Requirements & Procedure of Quail Farming in Pakistan

The Quail Breeder Farm and Hatchery is a project of the livestock sector, in which day old chicks (DOCs) are produced from fertilized eggs of quail breeders reared on the farm. The unit is proposed to cater to the demand of quail meat farmers for production of DOCs. Quail breeder flock would be bought and reared on the farm and their fertilized eggs artificially incubated for 18 days in a Hatchery machine on the same premises to produce DOCs. These DOCs are sold to farmers in rural and peri-urban areas directly as there is an increasing trend to include quail meat in diet as rich source of protein.

The proposed project initiates with the purchase of around 4,714 quail breeders in year one, having 30% (1,414) male and 70% (3,300) female quail birds. This size of female quail is increased at a rate of 5% every year going up to 5,500 female quail breeders in year 9 with 100% capacity. The eggs produced would be placed in the hatchery machine batch-wise. A total of 121 batches are assumed per year, these batches will be placed in the hatchery machine every 3 days. The size of the batch would increase with the size of the breeder flock.

The breeder flock would be purchased according to the required egg production per batch. In first year, the proposed breeder flock would lay eggs that fulfill 60% of the total capacity; the remaining 40% of the hatchery machines’ capacity would be rented out to other farmers who require incubation services. The numbers of eggs produced in year one is 1,023,825 eggs laid by 3300 female birds. The production of eggs would be increased by increasing the size of the breeder flock at a rate of 5% every year would eventually utilize 100% egg capacity of the hatchery machines and rental services would no longer be offered. After 18 days of incubation of fertilized eggs DOCs will be produced; these DOCs would be sold immediately to farmers.

The specific requirement of temperature and humidity control in hatchery and feeding, drinking and lighting system for breeder flock would be monitored regularly. After every 12 months, new breeder stock would be reared to produce continuous supply of fertilized eggs. The previous breeder flock would be sold to farmers for slaughtering. Two days would be spent in proper cleaning, washing, white washing, disinfection and fumigation prior to the arrival of new flock. During flock rearing, strict measures for bio-security should be observed at the unit.

This project would generate revenue from sale of day old quail chicks weighing between 6-8 grams at Rs. 10 per DOC. Moreover, hatchery rental facility would be provided in the first four years at a rate of Rs. 1.5 per egg. Additional revenues will be generated through the sale of adult breeders at the end of 12 months egg laying period.

Operational Capacity of Quail Farm

The installed and operational capacities of Quail Breeder Farm and Hatchery business venture mainly depends on the acquired hatcher unit and breeding incubators. This pre-feasibility study is based on a hatchery machine having 45,000 eggs incubating capacity along with 15,000 eggs hatching capacity. However, initial operating capacity during first year is worked out at 60% with a gradual increase of 5% up to maximum capacity utilization of 100% in the 9th year. This production capacity is estimated to be economically viable and justifies the capital as well as operational costs of the project.

How to Do Quail Farm Management in Pakistan

Farm input required for the proposed project includes farm equipment (cages, hatchery unit, egg refrigerators etc.), electronic fixtures and other consumer items (feed, vaccines & medicines, clean drinking water, electricity etc.). The quail birds would be settled in cages, which are equipped with a proper feeding and nipple drinking system, monitored by the concerned staff.

After one year, a gap of 2 days is required for the preparation of farm to receive the new flock. During these days, proper cleaning, washing, disinfection and fumigation would be performed prior to the arrival of new flock. During flock rearing, strict measures for bio-security should be observed at the unit.

Housing and Management of Quail Breeders in Pakistan

Housing would be a cage system. The cages would be kept in closed farms. A concrete floor is essential, and the building should be fulfilling basic requirements, not only to deter rodents and other pests but also to provide drought-free and well ventilated, sheltered accommodation. Canvas-cloth is sometimes hanged over on both sides of the house to prevent direct sunlight into the cages. The quails should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

A 5-tier high cage system is required. Each unit is about 6 feet in length and 1 foot in width, and subdivided into 5 subunits. The birds stand on sloping slatted wire mesh floors. The droppings fall into pull out trays / conveyor belt. Front and back side of cages are closed by slats. Long narrow feed troughs are placed in front of the cages and PPC water troughs are placed at the back of the cages. The eggs roll out under the feed troughs and are collected twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Commercial egg layers are usually housed in colonies of 10-12 birds per cage. For breeding purposes, male quails are introduced in the cages in the ratio of 1 to 3 females. In Egg Production, cage specifications are very important for maximum production.

Lighting Management for Quail Farming 

It has been proven through experiments that light has more importance than temperature in stimulating quails to lay eggs. A dim light is enough to maintain wakefulness and social activity in the flock. Electric bulbs of 40 or 60 watts may be used in colony pens. For the light to be effective it must be turned on before dark and calculated to go off after the day has been extended to 14 or 16 hours. Control of the light may be by a time switch.

Practical Feeding of Quails in Pakistan

Nutrition is one of the most important factors required to maintain quails in good physical condition and to obtain normal growth and egg production. Since feed constitutes 60-70% investment at the farm, for deriving maximum benefit out of quail farming it is necessary to feed a balanced ration, which will have all the nutrients in necessary proportion. There are several forms in which a balanced ration may be fed to quail, i.e. all dry mash, pellets or crumbs. In tropics usually dry all mash feeding system is being used.

The local farmers may use the quail starter and layer diets for their growing and laying quails and supplement them with high protein ingredients, such as soybean meal and skimmed milk. Fast early growth is achieved with high protein diets. Normally quails, which mature at 5 to 6 weeks of age, respond favorably to higher dietary protein concentration. The feed required up to 6 weeks of age is about 500 gram per chick, and thereafter it is about 30 gram per bird per day.

During the laying period, birds require about 3 kg of feed per kilogram of eggs at maximum. For birds just prior to maturity, the dietary requirements are similar, except for calcium and phosphorus. A diet containing 1.25 percent total phosphorus and 3.50 percent calcium is recommended; this may need to be increased to 3.9 percent. In hot weather when quails eat less food but still require calcium to maintain egg production, broken oyster-shell or limestone grits may be given ad lib. It is better to give high protein and high vitamin feed during summer. Feeding should be done during the cooler parts of the day to promote feed consumption.

It is important to obtain fresh feed and it should be stored in covered containers with tight fitting lids in a clean, dry, cool area free from animals and vermin. Feed stored longer than 8 weeks is subject to vitamin deterioration and rancidity, especially in hot humid tropics.

Disease Prevention and Control of Quail Farm in Pakistan

The prevention of disease in quail depends on continuous and conscientious application of fundamental principles and practices of quarantine and sanitation. Although, they are comparatively more resistant to infectious diseases than chickens yet may be affected from diseases, such as, Fowl Cholera, Colibacillosis, Enteritis and Mycotoxicosis. Majority of breeder bird deaths (up to even 20-25 percent) occur due to managerial errors, especially the failure to provide optimum temperature in extreme weathers, improper feeding and watering management etc. Good management will reduce the danger of disease.

The first prerequisite to a successful disease-prevention program is that infection-free stock be used as the foundation flock. Immediately on arrival, the birds should be placed in facilities well isolated from birds of the farms and held for an observation period of 2 weeks. They should be observed daily for signs of illness, and when disease is noted, immediate steps should be taken to obtain a diagnosis, and treatment be given. The second rule is to separate quail breeder flocks from other quail.

Sanitary management practices are the best guarantee against disease. Equipment, such as cages, feeders, water drinkers and tools should be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Every effort should be made to screen out wild birds, rodents and vermin that might introduce disease. Dead birds should be removed immediately upon discovery. Proper management of quail chicks, disinfecting farm premises, providing clean drinking water and feeding quality concentrate feed will prevent disease outbreaks in quail farms.

Incubation Process of Quails in Pakistan

Pre-incubation Egg Care

Successful quail propagation begins in the pre-incubation period. Eggs should be collected twice daily and more frequently in hot weather. Special care must be taken in collection and handling of quail eggs for they are thin shelled and break more easily than chicken eggs. If egg collection is delayed, the eggshells may crack or get damaged because of the frequently moving and active birds. Japanese quail eggs can be stored at room temperature for 5-7 days during normal seasons.

Eggs should be of a uniform size as extremely large or small sized eggs have low hatch-ability. Eggs held for incubation should be kept in a cool, clean, dust free room at a temperature of 14 + 3ºC (55 + 5ºF) and 70 + 10 percent relative humidity. Eggs should be stored large end up and they should not be held for more than 12-14 days before being placed in the incubator. The eggs set in the incubator must be clean. Eggs to be incubated should not be washed; if cleaning is required, it should be done with a clean abrasive or sandpaper. The egg is mostly water and quail egg dehydrates more rapidly. Eggs stored in PVC bags may be stored for a longer period of time (14-21 days) and the hatch-ability rate would be higher than un-packaged eggs stored in low temperature.

Artificial Incubation

Quail eggs can be incubated successfully in standard size commercial incubators. Quail eggs will hatch successfully if they are placed in an incubator in any position except with the large end down. The incubator should have a fan to provide adequate air circulation because the developing embryos use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide and heat. Little ventilation is needed at the beginning but the requirement increases as incubation progresses. The machine should be equipped to allow automatic turning of all eggs through an angle of 90 at least 4-6 times per 24 hours. Turning regularly is particularly critical in early incubation to prevent the embryos from adhering to the shell membrane. Lack of turning during the first 3 to 4 days will produce some malformed embryos and may have other minor defects. Turning may be discontinued after 14 days.

Fan-ventilation incubators should be set at 37.5 + 0.3 ºC. If the temperature of the incubator exceeds these recommendations many embryos may die. During the hatching period temperature should be lowered 0.5 ºC. A relative humidity of about 60 percent is satisfactory during incubation and should be raised to about 70 percent during the hatching period. The incubation period is 16 1/2 to 18 days and may range from 16 to 18 days depending upon temperature, humidity and genetic variability. The developing eggs may be transferred to a separate hatcher on 15th day of incubation. It takes 10 hours from piping to hatch, and an additional 5 hours for drying the chick. Then the quail chicks are ready to be distributed to other farmers or to go into the brooder for rearing.

Automatic Incubator / Hatchery Controller

The latest microprocessor technology is employed in incubator controller system with high intelligence and measurement accuracy (±0.1C). During the process of incubation, the controller automatically does temperature control, over-temperature alarm and egg turning. The control panel is easy to operate.

Rural and peri-urban areas around the major cities, particularly of the Punjab and Sindh province are the most suitable locations for setting up a quail breeder farm and hatchery unit. Setting up a farm at an isolated place will minimize the risk of disease. Proximity of the unit to the city enables the farmer to have a quick communication with the market for the purchase of Day Old Chicks, farm inputs (feed, etc.), and selling of eggs and culled birds.

Presently, major demand of quail bird in Pakistan originates from Multan, Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala and Islamabad. Therefore, sub-urban and rural areas around big cities e.g. Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, Jehlum, Peshawar, Hub / Lasbela and other big cities of the country are recommended for starting a layer farm particularly with milder climate.

Quail meat is a good source of animal protein available in the country as compared to broiler. Quails are sold to traders and whole seller markets in urban areas. Quail meat is also sold directly to hotels and restaurants around the country. The time required for rearing quail birds is lesser than that for large animals or broilers. Also, the consumption of white meat is increasing due to growing health consciousness in masses. In summer consumption is less and in winter consumption is more.

Major target market for the proposed project is local market. Sale of quail bird is generally made through dealer contracts on farm gate basis or supplies to bulk / retailer buyers in urban areas. Major clients are Super Stores, Food Street, Meat Markets, Restaurants and Hotels (including various 3 to 5 Star Hotel Chains) across the country.

Investment Required For Quail Farming in Pakistan

The total initial cost for setting up the proposed size quail breeder farm and hatchery unit is estimated at Rs. 11.15 million. Details of these financial requirements can be studied in the business plan of quail farming in Pakistan by SMEDA.


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