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Japanese Quail

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  • Japanese Quail

    In various articles that I've written over the years, I've described quail as the quintessential small-holder's livestock.

    We first began breeding and rearing quail in the mid 1970's...and, 40 years later, I still regard them fondly.

    They earn the title on the basis of their unrivalled ability to produce meat and eggs faster, and in greater quantity (relatively speaking), than anything on two or more legs.

    The ability of a female to reproduce its body weight in any given year is another measure where the quail is without parallel. A cow is able to produce 40% of its own bodyweight per year and a sheep or goat can produce over 100%. A sow can generate in excess of 400% and a rabbit doe tips the scales at in excess of 1000%.
    However, none of them come close to Japanese quail.

    These amazing little birds can put a new generation of breeding birds on the ground every eight weeks. That’s right! The birds that hatch today will start laying eggs in about six weeks.

    Quail are suited to anyone who wishes to learn more about how to work with livestock.....regardless of their age or gender.......and who would like to experience an entire 'cradle to the grave' livestock operation.....from setting up the breeding operation to the preparation and service...and marketing...of the gourmet meat and eggs.

    These tiny game birds work like a poultry farm in miniature......producing gourmet meat and a breeding cycle of just weeks...... while occupying just a few square metres of floor space. They:
    • Are relatively hardy
    • Thrive in small spaces
    • Can be bred up cost effectively and quickly
    • Will produce eggs and meat in just 6 weeks.
    • Are prolific layers….upwards of 250 eggs per year.
    • Can be sexed from an early age.
    • Rarely go broody.
    Their size ensures that a breeding and growing operation designed to yield 10 quail per week (enough for a meal for a family of four) could be accommodated in a floor space of about 2 square metres.

  • #2
    After reading your quail info many years ago on the microponics site, I finally bought 48 Japanese jumbo quail eggs from a local supplier. I received 51, rejected 3 due to cracks and hatched 20. This was my first time incubating any type of egg, and although the hatch rate was under 50%, it was still very exciting .... those guys hatch like pop-corn. They're now 10 days old. Here's the crew at 4 days.


    • #3
      Welcome to HMFL, Robbie...and congratulations on your initial quail hatch. If you're like me, the more you have to do with quail, the more you'll love them.

      Do you have any other food production strategies happening....or planned?


      • #4
        Thanks Gary. I have been a novice fruit & veg grower with a small vegetable garden and a few fruit trees for a little while. I'm running a 600 litre aquaponics, but of course would love to one day have a larger system than my current one. I'm currently raising 2 muscovy ducklings and I have 1 female adult who has been laying eggs recently. I'm hoping to have some breeding if all turns out well. Supplement fodder for the animals is another thing I'm doing, but I'm hoping to do more of that.

        I can't believe how fast these quail grow. I saw one fly a meter when the mesh was off the brooder box this morning. That's at 12 days! I know you and others have made favourable reference to their growth rate, but it blows me away to experience it.


        • #5
          It looks like you're doing a wide range of things. You might be a candidate for waste transformation the backyard scale...Microponics.