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Quail raising for poor families 0809

Page history last edited by ecop 13 years, 10 months ago
Raising Fowl for Poor Families






Description and Rationale


In the Philippines, poorer communities can struggle to survive. Families must produce some of their own food, as the Philippine government cannot provide a minimum amount of food to all of its citizens. Poorer families in the Philippines usually have limited space as well as resources, and need livelihood projects to help sustain them (Martin, Dr. Franklin W). A popular answer is raising fowl, usually chickens.

However, raising chickens usually results in problems. Chickens are full range, which means they are entitled to run free, unrestricted by cages or limited boundaries that poor people set. This can result in a chicken going over a wall and never returning. Also, this means that chickens are automatically victim to predators that may live in the same area. An example of this would be a chicken being eaten or killed by a pet dog. Yet, chicken still need shelter from rain, especially chicks; 90% of which can die when it rains (Advincula, Ronnie). The work required for moving the chickens into cages or containers and back out can be a hassle for families, and may discourage some from trying or retrying to raise fowl.

Are there ways to prevent these problems with chickens? Are there other fowl that are more practical to raise? If there is a potential alternate fowl for chickens, why is it neglected by many poor Filipinos? The researcher believes other birds like quail are more practical to raise, but doesn’t understand at this point why the chicken remains so common just in household farming.

The initial purpose of the project will be to further research the prospect of raising fowl as a livelihood project for poorer people, what (if any) solutions there are to common household chicken problems, and the practicality of quail as opposed to the extremely popular chicken. This will be done through a search of literature as well as personal interviews with people who raise fowl. These findings may help guide the experimental phase, where key factors from research may help determine how they live.

This project will be a success if discoveries from research by some means benefit the Filipino people and their fowl raising, and it is hoped that this project will improve some of the fowl raising that is seen everyday in the Philippines.



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Common Names and Synonyms


The Japanese quail is known in the scientific community as the Coturnix cotumix japonica. There are a couple different types of quail raised in the Philippines, which are referred to as ‘Pugo’ in Tagalog. 





Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves (Birds)

Order: Galliformes (Wildfoul)

Family: Phasianidae (pheasants and partridges)

Genus: Coturnix (quail)

Species: cotumix japonica (Japanese Quail)



Five or six similar species under the Genus Conturnix are recognized, all commonly known as “quail.”



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Morphology and Physical Description



Overall, Japanese quail are darker brown above and lighter brown underneath, females usually don’t have a ‘rufous coloring’ on breast or black speckles on neck. The wing size of Japanese quail is roughly the same in males and females, ranging from 92 to 101 mm. Males and females also have similar tail sizes, from 35 to 49 mm.

How old a quail is can be determined by the color of its feathers. If the feathers are white, then the quail is young. If the feathers have grey tips, then the quail is an adult. The feathers serve a couple of purposes for the quail, two being flight and thermoregulation. An example of thermoregulation (or insulation) would be the quail flapping its wings to trap air in between its feathers, serving as a insulator during colder weather. Quail have a special gland near the tail that secrets oil during preening, keeping feathers in good condition and water resistant. Their wings are not extremely useful for flying long distances, though. On the side of its head lie its eyes. Its beak is a seed eater’s.

            Internally, the quail has a few unique features. They are an extension of the esophagus called the crop, (which stores food without digesting it for a while, enabling the quail to eat, then run) and a special conjunction of the small and large intestines called a ceca. Its function is believed to be digesting high-cellulose foods.



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Getting Food


Quail are primarily seed eaters, but they are versatile and can eat insects or other small prey. Japanese quail usually seek different grass seeds, but especially in the summer seek insects and small invertebrates.

It’s important to have fresh feed for farming quails, and have the feed stored in tight containers away from vermin and animals. Quails may be given chicken starter and eventually layer diets by native farmers, as the high protein helps them mature quickly. Quail that are not quite mature may need more calcium phosphorus in their diet.

When quail are being farmed in the tropics, typically a ‘dry all mash feeding system’ is used for them. While the quail are laying eggs, they need more limestone in their diet to prevent the depletion of calcium.



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Female quail normally lay 5-7 eggs per week, and around 200-300 eggs in a lifetime of 1-2 years. A simple diagram of a female’s life cycle would be:






After around four weeks, chicks are thought to be mature and are able to mate.


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Environmental Factors


Quail are food to many wild cats, in a predator-prey relationship.

Also, Ulcerative Enteritis is a disease in quail, which is highly contagious; “It can start suddenly and cause high mortality: 100% in quail (http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/162/ulcerative-enteritis-quail-disease).”

When farming quail in the tropics, often dry food is used to prevent the spread of diseases.



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Origin and Distribution


Best estimates state that there was only one kind of quail that was wild, and eventually sub species evolved and spread out.

 No one can know for certain how the various breeds and sub-species developed, but it is generally acknowledged that all the Coturnix types are originally based on the Common quail, Coturnix coturnix, the wild migratory bird of Europe, Asia and Africa (http://www.poultry.allotment.org.uk/Poultry/Keeping_Quail/quail_keeping_coturnix.php).”


Japanese quail were once from Japan, and domestication is thought to have started around the 12 century. Quail in general have certainly been around a while, because when the Isrealites were stranded in the desert, God provided quail for them to eat.



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Importance to People


A favorite food of the Philippines is the quail egg, which is used in a variety of dishes or just on its own as a tasty treat. Quail meat is also known to be quite tasty. Quail eggs are an inexpensive way to get protein (which is important for poorer people). Quail are extremely efficient to farm, more so than chickens, because 500 birds could take up the space of three feet by four feet, making around 500 pesos a day. Quail are also more efficient than chickens in their feed:egg weight ratio. The feed:egg weight for chickens is Three kilograms for a kilogram of eggs, but quail only need two kilograms of feed to produce a kilogram of eggs. 



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Survivability and Endangered Status


The quail grown in farms are by no means endangered, because they can live simply and reproduce efficiently. However, a certain breed of quail thought to have been extinct has been recently spotted in the Philippines.

Hunters snared the Worcester's buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri) in the Caraballo mountain range last month and a film crew took pictures and video footage of the live bird at a poultry market, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines said (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/4681061/Rare-endangered-Philippines-quail-spotted---on-way-to-cooking-pot.html).”

The exact population of birds in the Philippines has yet to be discovered after extensive  research.



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Potential Solutions


What is the best way for poorer people in the Philippines to raise fowl? Is there an easy way to solve all the problems people may have with chickens? Quail seem to be a more practical bird to raise than chickens, so how could I act with my information? Extremely few quail cages are seen throughout the country, at least in the experiences of the researcher, so perhaps the Filipino people could be benefited by the information about quail. And since quail take less space then chickens, they are for those who may not have enough space to raise chickens as well as those who do. How could I benefit the Philippine community with this information?


Possibility 1 - Raising the Fowl


After my research, I could have bought some quail and chicken and compared the two in a deeper study.


1.      This would have given more accurate results about quail, and helped me understand more fully the way raising quail works, and how it is different from raising chickens.-

2.      I could have experienced pros and cons of both chickens and quail first hand.

3.      I may have developed more of a desire to reach people with the information about quail.




1.      It would have cost more than I had available buying material for the cages, the fowl themselves, the feed, ect.

2.      Buying and taking care of the fowl would have been quite time consuming, and I didn’t quite have enough time to do something like this. However, because of my piqued interest due to this project, I plan on raising some quail this summer.



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Possibility 2 - Explaining Quail


Quail are a common bird of the Philippines, and are being introduced to many poorer people as a livelihood project in General Santos City; as discussed in an interview with Mr. Steven Flammini. Mr. Flammini noted a positive difference in the livelihood of the people who were raising quail as opposed to the people around them. Why not raise further awareness to poorer people in Manila? Quail eggs, though not quite as common as chicken eggs, are still enjoyed by the Filipino people, and certainly can boost a family’s well being.

            After further research, I planned my action step: to go to a poorer community and ‘advertise’ quail.  I was given the opportunity to go to my kasambahay (house helper)’s neighborhood, Camandag Uno in Cogeo, so I prepared for my time there by making a brochure of why quail are a great fowl to raise, and some of the advantages quail have over chickens. However, after further research and thought, I came across an excellent manual to raising quail (http://www.echotech.org/mambo/images/DocMan/QuailEgg.PDF) and realized I could distribute it to those interested as a practical way to help them get started. So, I called the company ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) in the states and checked that distributing these would be okay.

            In Camandag Uno in Cogeo, I talked to four families about raising quail. First, I talked to my kasambahay’s family, then to others in surrounding houses. There was around four people per family, so the total number of people affected is sixteen. One of the people I talked to, Kuya Tem, seemed interested in raising quail, so I gave him a copy of the manual. It was very enjoyable to talk to all these different people, and Kuya Roger, my kasambahay’s husband, will distribute more of the brochures that I left with him in the future.







1.      Quail are more convenient than chickens to raise space wise. 500 quail can be raised in an area of 3 by 4 feet, and cages may be stacked on top of each other. Since quail are not “free-range” birds, there is no fear of them running away, as they can stay in their cages.

2.      Quail are much more efficient than chickens. The quail feed:egg weight ratio is 2:1 as opposed to chicken’s ratio which is 3:1. This means it takes quail 2 kg of feed to produce a kg of eggs, whereas chickens take 3 kg of food to produce a kg of eggs.

3.      Quail eggs can sell for 1 peso each, and quail buyers are not particularly picky about which eggs they want. There is a high demand for eggs, and laying quail can lay about one egg per day.

4.      Quail meat and eggs are quite tasty, and are a part of the Filipino life style. There are many different ways the meat as well as the eggs can be cooked, and a popular way to prepare the eggs is to pickle them. The eggs and meat are a good source of protein, but…


1.      …they are high in cholesterol.  This hasn’t seemed to affect the eating habits of Filipinos though.

2.      Filipino people just don’t know as much about Quail as they do chickens, so it would take some extra time for them to learn about ‘pugo.’ As Ate Mercy told me as we were talking, Filipinos know the eggs but haven’t seen the actual birds.


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Advincula, Ronnie. Personal Interview. 04 May 2009.

“Egg, quail, whole, fresh, raw.” Nutrition Data. 04 May 2009. <http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/128/2>.

Flammini, Steve. Personal Interview. 22 April 2009.

Martin, Dr. Franklin W, Alison G. Martin-Davis, and Annabelle Maffioli. “Quail: An Egg and Meat Production System.” 1998. 04 May 2009. <http://www.echotech.org/mambo/images/DocMan/QuailEgg.PDF>.  

Pappas, J. 2002. "Coturnix japonica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 03, 2009 at <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Coturnix_japonica.html>.

“Practical Quail Feeding.” That Quail Place. 2005. 04 May 2009. <http://www.thatquailplace.com/quail/coturnix/coturn3.htm>.

 Quail, breast, meat only, raw.” Nutrition Data. 04 May 2009. <http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/128/2>.

“Quail.” Wikipedia. 03 May 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quail>.

Texas. The Texas A&M University System. Japanese Quail (Coturnix). 04 May 2009. <http://gallus.tamu.edu/Extension%20publications/jpquail.pdf>.

Thear, Katie. Home Page. 2005. 3 May 4, 2009. <http://www.poultry.allotment.org.uk/Poultry/Keeping_Quail/quail_keeping_cococotu.php>.

“Ulcerative Enteritis, Quail disease.” The Poultry Site. 04 May 2009. <http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/162/ulcerative-enteritis-quail-disease>. 



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