dust baths and nest boxes...necessary?

underground chickenman

10 Years
May 30, 2009
Orlando, Florida
I'm a city farmer (chicken and veggies) thinking about giving coturnix a try. In planning my pens, is it necessary to have nest boxes and dust baths? From my research, it appears that quail will lay on the wire and if I have a slight pitch to the floor, they might roll out to a collection area. Any thoughts? What about a dust bath? Will I be denying my birds one of life's simple pleasures without a dust bath?

Thanks for your help.

So far mine prefer to lay on the wire...even over the dust bath area. I just used a milk carton with a hole cut in the side for a dust bath. It doesn't have to be fancy. And once you've seen them fighting over using it, you will be glad that you gave them one!
I've raised coturnix on both wire and shavings, and I have never given them nest boxes. They lay wherever they want. However, I have given them trays of clean play sand, which they LOVE LOVE LOVE. A lot of times they will lay in the sand, but it's easy to clean off. You will keep your eggs cleaner by raising them on wire, but wire can be hard on their feet. A box of sand to play in gives their feet a break, and it's fun to watch them fluffing.
It's not necessary to give them either, but the sand will make them very happy.
I give my bobwhites a dust bath and a nest box. They seem to like the nest box, they actually stuffed it full of hay [and i do mean stuffed] and made a nest in it. I don't think its necessary and coturnix might not even use it. For my dusty bath i give them a pan of ashes from our wood stove, some people recommend against ashes but they seem to really like them and i only give them the dust batch ounce every couple weeks. The ashes help ward off/rid them of fleas/mites.
Butting here with a related question: At what age do you provide them with the dust boxes? Mine are only almost 2 weeks old, but they are scattering their feed everywhere! Are they trying to bathe in it? Or does that happen later and they're just very messy eaters?
Neither dust baths or nest boxes are necessary, but I am sure the birds do appreciate them--- At the very least the dust bath. Coturnix quail lay anywhere/ anytime it suits them. If the eggs were sticky we'd probably find them on the walls and ceilings of pens.
My coturnix have pans with ashes from the woodstove in them, as well as boxes for sleeping in. All of them use their dusting pans, and they all lay their eggs either in the dusting pan or in the sleeping box. So no, you don't have to give either, they will just lay on the wire. But so would a chicken if it had no alternative. Dusting helps them to keep their skin from getting irritated, and can help to keep pests off of them such as mites.

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