Quail Taming Tips

Discussion in 'Quail' started by maadroj, Jun 12, 2019 at 5:04 PM.

  1. maadroj

    maadroj In the Brooder

    May 25, 2019
    Is gently holding chicks, despite their protests, a good method for taming them, or is it better to be placidly present and let them take the lead? Any other tips for taming?

    We have 13 California valley quail chicks, now 3 weeks old. I've been talking/singing/whistling to them since they were eggs in the incubator, because we intended to try to keep them as pets. We realize it's more challenging to tame them in a large group, we just didn't expect so many of our eggs to hatch (14 out of 15; and sadly one post-hatch casualty). They live in our bedroom for now (aviary coming soon), and we spend as much time as possible next to them, hand feeding several times a day in addition to refilling the feed in their brooder so they don't go hungry.

    Several are relatively comfortable around us, the first to come out of the brooder to eat and explore the nearby area (before rushing back inside). They'll climb into our hands while eating and will sometimes allow us to raise our hands a little higher (but generally quickly hop off once they notice). One has hopped onto a knee briefly to look around before calmly hopping back off.

    Are we doing enough, or do we need to try to hold them so they learn they won't be harmed in our hands? They seem to get a bit more shy as time passes. If we try to gently pet them (back, neck, chest or head), they either move over like they feel crowded or squeak and zip away.

    We have had to catch them to move around to deep clean their brooder a few times, and a few to treat their feet, and I'm worried that's why they're more wary now. On the other hand, I'm worried we should have held them a lot more as tiny chicks and now missed our window of opportunity (I tried a couple of times, but they were so scared they were vibrating, and I decided not to risk their health).

    We know it won't be simple and they'll never be fully tame, but we'd like to try our best. I've seen some folks here seem to have really good bonds with their wildish quail. I'd love to hear about your experiences, successful or not! All advice welcome. Thank you!
    Doobly and The Phantom like this.
  2. The Phantom

    The Phantom I love birds!!!

    Jan 9, 2017
    SE Wisconsin
    Valley quail are very nervous. I would recommend groups of 2 from day one. Even now I would split them up it may help. I would try more so them sitting on you, not holding them. They are getting their feathers in and it will hurt when you hold them especially if they are struggling.
    maadroj likes this.
  3. Danny C.

    Danny C. Songster

    Jan 10, 2018
    Think The Phantom is correct. Remember these are prey bird and will react to the others in covey. Time will tell.
    The Phantom likes this.
  4. sunbursts

    sunbursts In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2019
    I have bobwhites, so I'm not sure how different it is but we hold ours and pretend to preen them....kinda pinch their feathers around their head, mostly on the top. It's a way quails bond. Our female likes it much more then our males but not sure if that's because how we raised them or not. My best advice is to pick 1 or 2 you want to tame more, separate them and handle them daily, if not several times a day, letting them snuggle into your hand like you're mom and pretend preen them if they like it.
    maadroj, Danny C. and The Phantom like this.
  5. The Phantom

    The Phantom I love birds!!!

    Jan 9, 2017
    SE Wisconsin
    Yes I forgot to add that. They absolutely love being “preened” under them chin
    Danny C. likes this.

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