Quail Coturnix Quail-- Coturnix japonica-- an overview

Discussion in 'Gamebirds' started by Stellar, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Stellar

    Stellar Quail Lady

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    Coturnix quail are part of the "Old World Quail," a term used to describe quail in the phasianidae family of birds. Coturnix Quail, the Chinese Blue Breasted "Button" Quail, and the African Harlequin Quail are classified in the "Old World Quail" grouping.

    The Wild European coturnix, also classified as Coturnix coturnix (common quail), have been widely distributed throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe, along with several sub-species. The Japanese Quail, Coturnix japonica, from which our domestic quail have been developed, are sometimes considered to be a different species, but in actuality, is identical to the European Coturnix.

    They are a migratory bird, dwelling on the ground. Egyptians used to capture them and keep them as pets at the beginning of the 11th century because of their "singing" capability (which is quite entertaining). By the 1900s, the small birds became popular in Japan for their meat and eggs as they mature very fast and are prolific egg layers. There is a lot of history behind the coturnix which is fascinating.

    Housing
    Methods for Housing Coturnix Quail
    Adult Japanese Coturnix Quail can be housed in colonies of 2 cocks (males) per 8-9 hens. They can be housed indoors and outdoors. Be aware of the wildlife around you so you can build pens or buildings accordingly. Some house their coturnix in Rabbit Hutches, others in aviary cages. Make sure wherever you house them, offer plenty of room for the birds so no pecking or cannibalism occurs.

    The Coturnix quail at Stellar Gamebirds are housed in 30''x18''x18'' aviary cages with a wire bottom and a drop pan under each cage for easy cleaning. Each cage has about 2 cocks and about 8-9 hens. To facilitate cleaning and minimize odor, the drop pans can be lined with newspaper or with a pelleted bedding. Each cage has a plastic kitty litter box, filled with sand and oyster shells, that the birds use for dust bathing. Wire is not great for the feet, but the litter boxes do let the birds relax and get off the wire. Each cage has four cage cups which is filled with food once a day and the cups minimizes food wastage. Water bottles are used as the water source. Rabbit hutches are used as well.

    Coturnix Cages.

    This is an example of store bought caging that can be used to house Coturnix. They can house 2 cocks and 5-6 comfortably including the dust bath. Some cages come with a divider for pairs and trios. It is a great housing method for project birds compared to battery cages.

    Enrichment
    The "key" to prevent problems in Coturnix
    Enrichment is important for Coturnix, mainly because they are in cages first of all, and pecking can be an issue at times. We supply kitty litter pans in each cage for dust bathing. Plastic shoe boxes work too. The pans are filled with sand/dirt, oyster shell, and mealworms. The Coturnix LOVE this and Tuesdays/Sundays especially (when they get mealworms added). The oyster shells add calcium carbonate to their diet, perfect for bone health and hen health as well (especially hens who are laying). The mealworms add protein to their diet and serve as a treat, a healthy one!


    Feed and Water

    Feeding your Japanese Coturnix is very important. They need an unmedicated high protein Gamebird feed of 24% protein from the start of life to breeding. Protein provides the amino acids necessary for tissue growth and egg production. Adding ground oyster shell is recommended as well (you can grind it up in a blender). Oyster shell has calcium carbonate which helps in strengthening bones in young chicks, and helping in egg production in breeding quail. There are many brands of Gamebird crumbles, and some states only offer medicated feed, so ordering online may be your only option to get the best feed. The problem with medicated feed is that it causes infertility in cocks. Also the added antibiotics can cause resistance later on in life. Why pump your bird up with antibiotics when they don't need it? Therefore, it is important to always check the labels on feed bags. It should say on the tag if there is medication in it. Stellar Gamebirds, Poultry, Waterfowl has a different method of feeding breeders 8 weeks and on. Finch seeds is added to the gamebird feed to provide a more suitable healthy diet.



    Any feed is perishable, therefore you should store the bag in conditions where it cannot get wet, or where insects or rodents cannot get in. On the side note, please do not feed your birds feed that is spoiled, moldy, rodent, or insect infested. If the feed looks odd and smells odd, there is probably something wrong with it, and it may cause illness or death.

    Always offer your quail fresh water at all times. Breeding birds will consume more water and chicks will dehydrate and die if there is no water present for an hour.

    Choosing Your Breeder Stock

    Finding a good breeding stock can be a problem as Japanese Coturnix are found in many areas and there really is no "quail blood lines" unless breeders have a proper program. The best advise I have is to seek a breeder who has tested their birds against diseases and that has knowledge about the breed. This is also with hatching eggs. Quality eggs come from quality birds, therefore ask the breeder questions.

    People seem reluctant to invest time and money in the search for good stock but buying a good breeding stock is not a normal casual purchase. Starting with a good stock is the most important single factor in the success of any quail enterprise.

    With any of the color varieties, one should pick up a plump, round, and fully feathered quail. The keel should not be felt right off the bat. The keel is the extension of the sternum (breastbone) which sticks out. However, if there is fat to insulate the bird, one should not feel the keel right away unless there is poking and prodding involved. If the bird is very skinny and the keel can be visibly seen, the bird is most likely sick, which in turn, is not desirable to start a flock with. Check the feathers and make sure there is no sign of mites or lice. When looking into the eyes, they should be clear. The bird should be be alert as well. There should not be any discharge coming from the nostrils. The beak should not be crossed, but even top and bottom. Make sure the feet are of good quality. If the the feet are puffy, swollen, or red, the bird may have bumblefoot, which is a bacterial infection. This is a cause of being on wire too long with no soft areas to rest, but also on unsanitary flooring (too much feces).


    Coturnix eggs are small but come in a variety of speckles and shades. The Jumbo variety of Coturnix tend to lay larger eggs but not all of them do. The eggs of the Coturnix are known for many health benefits and are delicacies.


    Did you know?
    Quail eggs are Nutritious!
    1. are a remedy against digestive tract disorders such as gastritis, stomach ulcer and duodenal ulcer.
    2. can help cure anemia increasing hemoglobin level and remove toxins and heavy metals from blood.
    3. help in the treatment of tuberculosis, bronchial asthma, diabetes and vegetative-vascular dystonia.
    4. have strong anticancer effects and may help inhibit cancerous growth.
    5. help eliminate and remove stones from liver, kidneys and gallbladder.
    6. may accelerate recuperation after blood stroke and help strengthen heart muscle.
    7. are a powerful stimulant of sexual potency. They nourish the prostrate gland with useful substances, phosphorus, proteins and vitamins and therefore help restore sexual potency in men.
    8. promote good memory, enhance brain activity and regulate the nervous system.
    9.strengthen the immune system slow down aging of organs and increase the life span.
    10.improve skin color and strengthen hair making it shiny and voluminous. That's why quail eggs are used for facial and hair care masks.
     
  2. Tony-O

    Tony-O New Member

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    How can you tell the difference between the males and hens when their young (or even older)?
     

  3. cogburn

    cogburn New Member

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    You sex them by opening the chloecha.. Females are bright pink inside, & males are milky white
     
  4. Stellar

    Stellar Quail Lady

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    Females have an open void, the males have a bulbous gland, so when you press on it, a foam substance comes out. This is not sperm, rather a substance that helps the sperm travel safely to the hen. Only mature males will have the foam.
     
  5. Terri_Espinoza

    Terri_Espinoza New Member

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    This is a very helpful post, especially since I can apply a lot of it to the button quail I will be getting next month. I appreciate your time and effort in putting it up. Thank you! :)
     
  6. myothernewname

    myothernewname New Member

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    I hatched a yellow Coturnix. Every other one is brown. What happened?

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