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My coturnix quail ONLY want to eat bird seed!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have 8 coturnix quail and I feed them high protein crumbles and to make it interesting, I started giving them wild bird seed mix. Now they ONLY want to eat that! They barely touch the crumbles. Does wild bird seed mix give them enough nutrition so that it won't adversely affect their health? 

post #2 of 12
I would stop feeding them the seed until they are eating the crumbles again. I feed mine game bird starter and a few finch seeds in the afternoon.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Is it BAD for them? Or just not optimal for egg laying?

post #4 of 12

It's bad for them, like eating nothing but bread is bad for a person.

You could try giving them crumbles in the morning and only giving them seed in the afternoon, or change the brand of crumbles you use to something more palatable. You could mix powdered spirulina and/or wheatgrass into the seed to add some protein and vitamins, too. That way you know that even if they're pigging out on seed it's still healthy for them.

Variety in diet is the best option for your birds. You just need to find a way to make sure they eat a bit of everything!

post #5 of 12
Take them off the bird seed and maybe just give them some millet sprays as a treat. If they only seem to eat the sprays, remove them. Treats aren't necessarily bad if given in moderation but they can't live off of it as their sole diet. They need calcium which seeds don't have much, if any, of.
post #6 of 12

To each their own.  Bird seed mix is what I feed my quail most of the time.  I mix in rapeseed for protein.  But they also have access to grass and bugs.  I supplement them with acorns.

post #7 of 12

If you're trying to recreate a more natural diet, Ntsees, your quail should be eating like 50-60% bugs, 30-40% fruits, leaves, and other plant materials, and only like 10-20% seeds. It's not about each person choosing what to feed their birds based solely on preference, it's about choosing a diet that best meets the nutritional requirements of the birds. Rapeseed only contains about 23% protein per volume, which is nowhere near enough protein for your quail, even if that's all you were feeding them!

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartquail View Post

I have 8 coturnix quail and I feed them high protein crumbles and to make it interesting, I started giving them wild bird seed mix. Now they ONLY want to eat that! They barely touch the crumbles. Does wild bird seed mix give them enough nutrition so that it won't adversely affect their health? 

this is very easy to sort out. 

 

Have 2 food bowls - one with seed, one with the crumble.

 

In the seed one only put a small amount of seed - enough to last them half the day.  In the other bot have lots of the crumble.

 

Once the quail have eaten all the seed they will get hungry they will start to eat the crumble.

 

Really the seeds are only treats for them and they should only have a spoonful each day.

 

The seeds are like burgers and French fries to them - the crumble is like boring bread or healthy breakfast cereal lol.

post #9 of 12

I give my quail birdseed as treats too, and have also wondered whether it could be a complete diet when supplemented with bugs, etc. This is an interesting thread.

 

The way I feed birdseed is by offering it as a treat only, generally tossed on the ground (or in their sandboxes if they're up on wire) by a handful or two a day. They have a great time picking the treats out of the dirt/sand/whatever, so they get a little exercise and mental stimulation in the bargain. It's not enough to fill them up, so then they still eat their crumble.

 

 

If your birds have lots of access to forage (i.e., plenty of space on the ground where they are digging for bugs all day, with access to green weeds, and only during temperate seasons when bugs and weeds are plentiful), you can be a little "looser" in your feeding guidelines. They will still thrive best when given access to a healthy packaged food (or nutritionally balanced home blended feed--most people don't have the resources to accomplish this) and only minimal access to "treats." Most people, however, can't afford to give quail adequate room to, essentially, "free range"--because their need for protection is so much greater than for ducks and chickens and the "free range" area needs to be completely enclosed... which is prohibitively expensive for most.

 

That having been said, the comment regarding birdseed being unnatural in large quantities makes a lot of sense. A ground bird like a quail would have access to seeds only when they fall to the ground, and only in season, and only when they could get to it first. Bugs, on the other hand, live in every square centimeter of the soil they walk on, and are a naturally huge part of their natural diet. And, just as humans crave fats and sugar because they are scarce and valuable in our "wild" (lol) state, it makes sense that quail would crave what is scarce and valuable in theirs. And that it would be likewise unhealthy for them to have unlimited access to it.

 

Thanks for the thread. I'm interested in what others have to add, too.

Look what the cat dragged in: Curiosity Cat's Urban Unschooling Homestead

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Look what the cat dragged in: Curiosity Cat's Urban Unschooling Homestead

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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by gorabbitgo View Post

If you're trying to recreate a more natural diet, Ntsees, your quail should be eating like 50-60% bugs, 30-40% fruits, leaves, and other plant materials, and only like 10-20% seeds. It's not about each person choosing what to feed their birds based solely on preference, it's about choosing a diet that best meets the nutritional requirements of the birds. Rapeseed only contains about 23% protein per volume, which is nowhere near enough protein for your quail, even if that's all you were feeding them!

I completely agree with you.  Now that I thought about the opening post, I shouldn't have posted because it was directed to those to keep coturnix.  Oops.

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