Yep move over chicken…. The quail is here to stay! It has earned top spot at Myshire, and I’m sure many more farms and urban homesteader will make the switch too. Here is the case for changing the way you do birds.
1) Space efficiency. They just don’t need a lot of space! The coturnix quail is quite content with 1 square foot per bird, and even then they still love to cuddle and sleep together. You will usually find them keeping the same sleep patterns. Everybirdy being awake playing and eating, and then all taking naps together in their odd sprawled out way. Most people keep them in rabbit hutches for added ease of cleaning.
2) Eggs. At 300 eggs a year, the chicken has a hard time keeping up. Add in the fact that egg to feed ratio is better with quail, and many claim the health benefits of quail eggs are far superior. Said to help everything from boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, to preventing cancer. Some people allergic to chicken eggs can consume the quail eggs without any reaction. And my favorite part….. They start laying as soon as 7 WEEKS OLD. Chickens take 20+ weeks to lay.
3)Meat. Sure they are small, but don’t let that fool you! These birds can hatch and get to butcher weight in 8 weeks with less cost and labor than the chicken counterparts. The quail meat is higher in protein and lower in fat than your average chicken broiler too. Their small size makes them easy to dress out without any fancy equipment. They are easy to store in the freezer, and fast to cook. The best part is quail are sustainable! No more ordering in cornish rock cross chicks for $2.50 EACH CHICK year after year. The coturnix is easily hatched out in your home incubator in just 18 days.
4)No ban! Most in-city ordinances ban livestock, this includes the chicken. Quail however, are not in this category and can be kept as pets. Coturnix quail are not “game birds” either so most states don’t require permits that are necessary for other quail such as the native bobwhite. This opens up the possibility for millions of Americans to have their own sustainable protein source.
5) Lots of personality. For little birds they come with a lot of spunk! They love their dust bathes and treats (mine are getting leftover cucumbers from the garden now and will eat it down to the peel!) They will pop around like popcorn and call out when their humans are near. They also come in lots of color choices.
WARNING: SWITCHING TO QUAIL IS HIGHLY ADDICTING.