Quail have flown into Central Park Farms

If you haven't heard the news yet, we've recently added quail to the mix here at the farm -- Check out the details here!

Although, I'd never had the pleasure of trying quail for meat or eggs prior to meeting Jay, this unique bird is nothing new to my other-half.

Jay spent over 20 years successfully growing his company Specialty Quail Products before selling it in 2010. Back then he decided he was done farming...until I came along and convinced him to make the switch from commercial to small-scale sustainable farming.

Since we're now offering both live quail and fertilized quail eggs for sale I thought I'd tap into his wealth of knowledge for anyone thinking of adding quail to their farm or homestead.

What do quail eat?

At Specialty Quail Products we made our own ration but Turkey Starter is a great choice -- It's crumble size and nutritional content is great for quail and it's easy to find at your local feed shop.

What ratio of females to males are best if my goal is to breed?

We ran a 4:1 but a 5:1 works well too.

What kind of housing do quail need?

While quail don't 'fly' per se, they do flutter or fly in small spurts so enclosed housing like an atrium, cage, or coop and run with a top is best.

Can you pasture raise quail?

If you know anything about Kendall and Central Park Farms, you know that she's all about pasture raising animals. Our animals roam pretty free around here but quail can't have quite the same privileges.

Quail don't roost so unlike chickens they don't come back in at night. Also, because of their small size they are much more likely to fall victim to predators including your basic house cat.

Can quail and chicken live together?

Yes, as long as the housing is suitable for quail they can live together.

What makes your quail 'jumbo'?

I originally got this bloodline from UBC and continued working to breed for size. Although I was able to breed for higher weights than the current we have, I found that when they became too big their egg production and hatching rate dropped.

How do you tell males from females?

With pharaoh Coturnix, your females have the spots and males have the golden chests.

How many eggs does a healthy quail hen lay per year?

Our hens will lay 320-330 eggs per year. When I was raising this bloodline my laying rate was on average 355 but my conditions were very controlled so to be safe I'd say 320-330.

When do quail leave their optimum laying age?

Quail will lay at their peak rates for about a year after starting to lay.

Are quail seasonal layers or do they lay year round?

As long as they get the light and heat they need they will lay year round. They need 18 hours of light for optimal laying rate and I suggest a temperature of 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do I store the eggs if I'm wanting to incubate them?

Keep your eggs in a cool, dry, and dark area.

How long do you incubate quail eggs for?

Coturnix quail are one of the fastest growing so they'll incubate in about 16-17 days.

When do quail begin laying eggs?

Quail start laying eggs at around 6 weeks.

What tips do you have for introducing new quail to my flock?

Firstly, a flock of quail is called a covey and this is a very important question. As an ex-commercial farmer bio-security has been ingrained in me. It's important to remember to take steps to keep your current covey safe.

Regardless what anyone says about their birds being healthy and disease free, treat them as though they might not be. This means quarantine your new birds for an extended period of time. While in quarantine watch for signs of illness and disease.

A wonderful resource for small farmers is the BC Poultry Marketing Board. They provide a ton of information on bio-security for chickens and the same rules will apply for quail. Check out the BC Poultry Biosecurity Reference Guide for more info.

When are quail a good size for butchery?

They're ready for butchery at approx. 5 weeks or older.

Are quail increasing in popularity?

Quail have always been popular in the Asian market and have been on this increase across the board in recent years.

What does quail meat taste like?

Oh that's a tough one! I'd say a slightly stronger taste than chicken but nowhere near as strong as duck and our birds have been bred to not have a 'gamey' taste.

Why do you suggest raising quail?

Unlike chicken, many cities don't have regulations against raising them. If you can't have backyard chickens, give quail a shot. You just might be able to have those farm fresh eggs after all!

If you're interested in adding quail meat or eggs to your diet and just don't think you're cut out to raise 'em yourself, get in touch. We're not just selling live chicks and fertilized eggs, we're now selling processed whole quail and eggs for eating.

Kendall ~ The chick behind Central Park Farms