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Baby/Adult Quail needs?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Duckstruck, Jun 17, 2017.

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  1. Duckstruck

    Duckstruck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2016
    East Tennessee
    Hello! :frow
    My grandfather has recently offered me some baby quail for my "mini farm", and I would love to accept (since he's using them to hunt, so I feel sorry for them :(). The only time I can acquire them is NEXT WEEK, so I'm trying to get as much information as possible before time runs out. I know it's short notice, but I'm wanting to know what it takes to raise them before it comes up. He's been successfully raising quail for a while now, so I suppose I could just ask him all of these questions, but I wanted to know from you guys!
    Currently, I have a small feeder, waterer, and a brooder with heat. I've been keeping young chickens, so I have chick feed. I wouldn't imagine it would be too different raising quail like chicks, but I have no idea! Is there some special treatment they need as chicks?
    The only spaces I've seen quail living is in tall, shed-like places with wired bottoms and no access outside of that area. I wish to give my quail access to my big run (a place where chickens, ducks, and rabbits interact and have more room to run and fly with predator protection). I've read that they don't return to a coop at night and that they run wild on their own terms, so I thought I might construct a little station where they could eat and drink with some shade, and just plant bushes for them to rest beneath. I do have a small enclosed dog kennel, if anything, that could nest them. I just want to make sure my ducks don't get in and eat their food like the savages they are! Maybe I could elevate it? I just don't know.
    I hope I don't come off as an "impulse buyer", but I want to free a few of his birds from initial death! I want them to live good lives (I do believe they live only two years...) and I understand that there are responsibilities to raising barn animals, as I well know with my 10 chickens, 4 ducks, and 2 rabbits! If there are any additional tips to raising and maintaining them, I'd love to know!
    Thanks for reading!​
     
  2. ChanLillie

    ChanLillie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2017
    Carl Junction, MO
    My Coop
    For one, quail need less protein than chicks do so you need to get a lower protein starter feed for quail chicks and a wild game feed for adults.

    Make sure you sex them if they are over 3-4 weeks old and make sure you don't have more than one male in an enclosure unless it is a huge aviary/run with more females than males. I do a 5-1 ratio just to keep it safe. Male quail are VERY aggressive and I didn't sex a few of mine right when I started out and they killed eachother and tore eachothers beaks off.

    Also, with that being said, male quail will kill females if they are older because they will aggressively try to breed them. This is another reason for having a 5,6-1 ratio. They have a high sex drive so they will literally breed the females to death.

    I have a few in a rabbit hutch, and a few in a rabbit cage, I use regular feeders for them and rabbit water bottles. It saves a lot on the mess. I use a rabbit cage with a wire bottom which is much cleaner also. Quail cannot be in shavings like chickens because if they ingest their poop it is deadly.

    Hope this helps! Good luck!
     
  3. Duckstruck

    Duckstruck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2016
    East Tennessee
    @ChanLillie, Thank you for responding!
    I take your word for it that male quail are aggressive (I had a drake kill a hen and cripple another :(), although my grandfather keeps them all together in limited living conditions, males and females. I haven't seen a dead female in their coop, but it's always worth asking.
    I'm sorry if I seemed ill-informed, but are there much consequences to giving young quail more protein then necessary? I can make arrangements, but it would be convenient if they could share feed with the chickens.
     
  4. ChanLillie

    ChanLillie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2017
    Carl Junction, MO
    My Coop
    I apologize I said lower, I'm running on no sleep. They need HIGHER protein in their diet lol but it cannot be medicated.

    I'm not sure of the consequences, I've never wanted to find out.
     
  5. Duckstruck

    Duckstruck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2016
    East Tennessee
    I've heard quail don't return to a coop at night. Is this true? I've been thinking about investing in some bushes for their shelter and shade if that was the case. I was also thinking about creating a station where they could get their water and food with an entrance too small for ducks and chickens to get in. After all, I do have a a spare dog kennel that could do the trick if need be!
     
  6. ChanLillie

    ChanLillie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2017
    Carl Junction, MO
    My Coop
    If you let them free range you will probably never see them again lol
     
  7. Duckstruck

    Duckstruck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2016
    East Tennessee
    I have a large run that my animals share during the day with a cover so no hawks can get in, so no escaping!
     
  8. paneubert

    paneubert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it really is an enclosed run with no escape routes, they will be fine. But their eggs will be absolutely randomly spread over the entire run. And they will be mottled color, small, and hard to see. So be careful where you walk!
     
  9. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2016
    Hixson, TN
    I think you need to post this in the quail subforum to get more quail answers, because it sounds like you've never had quail at all and know nothing about them. (I'm not saying that is bad or in a mean way, but I don't want you to get them and immediately fail because of lack of knowledge when it seems like you are trying to learn all you can. Most chicken folk have never dealt with quail, so using the quail forum gives you a much better start.)

    First of all, you CANNOT keep them with chickens, ducks, and rabbits. Quail are highly susceptible to many diseases that chickens carry, and even if your chickens are 100% fine, they can/will make your quail sick. I once had to put my quail hutch inside my chicken coop for a couple days while I made repairs, and just in 2 days all the quail had swollen eyes and stopped eating. One good peck from a chicken will kill a quail.

    Quail are game birds, and will never ever be able to be free ranged. The reason they are usually kept in wire cages is because they do not roost, they do not perch, and will not use a nest box at all/drop the eggs anywhere and everywhere. For people raising them for eggs, it is easier to not have to do an egg hunt daily. For meat, you want them gaining as much weight as possible. You must also keep them in a cage that is either very short or extremely tall. When they get scared or excited, they will try to fly straight up. Having a cage that has 12" of headroom means they can't get up enough momentum to break their necks. The general rule is less than 1.5 foot tall or over 6 feet tall, or you are asking for them to boing their heads and cause damage/death. I don't know how big your 'small enclosed dog kennel' is, but if you are talking about a plastic crate I'd watch their heads on it in case they fly up. They also need a minimum of 1 sq ft per bird, not including area for food/water. I've got mine trained to rabbit water bottles, but they still need an internal feeder of some sort. They are very messy and wasteful of food if you have them on wire. Mine are on solid floors with pine shavings and sand boxes, and I still have to refill their feeders daily. (I've never heard of quail poop being deadly, and I've had quail on shavings just fine for over 4 years now.)

    If your grandfather is raising them for hunting, then he probably has them in large flight cages that are 6 foot or taller so that they can exercise their wings and be able to fly for hunting purposes. (He also probably doesn't let them live long past 8 weeks or so, so I'm betting they've got room to move around and avoid each other before the hormones go crazy.) My birds are raised in rabbit hutches that are 1.5 feet or less in height for them, and if they were to get loose would have no idea how to fly or hide.

    Raising them on the ground also presents a whole other set of problems trying to keep them predator free. I've been tempted many times to use a large chainlink dog kennel that I have as an aviary for them, but I'd have to buy so much 1/4" hardwire mesh and heavy duty netting for the top that it would be ridiculously expensive. Anything and everything that can kill them will do so. Snakes can get in tiny holes, rats will gladly rip their heads off, dogs and cats think they make great chew toys. One of my hutches came with 1"x2" wire that I had to cover with hardwire mesh, because the quail will happily stick their heads out of any hole big enough making it super easy for my dogs to want to rip their heads off. And I lost 3 to a rat that pulled them through the wire and ripped them to shreds.

    As mentioned above, you'll need a high protein gamebird feed. They need around 28% for the first 6 weeks, then I switch mine to a non-medicated 20% quail adult food with free-choice oyster crumbles. It is hard to find non-medicated chick/starter food here, so I use it when necessary then special order the adult food. I give my chickens Flock Raiser with 20% protein and have used it for the quail occasionally once they're over 6 weeks. They grow so fast they need that extra protein to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
    JaeG likes this.
  10. paneubert

    paneubert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a good point to consider.....but it is also one of those things where people feel strongly on both sides of the argument. There are tons of stories for both sides here on BYC. The people who say you can't keep quail with other birds have some pretty graphic photos to show to prove their point about disease suddenly sweeping their flock (both directions....not just quail infecting chickens, but chickens infecting quail). But then again, there are people who say they have operated for decades with dozens of different birds often showing photos of all sorts of wild birds at their feeders as well. The argument for "it can work" often hinges on the claim "you can't stop wild birds from interacting with your chickens, quail, ducks, turkeys, etc... so why do you need to keep them separate?" I don't think there will ever be an absolute answer. Like most things!
     

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