Quail in a Cold Climate? (Coturnix, Specifically)

Olive Hill

10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
I'd like to try my hand at raising quail for meat and eggs -- you know, because what's one more species on the funny farm?
I've been trying to do my homework and am leaning towards Coturnix (mainly because from what I've read they're the easiest and since I'm new to the species... I should probably start small and easy. I'm open to other suggestions, though.) and have read about their care and keeping but what I'm not finding is the temperature/climate hardiness of the adult birds. I have every intention of brooding much like I do our other birds -- indoors, climate controlled, with litter and lights -- but I'm just not seeing anything on the adults in my searches.

My preliminary thoughts/plans were to build raised wire pens with small, attached, enclosed shelters and keep them in trios and/or quads but now I'm questioning whether this is acceptable since those cages would be outdoors (they would be covered from rain, snow, etc with a metal roof).

I live in the middle of the lower penninsula of Michigan.


If those raised wire cages would be acceptable I was also wondering if I make them a couple feet tall would they still need to be lined with burlap to prevent broken necks? IOW, would it be wiser to make the cages 2 feet tall (for example) and not line them with burlap or build the cages 3 feet tall and put a burlap liner in at 2 feet tall to give them a buffer from the actual roof?
They can handle any temperature has long as they don't get any drafts. You don't need to build the closed enclosures as long as they are covered with tarp, either way you need tarp. As far as the broken neck thing I've personally noticed the higher the cage the more likely to happen.

So I say build one that isn't high Like this cage its only about 10-12 inches high.


I hope this helps!
My coturnix have been cold tested to 12 deg. F. Don't expect a bunch of fertile eggs at that temp, but my birds are fine.
As long as you have a place for them to stay dry and out of the freezing wind they should be ok.

Pens are a matter of preference I guess. I build 1 foot high solid top pens. Out of 200 or so birds that I have raised over the years, I have only had a few unexplained deaths. The most likely cause was head/neck trauma, but I can't be sure because I didn't witness it.

As far as raising coturnix for meat and eggs goes....You can't go wrong. They are hands down the most cost/time effective quail one can possibly raise.
I know some people like the taste of (insert species) quail better than coturnix, but for me, the cost and time difference isn't worth the taste difference.
To give you my analogy of corturnix verses any other species that I have eaten is this. My favorite steak cut is rib-eye: Cost $11/lb. My second choice would be chuck-eye: cost $5/lb.. I think of corturnix as the Chuck-eye steak of the quail world. Better yet, since given the right conditions, they can lay all year long...They are chuck-eye steak and eggs of the quail world

Of course, if there is another species of quail you are just dieing to raise. Then you should raise them.
Thank you both. I really appreciate it.

I can definitely keep them out of drafts and we have plenty of tarps around here.

Now... to find some quail.
I know of a lady in the area who raises Quail, I think I'll probably call her and see what she has available and go from there. There is also a local small animal swap that should be starting up soon that I may scout for breeders/raisers that know their stuff but even if she doesn't have Coturnix I am guessing the lady I have in mind will be able to point me in the right direction regardless so the swap probably won't be necessary (which is fine with me since so much is left up to chance at things like that). If I'm not mistaken she's been "in the business" since before I was old enough to say Quail.

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