Project 4 – Raising quails

 

dsc_7666Quails are great. They have a calm temperament and interesting habits and personalities.
We raise them for eggs and only have 2 females and 1 male in the brood box. They have plenty of space, good substrate to make their little nests and good food and water. They LOVE worms and will fight for them. We are also breeding meal worms for the quails to eat.

 

 

dsc_7995How many toes does your quail have?

I had to get a torch and go out at 11pm to see for sure that the ours where truly Coturnix…

Australia has 10 native species of Quail.  The King Quail, Brown Quail and the Stubble Quail are true quail, comprise 3 species and belong to the genus Coturnix.  The other 7 species of quail are referred to as Button quail and belong to the genus Turnix.  It is easy to distinguish between the two genus of Australian quail.  The Coturnix quail have four toes and three of the toes point forward and the other toe points backwards.  The Turnix quail have three toes on each foot and each toe points forward.

In the Turnix or Button quail the hen is larger than the cock bird.  The Button quail hens have a brighter coloured plumage than the males.  In the Coturnix quail the sexes are about equal in size but the males have a brighter coloured plumage than the hens.

All species of quail build a nest on the ground.  Best results occur when the quail build the nest in the covered part of the aviary.  The incubation/hatching times as well as the time a young grows and reaches independence can vary due to varying weather conditions and temperatures.  In colder conditions the time taken to hatch and grow can take longer.  Equally during hotter months the times can be less than average.

Quail can be used to add visual balance to the aesthetics of an aviary.  Finches and suitable small parrots flying around and occupying the middle and upper part of the aviary and the quail taking up the lower level and floor real estate.

Breeding quails

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Through time the domestication of the Coturnex has meant that they are not good brooders. They don’t sit on their eggs. They stand on them, kick them around, squash them sometimes. Like little footballs the eggs appear regularly and end up being part of the furniture if they are not collected.

The only way is to incubate them with the right temperatures and humidity. The incubator above is our first attempt to breed them. It turns the eggs every 2 hours.

A new home is under way for the quails as there are going to be many.

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About 100 quails can live in here but we need to learn how to manage the population and the ratio of boys-girls. Once the wire is complete they will have a fine bark floor and piles of hay. The existing quail house will become a brood box for babies. Looking forward to the hatch!