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Quails are unpretentious in nutrition, but to maintain the health of birds, it is important to correctly compose a menu for them. From the first days until adulthood, the diet is complicated with roughage and saturated with minerals. But for successful breeding, you need to study the age characteristics of quails and how to feed them to maintain productivity. After all, fortified food, which is good for chicks, can knock down the laying cycle in young layers.
How to feed quails at home so that they rush well
In order for the yolk and shells to form correctly, and healthy offspring to appear, the birds need to choose a balanced diet. Traditionally, the diet of domestic birds consists of five types of food.
Cereals and legumes, cereals and seeds
In the wild, quails independently find food - they are looking for edible plants and seeds. Therefore, captive feeding should also include crops. Cereals contain the protein required for egg formation. With a lack of protein components, quails peck at their own masonry.
To increase egg production, quail nutrition includes:
- corn is a source of energy, carbohydrates, starch. Due to the lack of amino acids in the composition, it is combined with legumes;
- oats - saturates the body of birds with B vitamins. Quails are given refined grains so that the husk does not clog the esophagus;
- wheat groats - the main component in the diet of layers;
- beans - rich in amino acids, vegetable proteins and fat;
- rice - a nutritious product increases the productivity of layers, replenishes their energy costs during the laying period.
The share of legumes should not exceed 40 percent of the total quail diet. Excess protein will lead to obesity. In beefy quails, egg production decreases.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
The flour turns into a sticky mass and stagnates in the stomach, so quails can only eat coarse and medium-sized feed.
Quails receive iron, potassium, magnesium from animal products. Substances support the nervous and endocrine systems of birds. In nature, quails feed on insects, larvae. In captivity, the following foods are sources of trace elements and amino acids:
- fodder fat - added to vegetable fats, replenishes energy, the allowable share in the diet is 5 percent;
- quail blood - a protein supplement, extracted from poultry carcasses after slaughter;
- blood meal - a product of cattle blood processing, mixed with cereals;
- bloodworms, mealworms, maggots are sources of animal protein, quails happily eat them after dandelion leaves and vegetables;
- meat and bone meal, fish meal - the main supplier of calcium and phosphorus, but unpleasant for birds because of its smell;
- fish waste - boiled pieces of fish, tripe, caviar in crushed form also contain a lot of phosphorus and protein. The proportion of fish products should be increased during molt and egg-laying;
- fish oil - a source of vitamin D, is mixed with skim milk and used as a base for wet mash.
Quails love to feast on earthworms. Birds that eat them regularly gain weight faster. 2 weeks before slaughter, quails are not given fish products, otherwise the meat will smell like fish.
Root crops are given to poultry as natural sources of vitamins:
- carrots - contains vitamin A, useful for chicks during the period of feather formation and for the prevention of visual impairment;
- beets - a source of glucose, vitamins C and B;
- Chinese cabbage - a natural vitamin complex and a source of fiber, a soft product for digestion, unlike white cabbage;
- potatoes are the main supplier of starch;
- herbs - vitamin C is found in the leaves of nettle, dandelion, clover and alfalfa are also useful for birds.
Vegetables, except cabbage, are boiled and chopped before serving. The cabbage leaves and grass are finely chopped, and the nettle is scalded with boiling water.
Waste from production
Quails willingly eat processed products of cereals and legumes:
- soybean meal, cake - vegetable waste is a source of amino acids, lysine and vitamin E;
- bran - useful only for adult birds.
Waste of hemp, flax, sunflower is used instead of soy.
When laying eggs, quails need additives to promote shell formation:
- chalk - contains calcium;
- salt - replenishes the lack of sodium;
- crushed seashells - help digest food.
So that the hens do not peck the eggs, they are mixed with crushed shells.
Compound feed preparation
Household quails are bought specially formulated mixes. But due to the high cost of production, farmers often prepare their own feed.
The approximate composition is shown in the table:
|Number in percentage by age of birds|
|From two weeks to a month||One to two months|
For novice poultry farmers, there are ready-made feed recipes.
Preparation of feed for young birds:
- chop and mix a kilogram of wheat, 200 grams of barley and 0.5 kilograms of corn kernels;
- add 4 milliliters of sunflower oil;
- add half a teaspoon of bone meal and the same amount of salt.
Mix recipe for adult quail:
- mix and crush 800 grams of corn, 500 grams of wheat grains and 200 grams of peas;
- add 6 milliliters of vegetable oil;
- add a tablespoon of salt, shells and chalk;
- to stir thoroughly.
One quail of the mixture is enough for 40-50 days. To calculate the number of ingredients for a flock, you need to multiply the weight in grams by the number of birds.
Special vitamin complexes are added to the compound feed prepared according to our own recipe, which stimulate the growth of the chicks' mass and increase the productivity of the layers.
Premixes for chickens or vitamins "Undevit", "Kvadevit" can be added to the quail's diet. One dragee is dissolved in an amount of drinking water, calculated for ten quails.
Features of seasonal feeding
A balanced diet is required for quails all year round. But in winter you have to look for a replacement for fresh grass.
How to feed the birds according to the season:
- in winter, give soybean meal, oat and wheat sprouts, dried nettles, clover, alfalfa hay;
- add spinach and boiled root vegetables in summer.
With the arrival of cold weather, the quail feeding schedule changes. Birds eat twice a day. Until noon, they are given moist vegetable and herbal food, and in the afternoon - grain concentrates, beans.
Daily feed intake
Representatives of meat breeds gain 160 grams by the third month - half the weight required for slaughter. The frequency of feeding affects the growth of the mass of quails at different ages.
For an adult bird
Norms and characteristics of quail nutrition:
- from two months, birds are fed 3 times a day;
- the proportion of protein products should be 40 percent. Small deviations up or down will not affect the health of the birds. But it is not recommended to significantly increase the amount of protein. Instead of weight gain in quails, the liver grows and fails;
- the daily portion of feed for one individual is 30 grams. The portion should include herbs and offal;
- it is useful to add low-fat cottage cheese to compound feed;
- during the period of egg production, quails are given more fish;
- in between egg-laying, birds are fed with yeast. They are added to the feed of layers throughout the week at intervals of one day.
In the diet of fattened quails, the proportion of protein components and fat is gradually increased. Fattening for meat lasts a month. In the fifth week, the daily ration is increased by 8 percent.
Norms and rules for feeding chicks:
- in the first week after hatching, the quail are fed 7-10 times a day and watered with water with manganese;
- for birds to grow quickly, the daily diet should be 26 percent protein;
- the first food for newborn chicks is chopped boiled eggs;
- from the third day they give low-fat cottage cheese;
- from the eighth day, the chicks are fed 6 times a day;
- grown quails are able to digest wheat groats, grated roots and herbs;
- the food is kneaded in fish oil, broth, adding bone meal;
- the third week begins with four meals a day, crushed shells are introduced instead of eggs.
From the fifth week, the quails feed like adult birds.
What mistakes should be considered?
Basic rules for quail feeding:
- control the protein level - if it is difficult to calculate the proportion of protein feed, it is better to switch to ready-made mixtures;
- use fresh products - damp or moldy grains, rotten vegetables cause fungal diseases and poisoning;
- collect herbs on the plains or in the foothills - in swampy areas, plants are infected with helminths;
- observe the shelf life of animal products - no more than six months at a temperature of -3 degrees;
- mix the ingredients thoroughly - crush whole grains in a grinder, turn meat waste in a meat grinder along with vegetables and chopped herbs.
Often, poultry farmers carefully work out their nutrition, but forget about the drinking regime. Quails are allowed to drink settled tap water or boiled river water. Once a week, manganese is added to the drink, and every ten days - ascorbic acid, two tablets per liter. Shallow drinkers are placed for weekly chicks, otherwise they may choke.
Quails are shy birds. In order not to disturb them by the presence in the aviary, it is better to fix the feeders and drinkers on the door or place it near it. The water should be changed 1-2 times a day, and the half-eaten food should be removed immediately. Mixtures with cottage cheese, offal quickly deteriorate. Following the rules of hygiene in quail feeding is just as important as choosing a balanced diet.