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  • Writer's picturefeatheredknechtions

Top 5 Reasons to Raise Coturnix Quail (especially if you live in the city)

Maybe you've heard of coturnix quail and maybe you haven't but here's 5 of the top reasons to raise them that I tell EVERYONE wanting more food security, especially if you're in the city and especially if you are somewhere with strict regulations.


no roosters allowed signage

Reason #1- You CAN have coturnix quail where you cannot have chickens.

HOA's are normally stricter because they can set individual regulations not based on city, county or state regulations. But generally, city codes, in regard to birds, fall into 3 categories: (1) poultry i.e. chickens, turkeys etc (2) waterfowl-i.e. ducks, geese (3) gamebirds i.e. NATIVE species to your specific area which here in central Utah are things like California or valley quail, chukars, pheasants etc. Because Coturnix Quail/Japanese Quail would technically be a gamebird but are Asian quail and therefore a non-native species in the United States they technically don't really fall into any category listed above so depending on how your city codes are written it can usually be a huge loophole for you. Also, in my experience, code enforcement is usually based on complaints so if your neighbors aren't complaining i.e. you keep everything clean and not noisy you likely won't run into problems. Coturnix quail are also very quiet. The hens quietly chirp (if at all) and the roosters are so much quieter than even a chicken hen egg song. Check out this video I love to show everyone on how loud the quail roosters are. https://youtu.be/nIkZnt3c5dY?si=2Z2B2xSAtLs_BBo2


Reason #2- Everything is MUCH faster with quail.

From the day your chick hatches (which only takes 17days!) until you get your first egg is 5-7wks. Even if you want to do chickens in addition to quail, it's nice that you can have quail eggs this fast to supplement while you wait the 4-9months your chickens need before they lay eggs or in case you then find out all your chickens are indeed roosters ( I swear it happens to us so much ha-ha). On coturnix quail you can tell gender on the feather sexable chicks by 3-4wks old and if they aren't feather sexable colors (i.e. solid colors or tuxedos aren't usually feather sexable) then you'll be able to vent sex them and tell the gender by 6-8wks old. This just makes life so much easier because you can tell who is who much earlier and if you don't want to keep roosters you will know early on so you can rehome them to a neighbor or my personal favorite-"freezer camp". Oh, and did I mention that coturnix quail only need heat for the first 3wks of age? Then they can go outside by 4wks of age any time of year and will not need supplemental heat. That's honestly my favorite thing about quail because I brood them inside the house and it's nice that they only have to be inside a couple of weeks before I add them to the quail shed with the adults.


Reason #3- The time commitment to raising them under artificial heat is very short!

Oh, did I mention that coturnix quail only need heat for the first 2-3wks of age? Then they can go outside by 4wks of age any time of year and will not need supplemental heat. That's honestly my favorite thing about quail because I brood them inside the house and it's nice that they only have to be inside a couple of weeks before I add them to the quail shed with the adults. Sometimes that's the biggest struggle with raising other kinds of poultry/birds is the time commitment needing to be brooding them and the effort needed to keep the brooder clean, so it isn't a stinky mess.


Reason #4- Space requirements are minimal.

Chickens are recommended to get 10 sq ft per bird if not free ranged and I can tell you right now my chickens wouldn't be happy with only 10sq ft because they are pampered princesses....with adult coturnix quail for every 1 sq ft you can house 3 quail. To put that in perspective, that's 30 quail in the space you can comfortably house 1 chicken. This seems minimal but quail are covey (flock) animals, so they do well all smooshed together in what I call cuddle puddles. It's how they keep warm in winter but also keep each other safe. You can always give them more space, but I've noticed mine tend to do better as a community with 3 adults per sq ft so then no one gets overly territorial. But like I tell all my customers, there really isn't a wrong way to raise quail so long as they are happy and healthy and it's working for you. That's what matters. I'm just sharing what I've found works for me and why I love these animals for city limit self-sufficiency.


Reason #5-The food conversion ratio on coturnix quail is PHENOMENAL at 2:1

This means for every 2 ounces of food you give the animal it will gain 1 ounce of weight up until max out weight which for coturnix quail is about 8 weeks old. Some people wait until 10 weeks to harvest but there isn't as much weight gain between 8 and 10 weeks so some people harvest early at 8wks old just so they aren't feeding for 2 more weeks with not as many gains.

If you're more of a visual/auditory learner feel free to check out my video version of this post here. And to keep up with all the laughs and fun as I teach y'all how I'm becoming more and more city limit self sufficient subscribe to our YouTube channel. Until next time -Kelli

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