Moving to a small farm has been great in so many ways, chores, exercise, sunrises, sunsets, quiet, busy, animals, a production garden, and everything else in between.
It for sure is not everyones cup of tea, but we have wanted this for way too many years to count.
One of my wishes for our farm was to see if we could not only grow our own food, but supply food to our dogs diet as well.
We aren’t a large enough property to have beef cows, so no on that one.
I am simply not a chicken person, so no on that one.
No person will ever kill one of my ducks, they are named, they were my first house warming gift, I love their eggs, and they make me laugh every single day.
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.
Here is our journey via video so far, and some videos are ASMR because I love their sounds! QUAIL
50 quail eggs arrived in the mail, and my enterprise was started.
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.
I also purchased two day old chicks from a breeder just 90 miles away, just in case my first hatch was a disaster.
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!
At just three weeks of age I sexed them – feather sexing for soe of the color variations, and vent sexing for the others.
The males went into a portable tractor housing in the apple orchard, Polyface Farm style, like I learned from Joel Salatin’s books!
The females into an outdoor habitat that will be their home.
I know I messed up some of the sexing as I can hear crowing in the hen house!
At three weeks of age they are considered teens.
At eight weeks of age they are considered adults.
I am learning so much with my new quail.
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!