A Little Quail Story, or, A Taste of Homestead

You're about to be one happy suburban homesteader. Quail are literally the best kept secret for those of us unable to afford land.

They are high intensity and semi labor intensive, but oh so worth it. Quail egg and spinach pizza anyone?

I have 12 coturnix quail (mostly pharoahs because they are easy to sex at day-old -- look for speckles on chest for females). They get around the HOA restriction of no poultry (they are considered to be finch-type birds).

They lay 1-2 eggs a day (though I swear some of them are laying 3 a day right now; they're going crazy). They are pretty noiseless (the roos make a hoarse call that is annoying but the neighbors don't get hip to them; we harvested our roosters since they pester the females and me).

Quail need companions like any flock bird. Some quail are very sociable with their humans, some are not. I have mostly relatives and you'd be surprised that the same birds from the same batches have wildly different personalities. But I've found most quail will do just about anything for a mealworm, so I have my quail pretty well treat-trained. Only one of my birds is tolerant of being held, and so she's the designated ambassador when folks want to hold or pet the quail.

The biggest thing is cages and keeping them happy. You can't free range quail because they don't come home. I have 2x3 cages, stacked in a quail condo of sorts. Some folks will tell you to only have wire-caged floors. I have been quail keeping for over a year and have wood floors covered with litter in addition to a sand box. I keep 2-4 quail in each (I originally was going to keep 6 in each pen, but they are much happier at 2-4). They drink from rabbit bottles. Their cage gets cleaned once a week (quail are not as hardy as chickens so good hygeine is a must!). I use diatoms and ACV for keeping them healthy.

I also put little short dividers in their cages so they can get a break from seeing each other and not feel so exposed (2/3 of the cage is wire, 1/3 is wood, so very open for our hot weather).

In the winter, we put them in our small greenhouse.

/r/homestead Thread