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The keeping and breeding of quails is becoming more and more popular among the population, because from them you can get both eggs and meat, which differ in dietary and medicinal properties. And this is a really profitable business! Judge for yourself - a quail female is capable of laying eggs with a total weight of 20 times more than the bird itself in a year. By the way, in chickens, this ratio is 1: 8.
In addition, there are decorative quail breeds that can decorate your site and serve as interesting and exotic representatives of your home mini-zoo. After all, these birds tolerate captivity well, it is not so difficult to care for them, they are not picky about food.
To the question "What is the best quail breed?" there is no single answer, because it all depends on what you want to get from the bird first of all. All known quail breeds are conventionally divided into egg, meat, universal (meat and egg) and decorative. The table below shows all the main characteristics of the quail breeds most common in Russia. Next, you can find a photo and description.
Male weight (g)
Female weight (g)
Number of eggs per year
Egg size (g)
The age at which it begins to lay eggs
Wild or common
English (British) white
White (with black dots)
English (British) black
Brown to black
White with dark brown
180-200 (up to 300)
Sandy with golden sheen
Japanese or marbled
Ocher brown with stripes
Like a Japanese quail
White with dark specks
Grayish white with brown
In general, all currently existing quail breeds are descended from wild dumb or Japanese quail.
And, of course, the most popular breed, if you need quail eggs above all, is the Japanese quail. This breed is the standard of color for others bred on its basis. While the torso is slightly elongated, the wings and tail are small. The advantage is that the sex of young quails can be determined from the age of 20 days. Differences in the field are clearly visible in the color of the chest plumage: in males it is brown, and in females it is light gray with black specks. The beak of males is also much darker than that of females.
In addition, at puberty males have a pronounced pinkish cloacal gland, which looks like a slight thickening and is located above the cloaca. Females do not have this gland, and the surface of the skin around the cloaca is bluish.
Under favorable conditions, females can begin laying eggs as early as 35-40 days of age. While in natural conditions, egg-laying usually begins when the age of two months is reached. For a year, a female can lay more than 300 eggs, however, their weight is small, about 9-12 g.
Important! While the breeders managed to achieve high egg production rates from this breed, the instinct for incubation was completely lost.
Therefore, hatching of chicks can only be carried out using an incubator.
In this breed, the most intensive growth occurs in the first weeks of life. By the age of 40 days, young quails reach the mass of adult birds.
This breed has a strong immunity, undemanding to the conditions of detention. It is often used as a base for new quail varieties.
Attention! The disadvantage is a small live weight, so it is unprofitable to use them for meat production.
True, in Europe, special lines have been created in which they managed to achieve an increase in live weight of this quail breed by 50-70%. Work in this direction is constantly ongoing.
In addition, there are forms of Japanese quail with colored plumage: Mahurion (golden), Lotus (white) and Turedo (white breast). In apartments, Japanese quails are often kept as a decorative bird.
English or British black
As the name suggests, the breed was produced in England and imported from Hungary in 1971. The color can range from all shades of brown to black. The eyes are light brown. The beak is dark brown.
Birds are much more in live weight than Japanese quails, but their egg production is low. But still, according to this indicator, they can be placed in third place after Japanese and Estonian. Therefore, they are ranked in the egg direction, especially since the carcass, due to the dark color of the plumage, does not look very attractive when cut (with a blue tint), which is a marriage for not very knowledgeable buyers.
To obtain hatching eggs, black quails are usually planted in family groups (1 male for two or three females). In the future, birds of this breed react poorly to regrouping (egg production decreases), so it is better to keep it as it was originally intended.
The disadvantages of the breed are the rather low fertility and the low survival rate of the chicks (see the table for the figures).
English or British whites
This quail breed was also obtained in England from Japanese quails, by fixing a white mutation. She came to our country in the same way as her black relatives, through Hungary, but later in 1987. As the name implies, the color of the females is purely snow-white, while the males occasionally have individual blotches of black. The eyes are gray-black, and the beak and paws are a delicate light pink shade.
Attention! The breed is considered quite promising, since the number of eggs per year reaches 280.
Despite the small body weight, only slightly exceeding the live weight of Japanese quails, the color of the carcass in birds, due to the light plumage, is very attractive to buyers. Therefore, the breed is also used for meat production.
The breed is very unpretentious in keeping and eats a little feed per bird. Its only drawback can be considered the difficulty in distinguishing between sex before reaching 7-8 weeks of age.
This breed is a mutant form of Japanese quail, bred by specialists from the Timiryazev Academy and the Institute of General Genetics. The color of the plumage is from red to light gray with a pattern resembling marbling. A similar color was obtained as a result of X-ray irradiation of the testes of male quails. All characteristics are completely identical to those of Japanese quails. Differences are only in color.
This breed is obtained by crossing white and black English quails. The result is a very original bird appearance. In quails, the entire lower part of the body and also the neck and head are white. The upper part of the body is covered with brown and brown feathers to varying degrees. According to its characteristics, it usually belongs to the egg or universal type. For detailed numerical data, see the table.
Versatile or meaty breeds
Many quail breeds belonging to this section are referred to by a number of authors as both egg and meat. There is no clear division between the types of breeds, to start one or another breed is a matter of taste for each person.
Another name is Golden Phoenix. Quail of the Manchurian golden breed are very popular, primarily for their color. The golden hue is obtained due to the beautiful combination of yellow and brown feathers on the overall light background. In terms of the number of eggs hatched, the breed, of course, is inferior to Japanese quails, but the eggs themselves are larger.
The breed is especially popular in Europe, mainly because the young are gaining weight very quickly. In addition, the breed serves as the basis for the creation of large broiler lines when crossed with other meat quails. Breeders manage to get female quails of the Manchurian golden breed weighing up to 300 grams or more. And thanks to the light color, the color of the carcass is again attractive to buyers.
Attention! The breed is also popular because of its unpretentious maintenance and a small need for feed.
The birds themselves, because of their interesting color, are very popular with children, who are happy to help take care of them. Watch a video with a story about quiet quails:
This breed for "internal" use was bred at the NPO "Complex" factory by crossing the marble and meat pharaoh breeds. The color of birds is absolutely identical to the color of Japanese quails, but according to their characteristics, they represent a typical meat and egg breed. Sometimes, you can find marbled birds, which resulted from the splitting of this population.
Another name for this breed is kitevers. She was bred on the basis of the Moscow line of Japanese quails, by crossing the English white, Japanese and Pharaoh breed. Differences in sex color can be traced well. The main shade is ocher brown with dark stripes. There is a slight hump at the front of the back. Males have a head and neck with a large predominance of dark brown shades, only on the head there are three yellow-white stripes. While in females the head and neck are light gray-brown. The male's beak is black-brown, but has a light tip. In females, it is brownish-gray. Interestingly, birds of this breed are capable of flying.
The Estonian breed has many advantages:
- High survival rate and viability of young animals - up to 98%.
- Unpretentiousness to living conditions and vitality of adult quails.
- High egg fertilization - 92-93%.
- Long lifespan and long laying period.
- Have rapid weight gain in the first weeks of life.
Below you can look at the table - a graph of the growth of the live weight of Estonian quails.
Attention! The disadvantage is the slightly higher feed consumption compared to other breeds.
Due to its versatile characteristics and unpretentiousness, the Estonian breed is the most ideal for beginners.
Below you can watch a video about the Estonian breed.
Of the meat breeds in our country, at the moment, only two quail breeds have become widespread. Although work in this direction is very intensive, and many broiler quail lines have already been created abroad.
The breed came to us from the USA and the quails are quite large - the weight of the female exceeds 300, or even 400 grams. Egg production is low, but the eggs themselves are quite large, up to 18 grams. Birds of this breed are most demanding on the conditions of keeping and feeding. Some disadvantage is the dark color of the plumage, which can worsen the presentation of the carcasses.
An advantage can be called the rapid growth of young animals, by five weeks the live weight of quails already reaches 140-150 grams.
The weight gain charts show this process well by day.
It is also called the Texas Pharaoh, since it was bred and used mainly in the state of Texas, USA. It was brought to Russia several years ago and began to enjoy great popularity as a meat breed. In addition to the large weight (up to 450-500 g), which the quail females reach, the white color is also very attractive for sale.
The advantage of the Texas white quail is that the amount of food consumed by these giant quails is the same as that of other breeds. Moreover, the young are gaining weight very quickly, like Pharaoh's.
The breed is very calm, which is also a disadvantage for breeding, since no more than two females should be placed on one male.
The disadvantage is also the low fertilization of eggs and insufficiently high hatchability - see the figures in the table.
There are quite a few decorative quail breeds, but the following are most popular in our country:
Having got acquainted with all the main quail breeds, you can choose the one that best suits your needs and interests.