Anyone with an *Indoor Pet Bobwhite Quail*?? Beginner questions from Long Island, NY

Discussion in 'Quail' started by JKav, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. JKav

    JKav Out Of The Brooder

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    Many of you are raising Quail in indoor/outdoor pens. I loved seeing all those pics, but I'm looking for those who have just one or two as indoor pets. Omelette and I are wondering what you use for your habitat.

    Omelette is our only bobwhite hatchling, now 12 wks old, who refused to be released (she apparently never got the memo.) She came running out of the woods and followed us. She is very sweet - loves to be held - loves to be pet.

    Questions..
    1. Habitat: She is currently in a 1ft x 1 1/2 ft ventilated Sterlite plastic container that my winter sweaters gave up for her. Does she need more room? I now have a wee-wee pad covered in pine shavings as substrate that she is directly on, though I may test out a "wire floor" cookie cooling rack, which I will slant for eggs to roll onto the pine. She seems happy in this setup but her feet get messy without the rack.

    2. Poop: We let her out for a few hours each day to fly/roam. She usually ends up on my laptop as I work, pooping as she goes. I have read on this site some of you take them along in the car, and snuggle in the bed and I must ask: Poop! How do you control the poop? Flight suits?

    3. Food: What supplemental food/snacks does your Quail eat? Mine loves broccoli, strawberries, crickets, long walks on the beach.. :)

    4. Water: Her bowl gets messy. Is anyone using a "small pet water bottle"?

    Thanks from Omelette the crew :)

    [​IMG]
    Omelette at about 8wks.
     
  2. funsized72

    funsized72 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sorry if im not that much help but if you put the water bowl on a flat rock it stops most of the stuff coming in. Flight Suits work if you can get her used to it. I think bobs need 4 feet of space if i remember correctly (probably not though just wait for DC for this question). My quails are stupid are super super picky and they only eat mealworms and alfalfa sprouts
     
  3. Advocat

    Advocat Out Of The Brooder

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    Mine is a male Gambel's Quail (named Cocoa but I think I'm going to change it...), and he's pretty much his adult size now.

    I keep him inside in a large Sterilite container that is about 28 inches long, 15 inches deep and 12 inches tall. It's one of the "see through" ones with a colored snap on lid. I chose this size in part because I didn't want something so tall that he could hurt himself flying up. I also cut out a large oval in the middle of the lid, and put a piece of moderately tight netting (holes are not very large) that I secured with "ye olde duct tape" -- this also makes most of his "roof" fairly soft with some "give" to it.

    On the front side of the container, I also cut out a long-ish rectangle from the plastic and put a length of hardware cloth to cover that (again held in place on the outside by duct tape. This way, he can easily see out that side, which is the side closest to me. He has a couple of simple hanging toys to play with.

    For his water, I too got tired of stuff making it dirty. To resolve this, I chose a slim plastic bottled water container, emptied it. cut a "rounded square" in one side a couple of inches up from the bottom -- used a nail file to smooth the plastic so it's not sharp around those edges. The rest of the bottle is intact. I fill it with water up to where the hole is, and I use a length of wire wrapped around the bottle just below the cap, to hang it in one corner of his container. He can stick his head in and get water, but it sits up 3-4 inches above the floor. It still does occasionally get some of the flooring kicked into it when he's digging with glee, but it is easily cleaned and refilled.

    For the flooring, I use a type of pressed pine "kibble" called Cozy 'n Fresh that has activated carbon in it. Sold by Tractor Supply. I spread this out about an inch or so deep and it helps a lot to keep his feet clean.

    Bought him a flight suit, but I think it needs to be a little bit longer coming up the front, and a little bit more narrow closing up over the back. Have not really gotten him into it yet ... he doesn't want to, but he's very patient with me trying to get it on him and isn't at all afraid of it. I'm trying to just get it on him long enough to see where I need to modify it so it will fit better!
     
  4. JKav

    JKav Out Of The Brooder

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    Advocat, thank you! I have the same Sterlite container for Hufflepuff (our hedge hog) and was thinking about doing the same for Omelette. I have some window screen I plan on putting on top and sides - hot glue or duct tape..Sounds perfect. For Hufflepuff I drilled large holes but I don't want my cats getting in there so was thinking screen. Love the water bottle idea. I like the way you think :)

    Sounds similar to my Companion cat litter pellets (no carbon) - but yours sounds better. How often do you have to replace/scoop? Does it help with the smell?
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  5. Advocat

    Advocat Out Of The Brooder

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    The pellets I'm using for "flooring" are a bit too large to allow for scooping, as they are around the same size as his poo. I've thought about switching to sand for that reason but haven't made up my mind, and if I switch to sand he will be "bathing" in it and throwing his own poo around on him which I don't like the idea of.

    I basically change the material twice a month. But on the off weeks, I scoop out the material from the very front because he runs back and forth along the front on the inside of the wire most of the time, so his poo is mostly there. Then I scoop material from the backside of the container to the front because that material at the back is cleaner.

    It does help a huge amount with the odor. The carbon or charcoal in the pellets has a rather strong odor of its own for a while, which fades over a week or two, but it keeps the odor in his cage down well.

    The only thing that I don't like about this litter material is that his tail feathers are very straggly looking -- not neat and smooth -- and I think that is because the litter is "large-ish" and he sits on it and moves around and the tail feathers get dragged around in/over it.

    He's fun when I clean the container out -- he just has to get in there to very CLOSELY observe what I am doing, and make comments the whole time, LOL!
     
  6. JKav

    JKav Out Of The Brooder

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    Long Island, NY
    Oh, right.. In my cats' box it turns to sawdust right away (when it gets wet.) I've thought of wetting it down to sawdust and using for bedding, but I think she would do the same as with sand.

    I know what you mean about closely observing lol
    Well, 2 weeks is much better that every day.
     
  7. James the Bald

    James the Bald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I’m sorry, I read this yesterday and bit my tongue for as long as I can, but a Bob is not an indoor “pet”. FunSized was right, when suggesting that this bird will require 4 square feet of space. For your water, a water font similar to this would be much better than a pet bowl.
    James
     
  8. JKav

    JKav Out Of The Brooder

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    Long Island, NY
    James, I'm sorry about your tongue. I came here for help. We did not intend on having a pet Quail. She was the only hatch of a late batch of a dozen eggs intended for release. We tried releasing her 3x but she ran out of the woods squealing and followed us each time. It was funny the first time and completely unexpected. Then it was heartbreaking. I have read that this sometimes happens with "only hatchlings." I'm following my heart on this one. If you don't agree with our decision, I suppose you can reply, but I'm doing what I feel is right for her.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  9. Advocat

    Advocat Out Of The Brooder

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    With all due respect to James, one could take the view that Bobwhite were not intended to be farmed for eggs either, but it's become a popular pastime. ;)

    There is a book written back in the 1960's titled "That Quail Robert" by Margaret Stanger. It's about a pet Bobwhite who became quite the well-known little critter. Was republished and is available through online bookstores as well as elsewhere. Flight suits for birds had not yet been invented ... don't know how Robert's family handled poo, lol!

    I think the "secret" of Omelette's attachment may lie in the "only hatchling" factor. If Bobwhites are like Gambel's, they require a covey and won't survive alone. From what I've read on rehab sites about Gambel's, when baby birds are turned in to the rehabbers, they make all efforts to group the young ones so that there will be a covey when they are set free. Omelette imprinted on you as her parent/s or "covey" and that's why she was NOT gonna go out in the big world by herself!
     
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  10. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Poor Omelete, she almost missed coming home with you! She is obviously imprinted on humans and sees you as her covey. Please don't attempt to put her out into the wild again, she will die there!

    There are several threads on house chickens that deal with the poop issue. I suggest reading up on them and making a modified chicken diaper for her for free range time, your computer keyboard will thank you.

    You got good advice for cage space, and more is always better. But also take into consideration that she will be free ranging in the house with you so can take a smaller cage than a quail that never gets to come out to play.

    For indoor dust baths you can include a small sterilite container with a lid and a quail sized hole cut in the side starting a couple of inches up from the floor to contain the sand. This will help keep the sand in the container. Since she is an indoor quail you might want to consider buying the more expensive chinchilla bath sand substrate, it is designed not to create puffs of dust. The relatively large particles clean feathers but tend to not become airborne which is good for your dwelling and lungs. It is perfect for indoor quail!
     

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