Ballinteer Farm Quail launched last year, after owner Linda Christie found the majority of all quail eggs and meat are imported into the Province are from EU countries, mainly France, with the added discovery that nearly all of this production is in a caged environment.
Since establishing her business just last December, Linda has become the sole Northern Ireland producer and supplier after having sourced excellent breeding birds.
The business started with 150 birds, and now has some 2,000 quails on the farm thanks to selective breeding. Indeed, the journey to quail farming has been a significant one for Linda. It has been a steep learning curve as there were no other quail farmers in Northern Ireland.
Linda had no one else to ask so she had to learn as she went along, and this added to the risk.
However that gamble paid off, and this third generation family farm now focuses on delivering high quality quail meat and eggs for restaurants and consumers across Northern Ireland. Production is non industrialised and processes are carefully managed to allow maximum care of the birds.
The business currently produces 30 dozen eggs a week and 190 meat birds. High quality meat and eggs are produced as the birds avail of spacious aviaries that allow the birds to fly freely and exhibit their natural behaviour. For added comfort, nesting boxes allow the birds to relax. Says Linda: “Our eggs are slightly larger than the imported ones and I can only assume that happier birds lay bigger eggs!”