So the quail experiment ended last week - the last quail, the male, expired quietly while I was at work.
On the whole, I was moderately pleased with the whole thing. Once worked out the kinks with living quarters - the biggest challenge of them all as it turned out, until we got things more or less settled - the whole thing worked okay.
What would I do differently? Single biggest thing is to have an actually housing area. The final incarnation - a 50 gallon Rubbermaid with a screen on top - worked okay in the garage but it would have been ideal to have something outside (quail can't be trusted to come back to the coop at night). But, as we found out, outside here might not be the best thing in the world - raccoons and possums abound.
Was it a wash financially? Not sure. We had eggs for about a year which probably did for me but not for our family - we would need a bushel more quail to make that happen. My best was 3 eggs a days, which make about 1 hens egg. By that math, we would have need 36 eggs to get to a dozen. And with the feed and bedding I am pretty sure we lost money.
Bright side? Quail are eminently doable for the homesteader. They are far easier to manage in the smaller urban environments (and chasing a quail around, while perhaps a bit exhausting, is ultimately easier than trying to grab a chicken). They are compact. They do supply protein (both in the egg and, I suppose, the bird form). And if you get the right kind (Not Texas A&M for sure), they are pretty noiseless.
Will we have a go again? Not right away I think - the housing thing is an issue. But it is one more thing to file away under the "There are possibilities and they are feasible" for urban homesteading.