Someone, somewhere says that blog posts published on the weekends don’t get as many views and that may be true, but I simple cannot wait to introduce the newest Simple Goodness Farm critters, QUAIL! Adding quail to the farm was actually Farmer Ross’ idea. Farmer Ross has always loved Eastern Washington, especially in the fall when he heads over to hunt game birds. One of Ross’ dreams has always been to have a big farm or ranch where there are birds a plenty for him to hunt.
While we don’t have enough land to hunt on, we certainly have enough land to have some quail. So, when Ross met a lady at our local watering hole who raises quail he decided we should get some. And I of course agreed, because I love adding adorable critters to the farm.
We drove down a VEEEERY long gravel driveway to the quail lady’s house and we knew we were in the right place when we found a huge fenced pasture full of ducks, chickens, few peacocks and an emu! We talked birds for a little bit. Did you know emu hide is used to make cowboy boots with a super cool texture? I didn’t, but now I do! And then she showed us to her quail room. The quail room was full of cages filled with over 200 quail. She keeps both males and females and has a full breeding operation. The quail are sold for a variety of purposes including eating, egg production, bird dog training and pets. She breeds hers and sells eggs, chicks and adult birds. Her chicks cost $3 each and the adults cost $10.
Since we are total quail beginners we spent some time asking questions about how to care for chicks and adult birds and in the end we decided to purchase 5 adult hens and 10 three day old chicks. Here are some things I learned about raising common quail.
1. Female common quails have spots on their chest and male common quail have a rusty color chest.
2. Quail are a lot like chicken and will come back to the same place to lay their eggs if you allow them to free range so long as you introduce them to the area when you first bring them home and feed them in that area. Our adult hens are hanging out in the barn in a dog kennel so that they get used to their new home.
3. Quail eggs are richer because they have a bigger yolk to egg white ratio.
4. Quail eggs are spotted and freakin’ adorable.
5. Quail will lay at least one egg a day when in full production.
6. Quail can easily live with chickens and can often be more aggressive than chickens.
7. Quail roosters are not usually mean and attack people (I have had a terrible experience with chicken roosters)
8. Quail chicks cannot be sexed until their feathers come in. Which means out of the 10 chicks we have we have no idea how many will be male or female.
Once we brought them home we got them set up in their new houses. The adults are in their dog kennel for about a week so they get used to their new crib. The chicks are in the house under a heat lamp until they are ready to go outside in about six weeks. For the first three weeks they will be under a 250 watt heat lamp and then we will reduce the heat to 125 watts for two weeks and then the last week we will take the lamp away before moving them to the barn.
Of course I snapped a few pictures, but make sure you are also following us on Facebook and Instagram to see the pictures of the chicks as they grow!