Quail Farming, Simple But Financially Rewarding Venture | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Quail Farming, Simple But Financially Rewarding Venture

Posted: Jul 25, 2016 at 3:34 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
LAGOS – A quail is very small bird weighing about 150 to 200 grams at adulthood. Its egg is also small, weighing about about 7 to 15 grams. Quail commercial farming has been described as the poultry of the future not only because of its income generating potentials, but also for its nutritional and health value for the family.  It is the commercial raising of quails for meat and egg production. Originally a game bird, it became domesticated for commercial value because of the tasty meat and nutritious eggs. Japanese scientists were the first to discover and tame the bird and revealed its potentials and the methods of rearing them. Quail farming is similar to other poultry birds such as chicken, turkey, duck, guinea fowl and others. It is the simplest and cheapest source of high protein and nutritional needs of the family but at the same time, a very lucrative and very entertaining agribusiness for anyone interested in making money without hassles.
Quail farming has many advantages. Quails grow and mature faster than other poultry birds. Quail farming requires little capital to set up and cost of labour and maintenance are comparatively very low. Quails are very strong birds and so are not easily prone to diseases or other health problems like other birds. Quail farming is almost a risk-free business. Consequently, return on investment is very high.
Quail Meat
Quail meat is a very tasty and nutritious. It is very low in fat and so it is very good for high blood pressure and heart disease patients.
Female quail starts laying eggs within 6 to 7 weeks of age and continuously lays an egg daily. It lays about 300 eggs in the first year and about 150 to 175 eggs in the second year. Thereafter, its production decreases gradually as the years go by. The eggs of quails are multi-coloured and a beauty to behold. Scientists have found that the egg is great source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12 and D, as well as minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc, amino acids, among others.
Experts say that quail eggs have high medicinal properties. They believe that they are natural remedies for a number of ailments such as liver problems, hypertension, stress, anaemia, asthma, lipid control, migraine, heart diseases, cancer, gastric ulcer and others. Scientists also claim that it stimulates rapid growth in children, sexual appetite and effective general functioning of body organs as well as improves intelligence quotient and prevents mental disorders.  The egg contains oxidants that prevent age-related diseases. It is good for women during pre-natal and post-natal periods and improves quality of breast milk.
Breeds and Breeding
There are up to 18 breeds of quails in the world. However, we briefly describe some of them.
Harlequin quail (6-7ins): Originating from South and East Africa, this specie is a little bit larger than the Japanese quail. The male can be differentiated from females by their throat mask. They nest in the hole in the ground. They susceptible to extreme cold and so require heating to maintain temperature.
California Quail: This is the largest of the species (10ins).  Its male is very beautiful with black and throat markings and long, black crest.  The female’s own is smaller and brown. This type is susceptible to moisture and need to be protected from rain.
Japanese Quail: Are larger, about 6 inches and louder in their calls. They can be differentiated by throat markings that are richer in the male. They inhabit with other birds with minimal problems.
Chinese Quail (4ins in length): This originated from Southeast Asia and Australia. The male has white and black facial markings and grey breast but the female has brown shades. It has numerous colour variations. They very adaptable and less aggressive.
Some breeds are good for meat production while some others are better for eggs. Like in chicken poultry, there are popular breeds for broilers and layers.
Most domestic quails do not make nest; they do not hatch eggs. That means that you need an incubator to hatch the eggs or you can produce the chicks by hatching them through the chickens. It takes about 16 to 18 days for the egg to hatch. Keep the quails in the house at the ratio of one male to five females for effective breeding. The quail chicks take about two weeks to be strong and needs careful handling at this stage.
A cage of about 120 cm length, 60 cm wide and 25 cm height can be constructed with wire nets. You can also construct plastic cages. Aviary enclosures can also be used for the rearing but cage system is better. The important thing however is that it should be out of reach of predators. Clean water and adequate food should be provided for them. The house should be well ventilated while sufficient lighting should as well be provided to keep them at optimum temperature.
The housing or cage should be so secure as to prevent predators such as hawks, snakes, foxes, cats, dogs, rats, owls, squirrels as well as human beings from attacking them or the eggs.
Quails generally feed on fruits, seeds, flowers, wheat, rice, insects, grasshoppers, worms and every other thing poultry birds eat. For healthy production ensure that you give them balanced diet.
A disease called coccidiosis can infest quails. It is treated by serving them coaxial 20 with water, about 2 grams per litre for three days. When infection persists, see your veterinary doctor for advice and treatment. For another type of disease called ulcerative enteritis, mix one gram of streptomycin with one litre water and serve for three days.  Take precautionary measures and keep their house dry and clean. Maintain adequate lighting inside the house and ensure that you isolate sick ones from healthy ones. 
Researchers have described quail eggs as super food because of their impact on human health protection, maintenance, and loss of weight. All these attributes make quail eggs highly sought after animal product. Besides, they are cheaper than those of chicken eggs and so many people can afford them thus generating great volume of sales. They are sold in markets or events such as conferences, seminars or any other public gathering. They can also be supplied on order. Those who know the value will go after them, no matter where found.
As I mentioned earlier, quail farming may look simple and common but highly rewarding because of the nutritional and medicinal value of both the egg and the meat. It is a business anybody can do anywhere even in that small space at the backyard. It is home friendly and can be embarked upon with little capital, even as part-time business. Start it today and contribute your own quota in the diversification of the Nigerian economy through agriculture. You will succeed!
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