Aggressive female coturnix help


Sep 11, 2015
We only have two quail, both female and raised together from the same hatch, and they live together in a 2x4 pen ( in process of building a bigger outdoor area), fed a 27% protein gamebird crumble with mealworms as treats. One of them has become quite broody and started getting extremely aggressive with her sister, chasing her down and pecking her relentlessly whenever she leaves the eggs. The meeker sister tries to run, but her leg is weak from an old injury, and she ends up just hunkering down and getting pecked repeatedly. They have a bunch of small cardboard boxes and branches to provide cover and separate water/food on opposite ends. The meeker quail gets very distressed and calls out if she's separated from the other or if there's a barrier to prevent access between them.

Thoughts? If we get quail chicks, is it possible that the beleaguered one will 'adopt' them and be content with their company? Thank you for any suggestions.
You will need to remove her or separate with a barrier if other is broody, despite her anxiety. Your wannabe mother doesn't want anyone else in her territory and they do have the potential to kill (they can be nasty when they want to be).

An adult won't adopt chicks so it would be better to find some mature birds and integrate her with them. They'll need a barrier between them for about a week so they get used to each other. Just like people they all have different personalities - separate off any bullies if necessary for a few days where they can see but not join the flock. That usually makes them reconsider their attitude.
Ok, thanks! We'll keep her separated until we find some (hopefully) friendlier companions. Should they definitely be other coturnix? Or can a smaller species such as button be suitable? I'm worried due to her leg, any hazing by similar sized birds would be rough.
As she's a girl I think you could integrate her with some buttons with a big enough enclosure. I've had a pair of buttons and a group of coturnix in our aviary and everyone got along fine, although the female button didn't lay any eggs during that time, so I don't think she was overly happy. I did have to remove one female coturnix who was going to be nasty but the other females were absolutely fine. You could probably put a couple of male buttons with her. It will all depend on everyones personalities though. It's one of those things that you can try as long as you have a Plan B in mind.

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