Quail living with other animals?

Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
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Central Texas
Do people ever keep other animals with quail? I feel like rabbits and other small herbivores might do well. Maybe guinea pigs. Wouldn't do rats, too opportunistic. Mice, probably too small, even with buttons. What about a tortoise? Tortoises are pretty chill, and I can't picture quail attacking them.
This is assuming proper housing and food available for both species.
 

Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
2,345
4,965
286
Central Texas
Sure, that'd work, but I'm thinking about keeping them in the same pen. Saving space would be a nice bonus, but it would also be interesting to see how they would interact, and they might both get some enrichment out of the deal. Plus, if we're talking a mix of mammals and birds, or reptiles and birds, there shouldn't be any disease worries.
 

ShannonR

Free Ranging
5 Years
Sep 17, 2015
2,535
16,777
552
I think it would create more problems than it solves. You might see issues such as fighting, one species pooping on the other, one species eating the other's poop, eating each other's food, one species hogging all of the food and starving the other....fouling of water dishes, eating or crushing eggs/offspring... ECT, ECT. Especially with quail. If we were talking like, goats and chickens then yeah maybe. But quail...?? You'll have to try it and let us know how it turns out.
 

DK newbie

Songster
5 Years
Apr 20, 2015
1,772
1,068
241
In general, I wouldn't recommend co-habitating vastly different species that occupy the same space within the enclosure. For the reasons stated above, and because they don't speak each other's language.
The rabbit tells the quail "Hey, that's my spot, get lost!" and the quail doesn't get it, so the rabbit might attack and the quail will probably move before it gets seriously hurt, but the quail is stressed because it feels it was attacked for no reason and the rabbit gets stressed because those stupid little feathered nuisances keep invading its space.
It could be the quail that are pecking the rabbit or they might not show any aggression at all, but the point is, they don't understand each other and shouldn't be forced to stay near each other in limited space.
It's a different matter if we are talking a tree climbing species with a ground dwelling species, for instance. You don't limit the available space for either by adding another species and you don't force them to be near someone they don't understand. You give them the option, and in some cases they might not be compatible - if the tree climbing species attacks the ground dweller they'll need to be separated. If one prefers the food of the other and this isn't appropriate and can't be made inaccessible. But if they are compatible, you've managed to save space without reducing the welfare of the animals.

If you want to do it with two ground dwelling species, I'd give them significantly more space than I would have if I were to keep each species separately. And that's not 2 sqft/quail and 10 sqft/rabbit - that's maybe 10 sqft/quail and 50 sqft/rabbit. And then you loose the advantage of saving space, you still risk unpleasant encounters among the animals and the only advantages you are left with are the chance that the animals might gain something from the presence of each other.. Which they might, but I strongly doubt the presence of a tortoise would enrich the quail for more than a week. Once they are used to it, you might as well have a rock in their enclosure that you move every day. Which you might well have to resort to anyway, as it is my understanding that tortoises are pretty sensitive to dust, dirt and such, which you are likely to find in a quail enclosure..

I'm not saying it absolutely can't be done. And there might be species where it can actually be an advantage to both you and the animals. But I think they are few and far between.
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
6 Years
Sep 29, 2014
7,682
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New Zealand
Rabbits have very delicate digestive systems so must not have access to poultry food, and they, like Guinea pigs, are strict herbivores so they cannot eat poultry food due to the fact that it may contain meat.

There have been many stories on BYC of rabbits who have been kept with chickens and who seem fine until they kill a chicken. Rabbits can be very aggressive in certain situations.

The best thing would be to keep an aviary with quail in the bottom and finches, doves, parakeets, cockatiels, bourkes etc as cage mates. An aviary is a lot of fun and breeding the birds, seeing them raise their babies from tiny little helpless, naked things to beautiful fledglings is just wonderful.
 

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