Quail the Perfect Homestead Bird!
If you have looked into homesteading at all, you've probably run across the statement, "Chickens are the gateway animal to homesteading." And yes, I believe that is true because most people do start with a small flock of chickens, leading to exploring other types of homestead animals. But, I think quail are often overlooked and, in some cases, a better fit to be your homesteading bird of choice!
Why are quail perfect for a backyard homestead?
- Quail are small birds, which means they need less space than a chicken.
- They eat less than chickens so that you can save money on feed. It is also a bonus if you plan on feeding them scraps from your garden and meals, it won't take many fresh scraps to keep them happy.
- Quail are quite. The bobwhite quail make a songbird type call that most people will not recognize as a homestead bird.
- They are dual birds, used for both eggs and meat.
- They are very easy to process if you are using them for meat. You don't need a large space or a lot of equipment, you probably already have all the items you need in your kitchen.
- They are easy to store and cook as well.
- You can use their poop for your compost, just like you would chicken poop.
- Not cuddly farm animals. They don't like to be held and are a "wild" type of bird.
- They are fast! They can get away from you quickly and can be hard to catch. The best thing to do is wait till dark and find them then.
- Small eggs. Five quail eggs equal one chicken eggs
We've raised bobwhite quail for two years now and plan on making them a permanent animal here on our homestead. So much so, that we built an "epic" quail cage right beside our house. By putting the pen in an unused space in our permaculture zone 1, we made use of the area, and it is also easier to care for and check on these tiny birds. I have to admit I also love the way they sound and look, so a cool cage right beside my front entrance was a total go!
Check out the building of our quail pen & the quail brooder 101 video on our YouTube channel.