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The Coturnix Quail

The Coturnix Quail, also known as Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica), is a species of Old World quail found in East Asia. They are a migratory species, breeding in Manchuria, southeastern Siberia, northern Japan, and the Korean Peninsula, and wintering in the south of Japan and southern China. They dwell in grasslands and cultivated fields. The plumage of the pharaoh Japanese quail breed is a speckled yellow-brown, with a creamy white strip above the eye. Adults are about 20 cm (7.9 in) in length. The species is abundant across most of its range. Currently there are a few true breeding mutations of the Japanese quail, the breeds from the United States are: Texas A&M, English White, Golden Range, Red Range, Italian, Manchurian, Tibetan, Rosetta, Scarlett, Roux Dilute and Golden Tuxedo.

Coturnix Quail

Coturnix quail have been reared in India and Southeast Asia for their meat and eggs. The species is seen as a good "dual-purpose bird". In India, Krishi Vigyan Kendra Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has produced video album containing songs and visuals on Japanese quail production under Creative Extension series.

Japanese quail eggs have orbited the Earth in several Soviet and Russian spacecraft, including the Bion 5 satellite and the Salyut 6 and Mir space stations. In March 1990 eggs on Mir were successfully incubated and hatched.

Raising Quail

(Image Courtesy of Ingrid Taylar)

Quail are an enjoyment to raise and the space required is minimal as they are small and they don't eat a very much. They are efficient at converting feed into protein and are much more friendly creatures than even the most tempered chicken. Quail have been raised domestically since the Pharos ruled. The modern Coturnix Quail are bred to begin generating eggs at less than 2 months old. Once the female starts lying; the female hen will produce one egg a day for at least one year. The males grow just as rapid; they're ready for the table in 6-8 weeks.

Coturnix Quail Chick

Quail eggs are genuinely identical in taste & nutritional value to Chicken eggs. The female hen generally needs less than 2lbs of feed to produce about 1lb of eggs (Chickens need about 3lbs feed to make that same). Because of their lesser size, they're attractive as hors d'oeuvres, and can be pickled or hard-boiled. Five Quail eggs equal approximate one chicken egg and Quail eggs are quite different in their appearance (Coturnix Quail eggs freckled and spotted).

Quail meat is very delicious; even the breast meat is dark as is true for most birds that fly. The taste is practically identical to chicken. The meat is almost always tender and can be baked, stir-fried , roasted, broiled, or even stewed.

Many Quail breeders prefer raised cages as they are much easier to clean. The droppings fall to the ground and removed for compost. Raised cages also mean the birds will never be standing in manure and the eggs will stay clean. Some kind of nesting or brooding compartment is essential if you access to the eggs. The box should be solid with one small opening for the Quail hens to enter and leave and then another large door for collecting the eggs and also to replace the bedding. Optimally, you want to be able to get to the nesting box from outside the cage. You can easily keep 40+ birds in a single 3' x 3' x 7' cage. The nesting box should be 16'' x 3' x 3'.

The Scaled Quail

The Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), also commonly called Blue Quail or cottontop, is a species of the New World quail family. It is a bluish gray bird found in the arid regions of the Southwestern United States to Central Mexico. This species is an early offshoot of the genus Callipepla, diverging in the Pliocene.

Scaled QuailThis bird is named for the scaly appearance of its breast and back feathers. Along with its scaly markings, the bird is easily identified by its white crest that resembles a tuft of cotton.

Scaled Quail inhabit dry, open valleys, plains, foothills, rocky slopes, draws, gullies, and canyons that have a mixture of bare ground, low herbaceous growth, and scattered brushy cover. Good Scaled Quail habitat is characterized by low-growing grasses with forbs and shrubs. Overall ground cover is between 10 and 50%. Trees and shrubs should be less than 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. Scaled Quail avoid the dense growth associated with streamsides. Transmitter-fitted Scaled Quail had individual home range sizes of 52 and 60 acres.

The nest is typically a grass-lined hollow containing 9–16 speckled eggs. When disturbed, it prefers to run rather than fly. Widespread and common throughout its range, the Scaled Quail is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Bobwhite Quail

Northern Bobwhite Male/Female

Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus) is a ground-dwelling bird native to the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It is a member of the group of species known as New World quails (Odontophoridae). They were initially placed with the Old World quails in the pheasant family (Phasianidae), but are not particularly closely related. The name "Bobwhite" derives from its characteristic whistling call. Despite its secretive nature, the northern bobwhite is one of the most familiar quails in eastern North America because it is frequently the only quail in its range. There are 22 subspecies of northern bobwhite, and many of the birds are hunted extensively as game birds. One subspecies, the Masked Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus ridgewayi), is listed as endangered with wild populations located in Sonora, Mexico and a reintroduced population in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Arizona.

This is a moderately-sized quail and is the only small galliform native to Eastern North America. The Bobwhite can range from 24 to 28 cm (9.4 to 11 in) in length with a 33 to 38 cm (13 to 15 in) wingspan. As indicated by body mass, weights increase in birds found further north, as corresponds to Bergmann's rule. It has the typical chunky, rounded shape of a quail. The bill is short, curved and brown-black in color. This species is sexually dimorphic. Males have a white throat and brow stripe bordered by black. The overall rufous plumage has gray mottling on the wings and a gray tail, and the flanks show white scalloped stripes. Whitish underparts have black scallops. Females are similar but are duller overall and have a buff throat and brow without the black border. Both genders have pale legs and feet.

Northern bobwhites can be found year-round in agricultural fields, grassland, open woodland areas, roadsides and wood edges. Their range covers the southeastern quadrant of the United States from the Great Lakes and southern Minnesota east to Pennsylvania and southern Massachusetts, and extending west to southern Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and all but westernmost Texas. These birds are absent from the southern tip of Florida and the highest elevations of the Appalachian Mountains, but are found in eastern Mexico and in Cuba. Isolated populations of these game birds have been introduced in Oregon and Washington.