A Brief History
The coturnix quail originates from Europe, Africa and Asia as a migratory game bird. Since the twelfth century it has been raised in Japan as a pet, for meat and eggs and as a singing bird. Coturnix quail were introduced to the United States around 1870.
This quail is known by many names: Japanese quail, Pharaoh quail, Stubble quail, Nile quail, Bible quail and more. The Latin name of the quail we raise is coturnix coturnix and it is the D1 strain.
Coturnix Quail are a fast growing hardy bird. They are mature at 6 weeks of age and are laying eggs by 7 weeks of age. They are an excellent gamebird for meat and egg production.
Males are characterized by a rusty brown throat and breast feathers while the hens have a lighter cream colored feathering on the neck with black stripes and dotting on the breast.
Grouping of one male to three females will generally produce high fertility. The ideal temperature to maintain in your breeder house is 70° to 80° F. Adequate ventilation is needed to replace stale air with fresh air and to remove any odors. Breeders should be given 15-17 hours of light daily for best egg production.
Egg production is approximately 300 eggs per year. Eggs should be collected at least once daily and stored at 55° in moist humidity for best results. Eggs should be stored and incubated with the large end up. Eggs lose a little fertility each day they are stored. Daily setting is best but eggs may be held for up to seven days.
Incubation procedures will depend on the type of incubator you use. Follow your incubator manufacturer’s directions. Natural incubation is also possible using Bantam hens. Coturnix hens rarely set their own eggs.
Proper temperature, humidity, turning and ventilation are the most important factors in incubation. Failure in any of these areas will result in a poor hatch. The eggs should be turned a minimum of twice a day. If your incubator does not have an automatic turner you can place an X on the side of an egg with a felt tipped pen. Rotate eggs 180° so the X will be on top one time and on the bottom the next time.
The charts show incubation times, temperatures and how to figure relative humidity:
Converting Wet Bulb from Degrees Fahrenheit to Relative Humidity
In the chart below, the box formed by the intersection of the lines from the dry bulb temperature and the line showing the difference in dry and wet bulb temperature, represents the relative humidity in your incubator, assuming a clean, wet wick.
Once a quail chick pips the egg, it may take up to 10 hours for it to come out of the shell. It will take a few hours for it to dry after it hatches. Normally chicks will all hatch within 24 hours. Chicks can stay in the incubator safely for a day and then they should be transferred to a brooder unit.
When chicks are removed from the incubator they must be placed in an area which is heated to 99 ¾° and an unheated area which is much cooler with enough room to move between the two areas as the chicks choose. The brooder temperature is reduced 5° each week until the 4th week. At this age room temperatures can be adjusted for the comfort of the quail.
If chicks are too cold they will huddle together and on top of each other to try to get warm. If chicks are too hot they will spread out to the furthest edges of the brooder. If the temperature is right the chicks will be active and evenly spread out.
Chicks need several food and water locations throughout their brooding area so no matter where they go they can find food and water. Water receptacles must be of an appropriate size to prevent drowning.
At about 4 weeks of age the quail can be placed in breeder cages, grow-out cages or on the floor in grow-out rooms. If you are raising them for dog training or as a hobby they can be placed in an outdoor pen if the weather permits.
Feed and Water
We recommend you use gamebird feeds for best results. They are available for all stages of growth. Cool, clean water must be available at all times.
Coturnix quail can be brooded then grown out in cages or on bedding. The cage trays that catch fecal material and bedding material should be cleaned regularly to help prevent disease, odor and fly problems.
All feeders, water receptacles and other equipment should be sanitized regularly to help prevent disease.