Coturnix Quail Eggs, Adult and Chick availablilty

Quail Eggs for Eating

We have eating eggs available all year long. Eating eggs are only available for local pick up and can’t be shipped. The only times that we struggle to keep up with demand are at Christmas and in the spring. Otherwise we always have fresh quail eggs available by the dozen here: http://spadeandfeather.com/collections/quail/products/quail-eggs

Hatching Quail Eggs

We also have hatching quail eggs available all year round. What’s the difference between eating and hatching eggs? Our hatching eggs only come from our proven breeding groups and are stored differently from eating eggs to ensure high hatch rates. Our hatching eggs are a mix of whites, browns and goldens. If you are looking for a specific colour, let us know when you place your order. Hatching eggs can be picked up locally or shipped within Canada.

Quail Chicks

We only have quail chicks available in the spring on a regular basis. This is the busy season for us and we do sell out quickly. We have weekly hatches of chicks from March to June. Outside of this season we will hatch on demand for prepaid customers. All quail chicks are for local pick up only and can be found here: http://spadeandfeather.com/collections/quail/products/quail-chicks

Adult Quail

We do sell adult quail but not very often. If you are interested in adults, please contact us for availability. If you are purchasing a cage from us we will always have adults available for you.


We stock quail feed and chicken layer all year, but other feeds, like chicken growers, starters and speciality feeds are only available by special request. Please contact us to learn more.

Local Pick up Location & Delivery Options

If you would like to save a little on shipping or are looking to purchase eggs or live birds, we are available to meet, free of charge, in north Etobicoke at the Tim Hortons at Islington and Elmhurst. We do this for bio security and privacy reasons. All orders for pick up must be prepaid online through our store. When ordering, select Toronto Local Pickup to avoid shipping charges. Email us with a date and time that works for you, and we will bring your purchase. Here’s the google map location: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=islington+and+elmhurst&rflfq=1&tbm=lcl&rlha=0

If you live in the GTA and need delivery of live animals, please contact us for a quote.



Canning Garlic Scapes

Back in the fall we planted about 600 hardneck garlic and they’ve been nothing but happy. They are so happy, that they’ve decided to shoot up scapes for us! A scape is the delicious stem and seed pod that is often overlooked as an edible that forms atop the growing garlic plant. In the spring/early summer, the scapes must be removed to prevent the plant from dedicating energy to forming a seed pod rather than the bulb below the ground. Some people leave them on (and complain about small garlic later in the season), some cut them off and let them compost back in, but why waste what is essentially an extra crop?

Our 2013 crop.

Our 2013 crop. Not nearly as many plants as this year.

The scapes can be used as a garlic substitute but seeing as they are seasonal and only last a week in the fridge, you might not be able to get through a glut of them. We’ve harvested over 5lbs, so using them in a week is beyond impossible.

The below recipe was used for roughly 2lbs of scapes. Start with a small batch of brine and make more as you need it.


Fresh scapes
3 cups white vinegar (5%)
4 cups water
¼ cup pickling salt

  1. Rinse the scapes. Don’t go crazy scrubbing them. Any bugs will get processed and you’ll never even know they were there. Just remember, accidents happen; there are no true vegetarians. Rinsing just removes any debris holding on.
  2. Put jars on to boil. I add a glug of vinegar to the water which stops minerals from building up on the glass.
  3. Cut the tips above the pods off and compost. The tips are fibrous and not as nice as the rest of the plant.
  4. Cut the remaining part into sections that will fit, stood up, in the jars. To keep things consistent, I put two pieces of tape on the cutting board spaced out at the ideal length for my jars. This anal move will keep your OCD alive and well. Keep any short bits in a separate bowl.
  5. Mix the vinegar, water and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
  6. Once your jars are sterilized (after 20 minutes of boiling) pack them with scape lengths. Pack them in as tight as you can.
  7. Ladle boiling brine into jars until it covers the tips of the scapes, leaving some head room.
  8. After a minute, or so, the scapes will soften and more can be carefully added to each jar, including the short pieces kept aside.
  9. Wipe the rims of the filled jars, add lids and bands, put them back in your water bath, and process for 45 minutes.
Scapes, cut and ready to be canned.

Scapes, cut and ready to be canned.

Let them store for a few weeks, crack the seal and enjoy! If you get botulism (and survive) don’t blame the recipe, blame your filthy kitchen. Happy canning!


How to raise quail chicks

Whether you hatch your own chicks out or buy some day-olds from Spade & Feather, this quick guide will help you through raising quail chicks.

The Incubator

Once hatched, quail chicks need to remain in the incubator until dry. They can happily survive without food or water in the incubator for up to 48hrs. It is best to leave your chicks for the maximum amount of time to allow for their siblings to hatch. Every time you open your incubator to remove dry chicks, you are risking all of the other unhatched chicks. The sudden drop in temperature and humidity from opening the incubator can kill unhatched chicks.

The Brooder

Quail chicks will live the first part of their lives in a brooder. A brooder is NOT the same as an incubator. A brooder is a container that offers protection from predators, drafts and rain. Using a large rubbermaid tote with a flat bottom is ideal for brooding. The tote walls prevent drafts and stop the chicks from straying. These plastic containers are also easy to clean.

Broods need to be kept indoors in a barn or house in an area free of drafts.

The Brooder Floor

Quail chicks cannot be placed directly on the plastic bottom of the brooder. Quails need something to grip otherwise they will develop splayed legs which will eventually lead to death. Splayed legs is a condition where the legs of a chick harden and develop in a position similar to the splits. The chick’s mobility will decrease and it will no longer be able to feeder and drink.

To prevent splayed legs, we recommend placing shelf liner in the bottom of the brooder. It should be cut to size and lie flat on the floor. Paper towels can also be used on top of the shelf liner to help absorb moisture.

After 5 days, pine shavings can be added to the brooder. Never use cedar shavings as the dust can cause respiratory problems in poultry.

The brooder floor should be cleaned often. All soiled shavings or paper towel should be changed.

The Feed

Quail chicks need 24 hour access to food specifically made for their nutritional needs. Do no feed them cat food, dog food, seeds or grasses. The best feed for a quail chick is a non-medicated starter crumb of 24% protein or higher. This is available at feed stores in 25kg bags or at Spade & Feather in smaller more manageable amounts here.

For the first few days, chicks will struggle to eat from a feeder so it’s best to sprinkle feed on a paper towel in the bottom of the brooder. The chicks will create quite a mess with the feed and tend to fling it everywhere.

Remove any food that gets damp as it will develop mould and attract flies.


Quail chicks are a lot cuter than they are smart. They have a tendency to drown or soak themselves through when open water containers are used. Only Quail Waterer Bases should be used. These waterers prevent drowning and are simple to use. The base screws onto a Poultry Jar and water should be refreshed twice a day.

Quail Waterer Base: Prevents drowning and keeps water clean

Chicks require 24 hour access to water. To prevent bacteria from forming in the water, we recommend 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to be mixed in to every litre of water.


Quail chicks must be kept warm 24 hours a day. In the first week, chicks need to be kept at 95°F. Every week the temperature can be reduced by 5°F (see chart below).

Week 1: 95°F (35ºC)
Week 2: 90°F (32ºC)
Week 3: 85°F (29ºC)
Week 4: 80°F (26ºC)
Week 5: 75°F (24ºC)

The easiest way to keep chicks warm is by using a heat lamp. The lamp should be positioned to focus the heat on one end of the brooder to allow the chicks to escape the warmth if they start to overheat. It is very important to use an accurate thermometer to monitor the exact temperature in the brooder.

If you find your chicks are huddling together under the lamp, they are too cold and the lamp should be moved closer.

If you find your chicks are avoiding the warm area of the brooder, the lamp should be moved further away.

If you follow the information above, put in the time and care, your quail will grow healthy and happy!


How to Incubate Quail Eggs

So, you’ve just bought some fertilized quail eggs from us at Spade and Feather or maybe from another breeder. Before you rush them home and pop them in the incubator, there are few steps you can take to ensure you have the most successful hatch possible.


We store our fertilized eggs at a temperature of 10°C (50°F) which is optimal for stopping chicks from developing, but still keeping the egg alive. Temperatures closer to freezing can kill the egg while higher temperatures, for prolonged periods, can kickstart the development of the embryo too soon.

When you purchase your eggs from us, try to keep them cool. If you have a car journey ahead, keep them out of sunlight and away from heat sources in your car. If it’s the wintertime, make sure your car is warm and ready before setting off.

Bumps in the road

We package all of our eggs in quail egg cartons which keep the eggs safe from rolling around and breaking.  Even with this protection, it’s a good idea to keep the eggs in a safe place where they won’t fly around your vehicle or bounce hard when you hit a bump in the road. Excessive jostling can affect the performance of your eggs.

Rest before incubation

As exciting as hatching is, there is no rush. Once you’re home with the eggs, you should open the carton, make sure the eggs are sitting point down still and leave them to rest. After a bumpy ride the eggs should sit for 12 hours before you incubate them. Allowing them this rest period will ensure the eggs slowly rise in temperature rather than shocking them with the 37.5°C (99.5°F) in the incubator. An ideal room to rest them in is one free from drafts that is kept at a comfortable temperature for you. This is a good time to start up your incubator and get the temperature and humidity set.


Once you’re ready, load your eggs point side down into your incubator. Your incubator should be at a temperature of 37.5°C (99.5°F) with a humidity of 30-40%. This temperature and humidity should be maintained for the first 14 days. As with all fowl, it is very important to turn your eggs multiple times a day. Some incubators offer automatic turners, while some economical models require manual turning of eggs.


On day 15, it is time to lockdown your eggs. At this point all turning of eggs must stop and eggs should be removed from their upright position and any holders or cups they sat in for the first 14 days. Let the eggs rest on their sides which will help the chicks hatch more easily. It is very important to raise the humidity to 55% or higher. If optimal humidity isn’t reached, chicks will not be able to hatch and will die in the shell.


The hatch will begin on the 18th day. Be patient. Some times it can take a little longer for some hatches. You’ll find that the majority will hatch within a few hours of each other. There may be a delay of a few DAYS until the rest hatch. We leave our hatcher/incubators running until day 24 just in case there are a few late arrivals.

If you’ve purchased eggs from us or are looking too and have more questions, post below in the comments or contact us and we’d be happy to help.

Happy hatching!


Win quail egg scissors!

Win 1 of 5 pairs of quail egg scissors this month at Spade & Feather!

Signup for our newsletter below to be entered into the draw!

Draw will be held June 1st and winner will be notified by email. Please provide a valid US or Canadian email and postal address when signing up. No purchase required and shipping is free! Good luck!

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Spade & Feather at the Gladstone Grow Op

Join us at the Gladstone Hotel Grow Op Urban Agriculture Expo. We will be have our quail coops and accessories, trugs, bee house and much more available at the show! Come by and have a chat about adding some chicken or quail to your backyard farm!

April 26 11am-4pm
Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
Toronto ON

More information here: http://www.gladstonehotel.com/event/grow-op-gets-dirtier-urban-agriculture-fair/


Spade & Feather Free Wheel Hoe Plans

This was originally posted on our old blog, Growing and Making. We’ve moved it here so that it isn’t lost.

After posting the wheel hoe I made a couple months back (http://www.growingandmaking.com/2013/03/22/home-made-wheel-hoe/), we’ve had a lot of interest in releasing the plans. We’ve been using the hoe and different attachments throughout the spring and are happy with the design. It’s amazing how much faster gardening/farming can be with a simple tool like this!

By making the handles, body and wheel you can save quite a bit of money. You can buy the standard attachments like the oscillating blade, sweeps, seeder attachment and tines from many garden suppliers.

I’ve finally put in the effort to make a package with all measurements and material requirements. I’m happy to make these plans available for free as long as you use them for personal use and don’t profit from them. These plans are not to be posted on other websites as I’d prefer people come here as we may update the plans as we go.


There are two PDF documents in the plan. One document is a 3D PDF which (if you have an updated version of Acrobat) allows you to zoom, pan and rotate the model. This should help you see how everything fits together.

PDF document two, is a three page set of drawings to be printed on letter sized paper. The first page is the assembly, the second is individual parts and the last page is a full size template for the wood handles. When printing the document, DO NOT scale as the handles are drafted as 1:1.

So now some build notes to help you along the way (more will be added as problems arise):

  1. All metal parts are steel and are welded together. It is possible to bolt the whole thing together, but the drawings are meant for welding the parts.
  2. A fastener list has not been included, so you’ll have to figure that out yourself.
  3. The wheel I used was the footrest from an office chair that was about 15″ in diameter. You can use a bike tire, wooden tire, or anything round.
  4. I’d recommend painting the finished body with a rust protecting paint. Clean the parts of any grease or dust before painting.
  5. The hole placement is critical as it is the same as the Hoss model. This allows you to buy Hoss parts to fit on your wheel hoe. We have used the oscillating hoe and cultivator teeth and they work perfectly. The cultivator teeth are sold by Lee Valley as replacement parts and don’t appear in the catalogue.
  6. The wooden handles were cut from pine planks. The drawing refers to 2″ nominal thick wood. Look up nominal thickness of wood before you go shopping.
  7. TYP means typical.
  8. x 3 means three times
  9. All drawings are in inches. We live in a metric country that uses imperial sized steel and wood, hence the inches. We drive in km but build in inches. Makes no sense.
  10. Have fun, build safe, and experiment with the design.

When you’re done your wheel hoe, email us some pictures to info@spadeandfeather.com and we’ll post them up here. If you have any questions or issues as you go, post in the comment below so we can share the solution with everyone else.


PDF drawings of wheel hoe:


3D PDF of wheel hoe:


Original wheel hoe post:





There are a lot of poultry waterers on the market and they are meant for specific species and age groups. We’ve created the below chart to help illustrate the uses of each waterer. All of the waterers can be found in our store here.



Raising Backyard Quail Workshop in Toronto

On April 18, 1:00-3:30pm we are running a workshop all about keeping quail. We will introduce you to the world of raising quail in your backyard. These great little birds are a good alternative to chickens. Quail still lay an egg a day, but take up much less space and upfront costs are lower. This lecture and discussion will cover many “how to” topics as well the benefits, realities and legalities of keeping coturnix quail in the city as an egg and meat bird.

This workshop is perfect for someone who is considering starting an urban farming adventure and becoming more self sufficient by raising more of their own food.

Participants will receive a $5 gift card towards their first Spade & Feather order or $25 off the purchase of a quail coop or cage from Spade & Feather.

To register, please visit: http://www.littlehouseinthecity.ca/new-products-1/raising-backyard-quail