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When you live in an area where raising larger chickens such as chickens is not an option, grouse are a good alternative. Most HOAs usually allow you to raise chickens even when other types of birds are prohibited. The truth of the matter is, as long as you control the smell of the mower they may not even know you have them. Flycatchers are relatively quiet birds. Even when the males call they will be similar to other birds in the area and will not be noticed.
Ok, quail can be raised anywhere but are they worth the trouble? Yes, quail are small, weighing 3 ½ to 5 ounces, so it may take 1 to 2 quail per person for a meal. The eggs are really small too, taking about 5 hard boiled eggs to 1 large chicken egg. An adult chicken eats between 20 and 25 grams of food per day, which will probably run you about 2 cents a day to feed them. In the long run that would be a good return on investment.
Another good thing about quail is that they reach adulthood at 6 to 8 weeks and have a life expectancy of just over two years. So in less than 2 months they are ready to eat or better yet they are ready to breed. An important thing to remember is that Coturnix Quail have lost the instinct to lay their own eggs so you will need an incubator or you will have to put them under a hen. Coturnix Quail, which is the most commonly photographed quail, is easily identified as male or female by the color of the bird’s chest. Female birds have a mottled chest and males have a light brown chest without spots. Quail usually breed between the months of March and September when they receive 14 hours or more of sunlight. When the days get shorter they stop laying but by adding light to their cage you can extend the season and get about 300 eggs per year for each adult hen. As they get older these women get tired and produce less. The eggs are also very edible and in some areas they are considered as food. There is very little difference in taste between free range eggs and chicken eggs, in fact if it wasn’t for something of that size I don’t think you could tell the difference.
You will want to raise your birds in a cage to keep them safe from predators such as hunters, relentless dogs and cats. You will want to give them about 10 inches of room for each bird and try to keep the cage about 8 inches high. Quail fly and can hurt themselves by hitting the top of the cage if they have enough space. The standard cage has a ½ inch wire fence floor so they can walk on the floor and their litter can fall to the ground. If you are a gardener, the droppings of these birds will make a good fertilizer. If for some reason you don’t like the idea of keeping them in a cage you can let them out in a fenced area but like I said before, they fly so you have to you clip their wings.
A fly is a very tight-knit bird, so if you have an escape, stay calm. Do not run or chase after them or you will scare them and they may leave for good. Just slowly walk up to them and corner them and you will be able to pick them up easily. If you really think you need it you can use a net but again do it carefully and they should be easy to catch.
Quail really gets into things. By that I mean they get access to their food and water and where they go, they go. In other words as they climb into their food and water they leave their waste there. You need to keep these things clean so they don’t get sick with bacteria or disease. Chicks should be fed from the start until they are 6 to 8 weeks old to ensure they get enough protein. Although you can feed them chicken feed it is better to feed them cut feed or game bird feed. Don’t let their food get wet. Wet food spoils and can kill your birds.
When your guinea fowl lays eggs you can store them for about a week before hatching. This allows you to collect several eggs to hatch at once. When storing them, you want to place them pointed side down and try to store them in a cool place between 50° to 55° Fahrenheit or 10° to 13° Celsius. Handle the eggs carefully because they are very fragile. Be sure to wash your hands before handling, perspiration, oil, or other foreign matter can pass through the egg and cause bacteria growth. Also make sure your incubator is clean and tidy before use as the chicks are susceptible to infection. When choosing eggs for hatching choose eggs that are clean and free of blemishes. Do not wash the eggs or remove the protective coating or you will warm from the eggs and they will not hatch. You need to set up your incubator and run it for at least 24 hours before using it to make sure it is working properly and is up to temperature. A Coturnix quail needs a temperature of around 99.9° Fahrenheit or 37.7° Celsius if you are laying a Bob White quail you need a temperature of 99.5° Fahrenheit or 37.5° Celsius Your eggs need to be turned 2 to 3 times a day at the same time period if you don’t have an automatic egg turning machine. 3 days before your eggs are due you will want to stop turning your eggs. If you’re turning your eggs by hand it’s a good idea to mark your eggs with a circle on one side and an X on the other so you can keep track of which side to turn. are they Make sure if you mark them to do it in pencil and not ink. Ink can seep into the shell. A Coturnix quail takes up to 18 days to hatch. If you are building Bob Whites they can take up to 23 days. The humidity in your incubator should be between 25% and 60%. As your chicks hatch, leave them in the incubator until they are dry.
As soon as your twigs are dry you can move them to a brooder. A brooder is a type of large box or container with a heat lamp. You need to keep that brooder temperature around 98° Fahrenheit or around 36.6° Celsius Then drop the temperature about 10 degrees a week until you reach the average outside temperature and the birds ready for the outdoors.
Quail are easy to raise, cheap, a great food source and can be fun to raise no matter where you live.
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