Quail eggs have gained immense popularity in recent years, not only for their delicious flavor and versatility in culinary creations but also for their nutritional benefits.
These petite eggs are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a sought-after addition to a healthy diet.
If you’re considering raising quail for their eggs, it’s crucial to choose the right quail breed.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best quail breeds for egg production.
Before diving into the breeds, let’s briefly discuss why quail eggs are in such high demand.
Why Quail Eggs?
Quail eggs have several advantages that contribute to their growing popularity among consumers and backyard poultry enthusiasts:
Quail eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, containing more protein, vitamins, and minerals per ounce than chicken eggs.
They are an excellent source of B vitamins, particularly B12, essential for nerve function and red blood cell formation.
Good, Mild Flavors
Quail eggs have a mild, delicate flavor that appeals to many palates. Just like the chickens’, they have versatile tastes.
And because of that, there are many ways to cook quail eggs. They can also be used in various dishes, from sushi to salads and everything in between.
Their small size makes them perfect for appetizers, garnishes, and decorative culinary presentations.
Fewer Allergy Risks for Some People
Some individuals allergic to chicken eggs can tolerate quail eggs due to differences in protein composition.
Easy to Raise and More Accessible
Quails are relatively easy to raise, and they don’t require as much space as chickens, making them an excellent choice for urban and suburban settings.
Now that we understand the appeal of quail eggs, let’s explore the best quail breeds for egg production.
5 Best Quail Breeds for Eggs
Coturnix Quail (Coturnix coturnix): The Ultimate Egg Producer
The Coturnix Quail, often called the Japanese quail, is one of the most popular quail breeds for egg production.
These birds were first domesticated by the Japanese, which is where this nickname came from.
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High Egg Production
Coturnix quails are prolific layers, with most hens laying 280 to 300 eggs yearly. This far surpasses the other quail breeds on this list.
They reach sexual maturity at just 6-8 weeks, which means you can start collecting eggs less than two months after they hatch—that is very quick!
Beautiful, Quiet Birds
They come in various color mutations, adding visual interest to your flock. They are also pleasant birds with lots of personality while being more of the silent type.
Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus): Dual-Purpose Egg Layers
They do not lay as many eggs as the Coturnix, but they make a good candidate for other reasons. You can expect about 80 to 100 eggs per year.
This is a drastic drop from the Coturnix, but in exchange, these birds are hardy, beautiful, and dual-purpose. Many keepers opt to breed Bobwhites so they can eat them.
Since Bobwhites are good at laying eggs, you’ll have no issue replenishing your meat supply and quickly at that.
Hardy Egg Layers
Bobwhites are hardy birds and can adapt to a range of climates. This makes them better suited for outdoor quail keeping in more adverse climates (hot or cold).
Large, Beautiful Eggs
Their eggs are larger than those of Coturnix quail and have a distinct speckled appearance.
Bobwhite quail is gaining traction in the commercial use market, which has been an interesting journey to see.
Button Quail (Coturnix chinensis): Perfect for Incubating Pets
Button quails are one of the smallest species, about four inches tall, and are primarily kept for their adorably diminutive size.
While not as prolific as Coturnix quail, they can still be considered for egg production.
Please note that they have a compressed lifespan; most live to be a year and a half old, though a few outliers have lived into their third year.
Button quails will lay an egg every day or every other day starting as soon as two months old.
Many breeders say they will lay about eight eggs before sitting on the clutch (and stop producing eggs while incubating their nest).
Other breeders say that removing the eggs from the nest keeps them laying every day for about a year.
In general, you can expect an estimate of 150 to 300 eggs per year for the Button quails.
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Perfectly Tiny Eggs
Button quail lays tiny eggs that can be a novelty in the kitchen. Their eggs are about half the size of other quail eggs, and it takes about a dozen Button Quail eggs to equal the average chicken egg.
Great for Small Spaces or Hutches
Due to their size, Button quail is an excellent choice for those with limited space.
They are ideal for urban homesteads where their keepers will need to let the birds live in their townhome or apartment with them.
These birds can be a bit more noisy than other quail breeds but are much quieter if you keep them in mated pairs.
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Unique Pets Who Lay Eggs
They are often kept as ornamental pets due to their charming demeanor. Their eggs come in a variety of colors too, which adds to their fun appeal.
California Quail (Callipepla californica): Beautiful Quail Breed for Eggs
Another quail breed for eggs is the California quail which, as the name implies, is the state bird of California.
Their breeding grounds are often found in Western USA where California is located.
California quails can lay up to 200 eggs per year in a good environment and healthy, quality diet. Their eggs are white or cream-colored with noticeable brown markings.
Distinct Physical Appearance of California Quails
These popular birds are known for their striking appearance and most people don’t expect that they could be good layers.
After all, California quails are usually considered ornamental birds. And if you take a close look, they might have some resemblance to Gambel Quails.
California quails appear in shades of brown and gray, and you can usually see white stripes outlining their faces.
There are also markings on their chest that stand out with a beautiful combination of white, cream, and chestnut brown.
Sociable Quail Breed for Eggs
California quails are known to be highly sociable birds. They enjoy the company of other quails.
So, if you plan on raising California quails, make sure to give them company.
California Quails are not much of a flyer. In fact, you will see them spending most of their time on the ground.
European or Common Quail: Egg-Laying Quail Breed for Beginners
Another prolific egg-layer in our list of best quail breeds for eggs is the European Quail.
They are also known as the Common quail and are migratory birds found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean coast.
On the other hand, Wild European quails often reside in grasslands and farmlands.
This non-broody quail breed can lay around 200 eggs per year. Its egg is creamy white with brown patches.
The good thing about the European quails is that they can lay as early as 7 weeks—quite the same as the Coturnix quails.
Resembling the Coturnix Quail
As for appearance, the Common quail looks very similar to the Coturnix breed.
It was even once thought that the latter was a subspecies of the Common quail but was later considered a separate species on its own.
The European quails come in five colors. However, they can produce different color patterns due to crossbreeding.
Best Egg-Laying Quail Breed for Beginners
Due to the docile temperament of Common Quails, they’d make a great pet or flock member for beginners and intermediate quail owners.
They can easily get along with other birds and aren’t aloof with humans as well. They require minimal maintenance like other quail breeds while rearing a good amount of eggs annually.
Which Quail Breed Lays The Most Eggs?
Overall, Coturnix quails are the best choice if you’re looking for quail breeds for eggs.
Here is a summary of the quail breeds for eggs and how many they can produce in a year:
|Type of Quail||
Number of Eggs in a Year
|European or Common Quail||
Quail Breeds for Eggs: Take Your Pick!
Choosing the best quail breed for egg production depends on your needs and preferences.
If you’re looking for consistent and high egg production, Coturnix quail is the top choice. However, if you want larger eggs with a unique appearance, Bobwhite quail might be more appealing.
California quail, with their distinctive plumage, can add aesthetic value to your flock while providing a reasonable number of eggs.
Button quail, on the other hand, is a great option for those with limited space or anyone seeking a unique pet experience.
And if you’re a complete newbie to quail raising, you may opt for European quails for their eggs.
No matter which quail breed you choose, remember that proper care, nutrition, and housing are essential for maximizing egg production and maintaining a healthy flock.
With the right breed and attentive care, you can enjoy a steady supply of delicious and nutritious quail eggs, adding a delightful twist to your culinary adventures.
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