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Quail Farming emerges as an alternative to Poultry

Friday, August 3, 2012

The quail is a small bird that inhabits woodland and forest areas around the world. There are thought to be more than 15 different species of quail, with each species of quail being found in different parts of the world and all have slightly different appearances depending on how they have adapted to their environment. Although the quail is very small sized bird, the quail belongs to the same bird family as pheasants. Quails range in size depending on the species from the Japanese quail which is around 10 cm tall to the larger mountain quail that can grow up to 25 cm tall.

Quails are generally solitary birds and spend most of their time either on their own or in a pair with just one other quail. During the mating season it is common to see large flocks of quails as family groups convoy together in groups of up to 100 quail individuals. Quails do not tend to migrate and therefore spend their lives within the same area.

In some parts of the world, quails are kept as poultry birds both for the small amount of meat that they contain and for the quail's brightly coloured eggs. These tiny coloured eggs are seen as a delicacy in some parts of the world and can often be found on menus in posh restaurants. Quail eggs are renowned for being rich in vitamins, essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and phospholipids, which are vital for human physical and mental development. Quail eggs can be included in the diets of children, pregnant mothers and geriatric and convalescent patients. Coturnix eggs are characterized by a variety of colour patterns. They range from snow white to completely brown. More commonly they are tan and dark brown speckled or mottled brown with a chalky blue covering. The average egg from mature female weighs about 10 gram (1/3 ounce), about 8 percent of the body weight of quail hen as compared to 3 percent for chicken eggs. The egg of Japanese quail contains 158 Cal. of energy, 74.6% water, 13.1% protein, 11.2% fat, and 1.1% total ash. The mineral content includes 0.59 mg calcium, 220 mg phosphorus and 3.8 mg iron. The vitamin content is 300 IU of vitamin A, 0.12 mg of vitamin B1, 0.85 mg of vitamin B2 and 0.10 mg nicotinic acid.

Advantages of Quail Farming

Quail is a fast growing bird with short generation interval. A broiler quail can be sold at 5 weeks as against 8 weeks in broiler chicken. Quail start producing eggs at about 6 weeks of age and continue to give high egg production upto 24 weeks of age. The meat is considered as a delicacy and can be used as ready to cook meat, pickled meat and tandoori quail. The egg size is about 10 gm, and it can be used as boiled egg or egg pickle. Some of the advantages of quail Farming is enlisted below:

·         Requires minimum floor space

·         Needs low investment

·         Quails are comparatively sturdy birds

·         Can be marketed at an early age i.e. five weeks

·         Early sexual maturity  - starts laying eggs in about six to seven weeks of age

·         High rate of egg laying -280 eggs per year

·         Quail meat is tastier than chicken and has less fat content. It promotes body and brain development in children.

·         Nutritionally, the quail eggs are on par with that of chicken eggs. Moreover, they contain less cholesterol.

·         Quail meat and eggs are a nutritious diet for pregnant and nursing mothers.

·         Quail is the pilot bird for research and education.

·         Quail manure has high fertilizer value and can be used for increasing yield of crops.

·         This species can be reared at interior places as it does not require vaccination and relatively low medication required.

Scope of Quail Farming in India

Quail farming is an inexpensive alternative to chicken farming. There is high demand for quail meat and has a great market potential in hotels, restaurants, dhabas, industrial canteens, flight kitchens, supermarkets etc. Government of India is encouraging entrepreneurs to start Japanese quail farm and is trying to create infrastructural facilities to assist the entrepreneurs. However, a government license is required to sell Japanese quail. The Ministry of Environment & Forests delegated the power to grant license to the Dept. of Animal Husbandry. So far, more than 500 licenses for quail farming, trading, catering & hatching have been issued in the Maharashtra state alone. Central Avian Research Institute (CARI) at Izatnagar, UP, INDIA is keen to propagate quails for commercial use & have shown willingness to supply hatching eggs to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Source: NPCS Team


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