Chickens are a staple in the homesteads and poultry industry, but a new “hot” homestead bird is rising and gaining popularity these days—the quails.
Due to the pecking order and the prevalence of bullying, it can be hard to raise them together, so you need to choose between the two.
But in a battle of quail vs chickens, which poultry bird will win?
Each bird has different advantages and drawbacks. So if you’re trying to weigh which of these birds is worth investing your hard-earned money in, you came to the right place.
We made a side-by-side comparison of quail vs chicken to help you see which poultry bird is best to raise for farms and homesteads.
So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Quail vs Chickens Side-by-Side Comparison
In this detailed comparison, we considered quail vs chicken’s size, uses, feeding costs, housing, and space requirements, the noise they produce, efficiency, and hardiness.
This guide on raising quail vs chickens will help you make the right choice.
Let’s start with the physical differences between these two poultry birds.
Quail vs Chicken Size and Weight
Quails are visibly smaller, weighing just around 70 to 130 grams, depending on the breed and condition, while chickens can grow around 1.5 to 2.5 kg.
Furthermore, quails’ size ranges from 15 to 20 cm, while chickens can be around 35 to 45 cm.
This is one of the factors that affect the feeding cost of these poultry birds.
Quails vs Chickens’ Cost of Feeding
The feed cost depends on the bird’s production cycle and the start of egg production.
Quails start their egg production earlier at around 7 to 8 weeks old, while the commercial layer chickens start at 24 weeks old.
Chickens need a protein-rich diet to produce protein-rich eggs.
They also consume more food before laying than quails because they take longer time to mature.
On the other hand, quails don’t need high-quality feed because they can convert regular food into protein-rich ones.
Furthermore, they eat less because they’re smaller, and their production cycle starts earlier, which translates to lesser feed costs and faster returns.
But even though chicken production takes a long time and requires more feeds, their production duration lasts up to 4 to 5 years.
That is around two years longer than quails, and chickens are still among the most in-demand eggs in the world.
Uses of Quail vs Chickens
Both quail and chicken are used in egg and meat production.
But which is better, quail eggs or chicken eggs? Which of them is healthier?
And which of these birds produces more eggs?
Quail vs Chicken’s Egg Production and Quality
In this section, we’ll compare quail egg vs chicken egg size, quantity, taste, and nutritional content.
A chicken egg is thrice the size of a quail egg. But for some breeds like Coturnix quail, you need about 6 of their eggs to produce the equivalent of a regular chicken egg.
So you may need to crack more eggs for a recipe to get the serving a chicken egg can provide.
Quails can lay 200 to 300 eggs yearly, which is comparable to the production capabilities of medium-high-layer chicken breeds.
Some commercial chicken layers can produce over 300 eggs, but it varies depending on the species, diet, and environment too.
Quail eggs are buttery and slightly richer in taste due to their bigger yolk-to-white ratio compared to chicken eggs. However, the difference in taste isn’t that significant.
Health and Nutritional Benefits
Despite their miniature size, quail eggs are rich in nutrition and can compete with the chickens’.
But it’s quite unfair to compare quail vs chicken nutrition because they’re obviously smaller.
But if we’d compare 10 quail eggs to 2 large chicken eggs, quail eggs contain more protein, riboflavin, iron, and vitamin B12.
However, you need to eat more quail eggs to gain those benefits.
Meat Quality of Quail vs Chickens
Now, let’s talk about their meat. What makes quail meat different from chicken?
They look similar, but there’s a slight difference between the two.
Chicken meat is nutritious. But it’s often harvested at a young age because its flesh becomes tough as it grows old.
The meat from old hens can be roasted or fried, but you can still boil and use it to make a delicious soup.
On the other hand, quails are tender and edible and can be harvested at any age.
Both types of meat taste great in soups and fried rice, and they’re almost similar in taste. However, there are a few differences.
For instance, quail meat is a bit gamier than chickens, and it’s denser and chewier than broiler chickens.
That’s why some people prefer quail meat, but it requires more work to prepare.
Furthermore, quail meat has smaller bones and is usually darker in color.
Harvesting and Production of Quail vs Chickens
Even if quails’ laying productivity decreases, they can still be useful in producing tasty meat because, unlike chickens, their meat remains tender and edible when they’re old.
Quails can be butchered by around 5 weeks old, but the laying quail hens that start laying as early as 7 weeks old can be slaughtered at around 8 months old.
However, it may vary on chickens, depending on their type, breed, and environment.
Chickens used in intensive farming are commonly slaughtered before reading six weeks old, while free-range broilers are harvested at 8 weeks old.
But as for organic broilers, they become mature and ready for harvesting at about 12 weeks old.
Quail vs Chicken’s Efficiency
Chickens reach sexual maturity longer than quails, and they eat food and occupy space while giving nothing in return for a while.
Furthermore, they eat a lot more than the quails for laying an egg.
On the other hand, quails mature fast and lay eggs earlier. On top of that, you can sell quail eggs at a premium price to high-end restaurants and gain a higher profit than chicken eggs.
However, it’s worth noting that although some quails lay more eggs than chickens per year, their egg productivity is shorter than the chooks.
You should also take note that chickens lay bigger eggs and provide more meat. Furthermore, the quail market is small and limited.
So in terms of eggs and meat production, chickens are more efficient.
Noise Produced by Quail vs Chickens
The noise will vary, but chickens tend to be louder than quails, especially the roosters.
They crow very loudly and produce a sharp squawk sound. The hens may also sing an “egg song” during their laying period.
On the other hand, quails are usually silent even when they’re alarmed or frightened. They may produce an occasional “peep,” but they’re rarely audible in the backyard.
Just make sure they have enough feed, and they’ll remain quiet most of the time.
They rarely cluck, banter, or chirp, but if they do, it could be due to their laying season.
Some male quails sometimes crow to attract females, but the sound is usually pleasing, softer and less audible than chickens.
But when they’re in distress or sense an incoming danger, they can be extremely noisy.
But if you prefer chickens over quails, get ready for the clucking, and cackling.
And know that chicken noise can be disturbing for your neighbors if you live in close proximity to them.
Quail Vs Chicken’s Housing and Space Requirements
One of the main factors to consider when choosing what poultry bird to raise between quail and chickens is space allocation or housing requirements. As you already know, chickens are significantly larger than quails and so are their space requirements.
The recommended size for chickens is 10 to 15 square feet per bird to optimize their production capabilities.
On the other end, the minimum space requirement for each quail is 1 to 2 square feet. Therefore, you can house more quails than chickens in a similar space.
Furthermore, quails can survive in smaller chicken coops even without access to free-ranging or a run.
So, if you’re living in the city and your space is limited, quails are the way to go.
However, if you’re a big fan of chickens and want to raise chickens despite the limited space, why not try Bantam chickens? They require less space than other breeds and will have no problem living in semi-detached or terraced homes.
Chickens need more complex housing requirements and the coop must have a floor covered with sawdust and straw, a nest box, and a roosting place.
As for quails, a rabbit hutch is enough for them as long as there’s enough ventilation and space to lay eggs. But there are also quail cage options in the market. And you can also DIY it if you have the luxury of time and carpentry skills.
Quail Vs Chicken’s Maintenance Management Practices
Chickens can free-range to find the nutritional elements from their surroundings as long as the area is secure and safe from predators.
You also need to keep them away from your vegetable garden to prevent them from pulling up your seedlings and eating your strawberries.
On the other hand, quails are often kept in cages or rabbit hutches, so they’re not free to roam around.
But whether it’s quail or chicken, you need to apply proper husbandry practices to ensure your birds’ safety.
Quail vs Chicken’s Hardiness and Resistance to Diseases
Quails are generally more disease-resistant than chickens. These hardy birds are more likely to survive in suitable environments.
With good husbandry practices, quails are less susceptible to bacterial and viral diseases.
Chooks, on the other hand, are more prone to several viral diseases, which can result in production losses and decreased profit.
Can You Raise Chickens and Quail Together?
Considering that there are lots of differences between the two birds, can quail live with chickens?
Raising quail and chickens together is possible if they grew in the same brooder together and they are free-ranging.
However, keeping quail with chickens puts them at a higher risk of developing diseases.
Fatal diseases like Coryza can spread from chickens to quails.
While both species can be treated with antibiotics when infected, quails are more difficult to treat and are higher likely to die.
Some chickens tend to be bullies, and they might pick on your quails because these smaller birds are at the bottom of the pecking order.
Another issue you need to deal with when raising quail with chickens is the feed. Each bird has different dietary and nutritional needs.
Additionally, quails can fly high and they’re more agile, and chickens may try to peck at tiny quail eggs out of curiosity.
And that can be a huge problem if your chicken develops a bad habit of eating quail eggs because they might later on try to eat their own eggs too.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quails and Chickens
Which is better: quail or chicken?
Quail meat has 3 times more iron than chicken, and they contain more protein, which explains why they’re a bit more filling than chicken meat.
Furthermore, quails lay eggs earlier than chickens because they mature faster.
Is quail healthier than chicken?
Quail offers more health benefits than chickens because it has a little more iron, vitamin C, and protein.
Its meat contains minerals, amino acids, and, most importantly, vitamin A which chickens don’t have.
Why is quail raising considered more advantageous than poultry raising?
Since quails are smaller, they require less space than poultry birds like chickens.
They start laying earlier than others, and their meat is edible at any stage of their life.
Although their eggs are smaller, they can produce 300 eggs yearly, which is beyond the average compared to layer chicken breeds.
How many quail equals one chicken?
Three quail eggs are equal to one chicken egg, but in terms of meat, you need three to four quail to make a meal equal to the size of one chicken.
This may slightly vary depending on the quail breed’s size.
Is quail healthy or not?
Quail is definitely healthy since it’s rich in proteins, iron, vitamins (A, K, D, and B), minerals, and macronutrients like calcium, phosphor, and zinc.
Quail meat and eggs also contain selenium, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.
Is quail cheaper than chicken?
Yes, quails are cheaper to buy than chickens, and there’s a wide range of breeds to choose from.
But if you’d buy from a hatchery, there may be a limit to the number of birds you can purchase.
Which has more protein: quail or chicken?
As mentioned earlier, quail meat has a little more protein but fewer calories and less fat than chicken and duck.
However, you need to eat more quail eggs to get what a chicken egg can offer.
Quail vs Chickens: Which Bird Should You Choose?
Chickens may have a clear advantage on their meat and eggs’ size, but quails are a force to reckon with due to the fact that they lay earlier and reproduce more quickly.
Their eggs have a bit more protein and offer vitamin A, which is not present in chickens. Their meat is more tasty, and they’re more resistant to some poultry diseases.
On top of that, they require smaller space. That’s why it’s easy to see why they’re garnering lots of attention from farmers and homesteaders these days.
They’re perfect for urban spaces with no quail restrictions or smaller homesteads.
However, their manure is more stinky than chickens, and they’re light-sensitive.
On the other hand, chickens provide larger eggs and meat, and they can free-range.
This can help you save a lot of bucks on chicken feed.
They tend to be better at escaping predators and can turn kitchen scraps into compost.
The chicken industry is larger and can potentially make more people.
Therefore, if you want multi-purpose birds that provides more profit opportunity and you have the space to accommodate them, chickens are the way to go.
Now that you know the advantages and drawbacks of raising chickens vs quail, which among them is your choice?
Share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.