Raising Quails Part 3
By: Gemma C. Delmo
Incubation and hatching
Usually, quails nurture their own eggs but other breeds like the bobwhite do not naturally incubate, hence the need for an incubator. If you decide to use one, study carefully the instructions to avoid problems. NSW identifies two incubators commonly used. The still-air and forced-draught or fan ventilated incubators. Still-air incubating temperature of 38.3 degrees centigrade for the first week, 38.8 degrees centigrade for second week and not exceeding 39.5 degrees centigrade until hatching is completed. Humidity is important in small still-air incubators, thus avoid opening the incubator unless you need to turn the eggs. The eggs must be turned by hand three to five times a day and put a mark on the eggs to connote the number of turns. It is advised to transfer the eggs to different locations in the incubator in case the temperature is not consistent. To prevent newly hatched chicks to slump in hatching trays, crowd the eggs or attach cheesecloths to the bottom of the hatching tray before the hatch.
Forced -draft or fan ventilated incubators should have a maintaining temperature of 37.5 degrees centigrade and a relative humidity of 60% until the 14th day. The NSW suggest turning of eggs every 2 to 4 hrs to prevent embryos from sticking to the shell. On the 14th day, candle and remove any cracked eggs or dead embryos. Transfer the eggs to the hatching trays and stop turning. If there is a separate hatcher, maintain its temperature at 37.2 degree centigrade with relative humidity of 70%. The incubator should not be opened during the hatching process. If all procedures have been followed the chicks may be removed on the 17th or 18th day.
Incubation without using these machines is also possible. Gather quail eggs and put them under a hen. Remove all chicken eggs and wait for 17-18 days for hatching.
It may take ten hours for chicks to fully pop out from their shells. After hatching, the incubator should be cleaned, disinfected and fumigated.
Though quails are hardy and resistant to diseases, they can still be affected with common poultry illnesses. Proper sanitation is the primary solution to avoid all health problems and regularly disinfecting the equipment is highly recommended. Birds that appear sick should be quickly separated and immediately take out dead birds. Consult a veterinarian or an animal expert for a guaranteed health safety.
Quail bronchitis is one of the most common diseases of quails. According to Merck Veterinary manual (MerckVet), quail bronchitis is naturally occurring, highly contagious and a fatal respiratory disease. It affects quails of different ages that are maintained on the same premises.
The disease is caused by adenovirus that instantly affects the respiratory tract of the birds. It also affects the liver and intestine of the birds. Clinical signs include respiratory distress, coughing and sneezing. Loose, watery droppings are common in some acutely affected older birds.
The disease is often self limiting. There is no specific treatment and experimental vaccines have proven ineffective. However, increasing the brooder temperature by 1.5 to 3 degrees centigrade and avoiding contact between older and younger birds and other avian species are of value, as are strict isolation and sanitation can be an effective solution. Immunity is long lasting, possibly for life and recovered birds can be retained for breeders. New birds should not be introduced to premises without a 30-day quarantine.
This infection is also identified by MerckVet as common among quails. This affects the heart, liver, muscle and lungs. Mortality can be as high as 78% particularly in bobwhite quails. This infection is very perilous as it can cause sudden death without clinical signs. However, experts tell that if birds show anemia, lameness, poor growth and weakness, it should be given treatment such as antimalarial drugs or medicines containing chloroquine (5 milligrams per kilogram) and buparvaquone (2.5 milligrams per kilogram).
Ulcerative enteritis is an acute highly contagious disease of quails caused by the bacterium Clostridium colinum and characterized by the ulcers of the intestine. It can cause 100% mortality in quails. According to the Poultry Site, transmission of diseases is from feces of sick and carrier birds through flies. Birds affected by this disease show listlessness, retracted neck, drooping wings, partially closed eyes, ruffled feathers, diarrhea, anemia and watery white feces. The poultry site recommends treatment of Streptomycin (44 gm/100 liters of water0, Bacitracin, tetracyclines, penicillin (50 to 100 ppm in feed), amoxicillin and vitamins. Response to treatment should be seen within 48 to 96 hours.
Quails are also affected by salmonella, lice, cholera and blackheads which can easily be treated.
The MSU states that many strains of the disease causing bacteria have been isolated and some strains have shown high resistance to the more beneficial drugs we use. Good management practices will help reduce the severity of these outbreaks. The institution therefore recommends the following practices:
Keep water trough clean or use nipple waterers.
Do not let visitors into the bird producing areas.
Clean and disinfect all equipment before taking it near the birds.
Do not bring any new birds onto the premises. If you need to increase flock size, hatch chicks from purchased eggs or eggs you produce.
Additionof 6-10 pounds of salt to each 100 square feet of litter or growing area has been reported to reduce ulcerative enteritis outbreaks.
Maintain a good insect pest and rodent control program to reduce disease spread.
Wear clean clothes and disinfect footwear before entering quail rearing facilities.
MSU emphasizes that most disease outbreaks are spread by the bird caretaker, not by the birds. Precautions you take to prevent the disease from entering the premises will be much more rewarding than trying to “treat’ yourself out of a disease problem/
A great source of extra income
Though investments may not be as big compared to chickens, it can nevertheless be a good source of extra money. From egg to becoming an egg producer, quails can generate money within two months as it will only take 57 days to fully grow and produce eggs again. Broiler quails can be sold 35 days after it has been hatched. Sixteen days after it has hatched, quails can again lay eggs within 41 days.
If you decided to raise 100 quails with a 70% egg producing capacity, it is guaranteed to produce 70 eggs in one day. Eggs are now sold at 0.75 pesos each. A rule of thumb that still applies with regard to profitability of a quail venture is that for every thousand of quail population, the net income per day should be 100 pesos. So if you have 10,000 heads you have daily net income of 1,000 pesos. This covers all the costs including depreciation.
Quails can be profitable if well-taken care of. We strongly recommends consulting an expert first before engaging in the business to ensure amore productive and profitable quail raising.
*** sources: New South Wales Food Authority, Michigan State University Cooperative Extension, The Poultry Site, Merck Veterinary Manual, Livestock Development council and Bureau of Animal Industry.
Source: MARID Agribusiness February 2007
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