2013-10-24 - Italian Coturnix 1



These birds are beautiful fawn coloured with speckles all over and no bars. Males often have a brownish head that appears to belong to different bird. The Italian Quail has specifically been bred for maximum egg production and is slightly smaller in size than the other breeds, even though it lays an egg of equal size. Temperament is very docile and calm.

At present there are a few true breeding mutations of the Coturnix coturnix Quail, of which the GOLDEN ITALIAN is one.  It is my intention to keep this breed pure and not mix it with other breeds such as the English White, Tibetan and Faroahs (Wild Coloured Quail) all which I also breed.  Each of these breeds has specific characteristics such as plumage, conformation and size, temperament, egg and meat production ability, etc. These characteristics I intend to maintain and develop for each breed within the limitations provided by the limited genetic material available. Careful responsible breeding and strenuous selection would result in birds with as low an inbreeding co-efficient as possible and hopefully a more disease resistant, highly fertile, healthy, happy, beautiful and productive quail at the end of the day.

2013-10-24 - Tibetan Coturnix 14


These birds are small, dark plumed and very spirited. The Tibetan Quail is both good for meat and egg production and is slightly smaller in size than the other breeds. The temperament is aggressive and it is a strong and fast flying Quail. For these reasons, Tibetans are often bred and released for hunting.

At present I am using both Tibetans and Tuxedos to breed this strain and since the Dark Colour is dominant and Tuxedo is recessive, I hopefully will soon have pure dark Tibetans only. Tuxedos is not a breeding mutation, but a cross between a Tibetan and White Quails in any way. 

2013-10-24 - White Coturnix 13


These birds are on average somewhat larger than the other Strains, but in New Zealand show a lot of variation and poor quality with many birds obviously highly inbred with resultant loss of vitality and size. White plumed with the odd dark spot. Birds are well adapted to cage conditions. The White Quail is both good for meat and egg production and has been developed at A & M Texas University as a real Dual Purpose bird. Also in the UK a White variant has been bred that is smaller than the USA variety. I suspect that initially both breeds were present in New Zealand, but due to small numbers have been crossed and highly inbred. These quail are poor flyers and has never been bred for release and hunting. I am selecting for uniformity, vitality and size at present, but unlike many International Breeders do not place too much emphasis on size only. I think it dangerous to go for larger and larger birds all the time like the Americans many a time do.

2013-10-24 - Fharoah Coturnix 2


The domesticated Pharoah Quail is similar in characteristics and colour to the wild Coturnix coturnix.  These birds are native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. Migratory habits resulted in some birds landing in Egypt and this is where the initial domestication has happened. Since the twelfth century these birds have been raised in Japan for meat , eggs as well as pets and for their singing. Coturnix coturnix Quails were introduced into the United States in 1870. Even though the Domesticated and Wild Quails are very closely related they normally do not naturally interbreed, even in Europe where wild flocks of both breeds would be found in the same area.  Yellow brown speckled plumage with a white strip above the eye. Males have rusty brown breast feathers. The Pharoah colouring is exactly as for the Wild Quails. Birds are well adapted to cage conditions. 

86 thoughts on “Quails

  1. Hi there,
    I was wondering how it is if I get 1, 2 or 3 dozend fertile eggs. If they all come from the same mom and dad or if you got multiple breeding groups and you collect them from the different groups. Thanks

    • Dennis

      Thanks for the enquiry. I can give you fertile Coturnix coturnix eggs from multiple breeding groups. If you provide me with a shipping address, I can ship on Monday which is possibly the last shipping date for fertile eggs for this year

  2. Hi I am going to start a quail business and was wondering how much fertile eggs are per dozen and how much it would cost to ship them to the Wairarapa?

  3. Hello my name is Jemima i was wondering if you have any baby quails for sale. I am ten turning eleven and i am a very responsible birdie owner. I am looking for quails that can lay.

  4. I wondered what would be needed for a starter kit to rear japanese quail? I am familiar with chickens but have no experience with quail,

    • Pat – Thanks for the question. It all depends whether you want to commence with fertile eggs, day old or mature birds. I have a few posts on my web on rearing as well as housing and that may be a good start to read. Let me know more detail what you had in mind and I can maybe direct you or give some specific answers.

  5. Hi, I am looking for Californian Quail hatching eggs. I want to rear and release them into out rural area. I also hatch pheasants. I have permission for this. When would you have some available?

    • Colin – Thanks for the message. Firstly the demand for Californian Quail is such that I am fully booked for eggs and birds for probably the whole season. I breed for release and this is our fourth year and we aim to release 1,000 birds this year. I do sell fertile eggs from time to time, but the list is very long and I am doubtful if I would be able to supply all from my excess eggs. Sorry that I cannot help.

  6. hi, i’m in marlborough, and i am trying to get two or three laying female quails, is it possible to transport them back to me?

  7. Hi there am looking for costings for a breeding group for eggs and meat and also your standing cage for each group.alslo ur incubators.wanting to eat eggs and Incubate some for meat.

  8. Hello Dear

    I am interested to buy some quails, but i am in chch, is it possible to send here or pickup, do you sell female as well,my cellphone number is 021512605, do you mind txt me and let me know please,thank you.

  9. Hi I am keen to keep 4 quails for eggs. I love to hatch them and raise them from eggs- is it very difficult, whats the success rate? How much would it cost to deliver- I am in Wellington?

    • Laura

      Yes, I breed a batch every two weeks and have day olds available. I sell them after three days (when the weak ones have been sorted) and before a week for $5 each, increasing by $3 per week until the boys reach maximum of $10 and the girls a maximum of $20. Some breeds are not color sexed and can only be done when they start crowing at about five weeks of age.

  10. Hello, In watching Masterchef I’ve been amazed by the large size of the quail they cook with. Are they ‘Jumbo Quail’ and, if so, what are the strengths and weaknesses of raising those birds (I haven’t seen you refer to them, so I’m assuming you don’t use them yourself for meat?)? Thanks.

    • Thanks for the message. “Jumbo Quail” is American slang as there is no such breed – I have also heard them calling their quails, as everything else in America, giant quails, massive quails, etc – typical American. I have been to America several times and searched for these jumbo giants, but never found any. Having said that, yes, there are larger and smaller Coturnix coturnix in the world and I have bred and seen many over the 60 years I have been breeding them. Unfortunately in New Zealand the gene pool is very small and ALL birds are very inbred, hence the quails in most other parts of the world are larger. I have been in New Zealand for 30 months now and am trying to breed a bird that is about 300 – 350 g and are making progress fast having quite a few reaching target weight already. This is the size of bird that presents well on a plate and is a good eating size at about 200 g dressed. I breed about 20 – 30 and slaughter between 10 – 20 birds every week. Most birds in NZ is about 150 – 180 g live weight. To answer your question – no “jumbo quails” are not available in New Zealand

  11. Hi there. I am looking into getting some quails to keep as egg laying birds. Which are best for this and how much are they to purchase?

    • The Coturnix coturnix quails are by far the best egg producers and make good meat birds as well. I am selecting for two main traits, i.e. Egg Production and Dual Purpose meat / egg birds in my five breeds that I keep. At present there is not much difference in egg production, all being 90 % plus, as I initially selected very heavily against hereditary defects such as leg and neck problems. Secondly I selected for body conformation and as I have reasonable birds now, I put more pressure on body size and egg production – both quantity and quality. You can purchase from me if you want, but I am out of the country for four months.hence birds will only be available end of May.

  12. Hi there. Has anyone successfully released coturnix quail onto farms? If so how do you keep them hanging around your gardens etc

  13. Hi there, I have quite a few Japanese quail laying eggs at the moment so am unindated with eggs, I have been thinking about selling them through a notice on local notice boards but am conerned that there may be legal stuff I am anuaware off. Can you please tell me if I could go about this safely here in New Zealand and be legal. Many thanks Rosie

  14. On September 29, 2014 you answered a question from Cathryn about mixing Blood and Bone with Layer Mash to get the correct protein for mature quail. Could you please explain how you calculated this as I can not work it out. If I use the right amount of Blood and Bone to get the correct protein level and add your Vitamin – Mineral – Amino Acid and Enzyme Pre Mix to Layer Mash would this provide a balanced diet for the mature quail? Also do you have hatching eggs available most of the year?


    • Triston – Thanks for the inquiry. Yes that is correct. If you mix a high protein source with a Layers mash plus quail vitamins,mineral and enzymes, you get an acceptable balanced Quail Feed. I have fertile eggs all year round as I provide my quails with artificial light. Thanks Back Yard Farmer

      • Can anyone tell me – I want to increase the numbers of California Quail in our area by breeding a few and releasing them; is it Ok to do this in NZ? Or do I need a permit?Many thanksJenny  From: Back Yard Farmer To: rjsteven@xtra.co.nz Sent: Tuesday, 20 October 2015 8:56 PM Subject: [New comment] Quails #yiv9833005900 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv9833005900 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv9833005900 a.yiv9833005900primaryactionlink:link, #yiv9833005900 a.yiv9833005900primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv9833005900 a.yiv9833005900primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv9833005900 a.yiv9833005900primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv9833005900 WordPress.com |

        backyardfarmernz commented: “Triston – Thanks for the inquiry. Yes that is correct. If you mix a high protein source with a Layers mash plus quail vitamins,mineral and enzymes, you get an acceptable balanced Quail Feed. I have fertile eggs all year round as I provide my quails with a” | |

  15. Hi backyard farmer,
    Its ella here can i come pick up two 1 day olds on Sunday 7th if your there
    What time suites you?

    Thanks ella

    • Change in daylight length is the stimulus for either egg production of mounting. 21 December – days are getting shorter – molt. 21 June – days are getting ;onger – eggs. So the only way you can keep them laying is by gradually lengthen the day light hours artificially until 16 hours light and 8 hours dark is reached. It is very important to stick with the program,as fluctuations will throw them out again.

  16. HI
    We are very keen to find some fertile Californian Quail eggs to purchase, to attempt to rear some for release; we are near Thames, North Island. Or purchase a pair or two? We have one wild very lonely quail! Could you possibly supply any ideas?
    Many thanks
    Jenny Steven

    • I only have two pairs of Californians at present and have a long waiting list, apart from my own requirements. They do not lay a great number of eggs per year and all people buying or selling Californian Quails, require a licence from DOCS. So it is a bit more complicated than breeding and selling Coturnix coturnix quail. Sorry, but I cannot help at present. Look at Tradme as I have seen some advertised form time to time – as a matter of fact, I purchased mine through Trademe.

      Thanking you

      Back Yard Farmer
      Tel – +64 211 34 14 52
      Dunedin – New Zealand

        • As long as they are all good quality and preferably organic or home grown, but yes the blend of meats and meat cuts can provide interesting combinations. I am sourcing Kiwi farmers in the area to provide some of the meats – also applied for a hunting licence which will make it interesting.

  17. I received the two dozen fertile quail eggs the other day from you, all arrived safe and sound bar one. In the incubator now.
    We have been breeding COTURNIX QUAIL for a few months now. I feed them chick starter crumble with crushed cat biscuits when young. When adults they get layer mash and blood and bone at a rate of 3 parts layer mash and one part blood and bone with shell grit. Generally my hens start laying at 10 weeks but this seems a lot longer than what appears to be the norm. Should I be adding your mineral supplement to their feed.

    • Cathryn – Thanks for the inquiry. I hope you are going to have success with the new incubation. Mixing 25 % Blood and Bone (50% Protein) with 75 % Layers mash (19% Protein) would give you a 26 % protein final mix, which is too high. Mature Quail require about a 22 % Protein, of good quality, ration. A normal Layers Mash should have the required micro nutrients (vitamins and micro minerals) for production, but as you dilute by 25% it may be beneficial to ad additional micro nutrients. Also I find that conventional commercial chicken Layers rations more than often lack these required nutrients – it may be as result of the formulation, mixing errors or maybe feed that has been stored for too long and it is more than often beneficial to ad micro nutrients over and above what is already supplied. Obviously these would only have a positive effect if the initial ration lacks in these nutrients as over supplying, even though not harmful, will not benefit the bird necessarily. We expect these Quails to perform at a very high level (90 % eggs plus) and most free range layers feeds are not targeted at the higher levels of production, but more than often healthy survival with the odd egg. Ten weeks is late for Coturnix coturnix to commence laying and you will have to identify why – Is it feed, accommodation, ventilation or maybe lighting patterns. Also it could be the quality of birds as there are a lot of inbreeding in New Zealand and good birds are rare if available at all. Try and weigh the birds from time to time, which may give you an indication of breeding and feeding effectiveness.

      Have a good day and I hope my indicators will assist in you improving you quail operation’s efficiency.

      Thanking you

      Back Yard Farmer
      Tel – +64 211 34 14 52
      Dunedin – New Zealand

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