New to Quails - 7 Questions I'm Stuck On


6 Years
Apr 20, 2013
Hello, all!

I'm hoping to start up a quail coop at my new house this summer. I'm already talking w/ a cot seller & will take on a half dozen chicks. I've raised chickens off/on when I was a kid/teen & so I'd like to say I know a bit more than a first-time newbie. However, I can see I've got gaps in my knowledge base, esp for quails. So I've got some questions for you:

1) I've read people talking about 'worming' their quails. I assume you're all referring to de-worming, which may involve needles, pills or some such. Could any of you elaborate on this, and how would it affect my own quails if I used them for just eggs, or even meat (I don't want to the meat to be inedible, but want the quails to stay healthy).

2) I'm aware protein is much more essential for quails so I'll be looking into feeds for game birds & supplementing what I can with home made or gathered foods (peanuts, insects, etc). Is there any lean-to type of protein you like to grab first when you don't have time, money or whatever; like a protein staple? (due to good shelf life or cheap?)

3) The brooder will probably end up w/ peat bottom for when the chicks are a bit older but what's best for them right from the start? I don't want splayed legs so I'm thinking industrial paper towels (blue types). Would you do anything differently?

4) I will be re-fitting an old shed into a greenhouse (2/3 size) and quail coop (1/3) w/ an enclosed outdoor run at least half the length of the shed. I'd like their pens off the ground at hip height, as I want to utilize the space under the pens for storage (thinking cupboards with pens on top).

How would you recommend an easy way for the quail to hop into the cages or do I suspect I'd have to grab every one of them at night? Any special tricks you would try to get them to a second level? (I'm okay w/ this not working, they will be tame for quails but even I'm not that silly to think they'll just walk in like chickens).

Note: I will be living in Canada where temps get to -30C/-22F on average in the winter w/ blizzards that can easily leave behind a few feet of snow. Summertime (30C/86F) I plan to let them stay outside in a large cage pen, but winter they will be kept in indoor pens (basically cages on shelves) w/ heat lamp(s) in the room. Any advice for this or is it alright?

5) I'm not up to date at all on medications & special feeds. I'd also like to put a emergency kit together before I need it. Could any of you point to a list of very essential kits I would need (specifically for quail), your own tips, or a website that has quail first aid kits?

6) I've heard of some folks trimming beaks & nails. Is this necessary for more outdoor quail, are there any special stones/wood I'd need for this? I've had a rabbit before so I understand the need for tough chew things.

7) Lastly...I hope to make the inside of the pens as natural as possible. I'd rather not go with a wire mesh bottom, so if any of you keep your quail on a bedding that stays fairly sanitary & natural then I'd love to hear what you're using. The pens may end up being bigger than most keep, for more hide & nest areas. Would peat work as well (like what I'd use for the brooders), or would that quickly get too messy?

Thank you all very much for your time.
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Here is some of the information .

2) I use Purina Game Bird Layer, Layena. Non-medicated. It works well for my breeders. It is not the cheapest feed at the store, but it does well with the quail.

3) I use standard paper towels, White Scott, and they have enough texture so the chicks dont get splayed legs. I change it several times a day. After they are a few days old, you can put down a thin layer of hay or straw on top of the paper towels.

4) Quail prefer to be right on the ground. If you put them up in a pen off the ground, then anything underneath will get poop on it, so the storage idea is probably not going to work. The quail like to be able to see the sky, so they will resist going inside or under cover where they can't see the sky. The only exception is when you have a rare broody quail hen, then she will seek shelter under something . Best to give them some shade and some sun so they can go into or out of the sunlight at will. Same for rain tarp or shelter.

5) I have never had any health issues but we do see a rare fight which results in one of the quail getting pecked and bleeding. For this, use Blu-Kote. Wear gloves, lest your skin will get the blu-kote in the pores of your skin and you will look like Papa Smurf.

6) Never needed to do this

7) Again, the quail prefer to be right on the ground. For protection against predators, bury a tight fence wire or wire mesh 8" underground around the perimeter. For sanitation, I use a thin layer of hay or straw. Once it is soiled, the poop makes everything stick together and it is easily rolled up like a carpet and disposed of in the garden.

Thanks, Steve.

#2 I'll keep in mind. I was hoping to get in more contact w/ the person who will be selling me the chicks & see if I can buy a starter feed bag from her while I find a nearby bulk supplier.

#3, funny that I spent a decade having a 'no paper towel' policy in the house so that we'd use cloth rags/napkins instead & now these seem necessary again. I'll have to note them as chicks only! I've had chickeny chicks before so I know how grippy their little razor nails are w/ most normal cloths.

#4, To explain further: The bottom of the cage will be wood w/ a layer of something (peatmoss, etc?) on top. Under the cages will be supplies, so think of it like cupboards w/ cages on top. Since I live in Canada where temps can get very cold, down to -30C where I'll be living, I want to have the pens directly off the ground. I will also be using a heat lamp for the pen but I don't want them directly on the floor in winter. During warm weather I'll end up keeping them outside for the most part.

#5 I have read that quails (esp bossy females) are prone to pecking eyes out. Honestly this scares me most out of most fight-related injuries. A scratch I can handle, a missing eye w/ possible bleeding to death - I'm not sure of. I will note the Blu-Kote stuff & make sure to get it early.

#7, as with #4, in summer I can keep them on an open run but in winter it's a whole new ballgame & method of keeping them. That's why I want to find ways to make them comfy w/ the transition. Seems I may just have to move them about myself, which means keeping them fairly tame.

Thanks again, Steve!

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