Quail Eggs | Here’s What to Know

Quail eggs may be a lot smaller than chicken eggs, but they have great taste and a good amount of nutrition.

If you live in a city where keeping chickens isn’t allowed, or just don’t have space for larger birds, raising quail is a fantastic alternative. They aren’t considered game birds so they are often permitted in areas that don’t allow chickens. You’ll enjoy the benefit of quail eggs from birds that are easy to keep and raise. 

What are Quail Eggs?

They say good things come in small packages, and it certainly rings true when it comes to the quail egg or codorniz eggs. They are perfectly edible, small eggs that are laid by the quail bird.

Quail eggs are more common in some parts of the world than others and are often considered a delicacy, especially in Europe, Asia, and North America.

They taste like chicken eggs, but are richer and have a higher yolk to egg white density.

What Do Quail Eggs Look Like?

The quail egg has the same shape as chicken eggs, but as you’d expect from a smaller bird, it’s smaller in comparison.

In fact, a quail egg size is roughly the same as a large olive and, for this reason, makes a great addition to the buffet table or canape platter.

In terms of quail egg’s shell color, it’s cream or off-white with irregular brown and black speckles all over. Quail eggs look like malted milk balls but in an egg shape.

Inside, it looks the same as any other egg, and its larger yolk to egg white ratio is obvious as soon as the egg is out of its shell.

Quail Egg Nutrition

Surprisingly, different types of eggs possess different health benefits and nutrient levels. We wanted to determine whether the quail egg is particularly good for you to see if it’s worth considering consuming quail eggs.

Just a short amount of research returned some staggering finds about the quail egg’s superior nature in relation to chicken or duck eggs.

Nutrient-Packed

It’s thought that the quail egg is around three to four times as nutritious as chicken eggs. Using the USDA’s national nutrient database, we found out that it’s rich in vitamin E, amino acids, good fatty acids, iron, and zinc.

It also contains almost three times the amount of vitamin B1. Likewise, it has twice the amount of vitamin B2 and vitamin A than chicken eggs, with 13% protein, against the chicken egg’s 11%.

Lastly, the quail egg also has five times more potassium than chicken eggs.

Potassium is an essential mineral involved in several bodily processes, including open up and relaxing your blood vessels.

Hypoallergenic

In a small number of cases, chicken eggs have been known to cause reactions, leading to nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and rash. However, the quail egg is considered to be hypoallergenic.

Low Glycemic Index

The quail egg has a low glycemic index, meaning it slowly releases sugar into your blood. That, in turn, helps regulate your body’s blood sugar levels.

An animal study showed that quail egg consumption led to decreased blood glucose and creatinine levels and improved kidney function.

It’s also believed that regular consumption of the quail egg, instead of chicken eggs, can help reduce the risk of diabetes and kidney disorders.

Rich in Antioxidants

The quail’s eggs are rich in selenium, lecithin, iodine, and choline, all of which are natural antioxidants.

Choline, in particular, is fantastic for brain health and essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters.

quail bird

Why Raise Quails?

With the information about the quail’s eggs, it’s starting to become clearer why some people choose to raise quails. You can choose to raise quail alongside either chickens and ducks or on their own. Below are some of the most notable reasons to raise quail.

Egg Production

As we’ve discussed, what the quail egg lacks in size, it more than makes up for in taste and extra nutrients and health benefits. Because quail eggs are so delicious and nutrient-dense are the top reasons people choose quails for their backyard flock.

While you may need several codorniz eggs to equal the chicken egg’s weight, quails are also very efficient in converting feed. That means you’ll spend less on feed to produce the same weight amount of eggs.

Should you choose to sell quail eggs, you’ll also make more profit because the quail egg is still considered quite rare and exotic, which lends it a more premium sale price.

How Often Do Quail Lay Eggs?

Some quail breeds like the Japanese quail will reliably lay one egg per day, but most breeds fall very slightly short of that.

How Many Eggs Do Quail Lay?

Quails are known as being prolific layers, with many breeds averaging around 300 eggs per year. In comparison, ducks only produce around 180 eggs per year, but of course, they are far bigger than quail eggs.

Meat Quality

People also raise quail for their meat. Quail is favored in many cuisines worldwide, including French, Japanese, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Indian.

The quail is small, making it easier to harvest than other birds. Plus, the meat is wonderfully flavorful. Since the bones are small and very difficult to remove, they are often chewed up and eaten along with the flesh.

They’re also a great dual-purpose bird. Plus, even after the prime egg-laying period is over, which is around one year, the meat will still taste great, no matter how you cook it. On the other hand, after just one year of laying, the meat is often considered too tough to be fried or roasted.

Space Saver

Quails are smaller birds than chickens, so they need less space to live, lay, and breed. As a general rule of thumb, the space quails need is around three times less than the space chickens need.

As such, if you were concerned about finding space to keep quail, then you really don’t need much! Likewise, if your garden is too small to keep chickens, then quail might be an ideal alternative for you to consider.

Lastly, although not ideal for free-range enthusiasts, these birds do tend to do well in small cages. Giving them access to roam in an enclosed chicken run, along with fresh air and sunshine is best.

Little or No Legislation

In some cities, keeping chickens can be prohibited or severely restricted, making it difficult for people who want to run urban farms. For example, in some metro areas, you have to apply for a license to keep just four chickens. Plus, you’re not allowed to keep roosters; hence, you can’t breed them, limiting your profits.

Fortunately, if your city or town doesn’t allow chickens, it may make exceptions to a game bird such as the quail. Or better yet, it may not mention quail in the regulations at all.

One reason is that quails are very quiet birds to keep since they don’t crow and annoy the neighbors.

They’re also very good flyers, so many people avoid free-ranging them. That means they’re tidier to keep than chickens.

Mature Quickly

Each quail egg takes just 17 days to incubate. What’s also interesting is that some breeds of quail will start laying at just six weeks old.

Compare that to the 24 weeks of a chicken or duck’s life that you need to wait before you get eggs.

That means the quail egg numbers will start to mount up fast while you’re waiting for the duck or chicken to lay eggs. Therefore, you can expect a high production of small eggs in a short time period.

Additionally, quails can be mated at around three weeks, and quail chicks will fetch a higher price than chickens.

Hardy Birds

Quails are typically healthy. They are very easy to keep. As long as you keep everything clean, you shouldn’t run into any problems raising quails.

Hence, make sure you clean out the coop, food, and water supply every week to avoid issues. You’ll also need to protect them from the elements when the weather becomes more extreme. Remember predators will be attracted to the quail and some to the quail eggs as well.

Apart from that, quails are pretty low maintenance and hardy.

quail eggs

What are the Problems You May Encounter When Raising Quails?

Although there are many good reasons for raising quails, you should also factor in any negatives before raising them. The main disadvantage are their shorter lifespan, the high cholesterol content of their eggs, and the sheer amount of natural predators.

Shorter Lifespan

As we mentioned previously, quails can start laying in just six weeks, but they only live around two years.

That said, with a great number of eggs produced and short incubation time, you’ll have quails to replace the old or dying ones in no time.

Higher Cholesterol

Quail eggs are fairly high in cholesterol. A single quail egg contains 422mg of cholesterol, versus 211mg in a (much larger) chicken egg.

That said, this cholesterol is largely HDL or high-density lipoprotein, which is the good stuff, helping break down the bad LDL cholesterol. Still, consumption should be limited to around 10 quail eggs per day.

More Natural Predators

Quails are also pretty low on the food chain. With their smaller size compared to chickens or ducks, they’re easier targets for most predators.

So, if you’re thinking of raising quails, you need to protect them from predators such as bobcats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, snakes, owls, and hawks.

Many people choose to build quail coops raised off the ground to protect them from burrowing predators.

What are the Things To Keep in Mind When Raising Quails?

So, if you decided you’d like to add quail to your homestead flock to add variety to your egg production, here is how you can do it.

Coop

You can build the quail’s coop so they can scratch around in the dirt. As mentioned, another option is to build it above ground to better protect them from predators. 

If you have an area for them to forage and exercise, be sure to secure it. In addition, protect animals from coming in with hardware cloth buried under the ground.

You should also give them at least one square foot of space per bird.

They don’t need a roosting perch as quails prefer to sleep on the ground, so keeping their coop clean is particularly important.

They also do not need nesting boxes, preferring to lay their eggs wherever they like, so sometimes you’ll have to hunt them down. Quails prefer an area to feel safe and secure so be sure to proper shelter.

Some quails may have favorite laying spots, while others will make it a little more difficult and just lay wherever they happen to be. 

If you’re keeping your quails in cages, make sure you provide some stimulation for them. They’ll appreciate a dust bath or a sand tray, as well as some branches to make the environment more natural for them.

They’re sociable birds, so they may also prefer being in a cage altogether instead of being kept isolated in single cages.

Diet

You will need to refill your quail’s feeders and waterers daily. Quails’ nutritional needs are different from chickens, although, like chickens, their diet will change depending on your reason for keeping them. 

Quail chicks can be fed game bird starter feed until around six to eight weeks old. Then you change meat producers onto a finisher feed, or egg layers and breeders can be moved onto a developer feed.

Feed mature layers layer feed. Otherwise, the eggshells may start to weaken. The production of eggs will also slow down.

A mature Japanese quail needs around 14g to 18g of feed per day, but needs can change depending on breed, maturity, and purpose.

Free-range quails with better access to their natural diet will produce richer eggs due to additional proteins from insects and grubs.

It may also be beneficial to supplement your quail’s diet with a 4% to 6% herbal feed supplement called Phyllanthus buxifolius.

It has been proven to increase quail immunity, thereby reducing mortality by protecting them from viral infection. The same study also found a significant decrease in the amount of fat and cholesterol, meaning they’ll be even healthier for you.

Ideal Breeds

Some quail breeds are more popular with breeders than others, depending on what you’re raising them for.

Button quails are particularly small and produce tiny eggs, so while they make a good pet, they’re not good laying birds.

The Japanese quail is a fantastic layer, producing around 300 eggs per year, from as early as six weeks.

Coturnix quail is one of the most highly recommended quail breeds for meat production. That is because it grows quickly and has more meat on its bones than other breeds.

To avoid any aggression between the birds, you should aim to limit the number of male quails in your flock to just one male for every four females.

If you’re only raising males, then you should cage them in pairs.

Light 

Your quail flock will need access to plenty of light to maintain healthy fertility and egg production.

Japanese quails need at least 14 to 18 hours of light per day, so you should consider supplementing their light source in winter months. If you’re raising quail for meat, they won’t need as much light. Also, around eight hours per day is sufficient.

Collecting Quail Eggs

Quail are ground birds. Unlike chickens, they prefer to nest on the ground, much like ducks do. Because quails tend not to lay their eggs in nest boxes, you may have trouble finding them.

Finding quail eggs when the quails have some space to free-range means you should get to know your quail. As you get to know the hens, you’ll find some may lay in the same spot. Others will not. This means it’s important for you to be able to find them all. 

Their eggs are brownish and small which means it may be difficult to spot them in the straw, hay, alfalfa, or in the grass. 

If you raise quail in cages, be sure to choose a cage with a built-in tray. These will have a slant in order for the quail eggs to roll out of the cage. It will prevent the quails from damaging the eggs and also keep them cleaner. These set-ups make collecting quail eggs easy.

what do quail eggs look like

Frequently Asked Questions About the Quail Egg

1. Are Quail Eggs Expensive?

The quail egg is harder to source than chicken eggs, but you should find it in Chinese supermarkets or specialty stores.

If you’re thinking about buying these eggs or selling the once your quails produce, you can expect around $6 for a dozen eggs.

2. Can You Eat Quail Eggs Raw?

You can eat quail eggs raw. They often are added in Japanese cuisine.

They are not at risk of salmonella, like chicken eggs, but it’s still generally recommended that you cook any egg, from any animal, before eating it.

3. How Long Do You Cook a Quail Egg?

It goes without saying that with the small quail egg size, its cooking time should be reduced.

If you’re boiling quail eggs, submerge them in boiling water for just two minutes. Then, remove them from the boiling water. Next, run the eggs under cold water to stop the cooking process.

If you have an abundance, you can use quail eggs in baking. One chicken egg equals five quail eggs. You could also use a kitchen scale to be more precise.

You may also find you need to add a minute or two onto the cooking time due to the heftier yolk to egg white ratio. 

4. How Long Do Quail Eggs Last?

Try to eat all quail eggs within a month of them being laid. However, food safety standards say that they are good for around six weeks.

That said, make sure you keep them refrigerated below 40 degrees.

5. How Long Does it Take for a Quail Egg to Hatch?

On average, quail takes take 23 days to hatch.

6. What is the Lifespan of a Quail?

Quail in captivity will live 2 – 2.5 years.

Supply of Quail Eggs

Keeping or raising quails is a fantastic choice for people lacking backyard space. If you live in a city or town, maybe the choice has already been made for you due to local legal restrictions.

The eggs they produce will provide you with extra proteins, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, when consumed at the right amount, the eggs can help lower your bad cholesterol levels.

You’re also assured of great profit since the quails produce a good number of eggs for quite a long period.

Quails are beautiful, quiet birds that many people enjoy keeping for their eggs, meat, and company. Start enjoying a nutritious supply of eggs by raising quails.

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