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Practical Quail Feeding

Japanese Quail Farming
Nutrition Requirements
Practical Feeding

Nutrition is one of the most important factors required to maintain quails in good physical condition and to obtain normal growth and egg production. Since feed constitutes 60-70% investment at the farm, for deriving maximum benefit out of quail farming it is necessary to feed a balanced ration which will have all the nutrients in necessary proportion (Table 1). There are several forms in which a balanced ration may be fed to quail - all dry mash, pellets or crumbs. In tropics usually dry all mash feeding system is being used. A typical ration formulated by Shim and Lee (1988) and widely used in experiments (Shim and Chen, 1989; 1990) is shown in Table 2.

The local farmers may use the chicken starter and layer diets for their growing and laying quails and supplement them with high protein ingredients, such as fish meal, soyabean meal and skimmed milk. Fast early growth is achieved with high-protein diets. Japanese quails, which mature at 5 to 6 weeks of age, respond favorably to higher dietary protein concentration. These high protein starter feeds will give quick development to growing birds as well as bringing earlier and more consistent laying to he ns.

For birds just prior to maturity, the dietary requirements are similar, except for calcium and phosphorus. A diet containing 1.25 percent total phosphorus and 3.50 percent calcium is recommended; this may need to be increased to 3.9 percent in hot weather when quail eat less food but still require calcium to maintain egg production. Broken oyster-shell or limestone grits may be given ad lib.

When the ration contains only plant protein, supplemental methionine and lysine may be beneficial. There are indications that these are the first limiting amino acids for Japanese quails (Howes, 1965).

It is important to obtain fresh feed and it should be stored in covered containers with tightly fitting lids in a clean, dry, cool area free from animals and vermin. Feed stored longer than 8 weeks is subject to vitamin deterioration and rancidity, especially in hot humid tropics.


Disease Prevention and Control

The prevention of disease in Japanese quail depends on the continuous and conscientious application of fundamental principles and practices of quarantine and sanitation. Good management will reduce the danger of disease. The first prerequisite to a successful disease-prevention program is that infection-free stock be used as the foundation flock. Immediately on arrival the birds should be placed in facilities well isolated from birds of the farms and held for an observation period of 2 weeks. They should be observed daily for signs of illness, and when disease is noted, immediate steps should be taken to obtain a diagnosis, and treatment be given. The second rule is to separate quail breeder flocks from growing quail.

Sanitary management practices are the best guarantee against disease. Equipment, such as cages, feeders, waterers and tools should be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Every effort should be made to screen out wild birds, rodents and vermin that might introduce disease. Dead birds should be removed immediately upon discovery. In theory, Japanese quail, as a cousin of the fowl, would be expected to be susceptible to most of the same diseases that affect domestic poultry. Nevertheless, disease is not much of a problem on well managed quail farms. Japanese quails appear to be m ore hardy than chickens and with proper management, serious mortality should not be a problem.



Japanese quail is a interesting domesticated economic species for commercial egg and meat production beside chickens. They may fit this bill for the following reasons. They are relatively small in body size. They are adaptable to intensive systems of poultry husbandry. Because of their low volume, they are fit for high density rearing. It is blessed with the unique characteristics of fast growth, early sexual maturity, high rate of egg production, short generation interval and shorter incubation per iod that make it very suitable as a alternative farming animal. They are fairly resistant to disease, and less worries for vaccination. Because of low volume, low weight, less feed and space requirements, quail farming can be started with much lower cap ital investment as compared to chicken and duck with almost the same profit margin. Their laying prolificacy is very high, able to produce more than 300 eggs per year. With shorter reproduction cycle and earlier marketing age, it offers fast monetary circulation ultimately yielding quicker returns.

Base on the above reasons, the quail farming in the Tropics is highly profitable. Quail eggs are widely accepted by Asean people and quail meat is treated as a delicacy among the Asian. Recognizing the immense potentiality of quail as an alternative to poultry farming in providing gainful employment, supplementary income and as a valuable source of meat and egg, quail farming should be encouraged and promoted. With the technical know-how, the commercial quail farming for table egg and meat production i n the tropics is possible. The husbandry technology may be suitable for adaptation in our neighboring developing countries as well.


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