Quail on the Кed Сarpet

Japanese laying quail are on the rise. The small domesticated gallinaceous birds can be kept and bred with little space. Since 2016 they can also be exhibited. There are a few things to keep in mind.

The first selection of Japanese laying quail begins with the eggs. If they are clearly too big, small, or misshapen, they should not be hatched. The same applies to eggs with a very thin and brittle shell. The chicks hatch after 17 to 18 days of incubation. After two days at the latest, these are to be taken out of the incubator and placed in the prepared chick home. Even then, the first possible exclusion errors can already be seen, mostly in the form of deformations.

Chicks that, for example, have missing phalanxes, crossbills, or splayed legs should never be used later inbreeding. Animals that show growth disturbances or delays during rearing should also be marked immediately. Ideally, such animals should be removed from the group in order to be able to offer the healthy animals more space and less competition.

In the case of the color varieties that show wild color markings, the sexes can already be determined at the age of three weeks. The roosters then shed the first salmon-colored feathers in the middle of their breasts, while the fresh feathers of the hens already show the flake markings. At this point in time, further selection steps can be carried out, especially with young roosters. Cocks that do not have a strong salmon-colored breast feather will not show a rich basic color in the adult plumage either. Such cocks can be separated at this age and used for fattening. In the case of the hens, no conclusions can be drawn as to the adult plumage. The same applies to the wings and back markings of both sexes.

The Shape Comes First

As they are extremely fast-growing animals, the Japanese laying quail must already be ringed when they are two to three weeks old. This is the only way they will later be admitted to exhibitions. After about five weeks it is advisable to separate hens and cocks, as the first cocks are sexually mature at just under six weeks. This means the hens are less stressed and their plumage stays in good condition. As soon as all the roosters are sexually mature, the first unrest in the rooster group often occurs. In a large aviary, such problems in the rooster group can usually be avoided. Another option is to keep one rooster with one or two selected pullets separately. However, this requires high availability of space. Roosters kept individually are often very nervous, which is why this form of housing is not recommended.

With about seven to eight weeks, the Japanese laying quail are usually fully grown. A large selection can now be made here again. Even at this age, the young animals must be examined again for deformities. You can already see the final form at this age. An oval line must be visible in the top and bottom lines. The animals should have an appropriate body depth.

The roosters are smaller than the hens
Japanese quails that are too narrow will not show an even top and bottom line and should therefore be excluded from breeding. The tail should follow the line of the back. A tail that is too sloping or a slightly rising tail angle should be excluded from breeding. This also applies to animals with a square underline. The harmonious lines mentioned above do not permit an underbust that is too full or too deep. Legs should be set behind the middle of the body and should be of medium length with thighs barely showing. The well-rounded body is adorned with a small, rounded head with a short to medium-length beak.

An Important Point in the Selection

Japanese laying quail is the difference in size between rooster and hen: Unlike our hens, roosters are somewhat smaller and have a more delicate body. This feature should definitely be retained and thus also included in the breeding selection.

The plumage of the Japanese laying quail lies flat against the body and does not have much down. In the case of young animals that are reared in stables, the plumage usually appears somewhat loose or even shaggy during rearing. However, this does not necessarily have a genetic background. The reason for such spring structures is usually a too dry barn climate. If the offspring are regularly offered slightly moistened soil or sand for bathing, the plumage will remain intact. Another reason for such defects in the plumage can also be the kicking of roosters, which at best have not been separated from the group of hens. This usually results in broken feathers, which do not allow high marks at exhibitions.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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