Basic Coturnix Quail Information: Coturnix quail, also known as Japanese quail, are a hardy little member of the game fowl family. They are commonly kept on wire-bottomed cages, indoors as pets, or outdoors in flight pens. A coturnix quail takes approximately 17 days to incubate and hatch, and reaches sexual maturity around 7-10 weeks. In good conditions, they will live approx. 3 years. As with regular poultry, females do not need a male present to lay eggs!
What colours are available? Coturnix come in a variety of colours. Some common colours are listed below:
Common Colours: -Pharaoh (Brown, Wild, Jumbo browns) -English White (commonly mistakenly called Texas A&M's) -Rosetta (also comes in Tuxedo variety) -Tibetan (also comes in Tuxedo variety) -Italian (also called gold) -Manchurian (Italian with fewer speckles)
Rare colours and varieties -Silver Collection -Pansy -Pearl -Fee -German Pastel Collection -Scarlett -Range -Autumn Amber -Egyptian -Sparkly -Fee -Black -Plus many other variations of above!
What is a Texas A&M?
Texas A&M is a specific line of genetically selected white quail. Texas A&M University bred these birds to be large and have white skin, making them more desirable for meat production. Most people that say they have Texas A&M actually have just standard English White, or Recessive White. Texas A&M's will weigh 13+ oz at 10 weeks and are very rare, while standard English White's are 8-10oz.
QUAIL INCUBATION INSTRUCTIONS
Quail are one of the easiest eggs to incubate. They are very forgiving if you have temperature and humidity fluctuations, so if you notice your numbers are off, just set them back to the correct temperature and keep on going!
When you receive your eggs in the mail, be sure to let them rest for 18-24 hours and settle to room temperature. Don't place cool eggs directly into the incubator as it may shock the embryos.
OPTIMAL TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY Optimal temperature is 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.5 degrees Celsius. We recommend a humidity level of 30-40% for the first 14 days and 55% for lockdown days (Day 15-17)
TURNING INSTRUCTIONS When you first place the eggs in your incubator, be sure to place them POINTY SIDE DOWN. If you are rolling them or hand turning you may place them on their side. Do not turn the eggs for the first 3 days. For days 4-14, turn the eggs anywhere from 2-5 times per day.
LOCKDOWN INSTRUCTIONS On day 15 is when you stop turning the eggs to allow the chicks to align themselves for hatching. Take the eggs out of your turner and lay them on their sides. At this point you will raise the humidity levels to around 55%. Some ways we suggest is by adding a damp sponge to your incubator, or pour a teaspoon of water into the trays at the bottom, depending on your model. We also suggest using a non-slip drawer liner in the incubator so the chicks have more traction after hatching and reducing your risk of splay legs. Do not lift the lid of your incubator for any reason except to quickly add water, or you can shrink-wrap the chicks.
HATCHING AND MOVING TO BROODER Our quail generally hatch days 16-17, but we recommend leaving the eggs in until day 19. Some sites recommend leaving the chicks for 2-3 days until everyone is hatched, but we find we have stronger chicks if we quickly remove them from the incubator after 12-18 hours of hatching. This allows the chicks to find food and water and reduces the risk of them biting each others toes because they're hungry!
BASIC CHICK CARE
One day old vs. 1 week old chick
Chicks When you pick up your day old chicks, you will need to ensure they have a proper brooding facility with a heat lamp. The temperatures for the brooder are listed below. We feed them gamebird starter, which can be purchased from feed stores, or if you would like a smaller supply we always have it in stock. Ideally, quail should be fed with 27-30% protein in their diets. Young chicks need to have their food ground up or have the large chunks sifted out, as they can't eat the larger chunks and may starve themselves. Water also needs to be in a shallow container with marbles or small pebbles placed in the dish, so they can't drown. Chicks tend to fall asleep wherever and whenever they want, and sometimes it can happen in the water dish and they will drown! As they get older you can start removing more marbles, but keep them in the water dishes for at least two weeks. We find we only need to grind their food for about a week-week and a half then they can handle the regular sized foods.
Approximate brooder temperatures for quail:
Newly hatched quail and within the first week - 95 -100 degrees F (about 35 degrees c).
Week two - reduced to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C).
Week three - reduced to 85 degrees F (29 degrees C).
In hotter climates or when the temperature outside is warm then the heat lamp may be turned off for a few hours each day by week three.
By week four the heat lamp can be turned off or down to 80 degrees F (27 degrees C) during the day.
We find the best way to gauge temperature for baby quail chicks is by their actions. If they are alert and running around, then quickly falling asleep then you know they are happy and have the right temperature. If they are noisy and chirping and huddling under the lamps, they are too cold. If they are standing around and open mouth breathing and dying without cause, your heat is too high. We do not use thermometers in our brooders and go by this method. It results in fewer losses and happy healthy chicks!
Coturnix quail generally start laying around the 8 week old mark, if they have 16 hours of daylight and warmth. They can be foam checked around 6 weeks old. (For tutorials on how to do this, please watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHFXeERLb1w