I had been on the lookout for anyone nearby selling some of the birds so when an ad popped up on one of the local poultry sale pages on facebook selling Texas A&M jumbo quail I decided it was time. The jumbo quail are said to lay just as many eggs as the regular coturnix, but these guys were specifically bred for meat so they grow to be much bigger and meatier than their natural cousins. They were just over an hour away so I jumped on the opportunity! The gentleman was selling what was left of his breeding flock of 22 birds, and he would throw in all their eggs from the last week as lagniappe! I was sold!
We loaded up the car with a couple medium sized dog crates one Saturday afternoon and made the drive in the sprinkling rain to pick up our newest additions. When we arrived, all 22 birds were being kept in a relatively small raised cage in the man's backyard. This is a very common way to raise quail, so I do not fault the owner of the birds, but I was happy to take the little guys home knowing much nicer digs awaited their arrival.
Once we got home, we unloaded the little birds into their new home. It is the same pen we kept in the quail in before, an indoor/outdoor on the ground enclosure that is probably 6' by 12'. Practically the Taj Mahal by quail standards!
With their feet on the ground probably for the first time in their lives, the quail started immediately exploring their new world. They were scratching and pecking and taking dirt baths right away!
Our plan is to primarily raise the birds for meat. All of their eggs are going into the incubator so that we can always have a good supply growing out. They are called jumbo quail for a reason, and they certainly live up their name. They are built like softballs with big, round chests and very docile temperaments commonly seen in meat birds. I know our pet food customers' kitties will be thrilled with the new product once we get that first batch of eggs hatched and grown out. Until then we are happy to have the funny little beasts back on the farm.