New to quail

bantams galore

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 5, 2013
70
5
94
Hi Everyone, I am new to the wide world of quail. I got 4 females and 2 males a couple of weeks ago.

I have raised Poultry for years, but I am just looking for a little help to get started with the quail.


Pens

I want to raise them on wooden floors and shavings rather than wire. I want to raise groups of 1 male and 4 females. So if each bird needs 1 square foot, then I need 4 square feet, which is 2'x2' right?

What about keeping extra males? I need to have a few spares. how would you house a single male? in a 1' x1' pen? or would you build the pens all the same size so they could be used as breeding pens?


Personality Question

I understand that once a group of quail are use to each other, then need birds shouldn't be mixed up or changed groups. Can I change the male?? I want to use one of my males with the first male, and then change the male and use the other male. I do that with my chickens, can I do it with quail?


Feeding

I feed my show fowl 19% layer krums. Is it ok to feed my quail the same feed?


I probably have more questions but this can be a starting place. Thanks.
 

SeptemberQuail

Songster
7 Years
Oct 10, 2012
385
30
103
Australia
Hi!
Since I have no idea about building quail cages and specific measurements, I can only provide a bit of info for the latter questions.

Personality-
Quail have a pecking order, just like chickens and are sensitive to changes in the flock, or in this case, the covey. You can change a rooster, however, it'll require slow introductions and careful monitoring. I'm assuming you already know how to do this.
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Feed-
Quail need a little more protein in their diet. At least 20 - 22% as a bare minimum and go up to as high as 30%. I recommend gamebird finisher if they sell it in your area, or feed similar to that. If you're unable to, then the layer krums can be used (as long as the pellets aren't too big for quail to swallow), as well as additional protein supplements such as kale, alfafa sprouts, cooked egg, etc. Some people feed their quail cat food for that protein boost, but I was recommended not to do so, and I suggest you don't either.

Brooders-
Brooders can be the same as a chicken one, with the heat-lamp and shavings/towel. 37.5C/99.5F for the first few days/week, and gradually lower it by 5 I believe, as they get older and start to feather out. They grow up really quickly and fully mature and lay eggs by 6 - 8 weeks of age.
 

Sill

Songster
6 Years
Dec 30, 2013
1,555
292
226
Tempe, AZ
Hi Everyone, I am new to the wide world of quail. I got 4 females and 2 males a couple of weeks ago.

I have raised Poultry for years, but I am just looking for a little help to get started with the quail.


Pens

I want to raise them on wooden floors and shavings rather than wire. I want to raise groups of 1 male and 4 females. So if each bird needs 1 square foot, then I need 4 square feet, which is 2'x2' right?

What about keeping extra males? I need to have a few spares. how would you house a single male? in a 1' x1' pen? or would you build the pens all the same size so they could be used as breeding pens?

Pens would depend on what your eventual goals are. More space is always better. You can house single males in the same size as your breeding coveys if you plan to switch the hens to a different roo.


Personality Question

I understand that once a group of quail are use to each other, then need birds shouldn't be mixed up or changed groups. Can I change the male?? I want to use one of my males with the first male, and then change the male and use the other male. I do that with my chickens, can I do it with quail?

Be keeping your extra males in a larger cage you can switch the hens to his cage. Never put a strange roo in the hens' cage, they will see him as an intruder and may gang up and kill him. Or you can put them all into a new cage so it is neutral territory for everyone. If you only have one breeding size cage and you want to change your roos you can put them the hens with the new roo into a dog crate for a couple of days then back into the breeder cage which by then will be neutral territory again. Know that the hens may go off laying due to the changes but will soon go back to laying after a few days or weeks.

Feeding

I feed my show fowl 19% layer krums. Is it ok to feed my quail the same feed?

Under 20% is not enough for quail, they will start feather picking with so low a protein. They need over 20%, really 24-26% especially while laying or growing. I feed mine 26% turkey starter all year and offer the hens ground oyster shell free choice.


I probably have more questions but this can be a starting place. Thanks.
Brood them the same as for chickens but they must have marbles in their water so they don't fall in and drown!

Also remember they are super tiny so need appropriate feeders so they can reach. I start them with jar lids for the first couple of days until they can reach into a normal sized chick feeder.

If you feed crumbles blend them a bit in the blender until almost a powder so they can fit the feed into their tiny mouths. If you feed "giant" crumbles they will not get enough to eat and will be stunted as they will only be able to eat the feed dust and powder at the bottom of the feeder at first. Quail chicks are very small! However they grow super quick and you will find yourself adjusting their brooder to their increased size frequently. My DH often remarks how different the chicks look when he gets home from work, they change that much in one shift!
 

bantams galore

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 5, 2013
70
5
94
Thank-you very much, I know that there are lots of Beginner quail threads, but I couldn't find the answer about switching males, or keeping them on solid floors. Does straw or sawdust make better bedding?

As far as housing goes, My goals are simply to keep them as egg layers and small breeder groups, for self replacement. I am wanting them to be comfortable and happy. I also want to hatch my own replacements, and some for meat as well.
 
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dc3085

Crowing
7 Years
Jan 6, 2013
3,288
356
251
SF Bay Area, California
Thank-you very much, I know that there are lots of Beginner quail threads, but I couldn't find the answer about switching males, or keeping them on solid floors. Does straw or sawdust make better bedding?

As far as housing goes, My goals are simply to keep them as egg layers and small breeder groups, for self replacement. I am wanting them to be comfortable and happy. I also want to hatch my own replacements, and some for meat as well.
Unless you look into deep litter (I don't recommend this for quail) on the floor I would recommend keeping them on sand. Anything that keeps moisture in is a bad idea. And straw just gets messy and they get poop balls built up on their feet.

For a house you could use an old rabbit hutch or build any number of simple cages. Check out these threads it will give you some ideas.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/414536/quail-cages
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/760036/happy-quail-cages-designs
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/251364/quail-cages-pens-plans
 

bantams galore

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 5, 2013
70
5
94
Thanks a lot for the threads with the pictures and the info of the bedding type. I live in Canada, so I was wondering how much cold quail can take? or maybe a better question would be what temperature would you say that they need to be kept at?

Does anyone use nest boxes for their breeders?

My quail are currently in the same building as my bantams, and I was reading that is not good, so I have to build some where else for them soon.
 
Last edited:

dc3085

Crowing
7 Years
Jan 6, 2013
3,288
356
251
SF Bay Area, California
They don't really have the instinct to care for nest boxes. They just kind of lay where ever. They will sometimes sleep in them if it is cold enough. If you are experiencing temps below freezing block out all draft with plastic sheeting and they should be fine. If you are consistently seeing temps below zero they may need a heat lamp.
 

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