13 Benefits of Raising Quail That May Surprise You

Before you dive into quail, make sure you know the benefits of raising quail and what you can expect from these birds.

You may have noticed more and more people talking about adding quail to their homestead. There are several benefits of raising quail you should consider, making them an appealing option.

Quail are small birds, considered game birds not poultry, but they lay eggs and their meat is delicious. Many hunters raised quail for years for hunting and game purposes, but you can raise these for other purposes.

If you’re wondering why more people than ever are adding these birds to their homesteads, check out these surprising benefits of raising quail.

Are The Benefits of Raising Quail Worth It?

More homesteaders than ever are switching to raising quail. There are plenty of benefits to raising quail, making them an appealing option.

The biggest benefit, to our family who has a small plot of land, is how little space the birds require. Our quail cages take-up minimal space behind our shed, space that we were not previously using.

We added another animal and sort of food to our suburban homestead without sacrificing any of our space. That’s huge!

Another benefit that I appreciate is how fast these birds grow.

I’ve raised chickens for years, and it’s a game of patience. You wait weeks for them to grow and be ready to go outside. Then, they take sometimes up to 24 weeks to lay eggs – that’s a long wait and a lot of upfront investment before you receive any eggs from them.

Quail, on the other hand, go outside much sooner. They lay eggs regularly and sooner; ours started around eight weeks and laid steadily all spring and summer, only decreasing in the fall as light hours decreased.

Overall, if you were to ask me are quail worth it, my thought is immediately yes, they are an excellent option for homesteaders!

Are Quail Easier to Raise Than Chickens?

Yes, in my opinion and experience, quail are easier to raise than chickens.

Since they have a smaller cage, keeping their area clean and dry is considerably easier. We swap bedding every few days, and it’s sufficient for them.

They don’t want to free range, but they like place to hide. We add branches to their cages and heaps of bedding because they love to dig. A small dustbath in a container is always a favorite, but these all take minimal work from you.

Chickens need more food, more water, and require more work to clean their housing. Not to mention, chasing them when they escape is a big deal. You’ll find that raising quail is quite easy. Make sure they have what they need, and they are skittish, so they don’t want to be handled all day long, much to my kids’ disappointment.

13 Benefits of Raising Quail

1. Your Initial Investment Costs are Lower

The biggest investment cost you have when you raise chickens is the co-op. Chicken co-ops cost a good deal of money, and if you want a large flock, then don’t be surprised if a decent chicken co-op costs well over $1,000.

Especially with the cost of materials right now!

Many of the items you need to start raising chickens in a brooder are similar to those of quail. The biggest savings comes with their homes. I purchased Amish built quail hutches for $150 each, but many quail owners use rabbit hutches that cost around $200.

Plus, you only have to put them together rather than building from scratch. Time is money as well!

Related: 9 Raising Baby Chicks Supplies You Need to Have

2. They Take Up Little Space

I knew quail were small, but I had no idea how little they were until I had my own. One of the real benefits of raising quail is they’re considerably smaller than other poultry like poultry, ducks, geese, or turkey.

The general rule of thumb is that the space quails need are three times less than the space chickens need. So, if you feel as if you don’t have space for chickens, you may still have space for quail.

If you are all about free ranging animals, quail won’t be for you; quail prefer to live in small cages. These birds like access to an enclosed chicken run, giving them plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

They also prefer to forage and blend in with their surroundings. In nature, quail like to hide from their predators, and their instincts still tell them to do so.

3. They Grow Faster

One of the top benefits of raising quail is that they mature faster than other birds you may keep in your backyard.

By the time your chickens are three to four weeks old, it’s possible to tell the difference between male and females. They generally lay eggs around six to ten weeks old, so overall, you don’t have to wait as long for your quail to mature.

If you want to raise quail for meat, it only takes around seven to nine weeks for them to reach their full potential.

4. Quicker Hatching Time

One of the most affordable way to stay a flock of any type of bird is by hatching eggs yourself. Chicken eggs take around 21 days to hatch, but quail eggs take 17 to 18 days to hatch.

Not to mention, incubating these eggs are considerable easy.

The bonus of the quick incubation and growth rate is that you can raise these birds from egg to maturity within three months. That is a great turnover rate if you want a sustainable meat source for your homestead.

Related: Incubating Quail Eggs: What You Need to Know

5. Quail Lay Eggs Earlier Than Chickens

As I mentioned, quail typically lay eggs around six to eight weeks old, but this varies. Sometimes, it is later than this.

Another one of the benefits of raising quail is that they lay many eggs at once. The typical clutches of eggs are between 10-15 eggs. Most domesticate quail breeds produce an egg per day if they aren’t molting. So, they’re a prolific egg layer.

However, quail typically don’t lay eggs in the colder months. So, keep that in mind!

Their eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs. One chicken egg is equal to two or three quail eggs. However, their yolks are heartier and full of delicious nutrients like iron, selenium, and B vitamins.

Their eggs contain higher levels of cholesterol, but this cholesterol is mostly high-density lipoprotein, which is the good kind. HDL cholesterol helps break down the bad LDL cholesterol. The recommendation is generally to eat no more than 10 quail eggs per day.

6. Their Eggs are Yummy!

Quail lay eggs daily, like chickens, and while their eggs are small, they are rich in nutrients. Many chefs and bakers prefer quail eggs if they find a source for them due to their richness in flavor.

That’s not to say that chicken eggs aren’t delicious; they are.

It’s simply incredible how much richness and flavor is in one tiny quail egg.

Plus, when compared to chicken eggs, quail eggs have six times more vitamin B1 and B2 – that’s incredible! They contain higher levels of vitamin A, so often all, along with being a source of iron and potassium,

7. Quail Are Quieter Than Chickens

One of the reasons why many areas ban chickens is because they are loud, especially roosters. Roosters crow early in the morning, and while some people enjoy the sound of a crowing rooster, most consider it a disturbance.

Even hens tend to be a bit loud at time; their egg songs are loud yet fun to listen to at times.

On th other hand, quail are quiet, and you don’t have crowing in the early morning. That’s not to say that quail are quiet; they aren’t. They make chirps and coos, but more than likely, your neighbors will think it’s a different bird making sounds.

Something else to consider is that quail cannot free-range, so you don’t have to worry about your quail eating your neighbor’s vegetables. That’s happened with my chickens before, and it’s never fun.

Instead, quail have to be kept in cages at all time. They fly well, and they won’t hang out in your backyard because you leave snacks for them.

8. An Easy Sustainable Meat Source

Finding a sustainable meat source that backyard homesteaders can raise is difficult, but quail are one of those sources.

Did you know quail meat is considered a delicacy?

I had no idea until I started raising quail. The meat has a delicious flavor, juicier than you may expect. Some high-ends restaurants pay top dollar to serve quail to their customers.

One benefits of raising quail for a meat source is that these birds are smaller and easier to process than their large turkey and chicken counterparts. You don’t have to pluck them either, which is always a big deal when you have to butcher a big number of birds.

9. You Can Earn Money with Quail

Many homesteaders look for ways to make money from their homestead, and quail are profitable.

Quail eggs fetch a decent price since many chefs and home cooks will pay top dollar to bake with these eggs. You also can sell the meat, but be sure to check the laws in your state. You may have to sell the birds live to abide by safety laws.

Another option is to sell quail chicks; they fetch a higher price than chickens, generally around $5-7 per quail chick. You can sell fertilized quail eggs for others to hatch quail eggs.

10. Few Cities Ban Quail

In most cases, quail aren’t considered a type of livestock, which works in your favor if you are an urban or suburban homesteader.

Most cities ban chickens because they are livestock, but quail is a type of game bird. Few cities have bans on quail, giving you an opportunity to raise eggs and a meat source in your backyard.

In some areas, chickens require a license to keep only four hens! Other cities won’t let you have chickens at all, or they prohibit roosters. Some ban breeding chickens, or other limit the profits you are able to make with their flock.

However, be sure to check your local ordinances to check to see if quail are listed. Chances are they aren’t!

11. Feed Costs Are Lower

These birds are smaller, so they require lower amounts of feed when compared to chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Less feed means lower feed costs.

Remember, quail are omnivores like chickens, so they need ample protein.

They like to eat all sorts of goodies, especially insects. Feed them mealworms, beetles, caterpillars, or any other insects you find!

They also like grains and some fruits, such as berries, apples, and grapes.

12. Their Upkeep is Minimal

As I mentioned before, their daily care is minimal, and while the tasks are similar to chickens, the time it requires is less.

You have to feed and water your quail daily. Small flip-top bird feeders are great for quail, and they need water. I used paint containers that hooked onto the side of the wire, but you can use whatever you want.

Bedding doesn’t need to be caged daily. We often change once per week, putting the bedding into our compost pile. Hay works great for quail. We also add some branches and piles of pine bedding to their crate as needed.

That’s about it! When I open the door, I grab eggs, but the entire process takes only a few moments.

Related: 15 Composting Tips for Beginners You Need to Get Started

13. Quail Tend to be Hardier

Another benefit of raising quail is that these birds tend to be hardier than chickens. As long as they have a clean and dry environment with food and water, they rarely get sick. In general, quail are healthy birds.

Chickens succumb to a range of illnesses and diseases, but you won’t see widespread quail diseases.

Another benefit of raising quail is that they are cold hardy game birds. While they need a draft-free, dry shelter in the winter, they generally handle the cold temperatures well. Quail handle temperatures down to -20 degrees F, and on the other hand, they handle heat as well, so long as they have water and shade.

The Downsides of Raising Quail

Nothing can fully be positive, so you know there are several downsides to consider as you embark on raising quail.

They Can Be Aggressive with Each Other

You have to have the proper ratio of males and females. Ideally, you want one male for every four to five females, at least. Any more males than that will cause serious aggression problems.

We, unfortunately, found this out firsthand because we mis-sexed a few. Learning how to sex coturnix quail is easy but not always easy as a newbie. We ended up with too many males, and they scalped two birds.

Yes, you read that right.

It was horrific, and my husband culled them. After joining several quail groups online, I learned this behavior is often normal in these situations. Ideally, you want to cull the aggressive ones, fostering the calm behavior you want to see.

Our ratio is now one male for every four to five females, and we do keep them separate, and we have no problems. They live peacefully together, but be careful with housing multiple males together. I would only do so if you have proper space – ideally one square foot per bird – and enough hens per bird.

Quail are Messy with Their Food

These little guys love to throw their food! They must find it fun, and our chickens appreciate their mess, since they like to forage under their cages.

This is one reason I don’t overfill their containers. I would rather feed them daily and know they aren’t tossing all of it rather than them feeding and wasting because they want something fun to do.

Quail Have Shorter Lifespan

Another one of the downsides of raising quail is that they have a shorter lifespan. Most well-cared for quail live two to three years. So, while they start to lay early, expect to add more quail to your flock each year.

They Can’t Free Range

If you love to let your birds free range, you’ll be disappointed to learn that this isn’t possible with quail. These birds are used to flying off – it’s part of their nature. They won’t return home typically, and catching them is hard.

They’ll fly over any open fence you provide.

So, if you want them to have run space, make sure it’s covered on all sides.

Quail Won’t Love Your Leftovers

Last, don’t try to give your quail friends your leftover mashed potatoes. They aren’t a fan of leftovers. We bring our chickens all the leftovers, but quail don’t find this as exciting as your other poultry friends.

It’s a bummer!

For our family, the benefits of raising quail far outweigh the negatives. They make perfect sense for a small, backyard homestead trying to raise as much food as possible on a small amount of land!

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