QUAIL FARMING FOR INCOME, HEALTH AND HAPPINESS
The term ‘quail farming’ means, raising quails commercially (like other poultry birds) for the purpose of profitable eggs and meat production. Quail farming is very easy, lucrative and entertaining. It’s very easy to maintain a quail farm, because quails are among the smallest species of poultry birds. Quail farming is very profitable like other farming ventures, such as chicken, turkey or duck farming business and can give a poor farmer high profit in low investment. Almost all types of weather conditions are suitable for starting quail farming business. Meat and eggs of quail are very tasty and nutritious than other poultry meat and eggs. Because quail eggs contain comparatively more protein, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, B1 and B2. Quail farming can play a vital role to meet up the demand of food and nutrition. Quail farming business require small capital and labour and even can be raised along with your other poultry birds for meat or eggs production.
Read also: How to start a hatchery business
Characteristics of Quail
Quails are very small sized bird. An adult quail weights between 150 to 200 grams and an egg weights around 7 to 15 grams. Female quails start laying eggs within their 6 to 7 weeks of age and continuously lay one egg daily. Quail generally survive for 3 to 4 years. An adult quail weights between 150 to 200 grams. Female quails start laying eggs from their 6 to 7 weeks of age. Each egg weights between 7 to 15 grams. A newly born quail chick weights around 6 to 7 grams.
Benefits of Quail Farming
- Quails are smaller sized poultry birds, and it’s very easy to handle them. The main benefits of starting quail farming business are listed below.
- They lay about 230 – 300 eggs in their first year of life. After that they produce about 150 to 175 eggs in second year.
- Quail egg is very suitable for human health. It contains 2.47 % less fat than chicken egg.
- Many people believe that quail’s eggs help to prevent blood pressure, diabetes etc.
- Quail meat is very tasty and nutritious. Fat is very low in their meat. So quail meat is very suitable for blood pressure patients.
- Quails are smaller sized bird, so they can be raised within small place.
- Feeding cost of quails are comparatively lower than chickens or other poultry birds.
- Diseases are less in quails, and they are very hardy.
- Quails grow very fast and gain maturity faster than any other poultry birds.
- They start laying eggs within their 6 to 7 weeks of age. It takes about 16 to 18 days to hatch their eggs.
- Quail farming needs small capital, and labor and cost is very low.
How to distinguish a female quail from a male quail?
It is easy to distinguish a female quail from males through the following steps.
First of all look at the size of the quails. Commonly, female quails weight slightly more than the males.
Male quail is much more brightly colored than the females. So, look at the coloring of the quail’s feathers.
The face of male quail will have bolder, more defined patterns than the females (it seems the male quail is wearing a mask). But the female quail will be the same color all over.
Male and female quails can be differentiated by listening their crow. The female chirps but does not crow. On the other hand, males have a characteristic crow best described as a clicking castanet. Males will crow through the night during mating season to attract the female.
Read also: Basics of biosecurity for poultry growers
Different Breeds :
There are several species of quail
The Common Quail(Coturnix coturnix) is the wild variety, measuring 16-18 cm and weighing 70-135 g. It can be legally commercialised A new species, Corturnix japonica Jumbo, shows much better performance.
The Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica) was domesticated more than 700 years ago in Japan. It is now the most frequently farmed species for its egg and meat production. Its plumage is mottled grey with brown speckles. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a lighter throat with black speckles. The male has a darker, caramel-brown throat. The Japanese quail produces up to 300 eggs per year and can weigh up to 300 g, although most weigh around 180g when 50 days old. Other variations of this species have different colours, including albino, white, isabelline, silvery, brown and mixed.
The King Quail(Coturnix chinensis or Chinese Painted Quail or Button Quail) are very easy to rear as they socialise among themselves and leave other species alone. They are raised purely as decorative birds. The male has a clearly delineated black and white pattern on its throat, while the female has striped plumage in brown and wheat colours. The colour of the King Quail varies and can also be tawny, white, silvery, brown, black, etc.
Housing is very important for quail farming. Generally there are two types of housing in case of quail farming :
Quail can be reared directly on the floor in an upgraded housing (at least 2 m high, with good ventilation and a large solid door to facilitate cleaning and prevent theft), made of bamboo or cement, and covered with straw or corrugated iron depending on the farmer’s resources and the availability of materials. They can be reared with or without bedding (5-10 cm thickness of wood shavings, moss or sawdust). A housing measuring 2 m x 1 m x 2 m can hold 160 birds for brooding for up to 4 weeks, or 80 adults (preferably by dividing the building in two).
Read also: How to care for day old chicks
Cage rearing is often chosen in urban or periurban areas, as it requires little space. The cages are often made with several floors. Generally 6 to 7 quails can be kept in a cage in the same place that is required for one chicken.
For keeping quails healthy, proper growing and highly productive, it is essential to provide them balanced feed regularly. An adult quail consumes about 20 to 25 grams of food daily. Chick feed should contain 27% and adult feed 22-24% of protein. To increase the protein and energy levels of the feed, add insects such as termites, fly larvae or pupae, or mealworms.
Diseases are less in quails, compared to other poultry birds. But you have to take good care and
manage them properly, to keep them free from all types of diseases or illness. Good care and management is a must for profitable quail farming business. Generally they are not provided any disease preventive vaccines. Quail chicks can not tolerate weather change, and sudden temperature change. So they get affected by disease, if they experience sudden temperature or weather changes. Following measurements are very useful to keep quails healthy and free from diseases
Always try to keep their house dry and clean.
Ensure proper movement of light and air inside their house.
Keep different aged quails separated from each other.
Separate the disease affected quails from the healthy one.
Burn the dead bird or put under soil.
Don’t allow other birds, animals or unknown persons to enter inside the quail house.
Ensure hygienic and balanced feed supply.
Provide adequate fresh and clean water according to their demand.
Read also: Factors affecting poultry meat quality
Quail meat and eggs are very tasty and highly enriched with nutrient elements.So there is already an established market for quail products. As quail birds and their eggs are small in size, so it is cheap in price and all types of people can purchase. So it is easy to sell quail meat and eggs in the local market.
Contributed by: Dr. Animesh Deka
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