Quail raising has its own rewards as well as its problems.

By Zac B. Sarian

An intimate discussion with a quail raiser in Bulacan whom we shall call “Dr. Jay” reveals that there are certain times when sales are low, and so one must innovate to keep afloat.

Did you know, for instance, that during summer when students are not in school, the demand for quail eggs drops by as much as 50 percent? And then there are other factors that affect demand. Dr. Jay said that in 1999, a big shipment of squid was rejected by Japan and so it was diverted to the Philippines. The squid was so cheap that the street food vendors turned to making squid balls rather than quail eggs.

Did you know that the lanzones and rambutan seasons also affect the demand for quail eggs? The vendors shift to selling lanzones and rambutan rather than quail eggs. And since quails lay eggs every day, the price of the eggs go down.

Quail layers in their enclosure.

One company that has been exerting efforts to make the quail raisers’ problems more bearable is Agrichexers, a feed manufacturing company in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. It is of course understandable because it supplies the biggest volume of quail feeds in Central Luzon.

No Brood Quail Feed

One step that Agrichexers took just recently is the formulation of a high-energy and high-protein chick feed. This makes the quail chicks warm because of the energy and so there is no need for a heater for 24 days. Because the feed contains high protein, the birds grow faster. This feed formulation saves a lot on electricity or LPG that is used to provide heat to the chicks.

Antibiotic Sensitivity Test

The company has also acquired a laboratory equipment for what it calls Antibiotic Sensitivity Test or AST. Gil SP Garcia, Agrichexers president, said that AST can tell exactly what particular antibiotic to apply to a particular disease that crops up.

Garcia explains that there are different diseases of quails as well as livestock and poultry. And there are various brands to choose from to best cure a particular disease. The AST can readily tell which one will cure the disease. No guesswork. The AST is also used in pigs and chickens.

A quail drinking from an automatic drinker.

Automatic Drinker

The automatic drinker is something new for quails, although it is standard equipment for chickens. This one reduces the need for a lot of labor on the part of the quail raiser. With the old practice, water is dispensed in water troughs that have to be cleaned every day. When one is raising hundreds of thousands of quails, that becomes a major job for laborers.

With the automatic drinker, the raiser is freed from the daily cleaning chores. The water in the automatic drinker is placed in an overhead tank with a filter. It is so convenient to operate.

Pro Nonie Juice

Agrichexers has also popularized the use of Pro Nonie Juice in the drinking water of quails as well as chickens. This is an extract that has been proven to protect the birds from common diseases. With this extract, there is no need to put antibiotics in the feeds or the drinking water.

These young quail chicks
don’t need a heater because they are given high energy feed.

Profit Cycles

Dr. Jay stresses that one has to admit that there are lean times and good times in the quail industry. What is important is to recognize the problem and do something positive about it. He should know. This summer, he sold a lot of his old layers but is busy preparing for the next few months when schoolchildren will be back in school.

Advantages of Quail

Quail raising offers a number of advantages, whether one is a small or a big operator. For one, it requires less capital to start with. Quail chicks are much cheaper than broiler chicks. Day-old quail chicks may be had for about Php6.50 each compared to more than Php20 for the broilers.

Quail eggs are packed at 100 pieces per box.

The housing is much simpler for quails. A cage measuring 2 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 16 inches
in height can already contain 160 layers. And the cages can be four on top of one another. The space required is much less than that of chickens.

The gestation period is very short. Quails will start laying eggs just 35 days from hatching. And the productive life could be one year or thereabouts. The egg lay percentage is as high as more than 95 percent in the first few months, tapering to 90%, 80% and then as low as 70% in the last month before the bird is culled and sold for meat at Php7 each.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s May 2015 issue.