Quail aviary companions


8 Years
Jun 3, 2011
Champaign County, Illinois
I currently have 37 coturnix quail in a 10x16 run, but will be culling in a few weeks down to about 15. My husband wants to add in some flying birds to make it a flight pen, but we are wondering what birds would be compatible/ hardy with quail in central Illinois. We have heard that zebra finches and budgediers (sp?) can tolerate the climate (given the right shelter). Anyone with experience or knowledge of other hardy birds? And will they leave my Quail alone?


Jul 9, 2015
Ontario, Canada
Maybe some pigeons? Thinking of cold hardy birds, and I used to have one when I was a child and loved it :p

There are types of fancy pigeons, but some of the feathers are pretty extreme (like fan tails and huge feathery feet) and leave the bird unable to move properly in my opinion... And may also hinder it's cold tolerance.

DK newbie

7 Years
Apr 20, 2015
As long as you go for small birds - budgies and smaller - your cots should be fine. Cockatiels would probably be fine as well as they are quite mellow, but I don't know how cold hard they are. I'm also not sure what other small birds are cold hardy.
I have button quail, zebra finches and budgies and I have seen the zebras pestering the buttons but with the coturnix being about 4 times bigger than a button I think the zebras would reconsider their position in the hierarchy. I have also seen the budgies running after the buttons, but the buttons run faster and the budgies quickly lost interest. Only real problem was when the buttons had chicks, a budgie caught a chick and nailed it to the ground while examining it with its beak and whereas the chick didn't appear physically hurt, one died the next day and I'm pretty certain it was the one the budgie caught.

Budgies (or budgerigars as they are called) can survive pretty cold weather, but around here it's actually illegal to keep them without access to a frost free room. While not strictly necessary, it is a good idea to do so - it will also keep their water from freezing, making it much easier to care for them during winter.

Pigeons are a good idea as well.


Crossing the Road
7 Years
Sep 29, 2014
New Zealand
Budgies can be aggressive, troublesome little sods so cockatiels or bourkes parakeets would be a better choice and both would be fine with zebra finches. And don't even consider love birds - they need to be kept by themselves! Canaries are another option, or a larger finch such as Javas. You can get doves which are smaller than pigeons if you don't want big birds in there and they can be kept with finches and other small birds.

We had a ringneck dove fly in and land on us one day. It was obviously a pet but we cannot find its owner (I suspect they got sick of it and just let it go). I was sure if we couldn't find its owner we would take it to a bird rescue place to be rehomed, but we have fallen in love with her (pretty sure it's a girl). She is gorgeous and she is in with some Japanese quail at the moment and I often find her on the ground with them picking about for food. She seems to enjoy their company.

Most birds would be considered hardy as long as they are acclimatised to the temperature (ie. don't take them from an indoor environment and stick them in your outdoor aviary in the middle of winter) and have somewhere sheltered to get out of the wind. Drafts will kill birds quicker than anything.

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