Quail living conditions

Discussion in 'Quail' started by shem, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. shem

    shem Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2014
    I am planning to get my first quail. I have decided to go with a&m unless someone has recommendations for another large breed. I can't bring myself to keep them caged. The rest of our birds have lots of space to roam and forage I'd like to do the same for these birds. How much space per bird to keep them happy? I'd love to see pics of others aviaries/cage set up from anyone willing to share. Any ideas/recommendations welcome. Thank You!
     
  2. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    A&Ms aren't a type of quail. They are a color phase of domestic coturnix (Japanese) quail. They can be bred freely with any Japanese quail of any color. The white color gene is recessive in these quail.

    It is typically illegal to free range quail without a permit on top of it just being a very bad idea, especially with the species you chose. Free ranging quail is the same as releasing them and release is regulated nation wide. They will not return to a cage like chickens, they have no concept or a nest, coop, or roost. Cats, dogs, snakes, skunks, raccoons, weasels, ravens, crows, hawks, falcons, owls, foxes, bobcats, and anything else that eats meat at all would love for you free range your birds.

    Coturnix quail have been domesticated to the point of stupidity and pretty much have no threat response to predators. To make things worse we've bred them to such large sizes that they couldn't hope to fly far enough or fast enough to evade most predators anyway, without a special diet and flight conditioning. They have been bred in captivity for well over a thousand years, and some evidence suggests as many as 4000 years of domestication. People made them this way and if they want to keep them, will have to live the outcome. I will link you to pictures of my quail trying to see what the raccoon by the cage is doing. What he is doing is trying to rip their heads off and they will let him one after the other. One raccoon killed 21 of my quail over a short period, they don't even try to get away. Make sure there are no holes in your cage larger than a nickel. A raccoon can pull a 14 ounce coturnix through any hole bigger than a nickel. No it doesn't come out in one piece and yes it's a mess to clean up, if you can ever get the quail parts scraped off the wire.

    Another thing to consider is that coturnix quail are a migratory bird. In winter months they will want to head south and being dim little buggers they do what they want. The US Government tried releasing them in the south to give hunters some more game, they migrated away and were never fully accounted for. The best guess is they flew into the gulf of mexico, but wherever they went they died because the return rate was 0%.

    You have to realize this species COULD NOT EXIST without people directly husbanding their entire lives. They have no ability to reproduce without human interference. The hens don't know how to brood eggs. Maybe 1 out of every several hundred thousand actually sits eggs. I've been breeding them for 6 years and in that entire time have seen proof of 2 coturnix hens hatching eggs. If there weren't incubators there wouldn't be domestic coturnix quail. Period. Domestic coturnix are so far removed from wild coturnix that they don't even recognize each others vocalizations when introduced. This is the reality of the species. Keeping them means accepting that reality. If you want to give them a bunch of space build them an aviary it's the only way they'll survive long.

    This is one instance of one raccoon spending over an hour trying to get into a single cage.

    If you have chickens you should be aware before purchasing quail that chickens carry many diseases that they are resistant to that are fatal to quail. These diseases cannot be tested for or cured, only treated, and carrier birds will freely transmit it throughout their life. Coryza, MG, and Blackhead are the most common but there is a long and gross list of poultry diseases that chickens can be infected with and show no symptoms. Before handing your quail if you have handled chickens be sure to wash up well so you don't transmit anything around.
     
  3. shem

    shem Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2014
    Thank You for the information. My apologies, I wasn't specific. I don't intend to free range them I just don't like the idea of them being in a tiny cage if they don't have to be. And I don't plan to have them in my mixed flock. I understand that they need to be separate from my chickens and turkeys. I am just interested in seeing how others keep their quail in aviaries as an alternative to tiny cages day in and day out.
     

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