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GaryD

Japanese Quail for Meat and Eggs

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Hi,

There are a couple more quail articles......here......and here.

I must have miscalculated.......I set up the eggs to hatch last night believing that they were due in a couple of days.......Wrong!

There were about a dozen chicks out this morning when I got up.

Gary

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The hatch was a disaster - details later.

Sorry to hear that, Gary.

I almost bought some quail yesterday. We were looking for guineas, but the guy had a bunch of laying quail, and I was really tempted to do it. I'm going to work on getting some cages set up so that we can get them going in the next month or so. My kids were amazed at all the little eggs!

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Hi Abe,

I did a post mortem on the eggs and it appears that it was a delayed hatch due to a faulty thermometer. It also pointed to the need for our incubation practices to improve. I was a little mesmerised by the Hovabator and I slackened off a bit. Checking thermometers is standard operating practice for incubator operators and I simply overlooked it - and paid the price.

We'll raise the handful of chicks that we ended up with. It's not viable financially but it's safer for me to raise them than risk Jan's ire by exploring any of the options.

The good news is that the penthouse suite at the Quail hilton is working out very well. It can be bucketing down now and, with the storm covers in place, the birds can see the storm out in complete comfort. I should mention that penthouse suite is now "a room with a view" - since I clad the pen in acrylic sheet on both ends.

Gary

post-2-13795791370958_thumb.jpg

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The good news is that the penthouse suite at the Quail hilton is working out very well. It can be bucketing down now and, with the storm covers in place, the birds can see the storm out in complete comfort. I should mention that penthouse suite is now "a room with a view" - since I clad the pen in acrylic sheet on both ends.

That pen is awesome! At what age do you allow them to go into there? What are the dimensions and how many quail are in there?

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Hi Abe,

That pen is awesome!
Thank you.
At what age do you allow them to go into there?
Bearing in mind that we will only be using the top deck (the bottom will serve as night quarters for our laying chickens), it houses our breeding quail.
What are the dimensions and how many quail are in there?
It's 6" by 4' - and it currently houses 32 birds.

Gary

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It's 6" by 4' - and it currently houses 32 birds.

wow! 6 ft by 4 ft? It looks smaller than that for some reason. That is a decent amount of space right there. I really like the design, with the storm flaps and everything, I think it's great.

Does it have catch trays that come out, or how do you clean it?

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Hi Abe,

wow! 6 ft by 4 ft? It looks smaller than that for some reason.
It may be the angle of the photo. For reference, that's a 1000 litre fish tank behind it.
That is a decent amount of space right there. I really like the design, with the storm flaps and everything, I think it's great.
Thanks. I'm happy with it, so far, but it will feature automatic waterers and a low wattage lighting system when it's finished.
Does it have catch trays that come out, or how do you clean it?
The Quail hilton is part of a larger system that will see 3 layer chickens housed in the space below. I had planned to put a simple trapdoor arrangement into the plywood floor of the pen so that we could just scrape the litter from the quail pen and have it fall down into the chicken pen. I'm still undecided about it at this stage.

Currently, I disturb the deep litter in the pen each day when I go searching for eggs - the quail bury them in litter. This means that the litter is always totally dry. I've been trialling various materials for use as litter.....including wood shavings or shredded garden waste.....as part of a broader plan to produce a very high quality compost.

Gary

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I love it, Gary, very nice setup.

I am designing some guinea pig/quail pens for the new barn, and I had planned to go deep litter with both of them. I am thinking that I might put trays in the bottom that slide out the side of the pen for easy cleaning.

In my neck of the woods, we get corn stover for dirt cheap (or free). It comes in bales or sometimes ground up. I like it when it is ground up, as it is very absorbant, and the animals like it for a bedding. I also use it to grow oyster mushrooms.

What are you going to use for waterers? I have some poultry nipples that I will be trying out this year, I'm hoping they will work, because they are super easy.

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Hi Abe,

The ground up corn stover sounds like it would be an excellent deep litter material. Mixed with manure from the quail it would then become a very good compost over time.

I like nipple drinkers because of their simplicity.....and the fact that the birds who are drinking from them are always getting clean water. The only issue with them, for my purposes, is that they often drip a bit. This simply means that, if I used them, I would mount them in such a way that any dripping water fell directly to the ground rather than into the litter.

The other option are what are known as cup drinkers. Lubing is one brand that comes to mind.

Gary

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I use the ground-up stover for bedding for a lot of animals. My pigs love it for building birth nests. My rabbits love it for making burrows. I'm sure the quail and guinea pigs will love it for deep litter. I like it because it is absorbant and "fluffy". So, it doesn't compact and stay wet, it lets air in there and keeps things dry.

I like the nipple waterers, too. I use them for rabbits, pigs, chickens, goats, just about everything. For ones that drip, I have installed a simple catch drain in each pen, and that works well. The pigs know how to sit there and press it to make a mess, so the catch drain is essential for them. It is basically like a drain in a shower, just a shallow basin with a PVC pipe going to where you want the water to go (mulberry trees for me)

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Hi Abe,

I use the ground-up stover for bedding for a lot of animals. My pigs love it for building birth nests. My rabbits love it for making burrows. I'm sure the quail and guinea pigs will love it for deep litter. I like it because it is absorbant and "fluffy". So, it doesn't compact and stay wet, it lets air in there and keeps things dry.
Sounds ideal. We don't have access to it (corn is not anywhere nearly as widely grown in Australia as it is in the Americas) so we'll have to stick with the shredded garden waste.

Gary

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Sounds ideal. We don't have access to it (corn is not anywhere nearly as widely grown in Australia as it is in the Americas) so we'll have to stick with the shredded garden waste.

I'm sure you have crops/weeds that are similar. Sunflowers, Sorghums, Johnsongrass, Amaranth, etc. Basically weeds/plants with a fibrous, thick stalk, then grind them up.

But, you are right, bedding materials can come from anywhere. Lots of things will work.

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Hi Vela. What do you use to grind up the corn stalks? I am considering buying a small shredder/mulcher for this purpose, and would like to go with an electric unit. It doesn't have to be too strong since corn stalks would be the toughest thing getting shredded. I don't get much leaves, but being able to shred those in the same unit would be a plus.

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Hi Vela. What do you use to grind up the corn stalks? I am considering buying a small shredder/mulcher for this purpose, and would like to go with an electric unit. It doesn't have to be too strong since corn stalks would be the toughest thing getting shredded. I don't get much leaves, but being able to shred those in the same unit would be a plus.

corn stalks are tougher than you think, but an old lawn mower or shredder should be able to do it. We don't grind them up, we buy them that way, and usually, they do it in big machines to grind up 100s of bales for cattle feed.

You might be able to get the stalks for free, depending on where you are.

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I just want to grind up and compost all my yard waste, putting everything back into the system. I'll do some research on shredders. Thanks.

I don't have the link anymore, but I once saw one on YouTube that was basically a converted lawn mower. They placed a board across the bottom, and then created a feed chute in the top of the mower. It looked like it worked great, and I bet they didn't pay much for that mower (they can be found at yard sales for almost nothing).

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Hi,

I heap up our garden waste (often using a leaf blower) on the concrete driveway and then run over it with the lawnmower (with catcher attached). If the shredded waste is not fine enough, I just empty it out into a row and run over it again.....works great.

Gary

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Hi,

The 12 survivors of our disastrous most recent hatch are growing steadily.

This was hardly a cost effective hatch.....but Jan got to the remaining chicks before I got a chance to exercise a cost effective farming solution by euthanising them.

Gary

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Hi Luke,

When we've had amaranth, I've only ever feed them young foliage and dried seed heads (flowers).......and, to be truthful, I wasn't in much of a researching frame of mind, so I can't recall much about it.

From a nutritional perspective, amaranth leaves and seeds are a premium ingredient.

For the uninitiated, amaranth seeds are tiny....so the challenge would be to ensure to ensure that, if you were feeding them dried flower seed heads, the birds were consuming the seeds rather than playing with the dried plant residues.

Another option might be to try feeding fresh fully-formed flowers......to see if the birds actually eat the seeds from the flowers.

Gary

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