245: Willow Aldridge on Raising Quail.

Exploring the benefits of raising quail for meat and eggs.

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Willow is 15 years old and already running three businesses.  She is a second-year college student and still in high school.  She is the daughter of Cricket Aldridge who runs GardenVariety.Life a suburban homesteading blog, and AZ Backyard Beekeepers.  Willow’s first business is Blessings Pet Sitting which she has run for six years. Then she started Arizona Desert Quail, in which she raises quail for meat, eggs and hatchlings.  And Willow just started a new business with her friend Athena called 2BlondeChicks where they raise chickens, guinea fowl, and pheasants for meat and eggs.

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In This Podcast:

After meeting this young woman at a local Urban Farm tour and finding out how, and why, she started her own quail meat and eggs business, we could not act fast enough to get Willow Aldridge’s interview scheduled.  She shares with us how she convinced her parents to let her start the business, as well as the challenges and the wonders of raising quail and selling the meat and eggs.

Listen in and learn about:

  • Starting her own business at age nine because that was what was normal
  • Creating a PowerPoint presentation to obtain her parents’ permission to start a new business
  • Why she decided on quail as a bird business venture
  • The basic steps of raising quail
  • How she separates the genders and why she selects the ones to keep
  • How she dealt with the butchering at 14 or 15 years old since she was raised as a vegetarian
  • Her ethos on eating what she butchers
  • The quail she named Chad
  • Making a plan to nurse a sickly quail back to health
  • Creating a bird therapy session – even while at her high school
  • Giving Chad a new bunny friend that she nursed to health too
  • How to raise the quail
  • Her tip to prevent them from drowning in their water bowls
  • What she is using to start her business
  • She starts with the eggs pointy side down
  • Why she puts them on lockdown right before they hatch for up to 3 days
  • The brooder stage and how she helps the young chicks acclimate
  • The three-story cage she designed and her dad built for her
  • What she feeds her quail and why
  • The housing differences between chickens and quail
  • How she taught herself about raising quail
  • What she does with the eggs and how she is marketing them
  • The difference between quail and chicken eggs or meat
  • Why she and her friend have started raising guinea fowl
  • How she is managing the expenses and the responsibilities for her business
  • What candling is and why she does that to the eggs

As well as:

  • Her failure – Her attempt to hatch 45 quail after a malfunction and starting too early, but the plan to examine what the effects were
  • Her success – teaching herself to become used to butchering
  • Her drive – The knowledge that she is providing healthy food to her family and her customers
  • Her advice – do as much research as you can before diving in, and find a mentor that you can turn to for advice

Willow’s Book recommendations:           

The YouTube channel Slightly Rednecked

How to reach Willow:         


Producer’s note: Here is the link to her mother’s podcast on Suburban Homesteading –  Cricket Aldridge’s Podcast.


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