Caring for Quail During Winter


Quail are hardy little birds. They are compact making them able to survive in colder winter temperatures. There isn't a lot that you need to do to care for them differently than chickens. Raising quail during winter is about keeping them sheltered rather than keeping them warm.

quail drinking water with text overlay

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Caring for Quail During Winter

I first want to say that our temperatures in Southeast Nova Scotia don't get that cold. And that's where we live, and I get all my knowledge of bird raising. The temperatures in Nova Scotia can drop to -29 °C (-20 °F) in the winter, but it's not common. We do get some cold winds here though.

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Outside Housing Quail During Winter

You need to provide shelter from the elements. Here we get snow and rain all winter, sometimes on the same day, and sometimes at the same time because Nova Scotia weather can be crazy.

I like to give them more shavings, and sometimes smaller boxes in their cages to hide in. It can be a box, with shavings in it, often its fur tree branches. Quail like to hide and these provide a space for them to hide.

Another thing we add in the winter is a nice layer of straw on the ground for them. Straw is hollow so it is insulating. It is also cheaper than hay and you can get it at any big-box hardware store or even your local feed store.

Fresh Water

My summer watering system isn't going to work for the whole of winter, so I have to set something different up. They need fresh water, and in the winter you might have to get it for them more often than you are used to.

quail in cage with food and water dishes

Coturnix Quail Feed During the Winter

Of course, they need feed still. Quail need high protein to lay eggs. One other thing I give is scratch grains which are high fat, and good to give in the late afternoon to help keep them warmer at night. This does not replace their wild game feed or your regular quail feed.

Indoors VS Outdoors

I leave my birds outside during the winter and let them freeload. I could bring them into the basement and give them supplemental light to get them to continue to lay eggs I don't want them in my basement so they get the winter off.

Eggs are seasonal and triggered not by temperature, but by daylight hours.  If you want your quail (or chickens!) to keep laying through the winter months, make sure to put a light on them to artificially extend those hours of daylight.

Quail need 12-14 hours of light a day to keep laying those spots little nuggets. If you aren't supplementing their light you won't get eggs.

Quail don’t take much more care in the winter, other than making sure they have a way to get out of the wind and snow, and unfrozen water to drink. We feed our quail free-choice game bird feed year-round, which is always available to them, and that is especially important in the colder months because calories equal warmth. 

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What do you do with quail in the winter? We close in 3 sides of their cage with straw and fur tree branches once temps begin dipping toward freezing. We leave one side open so they can get some sun and fresh air.

    Do quails lay in winter? In winter it becomes too cold, and there isn't enough light for quails to lay naturally without providing heat or light.

    Do quails need heaters in winter? Coturnix quail do not need to be “warm” to lay eggs or survive in a healthy way.

    More on Raising Quail

    Are Quail Eggs Good for You?

    Different Types of Quail Cages

    Fun Facts About Quail

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