Quail Ecosystem Theory


6 Years
Sep 23, 2013
I'll start off by saying I have never raised quails but have been researching them for about 3 months. Habitats, food, cages ..... ect. I wanted to get views on my theory about a indoor/ aquarium setting for about 3-4 quail. 3 hens and 1 male. These are going to be pets with a purpose. I have a 4 1/2' long x 1' deep x 2' tall custom aquarium (right now with the front glass off). I wanted to line the bottom with dirt/ sand mix, to grow meal worms and give them a place to hid and grow from the birds. Plant wild quail grasses and have a sand place for them. So in theory the worms should take care of the clean up of waste( plus the bird poo is suppose to be good for plants), the birds would not let the worms take over and i get eggs. Right?
It works on a large scale, but I'm not so sure about small scale as in the tank. The quail will most likely search, dig, and eat all the meal worms. If any do survive to pupate and when they emerge (they are beetles), they must come to the surface, where they will end up getting eaten. Also, the plants will have a tough time growing due to the constant nibbling and digging from the quail. People who have experience keeping galliformes will tell you that it's difficult to grow plants in the pen because the plants just end up getting eaten. As for the waste, the amount of waste produced from the quail will far exceed what the meal worms can eat (assuming the meal worms didn't get eaten). Do meal worms even eat bird waste anyway? I don't know. Anyway, these are just my thoughts, but feel free to proceed and let us know how it works.
I don't think meal worms will eat bird poo. And, 4.5 square feet for 4 quail... I wouldn't consider that a large enough space (even our ecotoxicology lab allowed for more space than that per bird). Let's say you decide that is enough space - the damage a 4 birds could do in 4.5 square feet of space would definitely make it impossible for anything to grow, including the meal worms.
Thanks for your input. I didn't know how destructive those little things could be. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Also the high concentration of fresh un-aged manure will burn the plants due to the high nitrogen content. Great concept, like a terrarium with critters. If you can get it balanced let us know!
Have you considered red wrigglers?

I agree that to make a balanced ecosystem, you probably need a lot of space. For greenery, you could add plants that quail are not interested in (They don't seem to be hot on scratchy, tough plants like sunflowers) and I found that what they eat depends also on what else is available.

You might need to "teach" them to eat insects etc, they are not raised by a mother hen who teaches them these things (though some have used chicken to brood and hatch quail, then the hen does the job)

Very interested in what your experiences are.
Could you make a little frame with hardwire cloth, 1/2"x1/2", that covers half the floor space about 1" above the dirt? They could eat the grass that comes up through the wire without eating it all and some worms would have cover for a while. The quail would have free access to grass and worms on the uncovered half. Then move it over to the other half of the pen and let the grass "rest a while" while they nibble the new half.
Meal worms eat fruits, vegetables, bran, etc - not poop. They are beetles, not worms. Red wigglers eat decaying matter (kitchen scraps) and will eat rabbit poop and I think it is possible that they would eat goat poo, but bird poo has too much ammonia. If you went with wigglers you would have to give them more than a few inches of soil. They do tend to stay closer to the surface than earthworms, but they will still burrow some.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom