Have you ever fancied keeping quail? We did and since our first hatch have been hooked.
At Parkside Poultry we have a selection of colours for you to start or increase your flock.
These delightful little birds do not require a large pen, and are not expensive to feed… there is special quail feed available from Marriages and Garvo but they will be just as happy sharing your chickens layers pellets or mash.
Coturnix (Japanese) quail are hardy little creatures who have no desire to roost and rarely nest so their housing can be as elaborate or as simple as you like.
They will repay you with around 250 eggs a year which if fertilised are very low in cholesterol. There is no chance you will find any chicks in your breakfast so long as you collect the eggs daily and keep refrigerated. They need to be kept at blood temperature for around 5 days before you would notice any difference in them.
Best kept in groups of four hens to one cockbird. The cockbirds will tolerate each other well so long as they have been together since young. Adding a new male to an existing group is likely to be difficult once a group is established.
Every Colour But Black!
Quail come in many colours (see gallery)
The most common is the Japanese. A rich patterned brown with a pale cream spotty chest in the hens and a chestnut coloured chest in the males.
Italian is a beige version of the Japanese (nicer than that sounds) with a pale cream background and again the spotty chest feathers in hens and rich chestnut to pale auburn in the boys,.
Range is a beautiful colour. All the dark browns and rusts stippled over each feather. There is no difference in the sexes so it makes telling the hens from cocks impossible until sexually mature.
Texas A & M. These birds are either pure white or white with Italian splodges on…. Originally bred for the table the genuine ones will get far larger and meatier than the normal ‘white’ quail that people often pass off as Texans.
Tuxedo can be any colour so long as there is a white bib on the chest. Very attractive but again hard to sex until mature.
Cream quail are very popular and pretty. Ranging from pale cream to a rich slightly gingery colour. The hens have very pale spots on their chest as apposed to dark spots in the Japanese and Italian. Males tend to have a slightly warmer plain chest.
Red Caps are distinguished by their dark red heads… the males display a solid coloured head and the hens a slightly mottled red head. Again these are easier to sex early than some of the other colours.