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Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 7:25 pm
by ktibble
We currently keep 8 chickens and 3 runner ducks (Hamilton, Button and Senna), I would love to get some Quails (for eggs), but know very little about them, my biggest concern being what I have read so far about them needing to be kept inside during the winter (I live in Oxfordshire,UK).

My shed (converted stable) is quite large, but is full of tools and would need a major sort out for me to add any sort of accommodation.

Any advice would be gratefully received, but I would be particularly interested to hear what other people do, is it enough to some how cover and protect an outdoor shelter, I.e a small purpose built "mini" shed or something ???

Any ideas ??

Any pics of what other Quail keepers do / recommend ??

Re: Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:59 am
by boboff
I kept them for a while.
Incubate your own eggs they are really successfull.
Keep them in a 6x6 shed, with a 2x2 run of min 1/2 inch mesh all sides on the grass, inside saw dust.
They are sweet little things but they definately need to be rotated every 12 - 18 months ( yes killed and replaced I mean)
The males are agressive and need weeding out quickly.
They bury there eggs so it's best to keep bedding to a minimum.
They jump up when scared. This can be amuzing.
I can't really see them working outside really, but it depends on the type, there is a quail forum I think, funny bunch mind.....

Re: Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:07 pm
by matowakan
I have kept quail for a number of years.
Agree that males can be aggressive so now I only keep females for their eggs mainly and because I like them as a breed! I keep Japanese quail.
I have always kept them in a rabbit hutch with a run attached or something similar all year round with no ill effects. I put wood shavings or some hay down in the hutch as they dont roost as such,just stay on the ground.
They will lay their eggs anywhere I have found and dont nest like chooks do to lay.
They are also know as "bonkers" as when startled they jump up quite high. Also they shake a lot when scared and quiver all over.
The eggs are good especially hardboiled with a little celery sort but basically they dont live very long as they alomst lay themselves to death. So replace every 18months-2years as said above.
I wouldnt be without mine now as i find them realy sweet and endearing.
Feed them on chick crumbs and they are happy and content.Any questions please ask and I will try and answer them.

Re: Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:48 am
by ktibble
Thanks, both for your replies, I am looking at building some form of hutch / run / housing. Due to where I live a 6' by 6' shed would probably not be allowed! - Interesting to hear that a converted rabbit hutch is doing the job. Do you cover the house / run at all in the winter. We usually place a large insulated horse rug over our rabbit hutch and run in the winter for my wife's pet rabbits and had hoped this would suffice for Quails.

Dispatching Quails ???

I have so far had to dispatch two chickens due to old age / ill health using the "broom handle" method. Not something I want to have to do too regularly, how do you dispatch a Quail ? - Guessing it must be awkward given their size, particularly if doing males at a young age?

This is making me think twice, albeit I want to start keeping chickens for meat so it is something I need to "get over"...

Re: Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:59 pm
by matowakan
I have always had my quail "out" so to speak in winter to no ill effects. I have covered the hutch though with old carpet or something for added protection. The hutches i have used have always had roof felt on them also.
Regarding dispatching: I have dispatched mine the same way I do chooks. Holdin by the feet upside down with a forefinger one side of the neck and another finger the other side.Then it is a case of a quick pull to sever the cord. sounds horrible but finds it is quick and efficient for the bird. I have raised chooks for meat and eggs and again this is the method I use to dispatch young males etc.
Unfortunately if you want to raise your own birds this is part of the process unless you find a home for all the unwanted ones!! with quail you want one male for every 6 quail or so otherwise the females are worn out!!
So I wish you luck in what you decide and any other questions please ask.
Regards fi

Re: Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:01 pm
by boboff
It is not easy you have to be PMT to do it, when you are though its like popping balls from a ting that pops easy,

Re: Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:45 pm
by ktibble
Thanks all, for your guidance, as soon as the rain stops I will set to making a suitable enclosure and will probably go for covering it over with an old horse rug as per the rabbits hutch. I will worry about the dispatching in a years time! I have done a couple of chickens and as much as I dislike it, I will do it I'm sure.

Re: Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:48 pm
by sda
I have a 28 litre plastic storage box with lid, with a flap created and air holes drilled. Will it be warm enough overnight for them with straw? The box is in a contained run.

Re: Whether to keep Quails

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:34 am
by ebannaw
Hello ktibble,

I see that you are a fellow Oxonian!

We are getting quails just after the first week of august and are very excited.

I was recommended to speak to a guy here in Witney called Nick Walkington who runs a home based hatchery for quail and Khaki Campbell ducks. He was a really nice bloke and was very knowledgeable on how to go about setting everything up. The one thing that got me, apart from the fact that his garden was well manicured with all the birds that he keeps, was his very inventive use of space!

I'm not sure if we can post links here, but I am sure you can google him, he has a very informative site. If not then please PM me and I will be more than happy to give you the link.

As an example of what we built, you can look here: ... 743c1067c9