I get asked lots of questions about incubation, nutrition, brooder care and a number of other things on a regular basis. In order to make things easier, I decided to create a page here to post tips and information that I think might be helpful. Please use this only as a guide. What may work for us may not work for you and so forth. The information provided here is all gathered from our own experiences as well as from relevant research articles from universities or published studies. I will try to provide links to articles when I feel it's necessary.
Total Incubation Period: 21 days
Total Incubation Period: 17-18 days
Total Incubation Period: 23-24 days
Total Incubation Period: 21-24 days
Total Incubation Period: 21-23 days
Total Incubation Period: 28 days
Chicks require a higher percentage of protein during the first few weeks of life to promote healthy growth and feather development. We recommend an chick starter with 20% or more protein. We also recommend supplementing chick sized grit to aid in digestion and to prevent crop impaction. We use a 22% unmedicated chick starter.
Medicated feed options may be convenient or necessary for some flocks. I will include a section about coccidiosis, prevention, and treatment, further down.
At this age, chicks can be switched to a grower ration. Typically it is the same as the chick starter, just with a lower level of protein.
Some feed stores don't always offer a grower feed or it may be more difficult to find. In that instance, you can continue to feed chick starter until around 16 weeks or so.
At this stage of development, pullets are preparing to lay. Most breeds begin to lay around the 6 month mark, but this estimate may vary depending on the breed, number of daylight hours, stress, and nutrition.
Most layer rations have a lower protein content and an increased calcium content. This option is convenient for many. We choose to feed a 19% grower ration and supplement oyster shell on the side for calcium intake. Not only does this give all of our birds a little more protein, it also prevents our cockerels from ingesting more calcium than they need.
Coturnix quail go through different stages of growth, albeit much quicker when compared to chickens or other game birds. These birds reach maturity in a short 6-8 weeks and should begin laying at around this time.
* Coturnix lay large eggs (compared to body size) every 18 hours or so, and because of this, they are especially prone to egg impaction and peritonitis. To prevent these issues, we recommend that you offer plenty of oyster shell or additional calcium supplementation at all times.*
Bobwhite quail, Gambel's quail, Blue Scaled quail and pheasants have similar nutritional requirements.
Birds that are provided with fresh water and a balanced feed ration usually do not require any additional supplementation. However, in some instances certain supplements can prove to be beneficial or even necessary for optimal health. I've made a list of some common items additions may be useful.