Quail is a collective terminology given to a group of many genera of mid-sized birds placed in the order Galliformes
Collective noun for a group of quail is called a flock or covey or bevy
Based on the timeline, quails are divided in two groups:
Old World Quails. Placed collectively in the family Phasianidae
New World Quail. Placed collectively in the family Odontophoridae
Mass: 96 g (Large Adult)
Many larger species of quails are farm-raised for table food or egg consumption, and are hunted on game farms or in the wild
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Feeding & Diet:
Around 90% of the quail’s feed come from the plant materials
In wild, adults quails eat fruits, seeds, leaves and flowers from grasses, herbs, shrubs and trees. Also eat berries, sporangia, waste and non waste grain, catkins, plant galls and insects
In captivity, 80% of quail’s diet should consist on seeds and grains and 20%on fruits and vegetables
Alternatively, commercially prepared the poultry feed can also be given to quails in proper farming module
Quails also love to eat various types of insects as an extra source of protein
Quail chicks almost exclusively depend on insects for the first few weeks of their live
Quails have high reproductive potentials. It lays 12 to 15 eggs per clutch
Quail start laying eggs starting from Spring till Autumns. Since quails take 2-6 weeks to get comfortable in their new environment, set up the habitat a few weeks before you plan to start breeding your birds
Pre-Feasibility Study QUAIL BREEDER FARM & HATCHERY (80,000 Quail Eggs)
Executive Summary of Quail Farming Business Proposal: Quail breeder birds would be purchased each year and reared under specific conditions for egg laying. The fertilized eggs would then be artificially incubated in a setter/incubator for 15 days and then placed in hatcher for 3 days for hatching process. At the end of this 18 day incubation period, quail eggs hatch to produce day old chicks (DOC). These DOCs can be sold to quail meat farmers who demand DOCs for raising and slaughtering to sell in the meat market Quail meat is renowned for being rich in vitamins, essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and phospholipids, which are vital for human physical and mental development. Compared to broiler, quail meat is a rich source of dietary protein. Not only is its protein content higher but moreover its „bad‟ cholesterol level is lower than chicken or red meat. In addition to individual consumers, quail meat is also sold directly to hotels and restaurants. Approximately, one out of every ten broiler chicken consumer opts for quail meat. The total initial cost for setting up the quail unit is estimated at Rs. 5.426 million. The unit would run at 60% capacity in the first year of operation, maximum capacity (100%) is attained in fifth year of operation. The proposed project capacity of the hatchery unit (incubator plus hatcher) is 80,000 eggs. Two hatchery machines, each of 40,000 egg incubating capacity along with 5,000 egg hatching capacity are proposed in the project giving a maximum egg capacity of the incubating unit as 80,000 eggs and hatcher unit capacity as 10,000 eggs at any given time. The total incubation process period for quail egg is 18 days; the process is divided into 15 days in incubator and 3 days in hatcher. The project is based on the capacity of the hatcher unit that is 10,000 eggs per batch of 3 days
Proposal Brief: The proposed project initiates with the purchase of around 3,361 quail breeders in year 1, having 30% male and 70% female quail birds. This size of the flock is increased at a rate of 10% every year going up to 5,601 quail breeders in year 5. The eggs produced would be placed in the hatchery machine batch-wise. A total of 121 batches are assumed per year, these batches will be placed in the hatchery machine every 3 days. The size of the batch would increase with the size of the breeder flock. The breeder flock would be purchased according to the required egg production per batch. In year 1, the proposed breeder flock would lay eggs that fulfil 60% of the total capacity; the remaining 40% of the hatchery machines‟ capacity would be rented out to other farmers who require incubation services. Increasing the size of the breeder flock at a rate of 10% every year would eventually utilize 100% egg capacity of the hatchery machines and rental services would no longer be offered. After 18 days of incubation of fertilized eggs DOCs will be produced; these DOCs would be sold immediately to farmers. The project‟s specific requirement of temperature and humidity control in hatchery and feeding, drinking and lighting system for breeder flock would be monitored regularly. After every 12 months, new breeder stock would be reared to produce continuous supply of fertilized eggs. The previous breeder flock would be sold to farmers for slaughtering. Two days would be spent in proper cleaning, washing, white washing, disinfection and fumigation prior to the arrival of new flock. During flock rearing, strict measures for bio-security should be observed at the unit
Project Capacity: The proposed project capacity of the hatchery unit (incubator plus hatcher) is 80,000 eggs. Two hatchery machines, each of 40,000 egg incubating capacity along with 5,000 egg hatching capacity are proposed in the project giving a maximum egg capacity of the incubating unit as 80,000 eggs and hatching unit capacity as 10,000 eggs at any given time. The total incubation process period for quail egg is 18 days; the process is divided into 15 days in incubator and 3 days in hatcher. The project is based on the capacity of the hatcher unit that is 10,000 eggs per batch, in which case, at a time 10,000 eggs can be placed in the incubator every 3 days. After 15 days in the incubator the eggs would be placed in the hatcher for 3 day hatching process. The unit would run at 60% capacity in the first year of operation, maximum capacity (100%) is attained in fifth year of operation. A breeder flock of around 3,361 quail birds (2,353 female and 1,008 male birds) is purchased in the first year for laying fertilized eggs; the breeder flock purchased every year is increased according to the project capacity. The quail breeder is assumed to lay one egg per day; accounting for egg productivity of around 85%, a total of 2,000 eggs would be produced per day. Based on 3 days, 121 batches are placed in incubation each year. In Year 1, at 60% capacity approximately 2,999 eggs per batch, produced by own breeder flock, would be placed every 3 days in each machine, the remaining 40% of the space would be rented out to other farmers who require incubation service. At 100% capacity, by increasing the size of the breeder flock, egg production would reach approximately 5,000 eggs per machine and 10,000 eggs in total and rental facility would no longer be offered. Accounting for 90% hatchability in total, around 5,399 DOCs per batch are produced in first year and 8,998 DOCs per batch at 100% capacity are produced fifth year onwards. In year 1, a total of 653,279 DOCs would be produced and sold. Additionally, a total of 484,105 eggs would be placed in the hatchery unit on rental basis in year 1
Features of Quail Eggs: Quail eggs are renowned for being rich in vitamins, essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and phospholipids, which are vital for human physical and mental development. Quail eggs can be included in the diets of children, pregnant mothers and geriatric and convalescent patients. Coturnix eggs are characterized by a variety of colour patterns. They range from snow white to completely brown. More commonly they are tan and dark brown speckled or mottled brown with a chalky blue covering. The average egg from mature female weighs about 10 gram (1/3 ounce), about 8 percent of the body weight of quail hen as compared to 3 percent for chicken eggs. The egg of Japanese quail contains 158 Cal. of energy, 74.6% water, 13.1% protein, 11.2% fat, and 1.1% total ash. The mineral content includes 0.59 mg calcium, 220 mg phosphorus and 3.8 mg iron. The vitamin content is 300 IU of vitamin A, 0.12 mg of vitamin B1, 0.85 mg of vitamin B2 and 0.10 mg nicotinic acid
Feature of Quail Meat:
Nutritionally people eat poultry meat for its high content of quality protein and its low fat content. Quail and chicken meat is slightly higher in protein and slightly lower in fat as compared to beef and other red meats. When it comes to composition, quail‟s meat has some interesting properties, which might aid in its marketing. In terms of its basic composition in comparison with broiler meat, it has high protein content and relatively low fat content (when skin is removed, the figures for fat drop around 60% for quails and 80% for broilers raw meat). In terms of lipids, it has slightly more undesired saturated fats. However, it also has a higher content of the good polyunsaturated fatty acids. Looking at the minerals, we can see it is a significant source of phosphorus, iron and copper, while providing reasonable amounts of zinc and selenium. Vitamin-wise, it has high niacin (vitamin B3) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) content. So, it has either the same or substantially higher amounts of minerals and vitamins when compared to broilers
In terms of sensory properties, quail meat has good acceptance level among consumers. Surprisingly, scientists2 have found even higher ratings (in their category “taste”) for laying quails that are used for meat consumption after the laying period. In the case of the older birds, this is totally unexpected. This makes the use of layer breeds for meat consumption a viable and interesting solution for egg producers
Coturnix Chicks: Young Coturnix are yellowish in appearance with stripes of brown and somewhat resemble turkey poults except for size. The newly hatched chicks weigh about 6 to 7 grams, but grow rapidly during the first few days. After three days flight feathers begin to appear and the birds are fully feathered about four weeks of age. Partial sexing is possible by three weeks of age by the cinnamon-coloured feathers on the breast of the male bird
Adult Male: The adult male Coturnix weighs about 100 to 140 grams (3 1/2 to 5 ounces). The male birds can be identified readily by the uniform rusty brown/ fawn coloured feathers with light white spots on the upper throat and lower breast region. Males also have a cloacal gland, a bulbous structure located at the upper edge of the vent which secretes a white, foamy material. This unique gland can be used to assess the reproductive fitness of the males. The young birds begin to crow at 5 to 6 weeks old
Adult Female: Adult female quail are bigger than male quail and weighs from 120 to 160 grams (4 to 5 1/2 ounces). The body coloration of the female bird is similar to the male except that the feathers on the throat and upper breast are long, pointed, and much lighter black or dull grey and white spots on it. Also, the light tan breast feathers are characteristically black-stippled. Laying starts at seven weeks, attaining 50% egg production at 8th week and reaches a peak of 80-85 percent from 12-24 weeks of age. Japanese quail continue to yield eggs up to the end of one year, and about 260 eggs are laid during that period. Adult mortality rate is minimal. In order to produce fertile eggs, the male quails should be reared along with the females at 6-8 weeks of age. The male to female ratio is 1:3
Preservation Methods: The shelf life of quail eggs and meat can be enhanced by preserving the products as egg and meat packed in plastic pouches. Quail meat and eggs are easily perishable due to their high water content and bacteria, moulds or yeasts cause spoilage, supported by enzymes. The methods employed include deprivation of water and sometimes oxygen, excess of salt, increased acidity or extreme cold or heat. The modern quail meat will be welcomed as a meat variety of superior quality, tenderness and flavour. Considering the changing demands of avian meat consumers, the industry is striving to produce quails weighing 200 grams at marketing age (28 days). This modern variety of quail can be used for the production of cutlets, fingers, noodles, soup powder and egg puff. It is not an exaggeration to state that quails will occupy a considerable portion of the poultry market in the days to come
Proposed Farm Management: The breeder quails of good genetic worth would be purchased from a private farm. A flock of 70% female, 30% male would be bought every year. The birds would be settled in 5 tier cages. The cages are required to be equipped with a proper feeding and nipple drinking system, monitored by the concerned staff. After one year, a gap of 2 days is required for the preparation of farm to receive the new flock. During these days, proper cleaning, washing, disinfection and fumigation would be performed prior to the arrival of new flock. During flock rearing, strict measures for bio-security should be observed at the unit. The following practices are suggested to be performed under the supervision of an expert. This shall protect the flocks from 80% of the diseases and improve farm management:
Sanitation and disinfection program strictly followed during and after the completion of one year cycle. Automatic drinkers and feeders should be checked on regular basis for the functioning.
Quail breeders should be given enough space according to their age as less space could give rise to different complexities. Feed should not be stored for long time as it would lose its nutrition and there is a chance that feed would get fungal and can prove to be poisonous to quail chicks. On quail farm it should be strictly prohibited for employees to keep free range chickens or any other bird so that disease spread is avoided.
Housing and Management of Quail Breeders: The system of housing would be a cage system. The cages would be kept in closed farms. A concrete floor is essential, and the building should be fulfilling basic requirements, not only to deter rodents and other pests but also to provide droughtfree and well-ventilated, sheltered accommodation. Canvas-cloth is sometimes hanged over on both sides of the house to prevent direct sunlight into the cages. The quails should not be exposed to direct sunlight. A 5 tier high cage system is required. Each unit is about 6 feet in length and 1 foot in width, and subdivided into 5 subunits. The birds stand on sloping slatted wire mesh floors. The droppings fall into pull-out trays/conveyor belt. Front and rear of cages are closed by slats. Long narrow feed troughs are placed in front of the cages and PPC water troughs are placed at the back of the cages. The eggs roll out under the feed troughs and are collected twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. Commercial egg layers are usually housed in colonies of 10-12 birds per cage. For breeding purposes, male quails are introduced in the cages in the ratio of 1 to 3 females. In Egg Production, cage specifications are very important for maximum production.
Easy to transport and move with powerful block system and lockable wheels
Automatic watering system with high Capacity reservoir and automatic nipples
Inclined cage bottom for moving eggs to the cage front
Feeding boxes throughout the tiers
Manure trays for each tier
Lighting Management: It has been proved through experiments that light has more importance than temperature in stimulating quails to lay eggs. A dim light is enough to maintain wakefulness and social activity in the flock. Electric bulbs of 40 or 60 watts may be used in colony pens. For the light to be effective it must be turned on before dark and calculated to go off after the day has been extended to 14 or 16 hours. Control of the light may be by a time switch.
Practical Feeding: Nutrition is one of the most important factors required to maintain quails in good physical condition and to obtain normal growth and egg production. Since feed constitutes 60-70% investment at the farm, for deriving maximum benefit out of quail farming it is necessary to feed a balanced ration which will have all the nutrients in necessary proportion. There are several forms in which a balanced ration may be fed to quail - all dry mash, pellets or crumbs. In tropics usually dry all mash feeding system is being used. The local farmers may use the quail starter and layer diets for their growing and laying quails and supplement them with high protein ingredients, such as soybean meal and skimmed milk. Fast early growth is achieved with high-protein diets. Japanese quails, which mature at 5 to 6 weeks of age, respond favourably to higher dietary protein concentration. These high protein starter feeds will give quick development to growing birds and bring earlier and more consistent laying process to hens. When there is deficiency of vitamins and minerals in the female quail breeders, the chicks obtained from their fertile eggs are usually lean with weak legs. To prevent this, the breeder females should be provided with optimum minerals and vitamins in their feed The feed required up to 6 weeks of age is about 500 g per chick, and thereafter it is about 30 g per bird per day. During the laying period, birds require about 3 kg of feed per kilogram of eggs at maximum. For birds just prior to maturity, the dietary requirements are similar, except for calcium and phosphorus. A diet containing 1.25 percent total phosphorus and 3.50 percent calcium is recommended; this may need to be increased to 3.9 percent. In hot weather when quails eat less food but still require calcium to maintain egg production, broken oyster-shell or limestone grits may be given. It is better to give high protein and high vitamin feed during summer. Feeding should be done during the cooler parts of the day to promote feed consumption. When the ration contains only plant protein, supplemental methionine and lysine may be beneficial. The main feed ingredients of quail feed are Corn, Soybean, Canola, Sunflower meal, Rape seed meal, Lime stone etc. There are indications that these are the first limiting amino acids for Japanese quails. Feed for laying quail should contain 19 percent crude protein with 2 650 M.E. Cal/ kg. It is important to obtain fresh feed and it should be stored in covered containers with tight fitting lids in a clean, dry, cool area free from animals and vermin. Feed stored longer than 8 weeks is subject to vitamin deterioration and rancidity, especially in hot humid tropics.
Disease Prevention and Control: The prevention of disease in Japanese quail depends on continuous and conscientious application of fundamental principles and practices of quarantine and sanitation. Although, they are comparatively more resistant to infectious diseases than chickens yet may be affected from diseases such as fowl cholera, coli-bacillosis, enteritis and mycotoxicosis. More deaths (up to even 20-25 percent) occur due to managerial errors, especially failure to provide optimum temperature in extreme weathers, improper feeding and watering management etc. Good management will reduce the danger of disease. The first prerequisite to a successful disease-prevention program is that infection-free stock be used as the foundation flock. Immediately on arrival, the birds should be placed in facilities well isolated from birds of the farms and held for an observation period of 2 weeks. They should be observed daily for signs of illness, and when disease is noted, immediate steps should be taken to obtain a diagnosis, and treatment be given. The second rule is to separate quail breeder flocks from other quail. Sanitary management practices are the best guarantee against disease. Equipment, such as cages, feeders, water drinkers and tools should be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Every effort should be made to screen out wild birds, rodents and vermin that might introduce disease. Dead birds should be removed immediately upon discovery. In theory, Japanese quail, as a cousin of the fowl, is expected to be susceptible to most of the same diseases that affect domestic poultry. Nevertheless, disease is not much of a problem on well managed quail farms. Japanese quails appear to be hardier than chickens and with proper management, serious mortality should not be a problem. Hence, proper management of quail chicks, disinfecting farm premises, providing clean drinking water and feeding quality concentrate feed will prevent disease outbreaks in quail farms.
Pre-incubation Egg Care: Successful quail propagation begins in the pre-incubation period. Eggs should be collected twice daily and more frequently in hot weather. Special care must be taken in collecting and handling quail eggs for they are thin-shelled and break more easily than chicken eggs. If egg collection is delayed, the eggshells may get damaged or crack because of the frequently moving and active birds. Japanese quail eggs can be stored at room temperature for 5-7 days during normal seasons. Eggs should be of a uniform size as extremely large or small size eggs have low hatchability. Eggs held for incubation should be kept in a cool, clean, dust-free room at a temperature of 14 + 3ºC (55 + 5ºF) and 70 + 10 percent relative humidity. Eggs should be stored large end up and they should not be held for more than 12-14 days before being placed in the incubator. The eggs set in the incubator must be clean. Eggs to be incubated should not be washed; if cleaning is required, it should be done with a clean abrasive or sandpaper. The egg is mostly water and quail egg dehydrates more rapidly. Eggs stored in PVC bags may be stored for a longer period of time (14- 21 days) and the hatchability rate would be higher than from unpackaged eggs stored in low temperature.
Artificial Incubation Quail eggs can be incubated successfully in standard size commercial incubators. Quail eggs will hatch successfully if they are placed in an incubator in any position except with the large end down. The incubator should have a fan to provide adequate air circulation because the developing embryos use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide and heat. Little ventilation is needed at the beginning but the requirement increases as incubation progresses. The machine should be equipped to allow automatic turning of all eggs through an angle of 90 at least 4-6 times per 24 hours. Turning regularly is particularly critical in early incubation to prevent the embryos from adhering to the shell membrane. Lack of turning during the first 3 to 4 days will produce some malformed embryos and may have other minor defects. Turning may be discontinued after 14 days. Fan-ventilation incubators should be set at 37.5 + 0.3 ºC. If the temperature of the incubator exceeds these recommendations many embryos may die. During the hatching period temperature should be lowered 0.5 ºC. A relative humidity of about 60 percent is satisfactory during incubation and should be raised to about 70 percent during the hatching period. The incubation period is 16 1/2 to 18 days and may range from 16 to 18 days depending upon temperature, humidity and genetic variability. The developing eggs may be transferred to a separate hatcher on 15th day of incubation. It takes 10 hours from piping to hatch, and an additional 5 hours for drying the chick. Then the quail chicks are ready to be distributed to other farmers or to go into the brooder for rearing.
Automatic Incubator / Hatchery Controller: Latest microprocessor technology is employed in incubator controller system with high intelligence and measurement accuracy (±0.1 C). During the process of incubation, temperature control, over-temperature alarm and egg turning are automatically done by the controller. The control panel is easy to operate
Area Requirement for Quail Farm: The area proposed for the set up of this project covers approximately 0.58 kanal or 2,600 sq. feet (approximately 12 marlas). This area would be sufficient for installation of farm machinery and equipment