Bobwhite Quail Recipes

These, and pigeons, are the smallest of the domesticated birds. Quail require the least space of any food-producing domesticated animal and can be raised in an apartment. A 2 x 2 x 8-foot pen could hold 50 quail. Coturnix and Bob-whites are the most commonly raised quails. Bob white quail are raised to eat as dressed birds and for shooting preserves. Coturnix are raised for their eggs (says my friend Lee, "Quail eggs are a son of a gun to peel"), as well as for meat. Blue Scale and Gambel quails are some rarer varieties. Bobwhites are the most difficult quail to sex. The vent system has to be used. Quail eggs are small. An incubator that will hold 90 pheasant or chukar eggs can hold 200 quail eggs. If the incubator can hold 300 of the larger eggs, it will hold 800 quail eggs. For more information consult Albert E Marsh's Quail Manual (Garden Grove, CA: Marsh Farms, 1976) or A Quail in the Family by William J. Plummer (Henry Regnery Co., 1974).

Johnny Box For Quail

Quail coturnix Quail: After centuries of foreign cultivation, Coturnix quail were imported to the U.S. There are various breeds of Coturnix quail: Pharaoh, Tuxedo, Manchurian, Golden, British Range, English White, Australian Fawn, and Giant Brown. The Giant Brown was developed at Texas A & M Univ. by Dr. Fred Thornberry, Poultry Science Dept. It's a wide-breasted variety that reaches a tasty 10 oz. at 6 weeks. They're available from Bear Bayou Quail Farm, PO Box 514, Channel View, TX 77530; 281-452-5407; [email protected] flash.net.

Sexing Coturnix: In 2 varieties, the Pharaoh and the Manchurian Golden, the sexes can be color-distinguished once the chicks are 2 weeks old, at which time they grow new feathers with their distinguishing colors. Males have a reddish breast tint; females have a gray-mottled and more speckled breast. The other breeds are the British Range black quail, the English White, and the Tuxedo breeds, and they can be sexed only after 6 weeks, when they are sexually mature and the hens have started laying. A laying hen will have an enlarged vent of a more bluish color. The sexually active male has a ball-like appendage immediately above its vent. If the ball is squeezed, foam will run out. If the male does not have the ball, he will not breed. Coturnix females grow to be about 20 percent larger than the males. Females may be heavier yet because of the developing eggs in their bodies, so comparative weight can be another way to sex them. They also have different calls. The hen says, "whee-whee-whe." The cock says "grr-rrr-rrr-rrr."

Coturnix are rather sensitive to handle. Some people do very well with them; other people have a hard time getting very many eggs—and the egg is the basic purpose of raising them. They are a small bird with a very small egg, but those eggs are almost identical in flavor and nutrient content to chicken's eggs. And the Coturnix needs far less feed to produce the same weight of eggs. They start laying eggs when they are a little over 7 weeks old. They can be very productive egg-layers with high fertility, hardy, and fine to eat, though the dressed weight of a mature Coturnix is only about 4 oz. The hen quail averages 6 oz., the cock, just a shade less. Males can be eaten at 6-8 weeks. Coturnix quail are characteristic of their game-bird relatives, elusive and alert. If they escape—and it's possible—they will be gone forever. Low cages prevent injury from the quail's tendency to fly straight up. These quail require plenty of water because the egg the hen lays almost every day is Vs her body weight, and a good part water. Adult quail can eat turkey laying mash, or home-devised diet for confined guineas. You can experiment with other foods to see what they enjoy.

Coturnix Reproduction: To select breeders from a batch of chicks, choose at 6 weeks of age healthy, active birds that have the proper breed characteristics. The ideal sex ratio is considered to be 1 cock per 2 hens, though they can be raised as monogamous pairs or in a ratio of 1 cock to 3 hens. Don't keep a solitary bird; they need a mate or the single may die. The young are mature and in full egg production by 35-50 days and will be fully grown at 10 weeks. The hens will lay 5 or 6 eggs per week, so 20 to 30 hens can lay about 1,250 eggs—which may be hatched or eaten—in 10 weeks. So their potential reproduction rate is phenomenal. Laying birds are fragile (egg inside!) and should not be handled unless absolutely necessary, and then very carefully. The Coturnix quail lays a large egg for its size, and, if not allowed to set, a lot of them— 200-300 per year.

Incubating Coturnix Eggs: The eggs should be incubated 16-18 days, 99.5T (forced-air) or 101-101.5°F (still-air), at 85 percent humidity, turned a minimum of 4 or 5 times per day Temperature the last 3 days of incubation can drop to 99°F. Do not turn the eggs after 15 days. Humidity during the last 3 days is best at 90-94. Regular incubator trays won't be suitable for the small quail eggs but can be adapted by using an upside-down egg tray in there to hold them. Using an incubator, your quail production, because of their rapid maturation and prolific egg-laying, can be extraordinary For quail to set their own eggs, supply extra space and nesting material of soft grass. Each hen will produce at least 4 families per year, each of 10-14 young quail.

bobwhite quail: These birds are monogamous and usually pair for life. The male has a white eye-stripe and brown throat. Females have a buff line through the eye and a buff throat. They are physically mature at 16-20 weeks and, if mated, will start laying eggs at 24 weeks. The mature birds weigh V2 lb. If dressed out for eating, a Bobwhite will weigh a little less—about 6 oz. Bobwhite normally mate mid-May to mid-August and lay from 50 to 60 eggs (varying with climate and weather conditions). However, if provided 17 hours of light per day and kept in a temperature over 60°F, the bobwhite hens, once they reach the breeding age of 6 months, will lay eggs the year round—200 or more per year. Bobwhite quail will not set their own eggs in captivity. To incubate these quail eggs allow 23-24 days. Forced-air temperature should be 100°F, dropping the last 3 days to 99°F. Still-air temperature should be 101-102°F Humidity should be 84-86. Do not turn the eggs after 21 days. Humidity during the last 3 days should be 90-94°F (wet bulb). In the brooder the Bobwhite chicks should start at 100°F, gradually reducing to 70°F when they are nearly grown.

quail Chicks: These are so tiny that if you use a regular poultry waterer, you must put rocks or marbles in the waterer to keep them from drowning. There is specially designed chick and adult equipment marketed for quail raisers. G.Q.F Mfg. Co., EO. 1552, Savannah, GA 31498, and Rocky Top General Store (see "Poultry Supplies" under "Chickens") are among those. Raise Coturnix quail chicks by "Chickens" directions with "Guineas" refinements. Or they can be fed game-bird starter to 6 weeks, grower to adulthood, and breeder ration for breeders. The chicks will die of dehydration before they'll drink dirty, stale water.

Quail Housing: A 2 x 2 x 8-foot pen could comfortably house 20-25 quail. If such a pen is divided into eight 1-foot-wide compartments, you could keep them in individual colonies; a pair of Bobwhite; a trio of Coturnix. When birds are housed in smaller groups it's easier to identify less productive and/or disruptive ones. A water trough in the back and a feed trough in the front is considered ideal. A wire floor allows droppings to fall through. If the floor is slightly tilted to one side, it allows the eggs to roll gently out of the pen to an outside gathering place—which keeps them clean and makes them easy to get.

Using Quail Meat and Eggs: The young birds are fine eating, either roasted whole (for V2 hour), halved and broiled, or substituted in any squab (young pigeon) recipe.

The eggs are a delicacy in the pickled form. Butcher at 6-14 weeks of age. (See "Pigeons and Doves" for directions on the slaughter of small birds.) Coturnix eggs are said to be "rich, mellow and usually served fried, poached, boiled, or pickled, are delightful decoratives in salad dishes, and make interesting appetizers and hors d'oeuvres." That information was from Fred Frey, Missoula, MT. He also wrote, "Their meat is all dark, no white meat on the breast. Recipes include browning in a heavy fry pan followed by 45 minutes of baking. Some include sauces or baking along with a dressing. Very good if not allowed to dry out, which a small bird like this can easily do."

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  • YUSEF ISAIAS
    What age bobwhite quail eat corm?
    2 years ago