1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Male scares off one female rather than the other?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by SeptemberQuail, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Songster

    Oct 10, 2012

    I've had a grouped trio of quails (one male and two female) for around a month or so, and they're 6 months old.
    They seemed fine when I first got them, but for the first night temporarily I placed them in a box; That's when the male kept chasing, honking and pecking at the female's neck (both of them).

    I presumed it may of been because he wanted to mount them or something.
    Now, about my query,
    Let's name the quails and give a little example;

    A- Female 1
    B- Female 2 (the one being scared off by the male)
    C- Male 1

    Quail A and Quail B are quite good friends, they don't mind sharing their gamebird food and having dust baths together. Then Quail C just walks around, at first he honks at both of the females, scaring them off, but then he realizes that he was scaring Quail A, and so just walks past her and then starts pestering Quail B.


    I've seen Quail C mount Quail A several times, and I presume Quail A was the one who laid the first egg (for me as her new owner) yesterday. Quail B hasn't laid any eggs yet since I've had her.

    I thought the male would mate with both the females, but it seems as if he has his own favorite female.

    In their outdoor enclosure, on one side they have this little house at night where I put them in for warmth and to keep them away from drafts and the cold. Normally when I let them roam around their enclosure in the morning, Quail B is always the first one out, then normally Quail A would come out as well, Quail C just hangs around near the open door, laying down.
    Their food cup is almost right next to the entrance of the house, and with Quail C hanging around near the door, every time Quail B comes up to eat, he just runs out and honks at her, pecking at her neck, and once she's far away, he walks back in.

    It happens every single time, but if it's Quail A, he doesn't mind sharing food with her.
    I've made a separate food cup for Quail B. But where ever she is in the enclosure, Quail C is always telling her to back off via chasing her, honking and pecking at her neck.

    So, what should I do?
    How can I get him to leave her alone like he does to Quail A?
    She's like the third-wheel... [​IMG]

  2. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chirping

    Sep 9, 2012
    It's not unusual. In the wild, quail are monogamous and live in pairs. In captivity, it's often suggested to get a trio with two females so that the male doesn't overmate one female, but sometimes their old instincts take over and the birds choose monogamy.

    You can:
    -Add more hides and feeding stations in your current pen, which won't solve the problem but it will keep Quail B from getting too stressed or being starved.
    -Remove Quail B and put her in her own enclosure with a new male or another female, or rehome her.
    -Remove Quail C and put him in his own enclosure by himself, or with a new female, or rehome him.

    You'll either need to add an enclosure and a bird, or subtract a bird depending on why you're keeping quail in the first place. If you just want eggs, you don't need a male. If you're hoping to breed them, then Quail B will need her own male.

    I had a similar problem in my flock and i moved my male and his chosen lady into their own condo, and not only are my remaining females extremely happy, but the couple has become more tame and friendly towards me!
    I hope you're able to find the best solution for your flock, too.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ntsees

    Ntsees Songster

    Jul 27, 2012
    What species of quail do you have if you don't mind letting us know? In one case, I've had a trio (2 female and 1 male mountain quail) and the only aggression I've seen was between the females. The male didn't mind having 2 females. In another case, I had a female mountain quail who raised her chicks to adulthood. When the chicks were growing up, the mother was known as the dominant member of the group. There was this young male that was next in line in terms of dominance. One day in the following spring breeding season, he challenged her and won. I didn't see the conflict but it was known clearly because the mother was in hiding all day. If she came out, the young male would chase her away ruthlessly. It was pretty bad and I had to separate that young male. Most of my experience mostly involved male-male or female-female aggression only. So if there was aggression between male-female in your case, it could be the male staking his dominance.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  4. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Songster

    Oct 10, 2012

    Alright, thank you! Though, I'm worried I might waste money on buying another male quail to find out he might be annoying her as well. But for a first try I'll see if I can find some more 'hiding' places for her. Sometimes when I take her out she starts calling to the others, then when I take her female friend out, she still calls, but to the male. Even when I take the male, and he calls and crows, she is always the one to reply, do you know why she does it? It's like she's trying to befriend him, yet he doesn't accept her friendship.


    That's quite strange... My quail are Japanese/Coturnix quail, they were grouped together at birth I think (well I didn't ask the breeder but they were grouped anyway). I hope if it is about dominance, it won't go too seriously; I absolutely adore Quail C (I named her Caramel :3) she's so tame around me and willing to eat out of my hand and let me pick her up sometimes. She is always the first one out of her little hutch in the cage (they live outdoors, and since I can't find a blanket big enough to cover it, I built a little house for them to sleep in at night).
    But thank you for your information! I'll keep a closer eye on the two...
  5. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chirping

    Sep 9, 2012
    I know what you mean about the calling. Mine did that, too, and it was so heartbreaking to watch them cry for each other. But they started fighting again as soon as i put them back together. I decided the crying was better than the chaos.
    It took a few days but they got over it.

    If you're going to get a second male, i would do it over winter while the quail aren't breeding. That will give him and your single girl a chance to get to know each other before mating season and hopefully they'll form a strong pair bond.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by