by Heidi Khalil, August 17, 2022
Some of the finest restaurants in the world have quail dishes gracing their menus. And, why shouldn’t they? Quail has a fine, delicate flavor. The meat is tender, and when prepared properly, is a beautiful experience that one cannot easily forget!
I first started raising quail about 7 years ago. I had already raised chickens, cows, goats and sheep. I tried many different breeds of each type of livestock. I know how expensive the start up is. However, quail is a game changer when it comes to the hobby farm or homestead whether it be rural or urban.
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- Facility Set up- Quail are small, and need to be protected from extreme cold and extreme heat. So, they need an insulated small shed or something like it, with a little window for natural sunlight. Your weather conditions will dictate if you need air condition/heat. There are many different types of quail set ups. It takes time, but it can actually be quite fun to set up a quail home that will work for your specific needs.
- Food- We fed a proper quail feed with the right protein amount needed that didn’t have growth hormones or additives. We also put hardware cloth on top of the feeders, so that the quail would not waste it. THEY LOVE TO SWING FEED OUT AND IT WILL WASTE IF YOU DON’T DO THIS! This trains them to be careful if they want to eat. They don’t eat too much, so a 50lb bag of quail feed can last quite a while, depending on how many you have.
- Quail need something to do with their energy, so they will need a little sand container to take sand baths in. This will keep down any type of microscopic insects that may try to bother them. It also keeps their feathers in great shape. You can put a little roosting stick through their cage for those who would like to be on the branches. But to each his own.
- The breed that I have had the best experience with is the Coturnix. These quail hatch out in about 17 days in an incubator… and grow very fast, naturally. They are ready for the table in about 3 short months or less. The eggs are plentiful and nutritious. Sometimes, I cook up 5 to have for my breakfast….. Absolutely scrumptious!
- With quail, you can easily hatch out about 100 at a time. An incubator will run you about $100-$200 each…. if you cannot find a used one. You can start for a lot less, but to be on the safe side, and for the sake of argument, let’s say that you can set up a nice little homestead quail operation for about $500-$900. Each situation will be different , depending on your weather and infrastructure. But, the best thing about quail is their versatility. Land prices have soared in recent years, and with quail, you don’t need to go broke on land. You can start your urban homestead dream now!