Quail Eggs, a great alternative for your urban homestead

by Josh Noland
Quail Eggs, a great alternative for your urban homestead

There is something so special about farm fresh eggs, they are not like the ones you buy in the store they have a very dark yolk, and they are full of flavor. Living in an apartment makes producing fresh eggs difficult but not impossible. I have found a way, quail eggs! Quail are small, quiet, and produce very high-quality eggs.

Once I decided to go ahead and keep quail on my tiny 12ft x 6ft patio I had to decide what type of enclosure to keep them in, I wanted something that was previously used and multipurpose. I spent a few weeks looking online and then one day I saw an old vintage looking dresser on the side of the road, and it was perfect. All it needed was a few slight alterations.

I took the top two drawers out and gutted the framing to create a living space for the quail. I also cut out the sides with a sawzall and Stapled ½ inch hardware cloth to enclose the sides. For the bottom, I reused the bottoms of the drawers.

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The plan was to have the quail on top and have composting worms below them in the second from the bottom drawer, this way I could use a slide out floor for the quail. The bedding and manure would fall down feeding the worms and simultaneously letting the quail have access to the worms for a quick high protein snack (A concept from Connor at East End Eden).

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I used the face of one of the upper drawers as the front/door of the enclosure. All it needed was a small hinge and a slide bolt to secure the door in place and used the same ½ inch hardware cloth to finish off the front top half of enclosure. I used a rabbit water bottle as a water source so the water would stay clean.

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I had to compensate for the gap between the back of the dresser and where the drawer ended as to avoid losing manure/bedding behind the drawer. I used a piece of wood from one of the drawers to make a lip.

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I saved our paper scraps and cut them into strips to use as bedding for the quail as this will work well for the worms too.

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Fodder. What’s fodder? I’m glad you asked. Fodder is when you grow something to feed your animals, like this grass I grew for the quail (They loved it)

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Last Friday as soon as I got off work and went straight to Farmer Fred’s to purchase my quail. Fred is a great guy; he raises quail and tilapia in his spare time. Fred was very knowledgeable and helped me figure out the particulars of keeping quail.

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Say hello to my little friend.

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I started with four hens. I wanted a male too so I could raise some baby quail of my own, but I was concerned that the call of the male quail might be too loud for my apartment patio. I like the sound they make but out of consideration for my neighbors I decided against it for now.

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All the girls are in their new home and look who came to welcome them Max, our dog.

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Did I mention the green roof? I’m using the roof as gardening real estate, and I think it will help keep the quail from getting too warm from the afternoon sun.

Quail are also good to eat and easy to process in your own home if your up for that sort of thing. That being said Quail are a great resource in a survival situation.

That’s it for now, I’m still working on getting the worms set up in the drawer, but this is a great example of stacking multiple systems in one space.  The very bottom drawer is storage for now but could easily become an area for fish as part of an aquaponics setup.

Do you live in an urban environment? What ideas have you come up with to be able to produce your own food in a limited space?

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