(video) Highly Nutritous Food In Only 4 Sq. Ft. – Better Than Chickens


I came across a simple food source that is way better than chickens, according to Leo Magpoc. Leo raises quail, and he does it on a table top of less than four square feet.

Leo raises quail for both eggs and meat. My guess, and I’ll have to look at the numbers, is that raising them for the eggs alone is probably the most efficient way to use them. I recently purchased a cage from Leo and will be setting that up this summer.

Check out this video I did with Leo on the basics of raising quail.

PS:

Since this has been published, there is an update to this project.  Also a good pdf you can download with lots of specifics on exactly how to raise quail.  Click here to read or download the pdf

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Marjory Wildcraft

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Marjory Wildcraft is an Expedition Leader and Bioneer Blogger with The [Grow] Network, which is an online community that recognizes the wisdom of "homegrown food on every table." Marjory has been featured as an expert on sustainable living by National Geographic, she is a speaker at Mother Earth News fairs, and is a returning guest on Coast to Coast AM. She is an author of several books, but is best known for her "Grow Your Own Groceries" video series, which is used by more than 300,000 homesteaders, survivalists, universities, and missionary organizations around the world.
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41 Comments on (video) Highly Nutritous Food In Only 4 Sq. Ft. – Better Than Chickens

  1. DaveM

    A fine idea, but I’m not so sure about raising quail in an apartment. Space requirements sound great, but what does one do about the smell of b*rd sh*t? He notes that they smell much like chickens (and mentions that he cleans the cages once a week or so. Quail are much smaller of course, but….24 pooping quail in an apartment? Especially if you have the windows sealed with plastic for better insulation in the winter? Hmmmm.

    Wonderful fertilizer, mind. Perhaps if one could compost “the stuff”, it would reduce the smell. I’ve no idea, but is it possible to compost indoors with some sort of vent to the outside?

     
    • Larry j Lamson

      Buy a newspaper once a week for the coupons and change the paper every day. Add a hood and a small exhaust fan, and I bet it won’t smell worse than a cat… And with a couple dozen eggs and a couple dozen quail a month I would bet you could swap for feed if you didn’t want to add a small fodder system like the ones Marjory showed from halfpinthomestead.com …

       
  2. SweeterGarden

    My speaker is not working so please forgive me if my comment is redundant. BUT….you need more space than that unless you are going to eat them when they are young. It is best to have a flight pen where they can forage through natural vegetation, just as you would allow your chickens to graze. We kept quail confined in a small area and they developed diseases even though we had them on quality ration. If you are going to keep them for eggs, which are wonderful by the way, they will need more space!

     
    • Hi Sweeter,

      Thank you for bringing this up. That is something I hadn’t thought about.

      From what you’ve written this small a space is not really feasible. And you know, I should know better just if I thought about it a bit. This brings up a bigger issue; what is a good life for the animals we raise? I’ve started moving away from raising rabbits in cages. I’ve taken cage raised rabbits and put them in a small tractor on the ground. The rabbits change perceptibly and quickly. They become much more alert sitting up to watch what is going on around them. They seem to rejoice in the ability to hop and run a bit. They relish the green grasses.

      Sadly, much of human history has not been kind to our animal partners. Do you recall the pig that was living in that little sty in the backyard of that Cuban home? (I went to Cuba and shot a bunch of video – you can see the video with the pig sty here

      It is difficult enough raise animals with full knowledge that the day will come when you take their lives and eat them. So giving them the most enjoyable life possible seems reasonable.

      Andy yet, I believe we are facing times when hunger will dominate our National attention. Actually we are already at that time – its just that people are still being fed something and they don’t realize they are dominated by hunger.

      What is a good compromise between meeting our needs and ensuring the livestock lives good lives?

       
      • James

        He did say a larger pen would require a net to catch them and they lay eggs everywhere. Maybe those are his two reasons, just for practicality.

         
  3. Christa

    Sadly, he’s also counting ‘meat’ as if it’s boneless, but it isn’t. A full grown, jumbo corturnix quail is only 10-11oz or so, live weight. You take off feathers, head, feet, guts, and then deduct for bones, you are looking at just 3-4oz of meat per bird. Still a single serving, but nowhere near his 1/2 lb.

     
    • Thank you Christa. I’ll forward that comment on to Leo.

      On another note, I’ve been researching protein requirements for adult humans and about 3 oz. per meal is plenty – so 1 quail = 1 serving for 1 person.

       
  4. Carrie

    I know people love their dogs and cats and I have been in some terrible smelling places especially apartments they can’ be worse than that. If you had a balcony you could use that. I just found a person that said I could use his lad he doesn’t have the time but I do and have the know how and time. You may want o ask around you would be surprised how may would be interested in maybe teaming up with you if you both can share in eggs and meat.

     
  5. Paula

    Yeah, yeah, yeah!!! A cousin just incubated a batch and I’m quail sitting for her. We are very excited for this endeavor. Thanks for such relevant info Marjory!!!

     
  6. Dave

    I’ve tried a couple of times to understand the gentleman’s website address and it completely escapes me. Did anyone catch it?

     
  7. Jodie

    Anyone that has ever had birds know that birds create a lot of feather dust. If you have children or any breathing conditions, 24 quail in a small space, in an apartment will create lots dust. How is keeping a lot of little birds in a confined space any different then industrial chicken farming. I prefer chickens and let them free range. They have a variety things to eat, and are happier doing what comes natural.

     
    • Oh that is a good point Jodie. I am planning to put them in the greenhouse complex where they will get lots of fresh air.

      Hmm, yes I’ll have to re-think the possability of growing them indoors. And, there is a lot of concern from folks who want to grow food in condos or apartments. During really hard times in Cuba they raised chickens and pigs in the apartment… yikes. That was too close for comfort.

       
  8. Alysa

    I would love to know more about this, but there is no printed text and I cannot hear, so the video was a total waste. Why can’t people print out things anymore. Videos are made by lazy people who just don’t want to take the time to write it out.

     
  9. Bethany

    This is great stuff! My husband has been talking about raising our own meat lately. We already produce our own eggs and dairy from our ducks, chickens, and goats…..but he is ready for the next step. We’ll have to look into this.

     
  10. John

    I could not hear the email address of the guy (in Arizona) who makes the quail cages. Would someone please send that to me.

    thank you,

     
  11. George Jones

    A friend of mine (life long farmer) just told me he is just starting to hatch and raise quail for market. (Since his Emu Bird hatchery and raising operation is running into difficulties. National Emu farming just about gone ) .Usually quail only grow to about 6 oz. if I understood him correctly however Texas A & M has developed a breed that gets to 16 oz. Reaches 16 oz in 6 weeks and lays an egg about every day, pretty good I think. May want to check it out. … Doing a great job helping people Marj.. Thank You… George

     
  12. lee taves

    hello Marjory
    I have been doing aquaponics for two years and every thing don,t do well
    so im changing to some container gardening check out LARRY HALL
    ON youtube he has a out sanding I dea with gutter watering &grow bags
    and kitty pools. as for the fish I get more than we can eat. and have to give
    some away LEE

     
  13. J Ellis

    I can attest to the feather dust from a couple hundred chicks. There is a reason the old farmers had broader houses :) It is finer than face powder and gets every where.

     
  14. Sharon

    I would like a little better explanation of “not to hot, not too cold” I live in the desert. I do not want to raise them in doors but am not sure if they would survive in our extremes of hot and cold.

     
  15. Jackye

    I saw some baby quail at our local pet store. They were newly hatched and very tiny. I think it would be fun to raise them. I would only want to use the eggs. What does one do with the male quail? Oh I already know the answer, I could give them to my friend Hunter who butchers and eats meat.

     
    • Hi Jackye,

      I think that raising quail for eggs is going to be the most efficient way to get calories fromt he birds.

      I am hoping to get my son to become responsible for feeding/caring for the quail (he loves birds). And I know he won’t tolarate them getting eaten. So we will definitely be raising them for eggs in our setup.

       
  16. James

    Don’t you feel some remorse for keeping the little birds in cages and slaughtering them? I’m not sure I’m man enough to do it myself although I eat meat. Or maybe it’s I’m not hungry enough. Either way it’s a dilemma for me.

     
    • James, if you are eating meat, how do you think the animals you are eating were treated? I do think the stocking rates for quail in that cage is too dense, and less birds would be more humane. Also possibly a small yard for them to get out and eat some greens. But I promise you wheat people grow in their backyards is going to be infinately better than inudstrially grown meat.

       
  17. george

    I watched your video about the quail. FYI we were at the first Monday trade days in Canton, Tx this last weekend and they have quail for sale there. If you are not familiar with First Mondays in Canton they are open every Thursday at least through Sunday the first Monday of each month. They have a website at http://www.firstmondaycanton.com.

     
  18. LeRoy

    Kinda along the same lines with a different bird. The Eurasian Collared dove is classified as an invasive species in many places and does not enjoy any protection from state regulations. They should be easy to trap and they are larger than a Mourning Dove which is protected.

    Mourning Doves can be hunted legally in some states and are good eating but probably not legal to trap or keep alive without a permit.

    Back to the Eurasian Collared Dove. Where I live the Game and Fish Department ‘s website say’s the eggs and nest and birds can be destroyed, no permit needed.
    I think they would be a good food source but they are prolific and noisy and tend to drive other birds away by there sheer numbers. I think they would be easy to trap but I have not tried that yet. They overwinter well in cold climates unlike Mourning Doves that go south at the first sign of cold weather.
    These would not be a good choice to keep if you have neighbors close by and by the same token you probably want them away from your residence. (Out of hearing range anyway).

     
  19. Bryan Davis

    Marjory,
    I purchased one for Leo. Luckly i live in AZ so I just picked it up from him. But this system is working and I have had to purchase another incubator because production is up to avg 6-10 eggs a day and they should start hatching today. I will check in at the end of the week with update on hatch rate.

    But just wanted to say thanks for your video.

    ~BSR Davis

     
    • Hi Bryan,

      Oh thanks for the report. I just got my cage put together – so glad I got one from Leo. They are kinda complicated…. not difficult, but having him do most of the work helped a lot.

      So it sounds like you are raising them for the meat? I was thinking of only starting out raising them for the eggs.

      Hey, I get out to the Phoenix area at least once per year. Hopefully we can hook up next time I am there.

       
  20. I hatched Texas A&M Coturnix Quail (jumbo) and kept about 30 for almost 2 years. If you use the eggs, DO BUY a special quail egg cutter to make using the eggs FAR easier. The membrane is thick, but this (from Japan) egg cutter made the job much easier. I used cages from GQF Manufacturing to simplify my life and poop tray management. I had pest issues and closed it all down. Last year I shifted to chickens for easier use in many ways after setting up a great wire fence with 4 electric fence strands. I may go back to incubating and having some quail but would like to see if I can create a quail tractor. They are very quiet, easy to deal with. JonB