and it will only play and buffer that one segment (saving a bit of bandwidth)

    Bob White Quail

    A spreadsheet to generate HTML Links with time indexes. Your volunteer is welcome to use this if they choose.

    • I realize the indexes have already been added, but I had a few minutes to kill, so here it is with links as I described above (just to illustrate the technique):

      Introduction: Ep. 1717 ( 00:00:00 )
      Sponsors ( 00:02:45 )
      History Segment: Snow Storm of the Century ( 00:07:06 )
      MSB Benefits ( 00:09:41 )
      Bob Wells Plant of the Week: 4 in 1 Fruit Salad Tree ( 00:10:20 )
      What type of quail do I have ( 00:13:42 )
      Do I have a good book on quail to recommend ( 00:15:10 )
      What type of quail gives the best yield of meat and eggs ( 00:16:22 )
      What is the difference between a Texas A&M Quail and a Brown Quail ( 00:17:30 )
      Why am I likely to switch from A&M back to Browns ( 00:21:00 )
      How would you breed to get white quails if you wanted that ( 00:23:00 )
      Since birds like Bobwhites get bigger why not raise them ( 00:26:43 )
      How do I find quail to buy locally ( 00:28:30 )
      What is the biggest initial cost in getting set up ( 00:31:47 )
      What bases do you really need to cover before getting birds ( 00:36:43 )
      How small a number makes sense what is the lowest number you’d recommend ( 00:40:42 )
      What is there optimal stocking density, how dense is just too dense ( 00:43:29 )
      How would you set up quail in a rack system – IE garage style ( 00:46:52 )
      How would you set up quail in caging but out doors ( 00:51:31 )
      How would you set up quail in a “quail tractor” ( 00:56:50 )
      How would you set up a coop/run style of thing ( 01:04:00 )
      How will my rotational aviary work ( 01:05:55 )
      How can you automate watering ( 01:12:28 )
      How can quail be integrated into a composting system ( 01:14:10 )
      Why can’t you “free range quail” or use electro net systems ( 01:18:23 )
      How can you deal with mosquitoes and flies around your quail ( 01:21:22 )
      Could you do quail “seasonally” and not keep them though winter ( 01:24:40 )
      What do I feed my quail ( 01:34:00 )
      Why do quail get prolapse or weak shelled eggs ( 01:37:50 )
      What special needs do they have diet wise ( 01:39:37 )
      How to you minimize feed waste ( 01:40:15 )
      What is the best breeding ratio ( 01:42:58 )
      Can you grow 100% of the food your quail need ( 01:44:20 )
      What about really hot climates ( 01:50:38 )
      What about really cold climates ( 01:51:42 )
      What do they taste like, is the meat dark, light, etc. ( 01:53:10 )
      Why do I skin vs. pluck my birds ( 01:57:10 )
      How do I slaughter and process my quail ( 02:00:06 )
      How many eggs do they really lay ( 02:06:40 )
      My birds are old enough but not laying, why ( 02:09:22 )
      Why are quail eggs better than chicken eggs ( 02:12:02 )
      What is the brooding process ( 02:19:56 )
      What is the incubation process like, what type of incubator works best ( 02:22:16 )
      How many birds do I need to eat quail once a week and eggs three times a week ( 02:26:52 )
      What are the input and out put numbers, feed, time, production ( 02:37:18 )
      Can you legally sell meat in _____ ( 02:41:15 )
      Can captive quail really be part of a regenerative system, isn’t it small scale factory farming ( 02:47:50 )

  7. What are the thoughts about raising them in an unfinished basement?
    Are there health concerns, or is it no problem?

    • Needs really good ventilation [and somewhat natural light cycles.] You cover that for your basement and you should be good.

      • Light cycle is simple. Get some LED Christmas lights and a timer. Set them so the birds get 14 hours of light per day. I was just at Walmart and they had 100 light strings for 23 CENTS each. I got 20 boxes. These will last me for years.

        Some claim that the birds need more complex artificial light that mimics sunlight but my birds give me awesome eggs with just the LEDs.

        I have no suggestions for inside the home birds other than maybe a low flow ventilation fan above the cages vented to the outside?

    • As long as you have good ventilation Proper light cycles. should be fine. One thing to consider before embarking on this. How to Keep this place relative clean. What are you going to do with all the bird poop. You have to stay on top of that because if you don’t. Flys will move in, and in large enough amounts the fumes aren’t good for you or your birds.
      My suggestion for that would be line the drop trays with newspaper and every other day pull the trays. Roll up the newspaper and replace it. Bag up the poop to move it to be composted with the method of your choosing.

      • Or have twice the number of trays required to catch the poop and rotate daily, delivering the used trays to ducks [yet another handy reason to have ducks] and cleaning them off after the ducks are done with them.

        Based on Jack’s comments I am assuming a great deal of nutrition passes through the quail. I doubt ducks would go crazy for something that didn’t benefit them.

        [Of course this is one of those things the customers don’t need to know. Might work best in systems where the quail are a commercial venture and the ducks are a private homestead element.]

  8. You cannot really keep them outside in a northern climate and expect them to lay, either. These figures are actually also known and mentioned in the literature.

    • Jon Dowie is in NH and they are laying just fine right now for him. The key is lighting and good feed and water.

    • NH winter was on the extreme end of mild this year. Not saying either is right or wrong, just pointing it out.

  9. I’m behind on listening to shows, so I’ve yet to listen to this one but…

    On the construction of your apiary I saw on youtube, you may want to consider connecting your cattle panels and hardware cloth with zip ties vs wire. I found it to be a time saver and just as rock solid.

    (I would have commented on youtube but I don’t have a channel to do so.)
    Just wanted to share. Thanks for everything you do, Jack!

    • Well you will like the video that is uploading now I talk about both. Most was done with zip ties but they do get brittle over time. My view is once the hardware cloth is wired on it won’t matter much.

      By the way an apiary is for bees, may have been auto correct, dang thing hoses me all the time.

  10. Catching up on shows here…

    Quick share on on calcium supplementation. We use the cheap Oster brand (white & blue) sport blender to grind up all sorts of egg and clam shells to choice feed our girls. Creates a pretty fine product; don’t breathe the dust in fact.

    My better half had one and some extra mixing containers so I appropriated one for grinding shells. You fill your container with crushed shells (I cook ’em in the over first to kill any nasties) basically screw on the blender blade lid, and plug and twist. One speed, tough, and quick. I’ll shake that thing up and down while it’s grinding to get everything good and fine.

    It’s model BLSTPB-WBL for like $20-$25 on amazon.