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Chickens and quail

Teckechick

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So we have been throwing the idea around about trying a few chickens and maybe quail at some point down the road for eggs. We still have all the research to do before we make the decision. Do any of you have a good go to resource on either? What are the vet needs? Pros and cons? I will continue to do a ton of research and we may decide it isn’t for us. I thought some of you could give good insight from your experiences.
 

Shezbug

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I’ve never personally cared for quail and I was too young when my grandad had them to remember anything about them really.
My chooks only saw the vet if I thought they had something contagious which was only once.
I didn’t have access to any resources other than old chook keeping books (which I no longer have).
@fashionfobie will be of much more help for these questions than I can be. Sorry.
 

Teckechick

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Thanks @Shezbug I know very little about either so any info is much appreciated! :)Google is going to be my best friend for awhile on this one. :rofl:
 

Shezbug

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They’re easy to keep. Eat nearly anything and scratch everywhere. Lol.
Not many vets here will see them but my av is a poultry fanatic and specialist.
We needed good strong fencing and enclosures to keep foxes and other peoples darn cats out of their pen as they seemed to be the biggest issue when I did have them. I haven’t gotten any at this new house as we have heard that the kites and hawks take many many chooks so you need to have a proper type of caged roof for their whole pen- the last place I just needed that for night time to keep them safe.
 

Teckechick

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We do have a ton of predators in our area. Hawks, Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Coyotes, foxes etc. Everything would have to be very secure all the way around and hardware cloth at least partly underground. We have this building on our property. It needs a TON of work but could be the coop with some work. It was an office at one point we think.
A55B34B5-A3C7-4D49-935E-CA910F73582F.jpeg
 

fashionfobie

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I personally wouldn't keep small quail with chickens. I have seen it done, but I wouldn't. Chickens peck heads which could kill a non chicken.

I think you are best deciding which species you want first. Chickens are so much fun! Quail are probably more work in a broad sense. Quail take more patience to bond with and can inure themselves easily when scared. Quail also have shorter lifespans, depending which quail species you are considering.

What kind of source are you interested in? If you want some fun insight on chickens this video might be fun! you can probably find it on youtube.
The Private Life of Chickens
 

Teckechick

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Thanks so much @fashionfobie I will check that video out. We would keep the chickens and quail separated. I have read they don’t do well together. Hubby is interested in the quail and I am more interested in the chickens. I am looking for any nutrition, housing, medical, and care information. I have been looking for what to do in the winter months as well. We get pretty cold so we would need some kind of heat source in the coop I would think.
 

Hawk12237

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So we have been throwing the idea around about trying a few chickens and maybe quail at some point down the road for eggs. We still have all the research to do before we make the decision. Do any of you have a good go to resource on either? What are the vet needs? Pros and cons? I will continue to do a ton of research and we may decide it isn’t for us. I thought some of you could give good insight from your experiences.
If I may give an input here.
Be careful where you get them. We just got a huge batch a week ago, to add to our existing flock.
Half of them passed within 12 hours of getting them.
There's a huge huge up tick in people buying and wanting chickens that the prices and wait time is ridiculous.
There's a lot of chickens being bought and sold from " commercial " breeders. Meaning even the chicks up to the 10 month s olds were originally kept in a huge barn where they are packed like sardines.
Because of the virus, and resturants, schools and etc not buying chicken s, processing plants and chicken farmers are selling the commercial stock to people who are selling the chickens on.
These aren't your normal rasied chickens. The ones we got aren't normal. You can tell they were raised in closed right quarters.
So be ware!!!


 

Shezbug

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If I remember right chooks do much better in the cold than the heat. Boy I hope I haven’t remembered that backwards lol. Our chooks were always much happier in the cooler months.
 

Hawk12237

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If I remember right chooks do much better in the cold than the heat. Boy I hope I haven’t remembered that backwards lol. Our chooks were always much happier in the cooler months.
No...lol...you got it right. Here in Michigan we get extremes of both. Hot and cold. In summer we put one of those kiddy wading pools under a tree and full it with cold water and they gather around to drink and keep cool. Sometimes in the extreme cold winter days, sub zero, we have to have heated water bowl in coop to keep water from freezing.
But the coop is well protected from the elements.
 

Teckechick

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If I may give an input here.
Be careful where you get them. We just got a huge batch a week ago, to add to our existing flock.
Half of them passed within 12 hours of getting them.
There's a huge huge up tick in people buying and wanting chickens that the prices and wait time is ridiculous.
There's a lot of chickens being bought and sold from " commercial " breeders. Meaning even the chicks up to the 10 month s olds were originally kept in a huge barn where they are packed like sardines.
Because of the virus, and resturants, schools and etc not buying chicken s, processing plants and chicken farmers are selling the commercial stock to people who are selling the chickens on.
These aren't your normal rasied chickens. The ones we got aren't normal. You can tell they were raised in closed right quarters.
So be ware!!!


We would not be doing this until next year at the earliest. I will for sure check into where we get them though. I know several of our Farm stores have chicks a few times of year. They may not have the breeds we may want locally so we may have to shop around.


If I remember right chooks do much better in the cold than the heat. Boy I hope I haven’t remembered that backwards lol. Our chooks were always much happier in the cooler months.
No...lol...you got it right. Here in Michigan we get extremes of both. Hot and cold. In summer we put one of those kiddy wading pools under a tree and full it with cold water and they gather around to drink and keep cool. Sometimes in the extreme cold winter days, sub zero, we have to have heated water bowl in coop to keep water from freezing.
But the coop is well protected from the elements.
I just found a video that explained this!! The cold is what I think I was most worried about. :dancing: This is so good to know! Thank you guys!!:swoon:
 

Peachfaced

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We do have a ton of predators in our area. Hawks, Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Coyotes, foxes etc. Everything would have to be very secure all the way around and hardware cloth at least partly underground. We have this building on our property. It needs a TON of work but could be the coop with some work. It was an office at one point we think.
View attachment 338128
The underground cloth is a good idea. My parents have lost entire flocks due to predators digging under the enclosure or hopping the fence. Sometimes the bird would hop the fence in a panic and, well, you can guess what occurred afterwards. :(
 

fashionfobie

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Yes Chickens are cold hardy or heat hardy dependent on the breed. It is really important to get a breed that suits your expectations and climate. Not all bird are high egg layers, but keep in mind that a lot of high laying breeds can develop health issues and can burn out. The famous sex changed hen from the UK developed rooster traits when her ovaries stopped functioning properly, she was an ex-battery rescue. There are also some breeds that have been selectively bred to lay so many eggs that they MUST eat the correct pellet, ISA is what we have in Australia that falls into this group. ISA must eat the correct pellet and hardly anything else because the poor birds crank out so many eggs that their bodies can't keep up otherwise. If you want birds for more companionship and are not worried about eggs silkies or penkin are options, they lay more irregularly... and 1/2 size the eggs you are used to. For me eggs are just little gifts I get sometimes, and I only eat eggs from my birds. I don't care if I do get eggs and my flock has 1 bird with scoliosis, 1 elderly hen, and 1 pekin.. I haven't had an egg in many months, which is fine by me!

I found this like from MSU might help you decided on a good cold hardy breed for Illinois. :) https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/234/69325/Chicken_Breed_Chart_to_Help_Choose_Your_Chicken.pdf -some of the breed generalisations are hilarious! Each bird is definitely a little unique and not exactly how this document states.. my ancona rides around on my shoulder and is the sweetest hen.

Also check the regulation in your area for rooster and hens the numbers that you can keep for example: Tired of your neighbor’s rooster? Chicago could soon crack down on backyard farm animals.

For medical care chickens require a regular deworming schedule since they can free range it is easy for them to pick stuff up. It is also important to provide them with calcium grit. Even if you have a pelleted feed with some shell grit, the hens can decide to eat more and they need to eat more for their health time to time. I am most amazed by my chicken's talent for self regulating. For feed, I do a layers pellet and vegetables and fruits. They also get to free range for a few hours a day. Their normal coop is 18 sqm for my 3 birds and I set up swings, logs and a sand bath. I would let them free range all day, but I do not have a fence yard and our neighbors have dogs...shucks! I have a dog! So I needed to provide a large coop. My coop is full height and I can walk in the door and stand comfortable, which helps immensely with cleaning and companionship. Within the coop is the hen house which I built, and should probably design and build a new one. I have had it for 5 years and some ants have started living in the timber :O

Chickens are wonderful birds as are quail. I personally have much more experience with chickens. My close friend kept a flock of button quail and most of my quail knowledge come from sharing her experience.
 

Teckechick

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The underground cloth is a good idea. My parents have lost entire flocks due to predators digging under the enclosure or hopping the fence. Sometimes the bird would hop the fence in a panic and, well, you can guess what occurred afterwards. :(
Yeah that would be the worst thing to walk out too. I am pretty sure I will go over board on the hardware cloth and construction. I know it can still happen but we will make it as tight as possible.


ISA must eat the correct pellet and hardly anything else because the poor birds crank out so many eggs that their bodies can't keep up otherwise.
That is so sad, poor birds. We will want eggs but we are not huge egg eaters in general. If we get just a few here and there we will be happy with that. They will be family members for sure. I know we will get a lot of use out of the waste as well for the compost pile we are going to start.

We will need a good sized run and coop also I think. We have a ton of predators so I don’t think they would be safe to free range even if we were out with them. We have so many birds of prey here. Thank you so much for all of the great info on medical care and feeding. We will go through all of the links as well! :reading:Thank you again!!:swoon:
 

fashionfobie

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We have so many birds of prey here. Thank you so much for all of the great info on medical care and feeding. We will go through all of the links as well! :reading:Thank you again!!:swoon:
If you have a lot of birds of prey, provide some canopy shrubs that they can run under if they feel scared. I think your idea of maintaining a barrier is important! The shrubs will be more for your birds metal well-being. They enjoy having access to cover. It will also help during the summer as they will have more natural shade.

I also suggest getting a mixed flock, some bird have more talent at being lookouts. My ancona, Starlight, is much more vigilant and calls the alarm quickly before a problem could happen. Luna, my pekin is the most innocent and easy going bird and she has NO idea about the outside world. Pretty sure she would have been pegged by a magpie..but Starlight had her back. Starlight will also chase off other birds, even bush turkeys. She is a good girl, loves her flock! I couldn't imagine my flock without an ancona now.

It isn't a great idea to mix bannies with large breeds unless they are raised together or if you have a very large space. Larger hens can kill small bannies with a head peck.

Also please be mindful of vaulted-skulls, some breeds such as the Polish can have a hole in their skull.. it is usually from exaggerated breeding making a certain look- not all Polish will have it.. but having a hole in you skull.. is a really bad idea, especially when chickens peck heads for hierarchy.. I rescued a chick with this condition and she lived for 6 weeks and didn't grow properly. Some birds can mature normally with this, but in my opinion we should breed for health FIRST looks are 2nd.. so I am trying to encourage awareness on this issue.

Warning Graphic Content following LINK::Brown Egg Blue Egg - Silkies Have a Hole in Their Head
 
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Catherine89

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I personally have no experience with quail but I love my chickens. We have 17 laying hens with more that will be laying soon. We get a little over a dozen eggs a day. My best advice is to make sure you have a secure chicken coop with some type of roof covering the whole thing on one we used two big outdoor dog kennels and put them together. We have there hen house in it. We wrapped chicken wire around the whole thing 4ft up, and one of the roofs is made up of chicken wire while the other is metal. These does good at keeping out predators and they are happy to be able to get out in the sun . We have three coops set up. As far as health issues I have been pretty lucky we had one with a crop issue and gave her to a trusted neighbor who was able to fix her right up.
 

tka

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It's sadly no longer live, but HenCam has an amazing trove of information in the FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions | HenCam

I like rare breeds - many chicken breeds are in danger of dying out because commercial farmers demand either stupidly high egg yields or extremely fast maturing broiler chickens. Traditional breeds don't lay enough eggs and are too slow to mature for meat, so aren't of interest to commercial breeders. However, many are docile and do well in a small free-ranging flock, plus are often really interesting to look at. Loads of information here: Chicken watchlist

I'm particularly fond of Speckled Sussexes because I like spotty hens. I also have a soft spot for ex-battery hens. Many aren't that old, just not laying at the prodigious rate expected in battery farms. They're often rather scruffy but it's really rewarding to watch them get used to being normal hens. Watching an ex-battery hen taking a dust bath and her obvious delight is really moving.
 

BirdWorld

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I know it’s late to respond, but my chickens are relatively easy to care for. They have a big run and only free range supervised, as we have had one attacked by a raccoon, one grabbed by a red tailed hawk, and one eaten by a fox sadly. But overall they are happy and I get 5-7 eggs a day from the 7 chickens.
 

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