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About James Marie Farms

The Goal of the JamesMarieFarms is to Produce and Provide Healthy, Quality Birds and Hatching Eggs for the Advancement of the Coturnix Quail Breed

Article featured in Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry - Market Bulletin. Story by Stacey Judice (April 21,2011)

A family business in the heart of Cajun country is getting attention from farmers within the United States as far away as Russia and Iran.

Quail farmer Robby Richard is taking steps to ensure that his farm, the James Marie Farms, will stay in his family for generations to come.

After growing up on a farm surrounded by every barnyard animal you can imagine, Richard, pronounced Cajun-style, Ree-shard, learned the value of hard work from his father, James Houston Richard and his mother, Marie Velma Richard.

"The most important lesson the family learned from my parents was to always take pride in our work. If you are going to do something, do it right," Richard said.

The quail farm on the western side of St. Landry Parish is named in honor of Richard's deceased parents. The farmland has been in Richard's family for four generations. In 2009, a 4,200-sqare foot state of the art quail facility was built to house more than 10,000 quails. The climate-controlled barn is equipped with a custom ventilation system.

The building also has an egg processing room and shipping room, incubator and hatching room for the hatched chicks that is kept at 90 degrees, production room which can house 12,000 quails at various ages and a feed storage room equipped with a dehumidifier to keep feed fresh.

"The one feature that sets our establishment apart from others is the concrete floor throughout the facility," Richard said. "After three back surgeries, shoveling manure had to be a thing of the past. On the bottom of all our hanging cages, recessed pits were designed to be washed out daily and disinfected weekly. The underground drainpipes send all manure to a commercial treatment plant. The system has a holding tank that can be pumped and the contents used for agriculture fertilizer. We are currently searching for a company to process this liquid gold."

The farm also boasts of the eco-friendly soybean foam insulation that covers all 4,200-square feet of the building. All light fixtures in the barn have daylight bulbs running on a 24/7 cycle.

"By leaving the lights on in the facility, we are expanding the production of eggs from our quails," Richard said. "This technique does shorten the life of our laying hens but it produces more eggs and uses less feed. Quail fryers are also ready for distribution at five weeks rather than six weeks."

The sign in front of the farms reads, "A Coturnix Quail -- Research, Development, Production Facility." The sign's wording is the motto for the entire farm.

Quail eggs from the facility are shipped weekly throughout the U.S. via priority mail. All birds from the farm are sold from the first day of hatching up to the time they reach maturity. The farm raises 24 varieties of the coturnix quail for production and research purposes.

Presently, several other mutations are in research at the facility and showing great potential. The farm is also in the process of developing a nutritional supplement and should be available for purchase in May.

Every morning, Richard and his family are excited to find new quail hatchlings. The thrill stems from the time Richard entered the incubator room and discovered a new variety of coturnix quail had hatched into the facility.

"After spending many years on research and development, the new quail is a large quail with white wings and white color on the breast of most of the hatchlings. It took one look to come up with the name white-wing pharaoh."

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Quail farmers and hobbyist from around the world told Richard that it was impossible to produce white on the original wild-type species. Of course, a similar notion was said about the Churchtell variety which was developed at the James Marie Farms in 2010.

Chruchtell quails are a hybrid quail whose sex can be determined by its color when they hatch. The bird is named after the community in which the farm is located.

"Our land is located 4.5 miles between Chruch Point and Lawtell. The community is known as Churchtell to many in St. Landry Parish," Richard said. "The name of the community was coined by Brandt Robin, owner of Robin Farms. His 42-acre produce farm produces the state's popular Churchtell melons."

James Marie Farms has restored the Texas A&M quail to their original size of sixteen ounces or larger. In years past, A&M quail had lost its size due to cross breeding and line breeding. Many farmers and hobbyist were left with nothing more than a small English quail. A genetic pattern was found at the farm that has successfully brought the former size back into production. The same program is being used on the pharaoh XLD to restore the pharaoh XLD-1 back to its original 18-ounce size.

The goal of the James Marie Farms is to produce and provide healthy, quality birds and hatching eggs for the advancement of the breed. The farm is National Poultry Improvement Plan-certified and facility registered by the United States Department of Agriculture and encourages all breeders to follow suit.

"This farm has gone full circle in a matter of years," Richard said. "We are working alongside family members to see that our great-uncle, grandparents and parent's land develops a farm that will last for generations to come. The James Marie Farms is a place where family is always first and our feathered friends are produced with pride."