I Moved To A New Farm 2-3 Months Ago.... In The Process Of Moving We Placed 1 Of My Large Breeder Banks Of Coturnix --- Cage And All, On The Ground---- They Freaked! Would Not Have Anything To Do With Grass--- Climbed Up On Top Of Their Feeders And Stayed There As If Looking Into Shark Infested Waters---- Nah, They're Fine Up On Wire And If Thats All They Know They Dont Want To Have Anything To Do With Mother Earth!
The recommended space requirements are 1 sq. ft. per bird. However, this figure is an estimate. Partly the space needed depends on the overall size of the pen, and also depends on the individual birds. As far as the pen size, I've had 5 quail in a 2x2 cage that looked crowded, but I've had 12 quail in a 2x4 cage with plenty of room left over. Now mine are in a 3x7+ pen with plenty of room. I think there are 30 birds in the pen.
I usually say that .75 sq. ft. per bird is enough, though it does depend on how big the cage is. I wouldn't put more than 6 in a 2x2 cage, and that's if they can use all the available floor space. My 2x2's with 5 quail in them had a 6"x15" area where their 'house' was, then it also had a chick feeder. So actual floor space was probably 2x1 1/2 at most.
Wow, this is an old thread but I'll chime in. Mine have about .5 sq ft each right now, they don't seem particularly unhappy about it, but they are juvenile and not full grown yet... We are making them a new home now. I was told the more birds you have the less space each bird needs because they take up x amount, while z amount is suggested to give them room to walk. In a small coop with 5 birds you may have 4 sq feet for them to move around in whereas a bigger cage with 20 birds would have 16 xtra sq ft. Make sense?
As others have said 1sq ft per bird is the minimum recommended. If you can provide bigger though that is great. In my experience bigger is always better. I have one coturnix quail that is a pet and he is in an 8 sq ft rabbit cage by himself. (I want to get a few females later though) As far as ground goes there is mixed feelings on this. I agree with the other poster that if they've only known wire or a cage then they probably will be just fine. It definitely isn't a cruelty. I did end up making an outdoor run for my pet quail though, because he was used to being on the ground and didn't care too much for the cage. It's also convenient to have a place to stick him when I am cleaning the cage. His run is much bigger then the cage. I don't know the exact size, but it is about twice the length of his indoor cage, but a bit thinner. He really likes going out there, but it isn't built for living full time so he is only outside when the weather is nice. I hope this helps!