Advice for raising gambel quail?


In the Brooder
May 20, 2015
A few days ago we found a lost little quail chick outside our front door without any family in site. We left it alone for hours hoping that it's mama would come back and get it, but at the end of the day when mama bird hadn't showed up and the chick was still in the entry way of the house we decided to try to save it. Its very young I think, almost exactly the size of a cotton ball laying down, and were pretty sure it's a gambel after comparing pictures online of different quail babies. We've been keeping it in a cardboard box with a heating pad under the box until we can find a heating lamp and a better set up, which seems to be working well enough for now. We went to the local feed store and got "farmer's helper ultrakibble for chicks" and we grind it up and add warm water until it's pastey and the chick eats it pretty well from a spoon or our hands. We tried small live mealworms and she went for it but I think she's still too small to get through the shell. She drinks water when it's offered, and does a lot of sleeping when we put her in the box and a lot of running and hopping when we put her on the floor. Please tell me what we need to change or add to our care for our chicky, we want a big strong adult quail!
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Aww...cute little baby!!

BUT...what you have here is NOT really food but a supplement!! So you need to stop feeding this. It is WAY too potent to consume straight. So get yourself some gamebird food from the feed store. Something with 24% to 28% protein is fine. Withhold the meal worms for now. Strictly the gamebird food. You can add a bit of this supplement to the gamebird food. I have used this stuff and it works really well as a supplement.

Keep the baby warm and under a heat lamp. Start with 95 degrees and lower the temp by 5 degrees each week for 5 or 6 weeks. Put a stuffed animal in their with him or even a feather duster turned over to snuggle in. A small mirror will help keep him company as he will think there is another quail there.

Keep us posted and I hope he does well!! :)
X2 what Leyla said! I like a cheap $2 feather duster, It will be a very welcome thing for a lone chick... Just lean it up, under the light in the brooder once you get one set up. The chick will run in amongst the feathers when ever it feels stressed, threatened or cold.... you will notice almost all the constant "PEEPING' will stop as well.... Good luck!
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I have two favorites that my quail seem to like. (they refuse to eat Purina LOL) My first choice is "Gamebird/Showbird" from Manna Pro. My feed store carries this in 40 pound bags.;-gamebird-showbird-feed-5-lb

Next, if I can't get the Gamebird/Showbird, I use DuMor Gamebird Chick Starter.....;-poultry-chick-starter-24%-10-lb

Feed has different tastes. I give them what they like to eat.

I also supplement their diet with fruits, veggies, seeds, grains, cabbage, tomatoes, dried crickets and mealworms, all kinds of things once a day in small amounts. Keeps them interested in life, more friendly with me, (they eat from my hand) and it does offer than nutrients not found in their normal feed.
Thank you so much! I'll see if I can find either of those nearby. Are there any foods that I need to avoid giving to my quail? And at about what age/size will I be able to stop blending the seed with water?
You don't need to make a mash out of the food. They can eat it dry. crush it up so the crumbles are smaller than what comes out of the bag for a week or so. Then he should be big enough to eat it straight from the bag.

Hold off on the goodies until he is at least 6 weeks old. They really do need to eat their gamebird food for healthy brain and bone growth. However you can offer him right now, some warmed and chopped up hard boiled eggs. Just a tiny bit. These are loaded with all the building blocks of life and egg is a really good food for birds. Clean up what he doesn't eat right away as it can spoil quickly under the heat of the lamp.

But when he grows up, he will like all kinds of greens, chopped veggies, quartered fruits, corn on the cob, peas in the pod, grated cabbage, grated carrots, all berries, mealworms, all kinds of things. Make sure to offer up grit when you start to feed these foods. Parakeet grit or sand works well for quail.

Enjoy your little baby!
Just a word about the feather duster. I thought it was a great idea. I had 3 babies I rescued. The feather duster I got was made of ostrich feathers. They loved it. Unfortunately 1 of the chicks got tangled up during the night and it wrapped around its neck. When I checked on them in morning and only saw 2 running around, I picked up the feather duster and found the little guy dead. Broke my heart. So no more feather dusters for the remaining 2
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