Farming has proven to be a very interesting and lucrative business opportunity for many Nigerians. But what should you do if you do not have enough space, money and energy for a large farm? Well, the answer is simple and obvious: have a quail bird farm! Today, we will tell you about quails and why you should definitely have a quail farm.
What is quail?
Before we get into the actual quail farming, ask yourself a question: do you know what quail is? If not, do not worry, we are here to tell you all the important things you need to know about quails.
Quails are small birds that humans have domesticated. Most quails are around 18 cm in size and weigh around 150-200 g. Depending on the breed, quails’ plumage might differ, but most prominent colours are brown, white, grey, blue and black.
Did you know?
A grown female quail begins to lay eggs when it is around 7 weeks old and lays one egg a day. After the first year of egg laying, the amount of eggs slowly decreases to an egg every other day. The eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs; they weigh around 15 grams. The eggshells are mostly a mix of brown and white spots.
Quails can be grown as pets, for their eggs or their meat. The meat is nutritious and tasty, and the eggs are much healthier than other eggs people eat. Both have low fat levels and are great for people with blood pressure issues. In Nigeria, quail eggs are also known as Ogazi eggs and are sold as street food.
There are at least 18 different breeds of domesticated quail you can choose from for your farm. Most popular layer breeds in Nigeria are British Range, English White, Manchurian Golden, Pharaoh and Tuxedo. If you want to grow quails for their meat, then consider getting American Bobwhites or Indian Whitebreasted quails.
The benefits of quail farming
Now that you know a little bit more about these birds, we will tell you why quail farming is a great business opportunity, as well as a fun pastime. The main advantages of raising quails are:
★ Little to no extra expenses on land. As these birds are very small, you will not have to spend extra money on large pieces of land. You can just grow them in your backyard! You will need just one square meter of land to raise up to eight quails.
★ Relatively small expenditures on bird feed. Once again, this is where the size matters. You do not have to feed quails as much or as often as other domesticated birds. They mostly eat food of plant origin and occasional insects that appear on their way, so stack up on wheat and rice bran, mix in some minerals and other grains, and you are good to go!
★ Fast growing time. As we have said before, female quails start laying eggs at 7 weeks old. The eggs are ready to hatch in a little more than two weeks. This way, your quail farm will expand really fast.
★ Quails’ strong immune system. Quails rarely catch any diseases that many other birds are prone to. Even if your birds get sick, they are very resilient and strong, so there is a very high chance that they will recover. This way, you can save money on frequent visits to a veterinarian.
★ A satisfactory cost-effectiveness. By this, we mean that these birds do not need much feed to grow. By feeding your quails 3 kg of feed, you will end up with 1 kg of quail meat, which is considered quite cost-effective.
★ A big market for the produce. In Nigeria, there is high demand for quail in all its forms: live birds, meat and eggs. Their small size makes them cheaper than other birds, but at the same time more accessible. This way, you will be able to sell your produce to people with all kinds of income levels.
★ Low cost of setting up. You do not need a lot of money to begin with, as quails are relatively cheap, and, as we have mentioned above, do not require much in terms of upkeep. Quail farming also does not require special education. At the same time, quail farming is a lucrative business venture, and it brings profits during the first year of existence.
We can go on and on about the benefits of quail farming in Nigeria. But it is time to look at the process of how to set up your own quail farm.
Quail farming in Nigeria Let’s break the process of setting up a quail farm into seven easy steps:
Step 1. Choose the location for your farm. It does not really matter what region of Nigeria you live in, as quails do not have any requirements in terms of weather or anything like that. However, when choosing the location, look for a predator-free quiet area. Finding a place with a source of clean water will be a real bonus.
Alternatively, you can set up a small farm in your backyard or raise the quails with other birds you might have. The only thing you need then is to provide separate cages for them.
Step 2. Buy the equipment and cages. Depending on what you want to raise your quails for, choose the right cages for the birds. At first, you might do without cages, but they are highly recommended, if you want to sell your quails later on. Do not forget about buying the feeders and drinkers, as well as light and heat sources.
Step 3. Purchase day-old quail chicks. It is best to start with a pair of small chicks and let your farm grow on its own, as they breed rather fast. However, you can buy as many as you like, it is up to you. A couple of day-old quail chicks goes for around #1000. Before buying, make sure the seller is trustworthy, so ask for appropriate documentation.
Step 4. Prepare the bird feed and water. As you know, quails are not that picky when it comes to food. But it is still best to prepare a balanced feed for them to grow big and strong. Include several types of grain, cereals and sprinkle in some salt, vitamins and protein. You can also buy premade feed that goes for about #100 per kilo. Provide your quails with clean water and check it regularly.
Step 5. Take care of your quails’ health. Even though quails are resilient and not prone to diseases, it does not mean you should leave them to their own devices. Set a small portion of your budget aside for health emergencies. Make friends with your local veterinarian. Be a responsible farmer.
Step 6. Do not forget to clean. Quails are not very messy birds. Nevertheless, you should take your time and clean the cages, feeders and drinkers from time to time. Make sure your quails are feeling good. Check on their water source regularly.
Step 7. Think about your marketing strategy. It is actually recommended that you think of your marketing strategy before you go into the whole thing headfirst. Obviously, decide what you are growing your quails for: meat, eggs or reselling (or fun, who knows?). Find your clients through your friends or sell you produce on the local market. Advertise your product. Do your thing.
If you follow these steps and read up a bit more on poultry farming, you and your quails will be just fine.