Japanese quails (Cotirnix coturnix japonica ) belong
to the Phasiandiae family ,and they are
reared for commercial meat and egg production. Quail have characteristic of
fast growth, early sexual maturity and high rate of egg production .Quail are prolific breeders and have the ability to
produce 4 generation in a year. Nowadays quail gaining importance as
diversified poultry species to augment meat and egg production. Also it is
valuable as a animal model to carry out laboratory research because of its low
body size, short life cycle etc.
Comparative performance of different egg and meat
(white egg shell)
Live wt.5th week
Daily feed consumption(g)
FCR, 5th week
Sexual maturity (days)
50% egg production
80% egg production
Hen day- production %
Hatchability % on eggs set
Feed material should be made of small particles. quail
consume about 500gms of feed in 5 weeks. Quails consume 30-35gm of feed per
day. it takes about 400gms feed for production of 12 eggs. By adding 5kg of oil
cakes to 75 feed we can use Broiler starter mash.
Nutrition is the most important factors required to
maintain quails in good physical condition and to obtain normal growth and egg production.
A “complete” or well-balanced feed containing all the protein , energy ,
vitamins , minerals, and other nutrient should be prepared .Nutrient levels of
the diet must meet the dietary needs of
the birds being produced. Quail grown for meat are provided starter and finisher
diets, whereas laying or breeder birds are fed starter and breeder diets. Three
types of diet are recommended during commercial rearing: starter (up to 2 weeks
of age), grower (from 3 to 5 weeks) and layer mash (> 6 weeks of age).
Generally 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. These high protein
starter feeds will give quick development to growing birds as well as bringing
earlier and more consistent laying to hens.
The dietary requirement for birds nearing maturity
are similar to starter ration except that calcium and phosphorus levels must be
increased. In hot weather ,calcium level should be increased asquail eat less
food but still require calcium to maintain egg production. Shell grit or ground
limestone can be added to the diets after 5 weeks of age.
Growing birds are fed a ration containing
coccidiostat from hatch until the last week before slaughter. The feeding of
unmediated diets before slaughter is recommended when using any dietary drug,
regardless of whether the restriction is required or not. FDA approved two
coccidiostats( Monensin sodium
&Amprolium) in quail feed .
Water is most important nutrient for animals. Quail
need clean water at all times. Water must not be too hot or cold .clean the
water troughs at least once daily. Keep water and feed troughs clean of droppings,
litter, soil and other contaminants.
Three types of Japanese quail
feeds are available : Chick feed (0-2 week), grower/finisher feed (3-4
week) and layer/breeder feed ( above 6 weeks).Broiler quail consume 550-600gm
up to marketing and adult layer/ breeder quail consume 35-40 gm/day. Feed
should be given ad libitum and the feeder should not be filled more than 2/3rd
of its capacity to prevent wastage.
The optimum energy level of quails is 2800-2900
kcal/kg feed during the growth period (0-5 week) and 2700 to 2900 kcal/kg
during laying phase (5-30 weeks of age).Protein and amino acid requirement are
higher than that of broiler chickens(Mandal et.al 2004d).Methionine and
threonine are the major limiting amino acids in maize-soyabean-meal based diets
for growing quail chickens. Broiler quail chickens. Broiler quail chicks give
positive response in terms of grain and feed conversion to a diet with higher
protein and amino acid levels (120% of NRC,1994) during 0-3 weeks of age. The growth rate is reduced
during 3-5 week of age and 90% levels of amino acids is sufficient to obtain
better growth and feed conversion. Therefore, a biphasic rearing system (0-3
and 3-5 weeks) has been suggested (kaur et al,2006,2007,2008) for growing
quails. Egg mass output as proportion of body weight is more than that of
chicken, thus ,requirement of energy, protein and amino acids in layer/breeder
ration are higher .Egg weight of quail is about 10 g. A 10 g egg contains 7.46g
water, 1.31g protein, 1.12g fat and 0.11g of total ash. The average daily feed
intake is about 25 g. The minimum daily protein requirement is less than 4.7g
and energy is 60 kcal ME per layer. Broiler quails lay eggs almost at a similar rate as egg type quails
and the egg size is higher (11-13g) .The daily feed intake is about 30g and minimum protein requirement is
about 5g (with energy 65kcal) in broiler line breeders. Daily water intake is
1.7 to 2.3 times of feed intake. All mash diet is preferred. For egg lines, a
diet with 21.5% protein and 2700-2900 ME kcal/kg during laying period is
sufficient .Meat type lines require slightly more protein.
specification for quail feed (BIS2007)
Acid insoluble ash