Raising quail is inexpensive and can be done in a backyard with the right equipment, whether the quail are farmed or raised as pets. To start, growers need a brace of quail (two females and one male), a cage and feed.
- Check state regulations
Since quail are considered game birds, raising them may require a state permit. Check with local wildlife officials to learn the regulations.
- Decide flock size
Even though quail can be raised well in a very small space, they breed early, in some species as early as six weeks of age, and one healthy female bird can lay as many as 300 eggs a year. Because flocks grow so rapidly, growers need a plan for raising the chicks. Some growers raise chicks for meat and eggs, while others sell to the pet trade or raise quail to release back into the wild.
- Build a proper cage
Deciding how big a flock to raise determines how big a cage to build. Use open mesh for the upper part of the cage to provide good air circulation and make it big enough for the birds to fly around the cage. The bottom of the cage should be built up off the ground to keep birds safe from predators and to make cleanup and composting easier. A solid sloped roof protects the birds, the nesting material and the feed from the weather.
- Source feed and birds
Local feed stores often sell live birds and eggs, as well as feed and nesting material. Sometimes they also buy chicks and eggs. Most feed stores carry brooders and incubators as well.