Chores, exercise, sunrises, sunsets, quiet, busy, animals, a production garden, dirt, lots of dirt, and everything else in between.
It for sure is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we love farming.
One of my wishes for our farm was to see if we could not only grow our own food, but supply food to our diet as well as our dogs diet.
We aren’t a large enough property to have beef cows, so no on that one.
No on ostrich, llama, and other exotics.
And then I started to read about quail. Coturnix quail to be exact.
They take up less space than a chicken, grow at a faster rate, produce up to 300 eggs per bird per year, and they get up to about 14oz. per bird and are also a great meat source.
I started to dig around even more and found some great resources on youtube, and then a quail egg hatchery with more awesome youtube videos.
We got them into our incubator, I followed the manufacturers guidelines to the Nth degree, and 17 days later, little quail chicks were pipping and hatching.
Out of the 47 viable eggs we hatched out 35, but one died two days later.
UPDATE – this incubator which is a good starter incubator only had a good hatch rate the first hatch, after that it went down dramatically. The temperature gauge was really off, as was the humidity guage, it was hard to keep things stable after the first hatch.
We went through two other brands and so far have been very happy with the BRINSEA – 80-85% hatch rate each time, automatic egg turner, temperature/humidity auto features. This is our third season and so far it is super consistent.
So here we were with a tiny brooder box, and 69 quail chicks who started to grow SUPER fast.
We borrowed a friends sheep tank, and they out grew that one in about 5 days.
Then we made a giant 4′ x 8′ brooder in the garage that finally was big enough for all of them, for about a hot minute!
They grow rapidly – from thumb size to adolescents in 3 weeks.
3 WEEKS – adolescents – feather sexable
5-7 WEEKS – sexual maturity, males start crowing
7-10 WEEKS – butch males (if you don’t the harm they cause to each other is deadly, literally)
7-12 WEEKS – hens start laying eggs if they are stress free
They are social, fun to be around, they eat as much as a horse practically, and they are more of a miniature velociraptor than a farm bird, I consider them my baby dinosaurs!
We will have meat birds and egg layers, and so our little farm finally has a production animal for us and our dogs.
And as is always forefront in my mind, I am grateful to supply my animals and my family with love, kindness, nurturing and a good life. And my goal is to RE-LEARN what my grandparents knew, how to feed my own family through my own efforts and skills!
psst – and this is how quail sleep!
And their feathers/colorings are gorgeous!