Ok, I don’t really think quail are better than chickens, but I do think that they are vastly underrated.
The type of quail I have are Coturnix, or Japanese quail. They are a small, hardy gamebird that are very easy to raise and need very little space. Consider them as low-maintenance pets that are fun to watch and provide the added benefit of meat and eggs.
-They are ground dwellers who rarely fly and so require little headroom. 8 to 10 inches is sufficient. They also require very little living area, about one square foot per bird.
-Quail mature much faster than chickens. The hens begin laying beautiful, edible speckled eggs at approximately 6 weeks of age and continue to lay almost an egg a day for about a year or so before production slows. About 8% of their overall body weight per day!
-Quail meat is absolutely delicious, and quail are incredibly quick and easy to process. I can do one in about three minutes flat with a pair of kitchen scissors.
-Male quails don’t have a piercing crow like a rooster, it’s more of a wild-sounding trill which many people find pleasant.
-Quail eggs are very easy and forgiving for someone just learning to hatch. I’ve heard it said that you could probably leave quail eggs in the trunk of your car for a few weeks and they’d hatch.
-Quail eggs have more protein and nutrients than chicken eggs by weight, and are safely eaten raw. Not that I don’t consider chicken eggs safely eaten raw as well.
-They are friendly little birds who will come running when they see you approaching with dinner. I once had one lay an egg directly in my hand. Their feathers can also be used for fly-tying.
Personally, I think quail make ideal urban homesteading pets, especially in locations where chickens are not permitted. Their curious antics and beautiful plumage will suck you in just as much as their plentiful gourmet egg production. A perfect way to start? Get a trio of two females and a male. Now you have fertilized eggs that can be hatched out in an incubator to renew your flock when required, which is generally every six months to a year or so.