Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quail for the urban farm

Quail for the urban farm

There are hundreds of different types of quail throughout the world.   Out of all these types, there are two which are commonly kept on the urban farm.  These two popular types are the Japanese Coturnix (Coturnix  Japonica) and the Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus). 
The Japanese Coturnix (Coturnix Japonica) also known as Pharoah, Jumbo, or Coturnix is an old breed of quail from Eastern Asia. They have been domesticated in Japan and the Orient since the beginning of the twelfth century and were initially bred for song.  There are some records dating back to early Egyptian times with hyroglyphics showing the trapping of these birds as they had migrated back onto the mainlands.  Today they are kept as and considered to be what is called a dual purpose bird.  This means they can be raised for both egg production as well as for their meat. 
Male Coturnix quail (Left) and Female (Right), our little coop, backyard, urban, homestead
Male Coturnix quail (Left) and Female (Right)

These birds prefer grasslands and cultivated fields as their preferred environment.  Both sexes of this bird have yellow- brown speckled plumage with the Males having  a reddish colored breast and the Females more molted with dark spots.  They will begin laying at only 6 weeks of age and will reach maturity at 10 weeks.  The females are slightly larger than their male counterparts and will grow between 7- 8  inches long and weigh between 6- to 7 ounces.  The chicks are easily recognized with their yellowish coloring and brown stripes beginning at the forehead stretching all the way back to the tail.  Since the Bobwhite quail only lay eggs from about March to October the Coturnix quail are the best choice of quail for the urban farm and homestead.

Just hatched Coturnix quail chicks, backyard, urban, homestead
Just hatched Coturnix quail chicks

Care is very easy.  Just provide with fresh water and a quality high protein gamebird feed. Coturnix quail do just fine living in a medium sized cage with a wire floor sheltered from extreme heat and cold winds.

Cheers ~ Kevin

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