I receive lots of questions regarding poultry and game birds- from nutritional requirements to incubation guidelines, predator-proof housing, and more. I created this page to serve as a resource of useful informations, as well as address some of the most common questions I receive. This page is a work in progress, however we plan to add additional topics over time.
Total Incubation Period: 21 days
Total Incubation Period: 17-18 days
Total Incubation Period: 23-24 days
Total Incubation Period: 21-24 days
Total Incubation Period: 21-23 days
Total Incubation Period: 28 days
Chicks require a higher percentage of protein during the first few weeks of life to promote healthy growth and feather development. We recommend an chick starter with 20% or more protein. We also recommend supplementing chick sized grit to aid in digestion and to prevent crop impaction. We use a 22% unmedicated chick starter.
Medicated feed options may be convenient or necessary for some flocks. I will include a section about coccidiosis, prevention, and treatment, further down.
At this age, chicks can be switched to a grower ration. Typically it is the same as the chick starter, just with a lower level of protein.
Some feed stores don't always offer a grower feed or it may be more difficult to find. In that instance, you can continue to feed chick starter until around 16 weeks or so.
At this stage of development, pullets are preparing to lay. Most breeds begin to lay around the 6 month mark, but this estimate may vary depending on the breed, number of daylight hours, stress, and nutrition.
Most layer rations have a lower protein content and an increased calcium content. This option is convenient for many. We choose to feed a 19% grower ration and supplement oyster shell on the side for calcium intake. Not only does this give all of our birds a little more protein, it also prevents our cockerels from ingesting more calcium than they need.
Coturnix quail go through different stages of growth, albeit much quicker when compared to chickens or other game birds. These birds reach maturity in a short 6-8 weeks and should begin laying at around this time.
* Coturnix lay large eggs (compared to body size) every 18 hours or so, and because of this, they are especially prone to egg impaction and peritonitis. To prevent these issues, we recommend that you offer plenty of oyster shell or additional calcium supplementation at all times.*
Bobwhite quail, Gambel's quail, Blue Scaled quail and pheasants have similar nutritional requirements.
Birds that are provided with a balanced feed ration, fresh water, and a proper environment generally do not require any additional supplementation. However, in some instances certain supplements can prove to be beneficial or even necessary for optimal health.
Calcium is a necessary mineral poultry and is included in many commercial feed rations. Laying birds require increased levels of calcium for the development of strong egg shells and the proper contraction of the oviduct and uterine muscles to successfully pass the egg. Improper calcium intake can result in egg binding, poor egg shell quality, and malformed eggs, leading to loss in overall production. Calcium can be supplemented to layers by offering crushed oyster shell, free of choice, in a feeder or dish separate from the regular feed ration. Adding a free of choice option prevents excess intake that can cause adverse effects.
Grit can be classified as small pieces of rock, stone, or sand in the digestion of food for many species of birds, including chickens.. Chickens, quail, and other species of birds consumeit remains in the gizzard, a muscular part of the stomach that is responsible for the mechanical breakdown of seeds and other foods.