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Would you like to have chickens or ducks on your urban farm, but you’re worried about the noise bothering your neighbors? Or, maybe you just don’t have enough space for larger birds. It may not even be legal to have chickens or ducks if you live within town limits. When considering poultry for the farm, people often forget about quail. But these fascinating and productive little creatures can be a great addition to any farm, but especially an urban farm or homestead. If you’ve never thought about adding quail to your farm, here are six reasons why you should!

They’re Efficient Meat Producers for Small Spaces

If you want to increase your self-sufficiency by raising your own meat, then you should definitely consider raising quail. Although you won’t get as much meat from a quail as you would a chicken, one quail will feed the average adult. Since they are small birds, you can raise a lot more of them in the same amount of space.

They also mature much faster than chickens so they can be ready to harvest at eight weeks old. Meat chickens are typically harvested at around 12 weeks old. Once you learn how to manage your space and hatching program for maximum efficiency, you might even be able to end up harvesting more meat with quail than chickens. And, you’ll get it faster, too.

They Lay Delicious Eggs

Almost everybody loves eggs, and they are incredibly versatile. Quail eggs are absolutely delicious for everything from breakfast to baking. Although the eggs are smaller than chicken or duck eggs, quail are efficient egg layers, and they start laying eggs as early as six weeks of age. You won’t see eggs from a chicken until she’s about six months old. If you’re just starting out on your farm or homestead, you could be collecting eggs in less than two months, instead of six. That’s quite a difference! In my experience, you can expect an egg a day from each mature quail hen for most of the year.

Although it takes about four quail eggs to replace a chicken egg in a recipe, when you factor in the earlier production and the fact that you can raise so many more quail in the same amount of space, they are certainly worth considering. Quail eggs taste pretty much the same as chicken eggs, but they are actually better for you. They contain a bit more protein, healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals than chicken eggs do. Many people who have allergies to chicken eggs find that they can eat quail eggs without any issues.

They Can Be an Extra Source of Income

It may surprise you to find out there’s a pretty good market for quail. People love them for all the reasons we’re talking about in this post. They’re cost effective to get into and cost-effective to raise, as well. Of course, the cost of a breeding pair will vary greatly depending on your area, but generally, you can buy a pair of Coturnix quail for less than $10, and hatching eggs are even cheaper. Rarer breeds will cost more, but the investment should still be quite small.

If you wanted to make a little money with your quail, you could breed them and sell hatching eggs, hatchlings, or raise them up and sell breeding pairs. Of course, you could also sell your extra eggs and extra adult birds, too. Some breeds are a little rarer than others, making them more desirable, so do your research to see what’s available (and wanted) in your area before you get into breeding quail to sell.

They’re More Cost Effective Than Chickens

Quail are more cost effective to raise than chickens and other larger types of poultry. No matter what you plan to use them for, they won’t cost as much to raise because they mature so quickly. That means less money spent on food, bedding, and other necessities, and less of your precious time invested, too. Since they are small birds, they don’t eat nearly as much food as larger birds, and they don’t require as much space.

On average, quail only need about one square foot of space per bird, while chickens who don’t free range need 10. Quail aren’t greedy birds either. They usually will only eat what they actually need in a day, which isn’t nearly as much as a chicken. Their housing won’t cost as much to build either. All this makes them very budget friendly.

They Hatch Quickly

By now, you’re probably noticing a trend! Quail do everything faster than chickens, and that includes hatching. Some breeds of quail hatch in as little as 15 days! That’s at least a week faster than chickens. If you let your quail hatch out their own eggs, they will have about 12 per clutch. That means you can increase your flock, or even double it, very quickly. That makes them very productive if you want to use them as a food source.

You Can Raise Them in Town

Although most towns/cities will have an ordinance preventing you from raising chickens and other poultry in town, quail don’t usually cause a problem. They’re much quieter, and chances are good your neighbors won’t even know they’re there. You could also raise them in a garage or on your porch if you wanted to. I’ve even heard of people raising them right in the house. Of course, you should always check your local ordinances before you get started, but in general, you’ll find them much more widely accepted than chickens.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my chickens, and they will always have a place on my homestead! But for the homesteader looking to raise meat and eggs, or make a little side money, in a small amount of space, quail are a viable option worth considering. They provide numerous benefits without requiring a lot of work or space. Since they’re so quiet, they’re a perfect addition to the small urban farm.

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Wesley wesolowski

I would like to find out more information on raising quails and I would greatly appreciate the help and I am trying to design my own homestead and looking for alternatives to chickens and you email Wes at his email account
wes3736@live.com




Oh, we are all about…




Meet Kristene Smith

We sat down with Kristene Smith, Sacramento business woman and award-winning author, to talk about her work, her love for gardening and women who farm.

Tell us about yourself and the new project you’re working on.

Essentially, I’m a brand strategist. I develop content and creative for brands and campaigns. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. My communications work can be seen at www.kristenesmith.com. I also write urban fantasy adventure books under the pen name K.N. Smith (www.knsmith.com). Recently, I developed a signature community initiative called Mental Health California. I have combined my communications experience with helping others, and have anchored my new nonprofit with the first health and mental-wellness magazine in California, plus we offer training, community forums, and student programs that change lives (www.mentalhealthca.org).

Is there a relationship between organic, healthy food and the mental health work you do?

Absolutely! One of the things we teach is nutrition and mental health. There is a direct link between the two particularly with omega-3’s, zinc, B vitamins, folic acid, and magnesium. The scientific community has released a steady stream of reports in this regard noting that lower glycemic foods can assist mental clarity and certain mental health conditions. In addition, certain mental health conditions can bring about a change or dramatic decrease in appetite, so it’s especially important to bolster health through proper nutrition and by dealing with vitamin deficiencies.

What is your vision as you continue moving forward?

Because my nonprofit venture is so much bigger than me and the work I do in other areas, I envision an active and widescale statewide network that helps others and changes lives. Those of us who are informed have a responsibility to inform others and to work with younger generations for purposes of prevention and early intervention. I see myself continuing to write books and do creative work, moving around the state and other parts of the country, and even the world, inspiring others!

Tell us about your achievements.

I’ve had the opportunity to work on some of the best programs ever for over 20 years. From working with the State of California on student educational campaigns to entertainment projects to housing projects, I have seen the best and worked with the brightest community-focused professionals in the state. Although I have won awards and been widely recognized in the media and community for my communications work, it is these collaborations that help each of us to shine in what we do.

What is your biggest challenge?

Time! But luckily, I believe in mono-tasking, the practice of mindfulness, and I have the ability to time-block and really focus to get from one task to the next without interruption. My family shows a lot of patience. They slide my food under the door, allow me to lock down, and know that I’ll be out later. If I push through, hopefully we can all have a movie and popcorn by 9:00 p.m.!

We know that you love gardening. Tell us about that.

Well, with my garden busting-out this year there’s a lot to say! It’s one of the most peaceful and relaxing things I do. I’m blessed to have a sister who taught me the basics, and I read and practice a lot along the way. This year, I have chard, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, cucumbers, edamame, snap beans, squash, and herbs. I also planted six fruit trees. That’s a lot of stuff! I can (preserve) or give away whatever we cannot eat. At home, I have over 90 outdoor plants and flowers. Also, gardening informs my work. From writing about characters who garden in my books, to mimicking the leaves in book cover design, and teaching nutrition and mental health. It’s amazing how God allows one to inform the other. We’re seriously blessed!

How important is a woman’s role in the food justice movement?

Very critical because most of us women have the responsibility of feeding the family. When we’re faced with food deserts and other problems related to agriculture and nutrition, this can have negative reverberations not just in the family, but in the neighborhood and the surrounding community. We also know how to organize and get things done because we’ve been doing this in our own families for generations. If you combine food justice issues with family advocacy, you’ve got women on the front lines who can really make a difference in this movement. We women also have to be or become public policy savvy because this is the only way laws will change.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about farming for the first time?

Study and find a few mentors who can walk you through, but the main thing is to jump-in and get started. Also, the internet provides endless resources, so making time for yourself to just read and learn a lot is essential. Volunteering on someone else’s farm to get a feel for things is another good way to test the waters. You can also find free community programs and workshops to attend. Just break-out your iPad and learn as much as you can during a nice, hot 90-minute soak while someone else watches the kids (bath caddy, bath pillow, avocado Epson salt, and glass of wine required!).

What encouragement can you give someone who is starting their own business?

It’s important to study the industry in which you want to enter, but because we can get caught-up thinking things to death, it’s best to jump-in and start doing the work. This will build your confidence and your portfolio in a very short period of time. I started my business when I was a 26 year-old single mother with two small children. Under these circumstances, I found that anyone can do anything they set out to do. Quitting does not exist; we don’t have time for excuses. Get to working and networking now. Outsource what you’re not good at. Don’t think about it that much, just do it.

Any advice for young African-American people who want to get involved in farming?

Yes, first look at the most successful farming operations to see what they are doing, copy that, and put your personal spin on it. Businesses are successful because of the leadership behind them and the innovations they bring to the marketplace regardless of color. African-Americans do need to develop their own support systems, however, but the mechanics of the business do not change. Money is green. Go get the money, start getting grants and selling your products. It’s important to build cultural networks and resources, and it’s equally important to stay in business for a long time by employing best practices and amazing management skill and techniques. Superior produce and innovative products will sell themselves, and the internet levels the playing field for everyone.

Any advice to women who farm on how to support one another?

Networking and social groups for women farmers are amazing! You really need the support because you may love what you do, but not everyone understands from where you are coming. When you can surround yourself with like-minded individuals and have fun while you’re at it, that is what life is all about! If such a networking group does not exist in your area then start one. From swapping ideas and vegetables to developing a children and animals babysitting co-op amongst the group members, it’s all right there at your fingertips!


Learn more about Kristene and how to contact her:


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