Friday, February 20, 2009

Finally an Update on the Quail

The quail business is moving steadily for us. We have sold a number of meat birds and the orders keep coming in. As a matter of fact we are kind of caught in the middle right at this moment because I have a customer requesting 30 and the oldest batch I have is still has two weeks grow out left. This is a great problem to have though!

We are hatching 200 a month for sale and this will probably triple after April 1st, since we will be able to house them in outside pens. Our oldest breeders will be replaced at that time too. Currently they are all housed with the breeders in the garage turned aviary. We have grow out pens set up and could place more into the current aviary, but it's the amount of manure that is hard to deal with not the actual number of birds. The dropping from Texas A&Ms contain more moisture than other quail like the bob whites. The ammonia overload in the manure will start burning your eyes after about three days, so keeping the place clean is a constant chore. The hot one day then the cold raining 40 mph wind days the next, seem to be stacked against our clean-out schedule.

Hopefully, we will be able to start selling hatching eggs by April. This past Wed, I collect 51 eggs of which 43 of them were perfect. By perfect I mean correct size, shape and weight. Although, I never plan to sell a thousand eggs at a time. I would like to sell up to three dozen to a customer and they know that they are getting the freshest best hand selected eggs they can get. Uniform egg size also helps with uniform chick size after they hatch. I have actually tested the theory. The larger the egg the larger the chick, at a glance, that sounds ideal, but in my personal experience the largest eggs produce lethargic chicks and the smaller eggs produce small weak chicks. The best chicks come from well shaped eggs just shy of the largest eggs. If I am going to sell somebody something it's going to be the best I can produce. This might cost me some money due to not selling every product available, but I can live with that.

Y'all Come Back!


TheMartianChick said...

I am very interested in quail, but I am not sure about the amount of noise that they make. I've never heard them in the wild in our area. I've also never eaten them...Are they gamey? Do you sell them live to customers who want to eat them or do you process them first?

Brad said...

The ones we have are a jumbo corturnix not a wild type. The males crow, but it is not like a rooster crowing. It is a shrill noise that sounds like they are saying "Look at Me". A few males in a breeding colony is not bad at all.
They are very tender white meat and are not gamey at all. These particular quail were developed for their size and meat quality by Texas A&M University.
Processing quail is very easy. After the bird is dispatched, I clip off the wings with kitchen shears and skin the birds. Then I cut them along the backbone and remove the insides and finally clip off the feet. They can be plucked but in most cases the skin will tear unless you are extremely careful due to the young age of the birds. 10 to 12 weeks is as old as they are when we dress them.
I hope I answered some of your questions. Please feel free to ask me if you have any more.

TheMartianChick said...

Thanks for the information, Brad. I might just try raising some. (I'd need a few recipes, too!) Probably not this year, though... We've set a budget goal of $1000 to get things rolling this year. So far, we're doing alright, but are already anticipating a few additional urban farm expenses. One of those additional expenses includes a good incubator, so maybe I could eventually breed and hatch my own.

Anonymous said...

Hi,i found your blog while just looking for breeders of texas A@M quail. My plan is to raise them using my cochin bantams as incubators.Ive watched videos of it done,others say it dosent work.
How big this gets depends.I decided quail would be a better meat bird than raising chickens.The eggs sound good.Ive read that the eggs are good for allergys.Im not sure how?
Ive been working on feed ideas to save money and making it healthy. The protein levels need to go up.Ive figured out that romaine lettuce is high in protein.I have a garden in my greenhouse(small)and have been planting greens.Purslane is one thing i planted,its suppose to make eggs healthier.Beardless barley grows like crazy and my cochins love it.
Im curious about size.I was reading some posts where they were talking about birds weighing like 12 to 14? ounces have you ever weighed your birds?So are you selling eggs?soon i well get eggs from two sources and start breeding.Im just trying to get some fresh blood by using two lines.Sorry to ramble on.