Can a coturnix (or other quail) ever be tame?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by iamcuriositycat, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I've noticed that certain individuals are calmer and less flighty than others by nature, and also that they learn--especially those raised here by us--to recognize when food is coming and to not be quite so terrified of the Hands. We also had a chick once who hatched a full day before her siblings and was handled a lot during that time and became very attached to our hands. Her attachment wore off after a few days with her siblings but it got me wondering... could a quail actually be tame and enjoy human companionship?

    Personally, I wouldn't bother for myself, because that's not what I like about quail. But each of my older boys have their own breeding group of quail and they would like it if they could raise one from a chick and really tame it down so that it would be a pet.

    So, experiences? Or is this species just too strong on the prey end of the scale to ever enjoy interaction with another, larger species?
  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    I posted on here a few weeks ago on a thread about bobwhite. I found a very tame bobwhite (obviously someone's escaped pet) where I used to work, and I took it home after a couple of days so the local cats and wildlife didn't get it. I had it for almost 3 years. It was quite tame and would perch on my hand or shoulder and I could easily pick it up -- that is all I did to "capture" it in the first place -- walked over to it and picked it up and put it in a box. I'm not sure if it saw me as a potential mate or a parent figure or what.

    But yes, it can be done -- I'm sure this one was not an anomoly. Look at the website for some information about taming quail. Basically, I think the procedure is incubator hatching, isolation from other quail, and as much human contact as possible.
  3. GBov

    GBov Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2009
    All of my breeders (all 10 of them lol) are very tame. Getting in and out of their pen is actually a challenge because they all come running to the door and cluster round my feet when I am in there. And yes, all I have to do to catch them is reach down and scoop up whoever I want.

    We only got our breeders three months ago and they came out of wire bottomed hutches and they were as flighty and wild as anything but going onto the bottom of the flight cage onto sand with lots of logs and potted plants to get into and behind they started to tame right down without our doing anything special. Well, other than going slowly round them at first.

    We have Coturnix and they live up to their reputation of being like little chickens.

    OMG they are so funny kept in a more natural setting, leaping and popping about and floofing up at each other. The backwards leaping roo had me in stitches the other day [​IMG]
  4. Quail's Hollar Farm

    Quail's Hollar Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2010
    Countix Quail are especially friendly, all six of mine come running out of the bushes to the avairy door leaping back and forth waiting for me to feed them! Most will follow me around when I'm taking care of their other aviary counterparts.
  5. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Coturnix are naturally friendly, though if you want one to be a 'pet' that you can hold, you'd have to work with it. Mine run over my hands (some of them try to peck me [​IMG]) when I'm feeding them, but they freak out when I pick them up.
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Wow--this is a cool thread--thanks for the responses. When we bought our first batch, they were SO scared and flighty, but the ones we raised from our incubator were less terrified. And the babies themselves are SOOOOO sweet and friendly. But I've noticed they get flightier as they get older.

    I do love having some in a flight cage on natural ground, and it's obvious they love it too. We also have many on wire bottoms, which I don't like as much, but they are safer that way--completely enclosed, and we have many snakes and other small predators who would like to make meals of them. I have noticed that the quail in the flight cage don't shy away very much when we come by to watch them, and they are fun to watch.

    Well, I will tell my children that if they want to take the time to raise up quail for pets they can go ahead and do that. We need to build another flight cage anyway.

    Thanks for the input--I'm glad to hear all that. [​IMG]
  7. Rozzie

    Rozzie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  8. ssbs

    ssbs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2010
    The problem that I'd have with taming any is I'd have a lot more trouble with them leaving when it's time to sell them or put them in the freezer [​IMG]

    My babies turned a week old on Sunday and they do run up to my hand during feeding time.. At about two days old they'd even run over and sit on my hand.
  9. rarebreedeggs4u

    rarebreedeggs4u Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2009
    Morrow, AR
    I am constantly impressed by how calm my Coturnix are. They are much calmer than several of my chicken breeds. I regularly have to scoot them over to reach in and get eggs. I think they flushed once or twice when the first group was about 5-6 weeks old and have never done it again. The youngsters we're raising haven't done it at all and they are in a much higher topped cage. I'm ready to start culling and I dread it. They are really great birds, but I *will* cull smaller birds and excess males. My first couple of homebred hatches are now laying, so it's time....sigh [​IMG]
  10. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Wow--that's great feedback. I have to admit that I don't want my birds to be friendly exactly for the reasons stated--it's so easy to process a bird that is not friendly. But my children would love to handle them and have them be pets, so now I know that's an option. I just put some eggs in and when they hatch I'm going to give them the option to separate a couple and raise them as pets. If they turn out to be roos, they'll just have to cull their current roos in favor of the new ones.


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