We only just recently processed our quail and then tried quail meat for the first time. Each step is really easy, from raising them to processing them, to cooking them.
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Raising Quail for Meat
Due to their quick growth Coturnix quail mature quickly. Egg laying begins as early as 7 weeks, laying up to 300 eggs per hen a year. This variety can be butchered for meat between 7-10 weeks of age producing 10-14 ounces of meat per quail.
The nifty thing about quail is that you don’t typically have to choose between two different quail breeds to have both meat and eggs.
This means if you are used to having meat chickens and laying hens, you will be delighted to know that one of the most popular quail breeds is considered dual-purpose. Apparently, we like our dual-purpose around as we also have dual-purpose chickens.
Say you are raising your quail for some extra meat for your family, and you aren’t planning on making any large-scale processing or meat sales. You can easily care for your meat and egg birds in the same manner.
If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck and want a big juicy quail supper, you should consider implementing the following things for your meat-specific quail.
Raise in the Dark
It may sound a bit rude to raise quail in darkly lit areas. However, those who have come before know that limiting meat birds’ movements makes them grow fast and gain weight quickly.
If your quail wake up to the sunlight, they naturally become active and flighty if they have a lot of space to bomb around in. This can cause them to lose their muscle mass, and in turn, their meat can become burdensome. For example, free-ranging quail would not be a wise option if you want them to gain mass quicker.
There are quite a few different kinds of feed for game birds, and the type of feed you choose depends on how you plan to utilize your quail.
If you are keeping all your birds in one pen, and all are being kept for both meat and eggs, you can feed everyone the same thing: a game feed, because you want to make sure you are getting those eggs.
However, if you want fast-growing quail for meat, you will need a grower feed that is high in protein and formulated for meat birds.
Your Meat Birds May Lay Eggs
If you keep your meat quail in the dark, they probably won’t lay as many eggs as those exposed to the sunlight every day.
You can still expect to gather eggs from your meat birds on a reasonably regular basis.
Should I Separate My Quail?
While you can raise quail for meat and eggs and keep all birds together, there are some obvious reasons to keep them apart if you grow them for production and yield. Such as the type of feed you provide and the amount of light they get.
Personally, we have been focusing on using the males for meat at the moment as we hatch out our own birds and really only need so many males around. Females get added into the flock or passed along to another family that is interested in getting into quails.
After we tried quail meat for the first time, we performed all the steps from raising them to preparing it. The process is very easy, which for someone who has never killed nor processed animals for food before I'm glad for.
And bonus, two of my kids loved learning the process and learning more about the food we are eating. And we all enjoyed the meat.