Escaped quail? Eaten by rats?


In the Brooder
Jun 14, 2022
So today I was feeding my adult quail and I noticed one of my most docile (and favourite) quail was missing. I had banded this one because it had no significant markings, and the second favourite (also very docile) had a caramel colour so I didnt tag it. These two I could let roam for a bit outside the cage and my labrador would not scare it away. When it was time, I would pick them both up without them EVER getting afraid and trying to fly away.

I've got a camera livestreaming the adults and chicks 24/7, so I'm digging through 40+ hours of footage now to find the exact time. All I've seen is at least one rat has been coming to eat from their feeder. I thought maybe one of them killed the quail and took it away, but I figured there might be evidence of a scuffle and feathers on the floor. I looked around the garden and on the other side of my house which is connected to a park but it's not there.

I'm hoping it will appear but I doubt it, I live next to a creek/mountain and it could be very happy in the wild.

I'm quite upset and so I always try to find the silver lining to avoid getting too depressed, and the best I can come up with is that at least it's in the wild, when just last month the spanish authoritiez imposed a ban on quail hunting and declared them in danger of extinction (strange, I know, all the hunters are furious).
So maybe at least this way it can help boost the wild population? Although it is a domesticated bird so I don't know how well it's brooding instincts will be.
Sad times :( hopefully it's a blessing in disguise.

EDIT: Whereas before I was on the fence about clipping their wings, I think I've changed my mind and now it's the best idea.
EDIT 2: Their wings have been clipped, and after sifting through many hours of footage, I found the culprit. It was a rat. The quail wasn't bothered enough by the presence of the rat, and it seems the rat got defensive over the feeder and leaped like 50-100cm at the quail. They tussled for a bit before the rat dragged her under the palet of the compost pile :( I went to see what was there and hopefully kill all the rats in the nest, but I only found her half eaten body :( I have declared war on these bastards, and will find a way to permanently put an end to them coming back. Until then, I have moved the 4 remaining quail into a large dog crate, and put the male in the original, smaller, but animal proof coop.
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I'm sorry for your loss. Rats will kill and eat quail, as will just about anything else that ever eats meat.

If these are coturnix quail, then they are most likely too domesticated to survive in the wild. Your best option is to make their pen as predator proof as you can.

Good luck!
Sorry to hear about your loss! I would def have assumed the rat was responsible. I don't think coturnix would survive in the wild for any amount of time, but when I have had the odd escape (letting toddlers hold quail is not a good idea), I took comfort in the fact that some animal had a nice meal! I'm building an aviary for my new quails and will be lining every side with hardware cloth.
Personally I've never seen the need to clip a quails wings, they should be in a cage or aviary with either a very high roof or a low roof to stop themselves from hurting themselves. And they don't thrive on too much free space, they should always be secure. Also, many aerial predators love quail as they're eat to find and kill. Each to their own of course though.

Go to town with some hardwire cloth and then destroy those vermin! There's quite a few resources on this site to help you kill the rats humanely or however you may prefer.

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