Chickens aren’t the only gateways to growing livestock. If you’re adding poultry to your homestead farm, we suggest raising quail chicks. They are generally smaller and easier to take care of.
The Ultimate Homesteader’s Guide to Raising and Growing Quail Chicks
Step 1: Set up a Brooder
A brooder is a small, special area where you will raise your quail chicks. The area should be kept clean and warm at all times and must be enclosed by four walls.
Make sure the area is wide enough to house all your quails. Generally, allot 0.5 square foot per chick, so if you have 20 quail chicks, your brooder should be no less than 10 square feet.
Important: Seal off all cracks and holes to ensure there are no gaps for your chicks to squeeze in and escape the brooder.
Step 2: Seal the Top of the Brooder
Unlike chickens, quails grow very fast and will be able to fly once they are one week old. This means your brooder will have to be sealed or your chicks will be able to jump over the walls.
Use a light, breathable material for the roofing. It should be something along the lines of a thin netting or screen with filled little holes for ventilation.
Step 3: Position the Brooder Properly
Once you’ve secured your brooder, it’s time to find the right spot to position it in. Generally, brooders should be placed in a warm, dry, and draft-free outdoor environment that is far away from natural threats such as rainwater, strong winds, and pest infestations.
Don’t forget about the predators. Possible predators include household pets such as cats and dogs, so while you’re raising quail chicks, we suggest locking them away for the meantime. If possible, keep your pets on the other side of the homestead.
If you live in a cool area, you can opt to place the brooder in an enclosed makeshift incubator. Heat the chicks up with a lighting system as well.
Step 4: Add the Finishing Touches
Now it’s time to add the finishing touches to your brooder. First, we need to fix the bedding. Use warm, crisp, and dry materials such as shredded newspaper, paper towels, or wood shavings.
The latter is the best option because it’s inexpensive and is the most absorbent material listed. However, be wary of cedar shavings because these are toxic for quails.
If you plan to use paper towels, we suggest laying down at least three layers for maximum absorbency. Your brooder needs to be warm and dry at all times.
Next, secure a water dish bowl and pellet feeder. Both bowls should be low and shallow enough for your chicks to reach into. Otherwise, they might fall into the dishes if they lean in too far.
Step 5: Raising the Quail Chicks
At this point, your routine would primarily revolve around maintenance and care. Make sure there’s enough water for all your chicks, keep track of their growth then adjust the brooder accordingly, and replace their bedding every few days or so.
When it comes to heat, the chicks will need around 95°F of direct lighting up until they are two weeks old. Then, reduce the heat to 85°F up until they are five months old. Afterward, a heating lamp will no longer be needed.
For the feeding process, quails are free-fed, so their bowls should always contain food. To ensure your chicks grow big and healthy, feed them gamebird chick starter.
Your chicks can only consume normal quail food after they are six weeks old. Gradually decrease the amount of starter you feed them and replace with regular quail food.
Common FAQs on Raising Quail Chicks
1. How Much Water Do Quail Chicks Need?
Generally, your chicks should have access to a clean bowl of water 24/7, so make sure theirs is always full. This is especially important for those who live in hot climates.
Just remember to clean the bowl as well. Chicks are very small and fragile so they are extra sensitive to diseases and infections. Plus, diseases can quickly spread throughout the flock.
Note: Do not fill the water bowl to the point where a chick can drown in it. Keep it full, but shallow. You can opt to place some clean pebbles in the dish to raise the water level to the brim if you want.
2. When Can a Chick Mingle With Other Quails?
Quail chicks are ready to mingle with other quails outside the coop after five weeks when they have already grown a full set of feathers. They need these for protection.
Make sure there’s a fence to keep them within a specific area of your homestead. You wouldn’t want these small birds wandering into small, tight, and hard-to-reach places.
Important: Quail chicks should only be sheltered and cooped up until they are about five weeks old. After that, a bit of outdoor playtime will be good for them.
3. When’s the Best Time to Upsize Your Quail Housing?
Don’t spend too much money on your newborn chicks’ coops because they grow fast and will need more space after only three weeks. By this time, you’ll have to set aside 1 square foot of space per chick.
4. How to Clean Chicks?
Chicks clean themselves through dust bathing. This is an activity where the chick plays around in the sand to get rid of dirt, parasites, mites, and lice.
Give your chicks a tub of sand to bathe in once they are around three to four weeks old.
Check out this insightful video documentary on raising quail chicks by Self Sufficient Me:
A common mistake when raising quail chicks is assuming they have the same needs as chickens do. Keep in mind that they are two different types of birds. You can apply some chicken growing techniques, but you’ll need an entirely different strategy.
Overall, your goal should be to keep the chicks safe and sheltered until they are big and strong enough to explore outside the quail coop. Also, take time to understand different quail breeds. See which ones are best suited for your livestock farming goals.
What are some of the struggles while growing quail chicks? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
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