Callipepla californica or Valley Quail, which are also known as California Quail, are one of five native quail species in North America. They are gregarious and active birds and look very similar to the Gambel's Quail, except they are a bit larger, usually weighing about 8 ounces as adults. They are about 10 inches in length. Valley Quail are very pretty birds with distinctive comma-shaped top crests.
The natural range of Valley Quail is throughout the state of California, one of the reasons why they're the official state bird of California. They are also found north into Oregon and Washington states, and south into Mexico. Valley Quail have proved to be adaptable and resilient and thrives in various settings from remote deserts to woodlands to suburban yards.
Raising Valley Quail in captivity is rewarding and usually very successful. These are easy birds to care for, and they are good production birds as well as being attractive for avian collectors. Valley Quail lay quite a few of the small and speckled quail eggs that gourmet markets and chefs seek. They also grow very fast and produce highly prized and sought-after meat. They are hardy, doing well in most areas of the United States.
A non-medicated game bird feed would be an appropriate diet for Valley Quail. When planning your quail enclosure, be sure to provide plenty of space and some shrubbery and logs for privacy and roosting. Quail do not thrive in overcrowded conditions, and they also need room to fly, so design the enclosure with a high top, so the birds do not injure themselves when flying.
For hatching eggs, you will need either an incubator on hand or a broody bantam hen that can be employed for incubating the eggs. We recommend a styrofoam tabletop style incubator for your first-time hatching eggs. We also recommend an automatic turner for 12 or more eggs. And because of the small size of quail eggs, you should be sure to have a special quail-size rack or quail-size cups for the automatic turner in your incubator.
Incubation Time: Valley Quail Hatching Eggs will hatch in about 20-23 days.
Temperature/Humidity: Valley Quail Hatching Eggs will hatch best if incubated at 100 degrees F, decreasing to 98.5 degrees F during the final three days of incubation. Humidity should be kept at 50% until day 19 when it should be raised to 60-65% until the chicks hatch. Turning the eggs 3 times a day for the first 19 days is a solid practice. After day 19, stop turning the eggs.
Special Incubation Notes: Start up your incubator 2-3 days before your eggs are due to arrive. This gives your incubator time to fully come to temperature and to stabilize humidity levels. It is also a good practice to let your newly arrived eggs rest at room temperature for about 12 hours before placing them in an incubator. Place them large side up in a clean and dry egg carton. Incubators should be kept in a room with a constant even temperature and out of the sun.