I’m Chad Leonard, my wife Samantha and I own Leonard’s Jumbo Quail Farm in Southeast Georgia. We are part of the Undique collective, We raise Georgia Giant Bobwhites and JMF Coturnix Quail. I started raising quail in the early 2000’s when the varieties available today were not yet thought of. There were a handful but not the 800,000 varieties there are today. I started with a Pharoah (GQF Line) and a Tennessee Red Bobwhite. I started with quail as a self-sufficient meat source on the property. I left the hobby for a while due to life events. I got back into it a year or so ago and decided this time I would only raise the largest quail available.
That being said, I did some research and decided that the JMF (Jumbo Wild, Jumbo Brown, Pharaoh D1) Coturnix would be the line I went with. They are prolific egg layers as long as the required conditions are provided and hatch rates of (home-raised) eggs are usually in the 90% range. I am also a firm believer in quality feed, I will never and have never substituted the appropriate game bird feed. The Coturnix requires mass amounts of feed. I have seen them raised on chicken feed, but does it provide the best results, not at all. The Coturnix is a fast-growing bird so a proper diet is a necessity. We are talking about a 10-14 ounce bird at 10 weeks of age and those numbers are real, the downside is the life span; supposedly about 21 months from hatch to death.
The hatch rates on the Coturnix are very good for a crossbred bird. We manage our flock and hatch birds for our use so we have done the best we can to eliminate bad genetics. After a lot of research these birds all seem to be the same cross that were somehow named by multiple people to be different lines, however, they are not, there may be color variation etc. but all of that is adjustable by proper flock management. It takes time but is very doable.
As I also stated we raise Georgia Giant Bobwhites and I have to say that they are by far my favorite Quail to date. They are a more aggressive bird, and can not be kept in mixed housing. That being said they get along fine (usually) so they’re not a problem as long as you keep them by themselves and don’t introduce other types of birds to their enclosure. There will be the occasional hurt bird due to the pecking order and if there is an injured bird they will most likely kill it as they have a lot of the Northern Bobwhite mentality, they just aren’t as skittish over time. The Northern is always a skittish bird however it is hard to breed that out of any wild bird. The Georgia Giants eat far less than the Coturnix however they take a lot longer to mature and grow to full weight. The Georgia Giant matures at 24 weeks and usually are laying eggs daily by 28 weeks as long as the proper environment is provided.
The eggs are much smaller but consistent, They are the same as a typical bobwhite but they usually have a very close to 100% hatch rate (for home-raised eggs) which is a good thing when you are shooting for a certain number of birds. They seem to have personalities, unlike the Coturnix. They average 16-20 ounces at 24 weeks on a proper diet. We also have a couple of exotic birds, One is an Umbrella Cockatoo named Zazu who is 27 years old and we also have an African Grey named Annabelle who is 47 years old. We have some New Zealand rabbits and a couple of dogs. We have a small half-acre homestead.
We have recently ventured into raising mealworms. Like the quail, it’s been a large learning curve but I think we are figuring it out. Hopefully one day soon we can offer some dehydrated meal worms for everyone’s quail to have a delicious snack. We pickle eggs however they aren’t what you usually see at the store. I prefer a sweet spicy pickled egg with an added veggie mix. I think they are delicious with the initial sweet and then the spicy after. The vegetables are crisp and they have the same sweetness with the spicy aftertaste. We are the only NPIP Farm in Southeast Georgia with true Jumbo Quail.
To order Giant Bob White hatching eggs from Chad, follow this link.