We breed two species of wild birds:
- Guinea fowls.
We keep a breed of quails (Coturnix Japonica Galliform). They are hardy birds that thrive in small cages and are inexpensive to keep. They are affected by common poultry diseases but are fairly disease resistant. Japanese quail mature in about 6 weeks and are usually in full egg production by 50 days of age. With proper care, a female quail should lay 200 eggs in their first year of lay. Life expectancy is only 2 to 2½ years.
The females are characterized by light tan feathers with black speckling on the throat and upper breast. The males have rusty brown throat and breast feathers. Males also have a cloacal gland, a bulbous structure on the upper edge of the vent that secretes a white, foamy material. This unique gland can be used to assess the reproductive fitness of the males.
Japanese quail eggs are a mottled brown colour sometimes covered with a light blue, chalky material. Eggs have a characteristic shell pattern or colour, but some strains lay only white eggs.
Research indicate that grouping a single male with 2 or 3 females will generally give high fertility. When quails are kept in colony pens, 1 to 3 females is sufficient and reduces fighting among males.
Pair mating in individual cages also give good fertility. Fertiliy decreases markedly in older birds. Avoid mating closely related individuals as inbreeding increases the incidence of abnormalities and can greatly reduce reproductive performance.
The incubation period for quail is 17- 18 days, depending on the strain and the incubation procedures. Newly hatched quail chicks are small and proper brooding temperatures for young quail are very important. Care must be taken with small quail to prevent them from drowning in water troughs. A carring jar with a glass or plastic base or automatic chick mini – drinkers, work well provided the drinking trough is filled with pebbles or marbles to stop the baby quail getting into the water.
There is a limited but expanding market for speacialist products such as fresh or pickled quail eggs and fresh or frozen quail carcasses. However commercial success requires thorough market researchand the ability to maintain supplies of top quality produce.
We have a variety of Japanese Coturnix Quail: Italian Speckled Coturnix, Tibetan Tuxedo Coturnix, Scarlett Tuxedo Coturnix, Wild-type Coturnix, Dark Range Coturnix, Chocolate Coturnix, Lavender Coturnix, Giant White Coturnix, Snowy Coturnix, Red Coturnix, Rosetta Coturnix, Blonde Coturnix.
We keep a high quality breed of guinea fowls in our ecofarm.