Quail Friendly Plants

muddy75

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Aug 17, 2018
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southern indiana
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i look at poultry-safe and parakeet/cockatiel safe when looking at plants for my aviary. but what you may want to also consider is plants that are safe from your quail!!! they will dustbathe at the base of most plantings until the dig them up! honestly i’ve found partially grown hibiscus to be the safest and prettiest aviary plants.
 

Bird_Lover_17

Birds are life
Apr 9, 2020
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i look at poultry-safe and parakeet/cockatiel safe when looking at plants for my aviary. but what you may want to also consider is plants that are safe from your quail!!! they will dustbathe at the base of most plantings until the dig them up! honestly i’ve found partially grown hibiscus to be the safest and prettiest aviary plants.
Thanks! :)
 

Phneyda

Songster
Nov 6, 2020
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Hi! I’d love to make some suggestions. First, what country are you in and if in the US or UK what is your USDA or RHS zone?
 

Phneyda

Songster
Nov 6, 2020
102
264
116
I’m fairly new here and just realized you have your area in the little blurb people can see when they click your name.

Southern Indiana is USDA zone 6b. I’m in SE Iowa, USDA zone 5b so the plants I recommend should work generally, but you can look for varieties that will work best in your zone. Personally, before I plant anything for my critters I ask myself 2 questions: 1) is this plant one the animals can harvest themselves (eat right from the ground on their own or after I rinse it off) or will I need to harvest and prepare it for them? (Ex. remove the seed hulls or boil)
2) Is there a variety of the plant that is native to my area or a cultivated variety that is lower maintenance than others?
If the answer is yes to both of the these questions then I move forward. If the answer is no to one or both then I don’t bother growing that plant.

If you have an area in the enclosure that will get plenty of sun I highly recommend amaranth. It will provide shade, beautiful foliage and the quail can eat the grain when they fall. Amaranth does grow tall so if you can, provide support like a fence or sturdy stake. The amaranth can also serve as a support for other plants like peas or Black-eyed Susan vine. In September, I cut the amaranth grain threads, dried them out, and stored them. Just last night I ground some, hull and all, and put in the quail feed. It kept well and added some variety to the quails’ diet. Here is my fav variety: https://www.seedsavers.org/hopi-red-dye-amaranth-organic-flower

Sunflowers are another option, but I prefer to buy the seed in bulk with the hulls already removed. I dehydrate the seed and grind it, but I believe some people feed their quail with the hulls on. If so, you can grow sunflowers in the enclosure and just let the seeds fall.

I also recommend greens like collard or kale or even chard. The quail can eat those, but they also attract moths who lay eggs on the underside of the leaves which the quail can just pick off and gobble up.

A cover crop like red clover is an option for basic green cover. Some companies sell quail mix cover seed for sowing. The mixes are meant to attract wild quail like bob white, but should be ok for coturnix.

Next year I’m planning on placing the quail directly on my big raised bed for their outdoor time (our quail live indoors as pets). I’ll be using the 3 sisters method as my base format with some additions. I’ll be growing corn and amaranth, a flowering vine or peas and squash and pumpkin. Very early next year I will plant a cover crop in the bed (red clover) to help the soil and (hopefully) protect the other plants from the quails’ scratching). I’ll be sure to share the experience on BYC.
 

Bird_Lover_17

Birds are life
Apr 9, 2020
611
1,735
231
USA
I’m fairly new here and just realized you have your area in the little blurb people can see when they click your name.

Southern Indiana is USDA zone 6b. I’m in SE Iowa, USDA zone 5b so the plants I recommend should work generally, but you can look for varieties that will work best in your zone. Personally, before I plant anything for my critters I ask myself 2 questions: 1) is this plant one the animals can harvest themselves (eat right from the ground on their own or after I rinse it off) or will I need to harvest and prepare it for them? (Ex. remove the seed hulls or boil)
2) Is there a variety of the plant that is native to my area or a cultivated variety that is lower maintenance than others?
If the answer is yes to both of the these questions then I move forward. If the answer is no to one or both then I don’t bother growing that plant.

If you have an area in the enclosure that will get plenty of sun I highly recommend amaranth. It will provide shade, beautiful foliage and the quail can eat the grain when they fall. Amaranth does grow tall so if you can, provide support like a fence or sturdy stake. The amaranth can also serve as a support for other plants like peas or Black-eyed Susan vine. In September, I cut the amaranth grain threads, dried them out, and stored them. Just last night I ground some, hull and all, and put in the quail feed. It kept well and added some variety to the quails’ diet. Here is my fav variety: https://www.seedsavers.org/hopi-red-dye-amaranth-organic-flower

Sunflowers are another option, but I prefer to buy the seed in bulk with the hulls already removed. I dehydrate the seed and grind it, but I believe some people feed their quail with the hulls on. If so, you can grow sunflowers in the enclosure and just let the seeds fall.

I also recommend greens like collard or kale or even chard. The quail can eat those, but they also attract moths who lay eggs on the underside of the leaves which the quail can just pick off and gobble up.

A cover crop like red clover is an option for basic green cover. Some companies sell quail mix cover seed for sowing. The mixes are meant to attract wild quail like bob white, but should be ok for coturnix.

Next year I’m planning on placing the quail directly on my big raised bed for their outdoor time (our quail live indoors as pets). I’ll be using the 3 sisters method as my base format with some additions. I’ll be growing corn and amaranth, a flowering vine or peas and squash and pumpkin. Very early next year I will plant a cover crop in the bed (red clover) to help the soil and (hopefully) protect the other plants from the quails’ scratching). I’ll be sure to share the experience on BYC.
Thanks for the tips!
 

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