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Keeping Japanese Quail

 

Quail are small but prolific layers of gourmet sized eggs.

Quail are small but prolific layers of gourmet sized eggs.

Dream of fresh daily eggs but live in an apartment with only a small balcony? Japanese quail could be an alternative egg producer and pet with a purpose for you! Japanese Quail are the best type to keep if you want lots of eggs. People say they are delicious, if you can get through all those tiny bones. Their eggs are a delicacy; they can be sold to up-market restaurants. Being small, they are well suited to a small courtyard or apartment. I keep my five Japanese Quail in a modified rabbit run on our balcony (watch my video below). They can’t free range as they have lost all instinct for keeping safe from predators.

What do Japanese Quail eat?

Quail eggs compared to a chicken egg. Size is not everything!

Quail eggs compared to a chicken egg. Size is not everything!

Quail require a diet high in protein, at around 20-25%. General poultry pellets are only normally 18%. If you can locate Wild Bird pellets use this but alternatively this is what I do. Crush 3 cups of Chicken Layers pellets so they resemble fine crumbs (I use our kitchen wizz) and add 1 cup of 100% Blood and Bone from the garden centre. Make sure the blood and bone does not contain any added fertilisers. Feed in a container which the Quail can not scratch the feed out of. If the Layers pellets have grit added there is no need to add any further grit to their diet. I use a rabbit drinking water nozzle for water. The quails have quickly learnt how to use it and this prevents the water from becoming soiled.

Behaviour

Quail love nothing better than dust bathing all-day. Provide a deep container filled with dry soil or sand for then. Quail enjoy fresh greens such as chickweed, parsley, milk thistle, broccoli leaves or silver beet. Female Japanese Quail begin laying at 6 weeks old and will lay an egg a day. They live for around two years. The males are aggressive to each other so only keep one male in the group.

Keeping Quail on my balcony

http://youtu.be/ug8KDaZqa8g

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