Quail - Breeding stock and inbreeding

Discussion in 'Poultry, Domestic Livestock, Pets, & Bees' started by Jenni, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Hi

    I have read marks blog on http://www.selfsufficientme.com/blo...japanese_or_coturnix_quail___a_backyard_guide and watched some videos and am a little unsure of how you manage breeding stock and inbreeding.

    Do you put all your quail in the one run?
    Mark mentioned tagging breeders. Do you remove them from the run when you want some for incubating. then let them produce eggs then use those eggs for incubation, then put them all back into the one run?
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Jenni, it really depends on how you want to run your breeding program.

    The purists will have separate pens for their breeders and ensure offspring from the same parents won't breed with each other. If you are breeding specific varieties of quail it is obviously even more important to ensure you have the right breeders breeding together.

    On the other hand, if you are breeding them primarily for food and are not too phased about cross breeding or have all the same subspecies then they can all be kept in the same pen (as long as it is large enough). This is exactly what I do.

    I only have the one large pen (maybe one day I'll build another) but for now I house them all in the one area. I do mark my main breeders and those birds I occasionally buy to introduce to my flock, however, for the most part it's a free for all! :) I never like to overcomplicate anything and I've been using this method for years and I have not encountered an endemic strain of deformities or sterility.

    Because quail don't live very long (about 2 years or sometimes a little longer) stock gets naturally refreshed regularly anyway. I will let several good breeding males and females live out their life happily until the natural end and along the way I will choose several successors to become the next breeders. Keeping a ratio of about 5 females to 1 male is a pretty good idea but sometimes these ratios get skewed when a new batch of chicks hatch out but when this happens we simply process the excess first until the ratios are better balanced again. Contrary to popular belief, a pen with too many males is perfectly fine for a short period (especially in a large pen) until they can be processed or sold or whatever.

    Usually every few years, I will buy stock (eggs or birds) from another breeder to "refresh" my stock and limit any inbreeding problems - I place these in the same pen and let them breed with my current stock.

    When it is time for me to start incubating eggs (usually spring/summer) as I don't provide artificial light for all year egg laying, I collect eggs daily from the pen. Most hens lay in their housing but eggs can be found anywhere in the enclosure! After about seven days of egg collection, I then incubate the eggs - hatch out - brood them for about 3-4 weeks and then place them into the general community. I do have two smaller holding pens which I can and do use sometimes to bring a new batch of several birds to maturity for processing (about 9 weeks old) however I mostly add my new birds to the general population.

    So that's a quick explanation of how I breed quail and limit/prevent inbreeding. Others might have a different opinion and they may run their breeding program differently to mine and I welcome their input, but I have to say my way does work and it doesn't require record keeping or complicated breed pairing and stats. If I was breeding for commercial reasons and selling to pet shops etc then I probably could be more stringent but I breed quail primarily for my own domestic needs (food and fertiliser).
     
  3. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks great advice.. I am breeding primarily for food so should work for me as well. :) Simple is the only way to do it.. I will build a large enough pen to cater for them as I have plenty of space.. I just have to decide on a spot... I have a chef who lives next door so I know where any oversupply of birds & eggs will go to ensure there is no over crowding.

    When buying your breeder birds is there anyway of knowing that there hasn't been inbreeding? Or is it just on breeders reputation....

    Is there a website that lists registered breeders? I really don't like the idea of buying from a pet shop...

    Thanks for your help...
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    A chef next door is handy! Salt and pepper quail to order please! :)

    Yes, you can sometimes tell if there is bad inbreeding by looking for deformities like: crossed over beaks, missing toes, poor vision, splayed legs, although, these conditions can be caused by other things it's still not a good sign anyway. Reputation can be the best way of buying good stock as bad blood lines may not always be obvious.

    You can often find breeders locally. We have a commercial breeder here on ssm called Glenys & Jo (Homestead Quail) they're not far from me on the Sunshine Coast. I wrote a story about them on my blog.

    Heritage Hens in Brisbane sell quail and are also very reputable. Quail Kingdom service the GC I believe but I personally haven't done business with them - they do seem ok though. http://www.quailkingdom.com.au/How_To_Buy.html

    You can easily find quail sellers online through sites like GumTree and Chooknet however it is difficult to know the quality. I once found a breeder way out past Kingaroy in the sticks and had a great experience buying from them on their farm it was worth the drive!
     
  5. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks Mark. Building run this week, and ordering incubator.. I just need to make the pen nice and strong like yours... We also have a few goannas, snakes and dogs (including our own kelpie) who would enjoy a Quail or egg or two... I am excited by this new project...... thanks for you help.. I will post info as I go...
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Good luck with your quail project Jenni. Yeah, lots of nasties are attracted to quail and their eggs the worst is rats as they target and kill quail. But a well built pen will ensure keeping these amazing birds is easy as... Quail are very hardy and are no trouble at all to look after.

    It would be interesting to see how your project goes, perhaps start a separate thread on your pen build when you get the time?

    BTW what type of incubator are you getting?
     
  7. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks Mark. Will do...

    Selecting a incubator is not as easy as I thought. Cost tend to out-way the advantages.

    I am thinking this one as it can also be used as a brooder.. Although looking at the photos I am not quite sure why they have it working it in a box with insulation and might be a bit of a pain to clean?
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/AUTOMATI...884707?pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item337f1c2ba3

    or one of these simple little ones

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-Digi...pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item2a423189ed&_uhb=1

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-Late...pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item1c38ac9ba9&_uhb=1

    Outside of ebay they all seem very elaborate for the backyard producer.
     
  8. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Cool. They all look pretty good and seem to be great value for fully automatic units.

    I don't have any experience with those particular brands of incubators but I also will be buying a new one myself soon after my no name Chinese incubator JN8-48 has unfortunately died.

    I'm thinking about a Brinsea incubator because they have automated humidity regulation and I'm fed up with guessing the humidity and trying to manage it manually.
     
  9. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Value for money but probably shiiiiiiite. and fully automatic might be a bit of a loose term.. LOL but somewhere to start then if I get fully serious then I can upgrade. We will see if it pays for itself..

    I did look at one the same as your broken one but I want to watch them hatch.. Part of the joy of the whole process.. So a good clear view in was a must for me..

    Your Brinsea looks pretty good.. You will need to build another run to cater for all of your new Quail..
     
  10. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    It's good to start out small and I agree with the see through top. I wouldn't recommend the JN8-48 anymore it's outdated and since mine has failed I can't say they are durable!

    The Brinsea range are good (apparently) but they're pretty expensive - just for the smaller Brinsea Octagon 20 egg with automatic humidity control unit is $750 :shock: I'm going to have to save up personally... But, I still might lash out and get the cabinet anyway down the track.
     
  11. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Phew $750.00 lots of eating to recover the costs of that. You will be selling produce at the local markets next..
     
  12. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    LOL, yeah maybe... I might have to :)
     
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