I love raising both quail and chickens and can't imagine not having both. There are very distinct advantages to raising quail instead of chickens. The biggest difference is their size and everything that comes along with it.
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Reasons to Raise Quail Instead of Chickens
Naturally, what’s best for you will depend on your homestead or backyard setup, your personality, and the amount of time you have to devote to your birds.
Space and Size
Quail are extremely hardy birds for their size. They don't need heat in the winter just some shelter from the wind and snow. They will just hunker down. Like chickens that fluff their feathers out to help stay warm.
Raising Quail Instead of Chickens for Quiet
If neighbors are an issue, we may have just presented a peace-keeping solution. The chirping and cooing of quail are like a songbird, rather than a rooster crowing and waking everyone up. If you have a big enough backyard, it’s rare that anyone would object or even notice them.
For the single reason of maintaining a fine sense of quietude, quail may be the answer that allows you, and your neighbors, to sleep in.
Fast Maturing Birds
There is no need to worry about egg-laying comparisons. Even though quail eggs are small, they do lay just about every day. You’ll always have enough, provided you have enough birds. When you learn to raise your quail right, they'll be producing eggs for you on a consistent basis, all throughout the year.
Quail start laying eggs in as little as six to eight weeks. Compare that to chickens that start laying at about 18 weeks.
Not only is it wise to keep quail for their eggs, but you can also keep quail for meat as well. Raising quail can give you a fast start to producing your own food. Once they are seven weeks you can process them for meat.
Why would you want to do this? Well, self-reliance and survival are about much more than gardening: growing fruit and vegetables. A well-working, sustainable farm always includes the presence of animals. It may not be something you are interested in, but it is something to keep in mind. You might end up hatching out more males than you'd like.
I had a moment last summer where I thought about getting rid of our quail. I was tired, and I had spent the summer hatching and brooding quail for friends, and I was just burnt out on quail. Then one day they were bouncing around their cage like popcorn. They are sweet, funny little birds that are really easy to care for.