Farming

Electrical engineering graduate who is rearing quails for eggs

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How quail eggs look like. Photo By Edgar R. Batte 

By Christine Katende and EDGAR R. BATTE

Posted  Wednesday, December 18  2013 at  13:00

In Summary

Frederick Woira studied electrical engineering at the university. Though he had an interest in quails, it was through a chance meeting with a university professor that he knew more about the birds. He told Christine Katende how he used this knowledge to get the most of them.

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My name is Fredrick Woira, a quail farmer in Wampewo, Gayaza, Wakiso District, and a university graduate of electrical engineering. I started quail farming in 2001 though on a small scale. By then, it had never crossed my mind to invest in quails as a big business.

In 201l, when I was back at Makerere University for further studies, I met a professor of agriculture who taught me so much about quails and their benefits. I conducted more research on the internet and I realised that I would make more money if I reared them with a focus on the eggs.
I started with 100 birds after being recommended by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. There are 700 to 800 birds on my farm. The feed mixture for these birds is very important because it determines their size and egg production.

Types
The other thing is that these birds do not need a large space like it is for chicken, layers or broilers. This is because of the speed at which they fly. Quails do not fly like other birds; they fly at a vertical angle. So, if the room above is left free, they might confuse it for open space and fly and injure themselves, which can lead to their death hence registering a loss.
These birds are reared in racks and each rack should have seven cages with at least 20 birds. A properly grown quail weighs about 250grams.

At the farm, I specialise in quail japonica, a type known for its commercial purposes.
There are two types: the Texas A&M, and Jumbo Brown that is purposely for eggs. Quails are small birds that cannot be reared for meat like it is with broilers and in that case, a farmer cannot gain from them.

Less space
After realising that, I decided to focus on the eggs because of the many health benefits in them. I have sold eggs to many people and that is how I gain from the business.
Research shows that quail eggs can be used by people with different health problems like asthma, sexual impotence, skin rashes, eczema, among others. It is interesting raising wild birds domestically than chasing them like it was years back when we were young.

I set quail cages in a block that is adjacent to the main house. To supplement the quails, I bought a few turkeys and cocks plus a Friesian cow, where I get money for home use.
I breed the birds myself and the eggs incubate in 16 to 17 days. Quails are short-cycled birds because they mature early and start laying eggs in the sixth week.
Quail farming is not as complicated as rearing chicken which needs a lot more space. With this business, one only needs to get as many cages in big one room.

Benefits
The cages I use for housing the quails are made from materials available at the local market, such as wood, wire mesh and the nails to join the wood. Surprisingly, a quail does not need any vaccination. When it falls ill, I just give them plain multi-vitamins and it will get back to normal.
Before one starts a quail business, he or she needs to put up a shelter with cages, feeders, lake stones, drinkers, feeds and the birds.

Lake stones are put in the drinkers and it is on these stones that the birds stand while taking water. The stones also prevent the birds from drowning in the water, which might kill them.

From the quail business, I have been able to facilitate my education and educate my children, among other things.
The other thing is that I have been able to treat my wife who had a heart problem. I remember she could not sleep on the side of the heart because of the pain she felt.

Challenges
But after taking quail eggs, she got better. She took a dose of 240 raw eggs in 41 days. I am happy that she is now okay with my investment.

The biggest challenge I have ever come across was in the first days where I failed to mix the feeds. That made me lose 80 birds. They became weak and eventually died. I managed to overcome the problem when I consulted the experts about the best way to mix the food.
With quails, the egg production goes down when the birds have a problem. Taking care of chicks is a bit challenging because they need adequate warmth all through; otherwise, they will just curl up and die in a bid to look for warmth.

Plans
I am planning to go for Masters degree in cottage farming so that I help people to develop business within their home enclosures like I did. My home is on a 50x100 feet piece of land.

Although I have not yet done that, I have already started training whoever approaches me for knowledge about quail farming. People should know that a small area is enough for a quail farm since they are reared in cages.

The only thing I would advise people planning to start the business is never to enter the quail’s house during the afternoon hours because the egg laying process will be interfered with and they will either give you less or no eggs.

Quails can fetch Shs22m a year

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