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Ques for the quail keepers  

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Ques for the quail keepers

Post Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:34 am

We currently have 5 chickens in an eglu amd run. They free raneg around the garden much of the day but the plan is to build them a large enclosure for safety and to save my veg beds.

Since we were going to have an enclosure I was wodnering whether to pur some quailin as well (in a separate pen) and I have a few questions.

I've read Katie Thear's book on keeping quail and

- She talks about the quails not being winter hardy - do you move your quails inside ? if not what do you do to keep them warm enough ?

- She talks about needing the 'air lock' to stop quails escaping. But I was thinking of something along the lines of Dilly's little house (see http://kooringa.com/?p=5911). If they did escape it would be into the chicken enclosure hence easier to find and return will I be ok ? I guess that's more a ques for Dilly - have you had a problem with escapees ?

- I saw I must keep the chickens and quail apart but would it be ok to hhave the quail house inside a bigger chicken enclosure ? (my neighbour on one side doesn't like animals and has a tendency to grumble so I wanted to put them where he wouldn't notice an addition to the chickens. The rest of the neighbours have been great)

- Dilly I see your house is on paving slabs with what looks like shredded paper in the house bit. What did you put on the ground ? I was planning to incorporate a shrub for them to perch on do you think it would be ok if I just left a gap in the paving stones to plant in ? (I know that makes it a little more vulnerable to rats but I've never seen rats here just voles and mice)

- They sound easy to take care of - have i missed anything ? they really don't look like they are any more work than the chickens which have turned out to be wonderfully easy to take care of.

Any other book recommendations or advice welcome.
Jane (Bluebelle) and Seven (Bluebelle), Snowy (white chicken) and Amber PP in a (purple eglu).
& 2 cats.
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Post Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:42 pm

Hi
I have three Japanese quail and i wouldn't dream of putting them in with my Isa Browns they would strike out at them for sure. Mine are outside as general rule but during these gales have relocated in shelter but in the winter they have a hot water bottle evey night and topped up in the day when its very cold. i put it under the straw and they love it :D
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Not planning to put the quails in with the chickens

Post Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:59 am

To clarify. I would be keeping quails and chickens separate. I'd put the quails in a separate house that would be located within a larger enclosure. The quails would not be let out with the chickens.
Jane (Bluebelle) and Seven (Bluebelle), Snowy (white chicken) and Amber PP in a (purple eglu).
& 2 cats.
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Post Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:06 am

I cant see why it wouldnt work. their pen would need to be completely enclosed though as they are flighty little things. They can be kept outside all winter, mine will be but have mine up against the house in a sheltered spot and will be giving them heat pads during the worst weather. Their house and run is also protected on the worst sides by clear plastic.
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Post Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:42 am

I've emailed Dilly - she'll be along when she gets a moment.
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And a dozen or so Beautiful Bantam Babes, plus two lurchers and two cats

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follows silent as a shadow, and clever as a man"

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Post Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:09 am

Just picked this up.

I am definitely not an expert as I am new to this myself. I have however done a lot of research - most of which generalises about 'quail' rather than the different species.

My Japanese quail happen to be very tame - and are just not bothered about escaping. I did leave the door ajar whilst being distracted by a couple of flying bantams at the time - but they never ventured out! But again, that is not to say that they are all like that. I think it is easier if you don't have too many in a hutch or little aviary. Logically if you have 20 there is more chance of an escapee.

Where I bought my first quail from, the lady sold her Japanese quail to a local gun dog breeder and trainer. I shuddered at the thought. But what she told me was really interesting (as I too was worried about escapees)

The gun dog trainer used this particular breed of quail for training the dogs because:

(Remember gun dogs have soft mouths)

The Japanese quail will only jump 3 times - after that they are exhausted and just sit and wait to get their stamina back. They are hardy, and can live outside all year around, and unlike some other breeds of quail, the don't drop dead from a scare.

Edited to add - after the third jump they just sit there enabling the trainee gun dogs to go and fetch them successfully. Otherwise they would lose quail all the time. And logically it would be very expensive!

I have studied my quail and the three jump thing seems to be correct.

They were a bit jumpy when I first got them and used to jump/fly panic when I opened the door to remove things or put things in, and did used to sit 'puffed out' after a moment or two. (That was only of the first one or two days) I am no longer 'stressed' at the thought of them escaping and being lost forever. I know that they will be easy to catch after a few jumps.

Mine are on concrete slabs as they were already there - and it would make easier cleaning. They are on Aubiose too (Hemcore is the other name) which I use for the chickens and is fantastic.

I think slabs would be safer - especially if you have rats in your area. But there again a row of slabs all around and another row inside would be OK I would have thought - but a bit awkward for cleaning out the middle bit maybe.

Can you pm me specific questions - it might be easier.

My mentors in the quail world tell me that Japanese quail are fine outside all year around. In the wild they live in hostile environments - you just need to read up about them on USA sites to see their natural habitats.

Shelter is of importance - like the pots I have put in and the conifer - not so much perches and they do not really perch - they are ground dwellers in the main.

My quail have been out in all the storms and gales in their aviary - and no problems whatsoever. Also the temperatures dropped when I first got them but they were fine.

They do not roost like my chickens at night up the in the penthouse at a certain time - but do make use of it a lot during the day time and I put food up there too in a little pot as well as downstairs and it is always eaten

Having said that, I not longer check on them at night to see if they are sleeping in there - they might well be.

Sorry must go now - lots to do but feel free to email me.

Once again - I stress that I am only a beginner - but have had a lot of good advice.

I am certain that if cold they will snuggle up - in fact they tend to snuggle two or three to a big flower pot now. They have a thick layer of the Aubiose as an insulator on the slabs, a 'penthouse' and also a big dust bath box under the penthouse. One end of the aviary and one side and a third of the other side are wood cladded for shelter too.

I will treat my quail as I treat my bantams - in comfortable housing, good animal husbandry, and although they are all my 'pets' they are very much treated and thought of as birds - so no 'pampering' such as washing them, hot water bottles etc etc.

That is not a criticism so please, do not take offence as none is meant. Its because I live in an area surrounded by poultry farms, and mixed farms, so am used to the birds being 'tough'

PS

Lots more photos on my site under Quail in the right hand side categories. Updates on how the quail house looks now (the link above was the first day). Photos and news of the hatched out quail - and another suprise to be announced tomorrow
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The bantam flock
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http://kooringa.blogspot.com/
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Post Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:34 am

Hi

I think keeping your quail inside a bigger enclosure is a brilliant idea, and I do a similar thing myself with my bobwhite's, their housing has been placed inside my aviary, so if they ever get out, I'll be able to round them up again :)

Once a quail is free you'll be surprised how far they can go in a matter of seconds, I've lost at least 12 escapee quail on different occasion's - last summer I was complacent with my really tame Jap's while cleaning out one of the hutches -(a 6'long 2 storey thing that's brilliant for quail) anyway 2 were sitting watching me - a normal & a white jap, something spooked them and they were off - straight down 100' of garden, over the 30' wide burn and landed on the bank - I had a general idea of where they had landed, and eventually found & caught the white jap, was just about to grab the brown when it took off over my head never to be seen again.

I'm not totally convinced that Japanese quail are totally winter hardy, well not in NE Scotland anyway. I try to have all my quail in sheds over winter, but this year that just wasn't possible, I stuffed their sleeping quarters of their outside hutches with chopped hay & straw (I feel that long strands of anything is too easily caught round quail legs) made sure the quail were locked into the housing area and had no access to the run at night, covered the housing area with sacking, blankets and waterproof cover, but still lost healthy quail on the most bitter of winter nights. They seemed to have crush each other trying to keep warm - but I have heard of people keeping their quail successful outside all year round.

Have you had a look at the CoturnixCorner forum? I'm sure you'll find some useful posts on there :)

Suz
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Post Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:31 am

Great info Sue - and I have published the link to your forum on my website.

Where I live it is usually mild over winter. The aviaries are sheltered and the 'penthouses' have additional doors so they can be closed in.

I have sheets of wooden board to put against any open areas if there are winds - to keep them out of draughts. Thick layers of Aubiose so they are not sitting on the cold concrete, and worse case scenario is that at the side of my bungalow it is fenced and sheltered on three sides - so I could easily move them (they can be lifted by two people) there - and like you I use straw for them to snuggle down in.

And (being prepared for the worst) I have a double garage that would take all the quail housing - and the chickens too if needs be. :D :D :D But its been a long time since we had a really cold winter here.

I take your point about your escaping quail and I understand that Bobwhite are more prone to that, and of course no-one should be blase about any of their poultry escaping (don't mention Scrabble or Diddie and Gozzie to me they are a nightmare).

I can highly recommend Cortunix Corner as a friendly, helpful, and an informative Forum. The membership is growing fast, and you can find out absolutely everything that you need to know. If it has not already been covered (or if you can't find the answer) just post the question and all the 'clever ones' (not me) will quickly post up a reply.

I have had tremendous support, and have had eggs from forum members. Even if you are not intending to keep quail - it is worth a visit to see all the different breeds, and colours of quail - some are tiny and you can even keep indoors as cage birds - I never knew that. And I have my eye on some of Suz's chocolate coloured quail - later in the Spring, early Summer, when I have sorted out the ones I am hatching into groups, and the incubator is empty!
Green Cube
The bantam flock
Daisy Pekin
Gozzie Rosecomb miniature
Lola Wheaten Modern English Game
Zola Partridge M. E. G
Snowy Silver Sebright
Poppy Golden Sebright
Bluebelle Blue/Red MGB
Henrietta Old English Game
Suzie Toffee Silkie
Mary - A rare Lemon Mille Fleur Sablepoot
Freckles - Millefleur Belgium
Willow - White Belgium
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http://kooringa.blogspot.com/
Dilly
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Post Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:40 am

Hi Lottie

Thanks for writing that lovely piece on the forum, it really is appreciated :)

I seem to keep being picked up wrong at the moment, might be my Scottish turn of phrase or more likely I just don't explain myself properly :) -

Dilly wrote:I take your point about your escaping quail and I understand that Bobwhite are more prone to that, and of course no-one should be blase about any of their poultry escaping (don't mention Scrabble or Diddie and Gozzie to me they are a nightmare).


Actually there not any worse than Japs to be honest, I have never lost any of the Bobwhite my anti-escape security has been tightened dramatically, after my experience with escaping Japanese quail, my point was that you cant have enough security in place when dealing with quail - even the tamest of Japanese quail, who rush to their pen door to greet you, can take off and disappear without any warning, and once free they are extremely difficult to recapture & have little change of surviving on their own.

Secondly, I wasn't saying that quail cant or shouldn't be kept outside all year, only in my experience I've found it best to have back up accommodation in case of severe temperature drops. The amount of daylight can also effect your quails ability to withstand cold snaps, *ie - The more light during the day they have, the more they eat - and the more they eat during the day, the better it is for them to convert it into heat at night.*

(**probably haven't explained that properly - well edit once I think how to explain better :))

Suz
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Thanks for great info

Post Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:36 pm

Thank-you so much, lots of useful advice. I'm in the south of England so it is quite mild. I didn't really think about putting them into a shed or garage for really cold spells :shock: :oops: so my winter hardiness concern is not really a worry since I'm planning only one little house to start that could go into the shed if necessary.

From what I've read I was thinking Japanese quail would be best.

I'll continue to read before making the leap but this poultry keeping lark is a bit addictive :lol:

Escapees are a worry even for chickens, I've posted before about one of mine going off to visit the infants local school and keep the builders company when theyre working. :roll:
Jane (Bluebelle) and Seven (Bluebelle), Snowy (white chicken) and Amber PP in a (purple eglu).
& 2 cats.
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Post Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:42 pm

Best to do as much research as possible - which I did for over a year - and I have an excellent 'mentor' too - which helps. He is brilliant and reads my blog and emails me little tips etc. The lady I bought my bantams from still reads my blog and sends my nice messages about their welfare etc. So nice to have back up - which you can get from forums like this and others - that's what they are all for - helping each other.

I treat mine like the chickens - excellent animal husbandry, good housing, careful attention - as I won't have lots but small groups, so won't have to worry about them suffocating - and of course - a nice mix of mixed corn as you do with chickens, to keep them warm at night.

Has worked so far with mine when we got a really cold snap with minus lots over night the week I got them :roll:

Lots of great sites both UK and USA to read up about them in depth.

After having chickens the only thing to remember is that they are not so entertaining - won't come when they are called etc.

But if you get the right breed, and pay attention to them if they are in small groups which makes it easier, just in the small space of time I have had mine they are very tame and friendly, 'talk' to me in the most wonderful little cheeps of recognition (I like to think) and you will get totally addicted to the little babies - I have.

So visit the Sue's forum - ask all the questions you like, take a look at all her quail photos - and all the breeds she keeps - and others - and you can't go far wrong.
Green Cube
The bantam flock
Daisy Pekin
Gozzie Rosecomb miniature
Lola Wheaten Modern English Game
Zola Partridge M. E. G
Snowy Silver Sebright
Poppy Golden Sebright
Bluebelle Blue/Red MGB
Henrietta Old English Game
Suzie Toffee Silkie
Mary - A rare Lemon Mille Fleur Sablepoot
Freckles - Millefleur Belgium
Willow - White Belgium
My blog
http://kooringa.blogspot.com/
Dilly
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Re: Ques for the quail keepers

Post Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:20 pm

Hi

We are going to look at some Jap Quail tomorrow and now feel un-equipt and unsure we are doing the right thing.

Is it not possible to mix chickens and Quail at all - even if it is in a large confined area?

If this is the case is a suitable rabbit hutch + run (as detailed in a link on a previous member message) sufficient for the quail within this confined area?

What is the best food for them?

Thanks
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Daa GNR arrived 28/04/09 !egg!
Frenchie GNR arrived 09/05/09 !egg!

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Re: Ques for the quail keepers

Post Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:55 pm

nicolaf wrote:Hi

We are going to look at some Jap Quail tomorrow and now feel un-equipt and unsure we are doing the right thing.

Is it not possible to mix chickens and Quail at all - even if it is in a large confined area?

If this is the case is a suitable rabbit hutch + run (as detailed in a link on a previous member message) sufficient for the quail within this confined area?

What is the best food for them?

Thanks

I've seen quail kept with bantams, but would avoid keeping them together.
Yes, they would be best contained in a hutch and run, as in a large confined area (free-ranging?), unlike chickens they will fly away and not come in to roost at night.

They will be fine on layers pellets, greens and millet sticks :)
Lewis
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Re: Ques for the quail keepers

Post Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:43 am

Lewis is right, it's best not to mix chooks and quail. The wee things are great escape artists, so they really do need seperate quarters.

Coudl you delay getting them until you've got it all sorted?
(cube purple) (orange eglu)
And a dozen or so Beautiful Bantam Babes, plus two lurchers and two cats

"a poacher to his eyelids, as all the lurcher clan,
follows silent as a shadow, and clever as a man"

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