Shortly after buying our new house and moving in I bought quail and my hubby and I built a quail cage under $35 which I blogged about here http://thenewdaybringshope.blogspot.com/2014/04/diy-quail-cage.html
I bought the quail when they were supposed to be 8 weeks old and was told they should start laying any day. Weeks came and passed and not a single egg. I tried leaving them alone, then I tried changing their light, adding a sand box and toys. For weeks we would hear the rooster crow and yet the hens weren't laying.
From what I had read from numberous different blog posts, articles, and online comments quail were supposed to be a great all purpose solution for an urban homesteader or anyone looking to source their own food. Quail lay eggs, can be eaten like a chicken, are supposed to be quiet (one of my roo's was the other was VERY ANNOYING and LOUD), and they reach maturity (eating age) fast, and on top of all of that they have a small space requirement (1 sq ft per bird) so they can be kept almost anywhere, balconies of apartments, basements, garage, toolshed, etc.
After so many weeks of waiting for eggs 2 of our 4 quail went from the first picture to the last. The quail were the first animal I had every killed, being an animal lover. I had spent time before buying them looking for the fastest most humane way to kill them (wring their neck). After they were dispatched processing was relatively easy and fast, unfortunately we weren't really so much a fan of the finished product. I have heard its better grilled.
The other hen decided to lay the day we sold them and their cage. I went to grab them and saw a small egg sitting there by their sandbox! I had waited over a month for this egg and there is was, belonging to someone else =)
They definately aren't for us, but if your interested by all means try them. Some roo's are quieter than others and if you like the meat then I can see how they could be great for a homesteader!