Inside: Coturnix quail hardy little birds, requiring a small foot-print. There really isn't a lot that is involved in raising healthy quail.
My experience in raising Coturnix quail has been great. They are such hardy little birds, they require such a small footprint on our property. There really isn't a lot that is involved in raising healthy quail.
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Raising Healthy Quail
In midsummer, we hatched a batch of quail eggs. Which led to selling most of them. This led to realizing how little people know about Coturnix quails. People that were wanting to buy them knew nothing. I took the time to educate them because I don't want my birds going to be people who don't know how to care for them.
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I am not going to put these in any particular order, everything is important for the health of your quail.
- clean, fresh water daily
- protein-rich food – quail require 21% to 25%, chicks need closer to 30%
- ensure that food is not moldy
- do not overcrowd their pen/enclosure
Quail are small, tasty, little birds that are easy prey for sneaky predators. Whether you are building an indoor hutch or an outdoor run, pay special attention to ensure all nooks and crannies are addressed and eliminated.
Even the smallest opening can be just enough for a raccoon or slinky rat to sneak into and start a quail massacre. Those latches you see on our cage in the image below aren't going to keep anything out, those were just for the trays, which after time became hard to remove for me so they were safe from predators.
Our quail liked to stick their heads through the cage. Which was not an issue for a few months and then a raccoon found them one night. We fixed it so they can no longer stick their heads out.
Quail housing options include floor pens as well as colony cages or individual cages that are elevated off of the floor. You can use rabbit hutches for an easy cage. We do. Just replace the latches with something a little harder for raccoons to open.
Feeding Coturnix Quail
Quail require a high level of protein. We buy wild game food. They are also fans of bugs and vegetation. A bug flying into your quail's cage is going to be the highlight of their day, they are going run and jump until they grab it.
I have added small pots of herbs into their cage and they love picking at them. Keeping them healthy with a treat.
There are other treats that they enjoy too, just make sure that they are not a replacement for the feed that they need.
- cucumber seeds
- soft peaches
- scratch grains
- and more!
Seasonal Care for Coturnix Quail
Provide Shelter in the Winter
We have always had our birds in cages with at least two solid sides for a windbreak. You can also give them a house to take shelter in if they decide to use it.
You can make one out of cardboard boxes. You can buy a house meant for small animals such as rabbits. Or, as we did, we had a rabbit hutch with an enclosed space already.
Cold Fluids in the Summer
Make sure they always have access to water, but in the summer it is even more important! We use large storage containers with lids and fit them with poultry water cups. This makes sure they have a day's worth of water accessible at all times. And yes, the quail do quickly learn how to use these.
Quail truly are easy to care for. Yes, we have had issues here and there, but when you raise animals you are going to come across and have issues here and there.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many quail should I start with? If you do want your eggs to be suitable for incubating, I suggest keeping 1 male for each of your 5 females. Keeping males with less than 5 females each can put your hens at risk of stress and overbreeding.
Do quail need a heat lamp in the winter? Adult quail will not need supplementary heat during the winter months. There are some exceptions to this in extreme climates, and proper shelter is a must if you choose not to provide heat.