Document Sample
quail Powered By Docstoc
Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds in the pheasant
family Phasianidae. New World quails (family Odontophoridae) and buttonquails
(family Turnicidae) are not closely related but named for their similar appearance
and behaviour.


Phylum                    Chordata
Class                     Aves
Order                     Galliformes
Family                    Phasianidae

Genus, species sub species:

Asian Blue Quail (Coturnix chinensis): The Asian Blue Quail is popular among backyard
quail raisers where it is usually referred to as the Button Quail. It is the smallest member of the
quail species.

Blue Quail (Coturnix adansonii): The Blue Quail is relatively common throughout sub-
Sahara Africa.

Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora): Also known as the Swamp Quail, the Brown/Swamp
Quail is very common throughout wet areas in Australia.

Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix): The Common Quail is very common in Europe, Asia
and Africa. The Common quail is a dual-purpose quail (used for quail eggs and quail meat). It is
popularly hunted as a gamebird. The Common Quail eats small insects and grains/plant seeds. It
takes approximately 18 days for fertile Common Quail eggs to hatch.

Harlequin Quail (Coturnix delegorguei): The Harlequin Quail, found throughout Central
America and the southwest of the United States, is also known as the Montezuma Quail, Mearns'
Quail, and the Fool's Quail. The Harlequin/Montezuma/Mearns/Fool's Quail is popular among
gamebird hunters, where it can be found in open pastures and fields eating insects (the primary
ingredient in its feed).

Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa): The Himalayan Quail is a rare quail genus found
only in the Himalayan Mountain regions and is probably extinct.
Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica): The Japanese Quail is originally from Asia, though it is
now raised around the world. Adult Japanese Quail measure twenty centimeters long and are very
popular for domestic husbandry, used for both eggs and quail meat.

Jungle Bush-quail (Perdicula asiatica): The Jungle Bush-quail is found throughout South
Asia and is rarely raised by domestic quail hobbyists.

Manipur Bush-quail (Perdicula manipurensis): The Manipur Bush-quail is an Indian
quail species.

New Zealand Quail (Coturnix novaezelandiae): The New Zealand Quail, also known as the
koreke quail, was found throughout New Zealand before being hunted to extinction by both
humans and animal predators introduced by sailors and settlers to New Zealand.

Painted Bush-quail (Perdicula erythrorhyncha):

Rain Quail (Coturnix coromandelica): This South Asian quail species has very distinctive
color patterns on its plumage and is rarely raised by backyard quail hobbyists.

Rock Bush-quail (Perdicula argoondah): The Rock Bush-quail is an Indian quail species
that is rarely used for eggs or meat.

Snow Mountain Quail (Anurophasis monorthonyx): The Snow Mountain Quail is a large
gamebird found at high altitudes in Alpine climates and grasslands. During breeding season, the
Snow Mountain Quail only lays three to four eggs.

Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis): Originally from Australia, the Stubble Quail is a
gamebird quail species not commonly raised for domestic purposes

         Characteristics(GENERAL)

1. These small birds have plump bodies and short wings.
2. They weigh 4 to 16 ounces (125 to 465 grams) and measure 7 to 15 inches (17
to 37 centimeters).
3. Males are slightly larger and, in some species, have slightly more dramatic
plumage (feather) coloring.
4 Many species have red rings around the eyes, and some have crests on their
heads ranging from tiny tufts of hair to long feathers.
5. Quail bills have serrated (sharply notched) edges. Legs are strong to help in
running, digging and scratching.

All of the species except the rail-babbler are found exclusively in Australia and New Guinea. The
rail-babbler lives in the lowland peninsular areas of Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo.

Northern bobwhite use early successional (i.e., weedy) habitats across a variety of landscapes in
the South. Shootable populations can be produced in agricultural, forested and mixed landscapes.
This section will outline the important characteristics of five key components of quail habitat:
nesting, brooding, loafing, escape and feeding cover. To maximize quail numbers, each of these
should be present within each 20-30 acres of managed areas--however, less will do if lower
numbers will suffice.

Nesting Habitat

Having adequate quantities of quality nesting habitat is vital to producing quail. Quail usually
locate nests in residual vegetation from the previous growing season. This type of vegetation is
found in areas not burned or disked for two years. Patches of sparse broomsedge or other warm-
season grasses offer excellent cover for nesting. Quail will avoid nesting in areas where the ground
is covered with thick vegetation. Preferably, patches of nesting habitat should be two to 10 acres.
Small patches of nesting cover make nests more vulnerable to predators. Also, plan to locate
nesting cover on upland sites, away from lowlands that harbor many nest predators. Preferably,
nesting habitat should cover 15-30 percent of the landscape.

Feeding Habitat

Though an opportunistic seed-eater, the quail's diet varies by season, sex and age. Table I shows
the breakdown of food sources, by volume, taken from a sample of crops. In fall/winter, seeds of
legumes, cultivated grains, tree mast and other seeds are important. Spring and summer, greens
and insects are important for hens producing eggs. Consider that a single clutch of eggs weighs
about as much as the hen--of which she may produce several. Later summer and early fall, grass
seeds and fruits are taken. As mentioned earlier, insects are the primary diet item for quail chicks.

Quail prefer to forage directly from the ground and up to 12 inches above the ground. They are
weak scratchers; therefore, maintaining areas of understory vegetation with ample bare ground
exposed underneath is a critical aspect feeding habitat. Planting food patches can help to localize
coveys of quail for improved hunting. While no research in the South has demonstrated a quail
population increase due to supplemental feeding or food patches, food patches are used heavily by
quail in habitats with poor mast and low food resources in the winter. Table 2 provides some
suggestions for planting food patches. If you are interested in planting prescriptions, contact your
state wildlife agency, extension specialist or Quail Unlimited.

Characteristics of Quail

Body: Like other members of their family, quail have a chunky body with short, rounded wings,
and a short, thick, hooked bill, in which the tip of the upper mandible hangs slightly over that of
the lower. The legs and feet are stout, and are used for running as well as for scratching in the
ground surface for their foods of seeds and invertebrates. Compared with other birds in the
Phasianidae, quails are relatively small, short-necked birds, with a short tail, a serrated edge of
the beak, and lacking spurs on the legs.

Behaviour: Quail are nonmigratory, terrestrial birds, inhabiting semideserts, grasslands,
open woodlands, and forest edges. Quail eat berries, seeds, buds, and leaves, as well as insects and
other types of invertebrates that they encounter, especially as they scratch through dirt and debris
on the ground. Young quail feed especially heavily on invertebrates, because they are growing
rapidly and therefore need a diet rich in proteins.

Male quail are relatively brightly patterned and are often ornamented with unusual structures
that are intended to impress the female—for example, a long plume of A Gambel's quail
(Lophortyx gambelii) in the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Arizona.. feathers on
the head. In addition, male quail have strutting behavioral repertoires that are designed to excite
potential mates.

These structures and behaviors are not adaptive in the conventional sense, in fact, they likely
make male quail more vulnerable to being killed by predators. These special characteristics of
male quail have evolved as a result of sexual selection, a force that favors individuals that are most
pleasing to the females in an aesthetic sense. Other members of the Phasianidae, such as
pheasants and peafowl, have evolved even more unusual reproduction-enhancing characteristics
than the quails.

Most species of quail have a monogamous breeding system, in which male and female birds pair
off and cooperate in breeding. This is different from many other groups in the Phasianidae, which
are polygynous. Quail nest on the ground, usually beneath a shrub or in other protective cover. In
some species of quails, both the female and the male brood the eggs, and both cooperate in
raising the chicks. Quail chicks are precocious and can leave the nest soon after birth, following
their parents and feeding themselves, mostly on insects.

Habitat Management Tools

Quail require areas that have been disturbed within the past one to three years. Disking and
prescribed burning are common techniques for producing the proper ground story conditions for
all components of quail habitat. It is, however, the frequency and distribution of disturbance that
"make or break" each component of quail habitat.


Most professional foresters will tell you that forest management activities must be directed at the
objectives of the landowner. On some properties, the objective is to maximize the number of
shootable quail on the site. Other landowners want to emphasize timber management, while
providing for some quail hunting. Still others want a moderate amount of annual timber income
along with a moderate amount of quail. No matter the objective, a quail management program
should integrate forest management into its objectives for ecological, economic and aesthetic

Quail management & production:

Each year in Georgia, approximately five million Bobwhite quail are produced and marketed for
use at hunting preserves and plantations. In Georgia, it is required that public use hunting
preserves obtain annual permits through the Department of Natural Resources. Approximately
175 hunting preserves are permitted annually through the Department of Natural Resources. In
addition to the large number of hunting preserves in Georgia, there are many other plantations in
the adjoining southern states. The total number of hunting preserves and plantations in the
southern region provides an excellent market for Bobwhite quail producers.
With the associated problems of agronomic crops such as droughts and volatile market prices,
Bobwhite quail production has received attention as an alternative enterprise for many farming
operations. Most successful producers typically raise breeders with the intent to market the
resultant chicks at one day of age to grow out producers, or they specialize in the grow out of day-
old chicks until approximately 17 weeks of age to sell as flight-ready birds to game preserve

Breeder and Hatchery Management
                                                       Housing needs, feeding schedule, lighting
                                                       program and vaccination schedule are all
                                                       calculated in reverse from the time the birds
                                                       are about 22 weeks of age. While young
                                                       breeders may begin to lay a few eggs as early
                                                       as 18 weeks of age, do not expect consistent
                                                       egg production until about 22 weeks of age.
                                                       Young chicks and immature birds are
                                                       maintained in a dimly lit environment to
                                                       reduce cannibalism and allow uniform
                                                       sexual development. Immature birds do best
                                                       on as little as 10-11 hours of light/day. At 19
                                                       weeks of age, increase the length of daily
                                                       light period birds receive by an hour a week
                                                       until the birds are receiving 17 hours of
                                                       light/day, which should occur at about 25-27
weeks of age. In order to reduce cannibalism, light intensity should not exceed 1 foot candle.
Interior walls of the house should be white or light-colored to reflect the light provided and
reduce dark spots in the house. After the light has reached 17 hours/day, it is extremely important
to maintain this day length. Any sudden decrease in hours of light per day will cause a decline in
egg production.

. Producers who raise birds in total blackout facilities (not exposed to natural day
lengths) should have no problem meeting the outlined schedule (Table 1).

ideally, maintain breeders in a comfortable, well-ventilated environment. Keep temperatures
between 65 and 85 degrees F to achieve acceptable feed conversion and production levels.
Research indicates that temperatures lower than 65 degrees F will increase the bird's energy
requirement, which will lower feed efficiency and, more importantly, reduce egg production. At
temperatures greater than 85 degrees F, feed intake is often reduced, which may also lead to
reduced egg production. In contrast to most other domesticated birds, bobwhite quail often peak
in egg production during the warmer portions of their production cycle, possibly suggesting they
are more heat tolerate. However, excessively high ambient temperatures often result in reduced
fertility in other avian species. A properly designed and operated negative pressure evaporative
cooling system may be profitable. Benefits include a significant increase in egg production, shell
quality and fertility during summer and early fall.

 Housing birds in large pens on slatted floors similar to the traditional floor pen setup has been
successful. The house design is the same, but the problems associated with birds raised directly
on the litter are eliminated.


Hatching egg sanitation often determines the quality, and certainly the quantity, of chicks
hatched. To optimize the number of clean and viable hatching eggs, collect them several times
each day (3-5 times). Make the final pick-up late in the day to minimize the time eggs spend in the
breeder house. This is particularly important during the warmer summer days. The most
desirable eggs are those that are clean, free of shell defects, fairly large, and yet retain good shell
quality. Embryonic development begins at temperatures at or near 75 degrees F. To stop excessive
development and weakening of the embryo, cool eggs shortly after they are laid. Repeatedly
starting and stopping embryo development usually causes poor hatchability due to embryonic
Store hatching eggs until an appropriate number of eggs are obtained in order to produce the
quantity of chicks desired from a single hatch. Store eggs with the large end up in clean egg flats
in an egg room or cooler. Maintain the egg storage room at 55-70 degrees F and about 70-80
percent relative humidity. Egg storage beyond seven days will reduce hatchability; therefore, the
date the eggs were laid should be clearly marked in pencil marker on the eggs or egg flat. Many
producers are pre-warming hatching eggs for several hours prior to setting. When eggs are pre-
warmed, they are removed from the cool room and allowed to gradually warm to room

                                   DISEASES OF QUAIL

  1. Respiratory system

    a. Quail bronchitis
      1. Cause - type 1 adenovirus
     2. Gross - conjunctivitis, tracheal mucus, airsacculitis
     3. Micro - basophilic intranuclear inclusions in tracheal epithelial
     4. Trans - lateral

    b. Other respiratory viruses
      1. Cause - Newcastle disease virus, influenza viruses, coronavirus
  2. Gross - similar to quail bronchitis
  3. Micro - epithelial cell necrosis of trachea --> epithelial cell
        hyperplasia with immature nonciliated epithelial cells
        lining lumen
  4. Trans - lateral
2. Nervous system

 a. Newcastle disease
  1. Cause - paramyxovirus
  2. Gross - no lesions
  3. Micro - nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis
  4. Trans - lateral

 b. Avian encephalomyelitis
   1. Cause - paramyxovirus
  2. Gross - no lesions
  3. Micro - nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis
  4. Trans - vertical, through the egg

 c. Equine encephalitis
  1. Cause - alphavirus
  2. Gross - no lesions
  3. Micro - nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis
  4. Trans - lateral

3. Integument

 a. Quail pox
  1. Cause - quail pox virus
  2. Gross - raised lesions with scab formation on unfeathered skin,
        beak, feet, oral and nasal cavities
  3. Micro - epithelial hyperplasia with ballooning degeneration and
        large eosinophilic intracytoplasmic inclusions
  4. Trans - lateral by biting mosquitoes

4. Neoplasia

 a. Marek's disease
  1. Cause - Marek's disease virus (herpesvirus)
  2. Gross - birds may be down, paralyzed, blind; lesions include
        lymphoid tumors in skin, proventriculus, intestine, liver,
        heart, kidney, spleen, ovary, oviduct, lung, nerves
  3. Micro - lymphoblastic cells (neoplastic) with numerous
        lymphocytes, plasma cells, and macrophages (inflammatory)
  4. Trans - lateral through dander (highly contagious)

 b. Reticuloendotheliosis
  1. Cause - reticuloendotheliosis virus (retrovirus)
  2. Gross - lymphosarcoma-like lesions in various organs, particularly
        the intestinal tract
  3. Micro - large anaplastic mononuclear cells with or without
        lymphocytic response
  4. Trans - lateral and vertical

 1. Generalized

  a. Bacteremia/septicemia
    1. Cause - Pasteurella spp., Salmonella spp., Erysipelothrix
         rhusiopathiae, Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp.
   2. Gross - splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, swollen kidneys, fibrino-
         purulent polyserositis, arthritis
   3. Micro - necrosis --> fibrinopurulent inflammation of affected
   4. Trans - lateral, may be secondary to other agents

  b. Tuberculosis
   1. Cause - Mycobacterium avium rare other than in backyard fowl (old)
   2. Gross - granuloma formation most commonly in liver, spleen,
         intestines, and bone marrow
   3. Micro - tubercle formation characterized by caseous center
         surrounded by macrophages, epithelioid macrophages, and
         multinucleated giant cells, acid fast organisms
   4. Trans - lateral

 2. Omphalitis

  a. Salmonellosis
   1. Cause - Salmonella pullorum, S. gallinarum, S. typhimurium)
  2. Gross - enlarged, inflamed yolk sac --> septicemia
  3. Micro - heterophilic and granulomatous inflammation of yolk sac
  4. Trans - vertical through egg, contamination at hatchery
 3. Alimentary tract

  a. Ulcerative enteritis (quail disease)
   1. Cause - Clostridium colinum
   2. Gross - focal areas of necrosis and ulceration in the small
         intestine and ceca, multifocal areas of necrosis in liver
   3. Micro - focal areas of ulceration and necrosis with some
         heterophil infiltration in liver and intestine
   4. Trans - lateral, can be secondary to damage initiated by coccidia

 4. Sinusitis

  a. Infectious coryza
   1. Cause - Haemophilus paragallinarum
   2. Gross - acute catarrhal inflammation of sinuses and nasal passages
   3. Micro - sloughing followed by hyperplasia of mucosal and glandular
         epithelia with edema and heterophil infiltration of the
         tunica propria
   4. Trans - lateral

  b. Infectious sinusitis
   1. Cause - Mycoplasma gallisepticum
   2. Gross - serous to serofibrinous sinusitis with swollen sinuses or
         severe airsacculitis
   3. Micro - serofibrinous sinusitis, heterophilic airsacculitis,
         chronic form - lymphocytic tracheitis
   4. Trans - vertical through egg --> lateral, highly contagious

 5. Nervous system

  a. Botulism
   1. Cause - Clostridium botulinum
   2. Gross - extended neck, flaccid paralysis, no other lesions
   3. Micro - no lesions
   4. Trans - ingesting preformed toxin or toxico-infection (toxin
         elaborated in vivo in gut)


 1. Alimentary tract

  a. Candidiasis (crop mycosis)
   1. Cause - Candida albicans
   2. Gross - epithelial hyperplasia with cellular debris ("cottage
         cheese" appearance)
   3. Micro - same as gross with mycelia perpendicular to surface
   4. Trans - secondary invader in "poor-doing" birds

 2. Respiratory system

  a. Brooder pneumonia (aspergillosis)
   1. Cause - Aspergillus fumigatus
   2. Gross - white nodules in lung and on air sacs (pyogranulomatous
         pneumonia and airsacculitis)
   3. Micro - same as gross, fungal elements present
   4. Trans - inhaled from environment

 3. Nervous system

 a. Mycotic encephalitis
   1. Cause - Aspergillus fumigatus, Dactylaria gallopava
   2. Gross - focal areas of necrosis and abscesses
   3. Micro - necrosis, hemorrhage, heterophils, fungal elements
   4. Trans - inhaled from environment --> blood --> brain


 1. Alimentary tract

  a. Coccidiosis
   1. Cause - Eimeria coturnicis, E. bateri, E. dispersa, E. colini,
         E. adenoeides, E. tsunodai, E. uzura, E. lettyae,
         E. taldykurganica
   2. Gross - mucoid enteritis to mild enteric necrosis
   3. Micro - villous atrophy, numerous organisms
   4. Trans - lateral
 b. Cryptosporidiosis
 1. Cause - Cryptosporidium spp.
 2. Gross - watery to foamy intestinal and cecal contents
 3. Micro - villous atrophy and fusion, numerous organisms
 4. Trans - lateral, uncomplicated disease severe in quail

 c. Histomoniasis (blackhead)
 1. Cause - Histomonas meleagridis
 2. Gross - multifocal hepatic necrosis ("bulls-eye" lesions),
       fibrinonecrotic typhlitis with core formation
 3. Micro - multifocal hepatic necrosis, transmural pyogranulomatous
       typhlitis with necrosis, both areas often contain typical
       round, eosinophilic protozoa
 4. Trans - lateral, protozoa can be transmitted by Heterakis
       gallinarum, can be secondary to coccidia

 d. Roundworms/cecal worms/internal parasites
 1. Cause - Ascaridia spp., Heterakis spp.
 2. Gross - worms in small intestinal lumen
 3. Micro - larvae in mucosa during mucosal migration, eosinophilic
       inflammatory response
 4. Trans - lateral

 e. Capillariasis
 1. Cause - Capillaria contorta, C. obsignata
 2. Gross - thickening and pseudomembrane formation in crop and
       esophagus (C. contorta), catarrhal enteritis with small
       threadlike worms (C. obsignata)
 3. Micro - nematodes and eggs embedded in mucosa
 4. Trans - lateral

2. Respiratory system

 a. Gapeworms
  1. Cause - Syngamus trachea, ("Y-worms")
 2. Gross - mucoid tracheitis, large, bright-red helminths in tracheal
 3. Micro - mucoid tracheitis
 4. Trans - lateral

3. Generalized

 a. Visceral larval migrans
 1. Cause - larval migration by Baylisascaris procyonis, raccoon
 2. Gross - no lesions
 3. Micro - granulomatous inflammation with roundworm larvae in
       various tissues, primarily brain and spinal cord
 4. Trans - exposure to raccoon feces