What Quail Cannot Eat – 14 Foods to Avoid

Inside: Learn what quail cannot eat for optimal health. A list to ensure their well-being and longevity. Quail feeding care made simple!

Coturnix quail are easy birds to care for that take up a relatively small space on your homestead. While it is easy enough to make sure they are getting their nutrients with proper feed, giving them treats and scrapes just adds to their diet. But there are things to avoid, and I'm going to tell you what quail cannot eat.

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What Quail Cannot Eat – 14 Foods to Avoid

Coturnix Quail are delightful and relatively easy to care for, but providing them with a proper diet is crucial for their health and longevity. While these birds are generally not very picky eaters, certain foods should be strictly avoided to ensure their well-being.

A lot of these foods should be avoided for all of your poultry.

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Here's a comprehensive guide on what Coturnix Quail cannot eat:

High-Sodium Foods

Quail, like many other birds, are sensitive to high levels of sodium. Foods that are high in salt can lead to dehydration and kidney problems. Avoid feeding them processed or salty foods, such as chips, pretzels, and highly processed snacks.


Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that is toxic to birds, including Coturnix Quail. Even small amounts can cause adverse effects, ranging from digestive issues to severe toxicity. It's essential to keep all chocolate products out of reach.


While avocados are a nutritious food for humans, they are toxic to many birds, including Coturnix Quail. Avocados contain a substance called persin, which can lead to respiratory distress and heart failure in birds. Avoid feeding any part of the avocado, including the flesh, pit, and skin.


Just like chocolate, caffeine is harmful to quail. Coffee, tea, and energy drinks should be kept away from them. Caffeine can lead to hyperactivity, and increased heart rate, and, in severe cases, can be fatal.

Highly Processed Foods

Quail should not be fed highly processed, sugary, or fatty foods. These can lead to obesity and other health issues. Avoid giving them sweets, candies, and heavily processed snacks.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain compounds that can be harmful to Coturnix Quail, leading to digestive problems and potential damage to red blood cells. It's best to avoid feeding them any form of onions or garlic.

coturnix quail in cage with basil plant

Raw Beans

Raw beans contain lectins, which can be toxic to quail. Cooking beans thoroughly is essential to eliminate these toxins before feeding them to your birds.

Moldy or Spoiled Foods

Moldy or spoiled foods can produce toxins that are harmful to Coturnix Quail. Always ensure that the food provided is fresh and free from any signs of spoilage.

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Citrus Fruits

While some fruits are generally safe for quail, citrus fruits should be avoided. The high acidity can lead to digestive issues and discomfort for the birds.

Raw Potatoes

Raw potatoes and green potato skins contain solanine, a toxic substance that can be harmful to quail. It's crucial to cook potatoes thoroughly before offering them to your birds.

Advantages of Raising Quail - two quail in cage

Sugary or Artificially Sweetened Foods

Quail should not be given sugary or artificially sweetened foods, as they can lead to obesity and contribute to various health problems. Avoid offering them candies, sweetened cereals, or any food containing artificial sweeteners.

Highly Spiced Foods

Quail have sensitive digestive systems, and highly spiced foods can cause digestive upset. Avoid feeding them foods with strong spices, as these can be irritating to their digestive tract.

coturnix quail in leaves

Plants Toxic to Birds

Be cautious about the plants in and around the quail's environment. Some common plants, like certain varieties of lilies, can be toxic to birds if ingested.

Large Quantities of Bread

While small amounts of bread are generally safe, quail should not be given excessive amounts. Bread lacks the necessary nutrients for their well-being and can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Quail are charming and resilient birds, but their dietary requirements are specific when you want them to lay eggs.

Providing them with a well-balanced and safe diet is crucial for their health and happiness. By avoiding the mentioned foods, quail owners can contribute to the longevity and well-being of their feathered friends.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What scraps can quail eat? Quail are not very good about eating some of their kitchen scrap veggies but it does not hurt to try. Lettuce leaves and bottoms, zucchini bits, cucumber slices and strawberry tops will probably get the most nibbles.

    Can quail eat cooked eggs? Yes, they can, and they love it! It isn't to replace their feed, but it makes a nice treat.

    Can quail and chickens live together? Chickens and quail should not be housed together. Chickens are so much bigger than quail that the quail may get bullied by the bigger chickens. The quail may not be able to get food or water and may be harassed by the chickens.

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