There are more than 100 different breeds of quail, but only a few are commercially used for egg or meat production. In this article, we will focus on the fattening quail breeds, those that have a greater weight and size so that they are raised commercially as meat quail and for slaughter and sale of the carcass.
Currently, the demand for quail meat is increasing both in the Philippines and other countries. This causes more poultry farmers to start raising this type of poultry. However, some breeds or varieties are best known for laying more eggs and others for producing more meat in less time.
Meat Quail Breeds
Quails are small birds that do not weigh more than 250 grams, however little do we know which lines are the largest, and therefore they can weigh more. In the United States, it has been possible to develop that these birds can reach a weight close to 450 grams, but these are very few and require strict environmental conditions.
Here are 3 US varieties already registered (Texas Quail, Giant Brown, and White) that can reach an approximate weight of 450 grams, all derived from the common quail “Coturnix”.
But the 3 most common commercial “breeds” used as quail for meat and which were not developed by genetic combinations are also named. They are easy to breed and adapt to different types of handling, but their weight is approximately 240 grams, well below the 450 grams of the US lines.
Giant White Quail
It is one of the varieties of the common quail (Coturnix) and as its name implies, it is one of the quail lines with white plumage, and with small dark or brown spots. It is one of the largest and heaviest in the United States.
This quail weighs in its adult stage up to a little less than 450 grams and as they are very premature birds, they reach their maximum weight and ready for slaughter in approximately 40 days.
Its meat is white, tender, soft, and juicy, with excellent quality. This allows quick-cooking and that all the nutrients that this food provides are not destroyed.
Currently, this line of American quail can be purchased in different farms in various countries in North America and Europe. You can also choose to request them digitally, through internet pages.
It is a Premium line of American quail raised for fattening. This variety appeared as its name implies in Texas, United States. For their development they had to cross different species of quail with the common quail, among which the English White breed stands out, hence the white tone of the Texas Quail.
These various crosses gradually modify the characteristics of the bird, until obtaining the particularities that stand out to the Texas quail line.
Its main productive characteristics include:
- The weight in males is up to 350 grams (standing).
- Females can weigh up to 450 grams standing (it is famous for its meat production).
- In carcass, a weight of 250 grams can be obtained in males and 350 grams in females.
- It produces approximately 170 eggs per year (it is not considered a laying quail).
- It reaches adulthood in 40 or 45 days.
- It is a calm demeanor.
- They are not considered good mothers, so it is necessary to use incubators if you want to get more chicks.
Giant Brown Quail
It is one of the jumbo quail breeds that weigh 350 to 450 grams standing making them one of the heaviest quail that currently exists in the world.
It is a line with characteristics very similar to its other companions developed in the USA. They reach the same weight, develop on the same days, and behave very similarly.
For the development and obtaining of the Giant Brown, several crosses of the common quail and other quails were made, gradually obtaining better characteristics, which are currently available.
- The female’s standing weight is up to 450 grams and 350 grams in the male.
- In carcass (without visors, plumage, and legs) it reduces approximately 100 or 110 grams, leaving 350 for the female and 250 for the male.
- They do not produce large numbers of eggs, generally 150 to 170 eggs a year, and they are not good for hatching.
- They adapt easily to different climates but prefer temperate regions.
- They reach their optimal weight in 40 to 45 days.
- They quickly adjust to cage conditions.
This is a different quail from the Coturnix genus, the bobwhite is known as the American quail and belongs to the genus Colinus. So it is impossible to have a mixture of the common or Japanese quail with the bobwhite.
Due to its large size and fattening, this subspecies began to be imported from the United States to the countries with the longest experience, such as Brazil and Argentina.
This species can be found in the wild in different regions of the United States, Cuba, Mexico, and Guatemala. It is a fairly large quail in relation to wild species, but it falls far short of those developed through genetic mixtures in the United States.
Among the main productive characteristics of the Bobwhite can be mentioned:
- It measures approximately 23 cm long.
- It can reach a weight of up to 180 to 250 grams.
- They reach maturity at 120 days.
- Unlike other species in the bobwhite, the female is smaller.
- They are brown in color almost all over her body.
- They have white plumage on their face that gives them a mask-like appearance.
- Comparison chart of quail for meat
As you can see, all of the above are American breeds or crosses where varieties that can weigh up to 450 grams have been achieved.
Other Species of Quail Used
The pharaoh quail is not a bird that has a great weight, it is considered as a dual purpose, that is, it is used for the production of meat and eggs. This line is a genetic variation of the japonica quail (Coturnix japonica) and is raised mainly in the European Mediterranean countries and North Africa, where it stands out mainly for the exquisite flavor of its meat.
Its main characteristics are:
- The male weighs between 180 to 200 grams in its adult stage and the female up to 230 grams.
- They consume up to 55 grams of food a day.
- Egg-laying begins at 35 days and reaches its maximum at 45 or 50 days.
- It can produce 250 to 280 eggs a year.
- They have a life span of up to 9 years.
This variety is considered one of the best egg-laying quail but it also weighs up to 125 grams. It is one of the main lines derived from the common quail. Lassoto is a small bird, similar to that of the Japonica quail. Its main characteristic is its high production of eggs and its plumage which is of a light brown almost yellowish tone.
It is a “breed of great interest in the poultry industry for the commercialization of meat and eggs” since it has good characteristics of precocity (rapid development) and high laying.
Its main characteristics are:
- Produces up to 300 eggs a year.
- The eggs have a weight of 13 grams.
- Its feathers are light brown.
- It weighs a maximum of 125 grams.