Are you thinking of raising chickens, ducks, guineas, or other poultry, but worried that you don't have enough space or you might disturb your neigbors?
Well, think again. It is now time to open your eyes to one more horizon.
And that new venture is quail. Yes, I said quail.
These little creatures are very fascinating but often times oeverlooked as an addition to any homestead—especially the urban homestead.
So if you’ve never really considered raising quail then this post is definitely for you. Today, I’m going to bring you quite a few reasons as to why you should give quail the benefit of the doubt.
You will see why they could be the urban farmer’s chickens of tomorrow.
So here we go—
1. Meat—It’s What’s For Dinner
If you love meat then you should certainly consider raising quail. They are smaller birds so you have to raise more of them to get the same quantity of meat that you would from chickens. But don’t let that deter you from them.
There are a ton of great recipes calling for quail all over the internet. Here are two of them:
And though these birds are small, they are actually viewed as a delicacy in some areas. And cooked properly they could become your new favorite meat variety right in your backyard. So if you need one more small meat source then certainly give them a try.
Now, you might think that you won't get as much meat from quail as you get from chicken because they're smaller. But that's not true. In the same space, you can raise more quail than chickens. They also mature up much faster than chickens.
With good space and cycle management, you can even get more meat than chickens.
2. Incredible Edible Eggs
Do you remember when chicken eggs used this slogan? There is a lot of truth to their statement. Eggs are absolutely delicious and can be used for many different recipes. Everything from baking to eating with breakfast.
And you can also use them for dinner recipes as well. But you don’t have to get your eggs just from chickens. Instead, you could raise quail. And though their eggs are smaller they still lay effectively and would certainly be a great source for eggs daily. Here are a few recipes to help you put your quail eggs to good use:
- Quail Egg Stuffed Mushrooms
- Spam And Quail Egg Sliders
- Mini Eggs Benedict
- Pickled Quail Eggs
- Quail Eggs Toad In A Hole Breakfast
If you're wondering about the nutrition, here's a comparison between quail egg with chicken, duck, and goose eggs:
In the same amount, quail eggs are actually more nutritional than chicken eggs. They have slightly more protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins. The only thing you have to worry about is the cholesterol, which according to some studies, is not bad for most people.
3. An Extra Source Of Income
You might be surprised to find that there is quite a market for quail. People love them for all of the same reasons I am mentioning here in this post. And getting into them is cost effective as well. As well as, raising them is cost effective too.
So if you’d like one more way to make money on your homestead then raising and breeding quail could be a good option for you. Give it a try. Post your birds on Craig’s List and other commercial sites on the internet and see if this business venture works for you.
4. They Grow In A Flash
When raising chickens you have to wait about 5-6 months for them to reach full maturity. This matters because if you are raising them for meat, you might not want to wait that long.
Well, with quail you don’t have to. Qualis reach full maturity in a matter of weeks. 6-8 weeks to be exact. So if you are needing another small meat source then this is a great option. They are smaller but that equates to easier to manage in the long run. And with that fast of a maturity rate, it certainly looks appealing.
5. Fast Layers
So I just mentioned that quail grow really quickly. Well, they begin laying faster as well. Because they mature earlier they lay earlier. You can begin expecting eggs around their maturity date of 6-8 weeks. Doesn’t that sound great?
And again, with chickens, they usually won’t begin laying until around 5 months. So if you are just starting out on your homestead quail might be a great immediate addition for this reason. In a matter of 2 months you could already have a viable meat and egg source. Their eggs are not as large as chicken eggs, but they are still consistent layers. It is common for them to lay an egg a day. If you have multiple quail then you could still get a decent amount of eggs.
6. Quick To Hatch
Are you noticing a trend? Quails are speedy little birds.
They are quick to mature for meat, quick to begin laying, and it shouldn’t surprise you that they are also quick to hatch. Some breeds of quail only take between 15-18 days to hatch. This is about a week less than a chicken requires.
And when a quail sets its own eggs it usually has around 12 to a clutch. So in a matter of two weeks, you could have a setting quail waiting to produce more. And have a large addition to your flock in less than a month. Those numbers are great for someone that wants to use them as a viable food source.
7. Could Put Chickens Out Of Business
Don't get me wrong, I love my chickens. But after seeing all of the things they can do faster than chickens some people might actually prefer them to chickens. If patience is not your virtue then these birds will most likely be right up your alley.
But the really cool thing is, if you live inside city limits most ordinances don’t have a problem with you raising quail where they do take issue with a lot of people keeping chickens within city limits. Be sure to check with your local ordinance but as a generalization, you find that less places take issue with quail than with raising chickens.
8. Take Up Less Space
Okay, so chickens take up very little space. Or so you thought. Chickens that free range only require about 4 square feet per bird of coop space. They don’t require as much because they are really only in there to sleep.
Non-free ranging chickens only require about 10 square feet per bird. That still isn’t much.
Well, quail require even less. Depending upon which breed you buy, they could only need 1 square foot of space per bird. Isn’t that crazy to think you could have this tiny meat, egg, and income source in your backyard and it hardly takes up any space at all. That should blow your mind.
But if it doesn’t, just remember that you could potentially have all of this inside city limits. And your neighbors probably won’t even know you have them. But again, be sure to check with your local ordinance for clarity on that.
9. They Don’t Cost Much To Feed
Can you imagine a bird that only needs 1 square feet of space eating much? Yeah, I couldn’t either. And that is the great news. They really don’t especially when compared to a chicken. Chickens are great little creatures, don’t get me wrong. And I never really thought that they consumed that much food. Especially since they are quite easy to feed on a budget.
But if you begin to look at quail, you will soon realize that they eat even less than a chicken does. And therefore, make them even more so of a budget friendly animal than a chicken. So if you are a homesteader that needs a quick meat and egg source but are on a super tight budget then seriously consider investing in quail.
Another really awesome fact about quail is that they aren’t greedy.
They will literally only eat what they need in a day. So you’ll easily know if you are over or under feeding them by looking at how much food is left over. Or if there is no food left at all. These little creatures are budget friendly all the way around it seems.
10. Initial Purchase Prices Are Low
So after reading these points you’ve decided that you want to give this venture a go. Well, how much will it cost you to purchase a breeding pair? This will all depend upon your location. But I can say as a general statement that most breeding pair only cost a few dollars a pair. Crazy, right?
That is a huge difference when comparing to chickens.
A full grown chicken usually cost around $8-$10. And you’d need a rooster too, for breeding. So you are looking at around $20 to get started. Plus, the extra time it would take for a chicken to mature and hatch eggs.
On the other hand, a quail will cost you anywhere between $1-$5 depending on their age. So with quail, you can get started for less cost and have less time in the hatching stage. This means you could have a full flock in less than 2 months and have invested less than what you would pay for one chicken. Again, depending upon the market in your particular area.
11. Their Houses Don’t Cost Much Either
So when you purchase a chicken, you have to build them a coop. What size of coop you need depends on how many chickens you have. Now, you can build some really awesome coops that cost money. Or you could actually build a free coop as well. But it is still going to take some carpentry skills and work.
However, with quail, they don’t require nearly the same amount of investment in their housing. They actually live in hutches. You might find these hutch plans helpful during your build. This is great because that means that they won’t take up the same amount of space in your yard like a coop can.
And it also means that you don’t have to worry so much about predators or things of the like. So quail are obviously much lower maintenance than a chicken but can still provide many of the same benefits. Again, for city dwellers, this could be the perfect option for you.
12. Low Maintenance Birds All The Way Around
This is one area that quail and chickens are very similar.
Basically, they are both pretty low maintenance. Especially considering all that they give back to their owners. I would say that the only way quail is actually a little less low maintenance than a chicken is simply by size.
And since they live in a hutch (that should be designed to be easy to clean) then you won’t have nearly the time invested in keeping it cleaned as you would a coop. For those of us that have enough on their plate, the less amount of time you can spend cleaning the better off you will probably be.
But if you decide to allow your quail to have run space (which is never a bad thing) then your cleaning should be even less. As they won’t have as much time to soil their bedding.
Either way, be sure to clean out their living space once a week.
13. They Are Quiet
This point alone, my friends, is why they are worth their weight in gold to the urban homesteader. It is also why most cities are okay with having them within the city limits. If you’ve raised chickens you know that even the hens can be a little noisy when they lay their eggs.
And I ask you, who wouldn’t be? After laying such large eggs from such small birds, we’d probably want to tell the whole world what we just did too. But I digress, quails do not do this.
They have a softer noise that blends in with many everyday birds in the city.
Therefore, they don’t cause much of a fuss because most neighbors don’t even realize you have them. I am in no encouraging you to secretly keep birds that your city is not okay with. I just want you to know that they are super quiet and that is why most cities don’t take issue with them.
And there you have it, guys. 13 reasons as to why you might want to consider adding quail to your homestead—especially your urban homestead. They can offer a lot of great benefits without a ton of work, requiring a ton of space, and also without making a ton of noise.