Keeping and breeding quails is becoming increasingly popular among the population, because from them you can get both eggs and meat, differing dietary and healing properties. And this is a really profitable business! Judge for yourself - a female quail is able to carry eggs for a year with a total weight 20 times more than the bird itself. By the way, this ratio in chickens is 1: 8.
In addition, there are decorative breeds of quail that can decorate your site and serve as interesting and exotic representatives of your home mini-zoo. After all, these birds tolerate captivity, they are not so difficult to care for, they are not picky about feed.
There is no definite answer to the question “What kind of quail breed is the best?”, Because everything depends on what you want first of all to get from the bird. All known breeds of quail are divided conditionally into egg, meat, universal (meat-egg) and decorative. The table below presents all the main characteristics of the quail breeds that are 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 eggs begin to carry
Wild or Ordinary
English (British) white
White (with black dots)
English (British) black
From brown to black
White with dark brown
180-200 (up to 300)
Sand with a golden sheen
Like Japanese or Marble
Ocher brown with stripes
Like a Japanese quail
White with dark specks
Grayish white with brown
In general, all currently existing breeds of quails are descended from wild mute or Japanese quail.
And, of course, the most popular breed, if you need, first of all, quail eggs, is Japanese quail. This breed is the standard of color for others derived from it. While the body 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. The differences in the field are clearly visible in the color of the thoracic plumage: in males it is brown, and in females it is light gray with black specks. The beak of the males is also much darker than that of the females.
In addition, males at puberty have a pronounced cloacal gland of a pinkish hue, which has the appearance of a small thickening and is located above the cloaca. The females do not have this gland, and the surface of the skin around the cloaca is bluish in color.
Under favorable conditions, females can begin egg-laying as early as 35–40 days of age. While under natural conditions, egg-laying usually begins when it reaches two months of age. During the year, the female can carry more than 300 eggs, however, their weight is small, about 9-12 g.Important! While breeders managed to achieve high egg production rates from this breed, the incubation instinct was completely lost.
Therefore, the withdrawal of chicks can be done only with the help of 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 immune system, undemanding to conditions of detention. It is often used as a base for new quail species.Attention! The disadvantage is a small live weight, so using them for the production of meat is unprofitable.
True, special lines have been created in Europe, in which they managed to achieve an increased by 50-70% of the live weight of this breed of quail. Work in this direction is constantly ongoing.
In addition, there are also forms of Japanese quail with colored plumage: Mahurion (golden), Lotus (white) and Turedo (white breast). In apartments, Japanese quails often contain as decorative birds.
English or British black
Based on the name, the breed was produced in England, and imported from Hungary in 1971. Color can vary from all shades of brown to black. The eyes are light brown in color. The beak is dark brown.
Birds are much larger in live weight than Japanese quail, but their egg production is reduced. Still, according to this indicator, they can be placed on the 3rd place after the Japanese and Estonian. Therefore, they are assigned to the egg direction, especially since the carcass doesn’t look very attractive during cutting (with a blue tint) due to the dark color of the plumage, which is a marriage for not very knowledgeable buyers.
To obtain hatching eggs, black quails are usually seated in family groups (1 male on two or three females). In the future, the birds of this breed react badly to the rearrangement (a decrease in egg production occurs), so it is better to keep it as it was originally intended.Comment! To obtain food eggs, females are kept separately from males.
The disadvantages of the breed are rather low fertility and low survival rate of chicks (for numbers, see the table).
English or British white
This breed of quail was also obtained in England from Japanese quail by fixing a white mutation. She came to our country the same way as her black cousins, through Hungary, but later in 1987. As the name implies, females are pure white in color, males occasionally have separate blotches of black. The eyes are gray-black, and the beak and legs of 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 higher than the live weight of Japanese quails, the color of the birds carcass, due to the light plumage, is very attractive for buyers. Therefore, the breed is also used to produce meat.
The breed is very unpretentious in content and eats a little feed in terms of one bird's head. The only drawback is the difficulty in distinguishing between sexes up to the age of 7-8 weeks.
This breed is a mutant form of Japanese quail, bred by experts of 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 male quail testes. All characteristics are completely identical to those of Japanese quail. Differences only in color.
This breed was obtained by crossing white and black English quail. The result was a very original in appearance of the bird. In quails, the entire lower body and also the neck and head are white. The upper part of the body is covered to varying degrees with brown and brown feathers. According to its characteristics, it usually refers to the egg or universal type. Detailed digital data, see the table.
Universal or meaty breed
Many breeds of quail related to this section, a number of authors refer to both egg and meat. There is no clear separation between the types of breeds, to start one or another breed is a matter of taste of each person.
Another name is Phoenix golden. Manchurian golden quail breeds are very popular, primarily for their color. Golden shade is obtained due to the beautiful combination of yellow and brown feathers on the general light background. By the number of hatching eggs, the breed, of course, is inferior to Japanese quail, but the eggs themselves are larger.
The breed is particularly popular in Europe, mainly for the fact that young animals are gaining weight very quickly. In addition, the breed serves as the basis for creating large broiler lines when crossed with other quail meat. Breeders manage to get female quails of 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 content and small need for feed.
The birds themselves, because of their interesting color, are very popular with children, who are happy to help care for them. Watch a video about the story of these quails:
This breed for "internal" use was bred at the factory of the NPO Kompleks by crossing the marble and meat breeds of the Pharaoh. The color of the birds is absolutely identical to the color of the Japanese quail, but according to their characteristics they represent a typical meat and egg breed. Sometimes, you can meet birds of marble color, which were the result of the splitting of this population.
Another name for this breed is kaytavers. She was bred on the basis of the Moscow line of Japanese quail, by crossing the English white, Japanese and the Pharaoh breed. Gender discrepancies can be traced well. The main shade is ocher brown with dark stripes. There is a small hump near 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 females, the head and neck are light gray-brown. The beak of the male is black-brown, but has a bright tip. In females, it is brownish gray. Interestingly, the birds of this breed are able to fly.
Estonian breed has many advantages:
- High survival and viability of young stock up to 98%.
- Unpretentiousness to the conditions of detention and the resilience of adult quail.
- High egg fertilization - 92-93%.
- Long lifespan and a long laying period.
- Possess rapid weight gain in the first weeks of life.
Below you can look at the table - the graph of growth of live weight of Estonian quails.
Attention! The disadvantage is a slightly higher feed intake compared to other breeds.
Owing to its universal 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 breeds of quail have spread. Although the work in this direction is very intensive, many quail broiler lines have already been created abroad.
The breed came to us from the USA and the quails are quite large in size - 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. The birds of this breed are the most demanding of housing and feeding conditions. Some disadvantage is the dark color of the plumage, which can affect the presentation of the carcasses.
The advantage can be called the rapid growth of young animals, by five weeks the live weight of quails reaches 140-150 grams.
The weight gain tables show this process by leaps and bounds.
It is also called the Texas Pharaoh, since it was bred and is used mainly in the state of Texas, USA. It was introduced to Russia several years ago and began to enjoy great popularity as a meat breed. In addition to large weight (up to 450-500 g), which is reached by female quails, the white color is also very attractive for marketing.
The advantage of Texas white quail is also the fact that the amount of feed that these quail giants consume is the same as that of other breeds. Moreover, young animals are gaining weight very quickly, as in the case of Pharaoh.
The breed is very calm, which is also a drawback for breeding, since no more than two females should be placed on one male.
The disadvantage is the low fertility of eggs and not enough hatchability - the numbers, see the table.
There are quite a few decorative breeds of quail, but the following are the most popular in our country:
- Painted or Chinese - just look at the photo of the quail of this breed and it becomes clear why it is considered a decorative breed. In the coloring there are a variety of colors from blue-blue, red to yellow. The birds are small, 11-14 cm long. The female incubates usually 5-7 eggs for 15-17 days. Keep the birds preferably not in pairs, but in small groups. Their voice is pleasant. Mostly run on the ground, not fly.
- Virgin quails are medium in size, 22 cm in length. The color is variegated brown-red. Character docile, easy to breed in captivity. The laying of 14 eggs, the female can incubate for 24 days. These quails are often kept not only for decorative purposes, but also for meat.
- Californian - very decorative representatives of the crested quail group. The laying consists of 9-15 eggs, which incubate for about 20 days. These quails are very thermophilic and do not withstand a temperature drop below + 10 ° C. Therefore, they need warmed poultry houses for the winter period.
Having got acquainted closer with all the main breeds of quail, you can choose the one that best suits your needs and interests.