Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Posted May 26, 2013
Buying quail is a bit of an experience. Don't get yourself two cocks (like I did), they will fight and give the females a hard time, however (in my experience) 5-6 hens per cock is sufficient. You don't need a cock unless you want to breed them, it's probably less hassle with hens. I had two particularly aggressive cocks which was a bit of a problem. Make sure any holes in fences are well stopped up and clip their wings once a year or you'll lose them. Try and give them as much space as possible to run about in - the more space, the happier the bird, and the better the laying rate. Make sure they're all away at night. Layers pellets worked the best for me in terms of egg production, use this as the primary feed. Canary seed or other grains is a good treat (don't do this too often or they'll get fussy and go off the pellets). They also like meal worms, cut grass, kitchen scraps (no meat). Keep your run simple, single story is the best, they won't climb usually - a nice big space to run around in and a comfortable area for roosting. They're clumsy layers so encouraging them to lay in one place is helpful. Check for eggs every day. Eggs have a lovely rich, creamy flavour (good poached!). Don't use hay for bedding, it get's wet and mouldy, use wood chip, it stays dry longer. Take extra care in the winter, they're fairly hardy but change the bedding more regularly and check their water isn't frozen over. Regular cleaning helps prevent toe balls and infections.