Tips for keeping quails at home for beginners
Keeping quails at home for beginners seems an overwhelming task. Very often people are afraid to start this business. In fact, there is nothing to fear. Quail is easier to grow than chickens. They do not need to allocate a lot of space, several quails can be kept even in a city apartment or on the balcony. Leaving is also not difficult. At very low cost, quails get tasty, healthy quail eggs and dietary meat.
Quail content at home
Although the content of quail at home has been practiced for more than a hundred years, they still retain the habits of wild birds: they can safely run away or fly away on the street, because the most popular place where they can live is cages.
The requirements for the quail cage are as follows:
- A cage is made of metal or galvanized steel.
- Feeding troughs and drinking bowls are best made from the outside.
- The mesh on the cage should be with such a clearance so that the quail can only stick its head through the rods.
- The height of the cage should be 20-25 cm, if it is larger, the ceiling is made soft. The fact is that in case of danger quails take off sharply upwards (with a candle) and beat their heads against the ceiling. If the ceiling is solid, quail can break.
- The cage area for 10 birds should be 30 × 75 cm.
- The floor can be trellised, but the gaps between the rods are made small so that the birds do not fall through.
- Laying straw or shavings on the floor.
- In the cage, they must equip the egg collector, as the quail is carried directly to the floor. Quail eggs are not white, but motley, so they can easily get lost in the straw. It is better to line the tray with fresh sawdust.
- There should be a litter tray at the bottom. It is regularly cleaned so that dirt does not collect and an unpleasant smell does not spread.
To save space, the cells are placed on top of each other in 2-3 tiers. How to make a cage to contain quails, you can watch the video.
Arrangement of premises
In the house, it is necessary to maintain the temperature regime in the range of 16-25 ° C. In the cold and heat, the birds will poorly carry, and at temperatures of 0-5 ° C, the quail will die. The room for keeping quail should be well ventilated. Ventilation is arranged with a capacity of at least 5 m³ / h for 10 individuals. Humidity is maintained at 60-70%.
Particular attention should be paid to lighting in the room where the quail live. If it is round-the-clock, laying hens will lay eggs twice a day. But such a regime quickly exudes quail, so experienced poultry farmers advise turning on the light for 14-16 hours.
When keeping quails at home, you can put the cage on the veranda or on the balcony, if in winter there is a normal temperature. 3-4 females and one male settle in one cage. If you make the cells bigger, about 10 birds are placed there. Every day you will receive at least 5-10 fresh testicles. The smell of birds will not be felt if the cells are regularly cleaned.
Recently, outdoor content of home quail in the aviary has become popular. It allows you to grow a large number of birds in a small area without any problems. The area of the enclosure is 0.2 m² for 20-30 individuals, the height is not less than 1.5 m. Care is minimal. It is only necessary from time to time to change the top layer of the litter and collect the eggs. But even in this case, the parent herd should be kept in a cage or in a separate fence so that there is no random interbreeding of weak individuals with each other and the breed does not degenerate.
Feeding and quail care features
Care, as well as the maintenance of quail in normal home conditions, is not a problem. These birds require minimal attention. Cells are cleaned once a week or as they become dirty. Many farmers simply clean the bottom tray and lay a new litter on the cage floor. Once a week, quails have ash baths so that they can clean their feathers.
Feeding is also quite simple. Food is given 2-3 times a day, poured into feeders, which are on the outer wall of the cells. Approximately 25-35 g of feed per day, or in the region of 10 kg per year, is used per 1 individual. Meat quail can eat a little more. It is best to give quails compound feed for laying hens or for broiler chickens. Feed mixtures can be made independently.
The basis of the diet of quail is grain. It must be crushed, as the bird cannot swallow large seeds. Vegetables, mineral supplements, fats, protein are added to the grain. Here is an example of a homemade feed:
- Barley - 100 g.
- Corn - 400 g.
- Bone meal - 1 tsp.
- Unrefined oil from sunflower or rapeseed - 1 tsp.
- Crushed shells, crushed chalk, salt - 1 tsp each.
This mixture can feed 1 bird for a month and a half. It is given both in dry and in a steamed form. In summer, it is good to add greens to the mixtures: nettle, dandelion leaves, Jerusalem artichoke, yarrow. It is also good to feed birds with fresh zucchini and pumpkin. In winter they give boiled potatoes, vermicelli, peeling beets, carrots.
It is important that the quail diet contains protein. In summer, they can be fed snails, earthworms collected in the garden. In winter, bloodworms, minced fish, fish or meat and bone meal are suitable for birds. Proteins that are present in food significantly increase egg production, accelerate weight gain.
The content of the parent herd
To start a quail house, you can simply buy monthly chicks. But it’s worth trying to breed these birds yourself. For this, it is necessary to form a parent herd. Females and males are kept together until the age of three months, then the best individuals are selected and resettled. 3-4 quail females and 1 quail male are placed in one cage.
The group must be formed taking into account the nature of the quail. It is allowed to add new females to the cage within a month. But the male - only during the day. Productivity in quails lasts from 3 to 8 months, in quails - 3-6 months. Then they need to be sent for meat and form a new parent flock.
You can create quail families in another way. From 8 to 10 females are housed in a separate cage or paddock. The male is allowed to go to them temporarily, for several days. With this method of breeding, it is possible to keep fewer males, which saves on feed. But it has a technique and its drawbacks. In a short time, the male may not have time to cover all the layers. Quail often do not perceive the beginner and begin to peck him.
How to contain quail from the parent herd? It is best if they are allocated a separate room. You can keep breeding birds in a common barn, but away from the main herd. Cages should be more spacious than for other birds. Often, an aviary is used for breeding birds, even if the rest of the livestock is on a cage. Males and females are necessarily fed with vitamins. The light can be round-the-clock, but it is better to turn it on only for 15-16 hours so that the layers are not depleted. The temperature is maintained at 18-22 ° C.
Domestic quail completely lost their instinct for hatching eggs and raising young animals, because the only way to breed them is incubation. It is best to use an automatic or semi-automatic incubator for this purpose. Eggs are taken throughout the week, their weight should fluctuate between 9-11 g. Material that has lain for more than 7 days is not suitable for incubation.
Chicks can be raised at home in a standard incubator for chickens. Up to 200 eggs are laid in it. If there is less material, you should purchase a special mesh or grill. Some farmers put cotton on their testicles so that they do not crumble around the incubator and do not crumble. If you decide to seriously engage in breeding quails, it is better to buy a special incubator for small testicles.
The temperature regime during incubation of quail eggs is 37.5-38.5 ° C. Humidity must be maintained at 60-70%. To do this, put a container of water at the bottom of the incubator. Turn the eggs every 6 hours. At the edges, the temperature is always lower than in the center, because once a day the eggs should be swapped.
Chicks hatch from eggs after 17 days. They weigh only 8-10 g, their size is not more than a bumblebee. It is very important to put the correct grid in the incubator so that the kids do not fall into it with their paws. Clearance should be no more than 1-2 mm.
The successful cultivation of small quail at home depends on the quality of care in the first weeks. To simplify the task, it is best to buy or make a brooder with your own hands. You can keep small chicks in a heated drawer or under a table lamp. The temperature for young animals in the first week is maintained at 35-36 ° C. By the second week, it is gradually reduced to 30 ° C.
Up to 3 weeks, lighting when keeping young animals should be around the clock. From 3 to 6 weeks it is made intermittent according to this scheme:
- 1 hour - the light is on;
- 1 hour - the light is off;
- 3 hours - the light is on;
- 1 hour - the light is off.
From about 45 days, daylight hours are set at 12 hours. In such conditions, quail grow well and mature faster. From 3 months, birds are transferred to 17-hour daylight hours. Up to 3 weeks old chicks must not be released from the box. They are tiny, can easily get lost or become a victim of pets.
Small quail can eat from the first hours after birth. Feeding troughs and drinking bowls are installed inside the box or brooder where the chickens live. It is best to cover the food containers with a grill, in which the chicks will be able to freely poke their heads in, but will not climb completely. The drinker is made according to the vacuum type. If there is no way to buy a finished one, simply put on an plate an inverted jar of water.
The menu of small chicks must contain protein, carbohydrates, useful vitamins and minerals. This has a significant impact on their development and growth. The diet of young animals is as follows:
- Daily chickens in the first days of life - finely chopped egg.
- 4-8 day of life - cottage cheese and small cereal from corn, you can replace it with a special feed for broiler chickens.
- 8-20 day of life - ready-made feed for small chickens
- 21 days of life - chickens are transferred to adult feed.
It is important to note that there is no special compound feed for quail, so you need to buy food for laying hens or broiler chickens, depending on the breed of quail. It is also allowed to give the usual grain mixture. For the prevention of diseases from the first days, chloramphenicol is added to the water. Chicks grow very quickly, already in 35-40 days they become sexually mature. In 2 months, a normal number of eggs can be obtained from laying hens, and broilers can be slaughtered.
Quail content is short-lived if they are expected to receive meat from them. Males are sent to slaughter already in 56-63 days. Females are fed up to 11-12 months, while they lay eggs. Intensively feed the chicks from the age of 20 days. They are transferred to large cells, 30-40 individuals per 1 square. m. In such conditions, they move little, eat well and get better.
Layers and males are separated, if possible even in different houses. The temperature in the room should be 20-24 ° C. Lighting for males is made weak: in such conditions, they fight less, they feed better. For layers, the light is made brighter to get more eggs. Constantly switched on light has a very good effect on productivity.
Feed the birds 3-4 times a day. You can use feed for broilers or grain mixtures. They are sure to add green grass and feed fat. Slaughter is carried out in a separate room. The head is chopped off with an ax or cut off with a sharp knife, after which quail carcasses are hung by the paws so that the blood is glazed. The whole procedure with proper experience does not take more than a minute.
As you can see, there is nothing complicated in the content of quail even for beginner poultry farmers. The main thing is to start doing this business. To better understand the rules and features of breeding, you can watch the video. It is good to learn the daily norms of feeding, quail disease and other nuances. They grow birds not only for their own consumption, they can be a great help for their own business. After all, the products really get and sell all year round. Quail meat and eggs are quite expensive.