Quail vs. Chickens

Crisses

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 30, 2012
96
0
29
Hi,

Not looking for a war about quail and chickens. I want facts about the differences between them.

For example I just saw that quail hatch in 17 days instead of 21. And they start laying in a single digit number of weeks (7-9?). Wow. Also apparently the chicks are more frail (more info, please?)

Types of information I'm looking for:

Are quails omnivores? Insectivores? Vegetarians? Garbage disposals? Lawn mowers?

Do quail lay all year? About how many eggs do each quail lay a year?

Are the boys aggressive? Do they make lots of noise?

Can you free-range quail? Will they still roost in a coop?

Are they human-friendly or human-shy? i.e. you can cuddle a friendly chicken, and if raised right and handled often they won't run from you -- what about quail?

If penned, how many square feet per bird is recommended? What size roosts are recommended? What size nesting boxes? Will a "chicken tractor" design work for quail?

How well do quail fly compared with chickens? (I have banties, who can fly fairly well for chickens)

Do quail play egg hunt every day like chickens do, or will they consistently lay in nesting boxes? Can't imagine having to hunt down those small speckled eggs every day if I free-range them.

Do quail prefer shade (deep woods) or sun (fields) -- or a mix (woodland margins) similar to chickens?

How long does an individual quail live? Average vs possible.... How long do they lay reliably?

Can quail be trained to come when you call for treats, and eat from your hand or at your feet?

Are quail any less vulnerable to sky attack? (stay under cover more? better camouflaged? spot predators better? harder for predators to spot due to size?)

That's about everything I can think of.... I apologize if there's a place this is already laid out in a nifty chart or something because I did a Google search first and didn't find a quail vs. chicken answer. And I don't want a POV on wild quails from Wikipedia -- I want the perspective of farm-raised/backyard-raised quail.

Thank you! :)
 

tinkatwerp

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 31, 2014
66
5
43
So I'm a serious noob, so you might wait for someone more qualified to answer than me, but I'll take a wack at it.
Are quails omnivores? Insectivores? Vegetarians? Garbage disposals? Lawn mowers?

I believe quails are galliformes, just like chickens. The only difference is you need feed with much higher protein (I feed my quail 30% protein their whole lives, but many people drop the protein levels for adults). Most people feed gamebird starter.

Do quail lay all year? About how many eggs do each quail lay a year?

you have to give them artificial light if you want them to lay during the winter. 14 hours of light will keep them at max production, which is basically an egg a day. Sometimes a hen will miss a day but generally she'll lay the next.

Are the boys aggressive? Do they make lots of noise?

I'd say the males are semi aggressive. They'll fight if there's not enough hens or not enough space, so give every rooster 10 hens or so and you should be good.

Can you free-range quail? Will they still roost in a coop?
you can't really free run them in the traditional sense. Coturnix quail are kind of idiots. They'd get lost and eaten. However, I trim my quail's wings and "free range" them in my fenced yard, which they seem to enjoy. They also keep the grasshoppers down, which is nice.

Are they human-friendly or human-shy?
I believe they can be pretty personable if you spend lots of time with them. I don't, so they're not very cuddly.

If penned, how many square feet per bird is recommended? What size roosts are recommended? What size nesting boxes? Will a "chicken tractor" design work for quail?

the standard is one bird per square foot. I do one bird per 4 square feet.

I've kinda run out of time for writing, but hopefully someone more experienced will help ya out.
 

montanaquail

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 7, 2014
21
0
22
I'm at work on my phone, AND a newby, so I can't comment on all your questions. However I will point out that quail are an option for those who can't keep urban chickens....despite going up before city council numerous times, and being surrounded by chicken friendly communities. What, no I haven't been experiencing that AT ALL! ;)

Now quail may still be illegal, but 1) I am willing to argue they go by my town's definition of a domestic caged bird. Secondly, they are more discreet, especially where quail aren't native. I'm going before city council one more time this fall, and after that I'm giving quail chicks away to anyone who wanted chickens. Muahaha!
 

funsized72

Songster
6 Years
Jul 19, 2014
156
10
119
SF bay area CA
Hi,

Not looking for a war about quail and chickens. I want facts about the differences between them.

For example I just saw that quail hatch in 17 days instead of 21. And they start laying in a single digit number of weeks (7-9?). Wow. Also apparently the chicks are more frail (more info, please?)

Obviously they are like the size of quarters. But you can still play around with them just be careful.
Types of information I'm looking for:

Are quails omnivores? Insectivores? Vegetarians? Garbage disposals? Lawn mowers?

exactly like chickens except they need more protein like 20-30% the more the merrier

Do quail lay all year? About how many eggs do each quail lay a year?

just about 300 I think. No gamebirds dont lay year round but you could force them if you wanted to

Are the boys aggressive? Do they make lots of noise?

that depends. the males are happy if you put them with 3-5 females and this ration is for fertile eggs

Can you free-range quail? Will they still roost in a coop?

No they are quite stupid. They dont roost. I am answering assuming you want coturnix quails. okay? okay.

Are they human-friendly or human-shy? i.e. you can cuddle a friendly chicken, and if raised right and handled often they won't run from you -- what about quail?

exactly the same as a friendly chicken if you raise it right. also dont raise chickens and quails together.

If penned, how many square feet per bird is recommended? What size roosts are recommended? What size nesting boxes? Will a "chicken tractor" design work for quail?

old.gif
1 sq foot per birdie. No need for roosts. Idk mine lay everywhere. You could try though. Maybe a foot by five inches?
hu.gif


How well do quail fly compared with chickens? (I have banties, who can fly fairly well for chickens)

Coturnix quails cant fly. they can jump like a few feet up though if startled so be careful. They sometimes kill themselves that way.
D.gif

Do quail play egg hunt every day like chickens do, or will they consistently lay in nesting boxes?
Can't imagine having to hunt down those small speckled eggs every day if I free-range them.

Just build a small above ground coop with a egg roll out design and hardware cloth so poo falls out onto a tray or some thing. I found a pretty easy one on one of the threads. Just search up "cheap quail coop" and you should find it.

Do quail prefer shade (deep woods) or sun (fields) -- or a mix (woodland margins) similar to chickens?

They like mix I think cuz mine pant after a while in the sun.

How long does an individual quail live? Average vs possible.... How long do they lay reliably?
2 years maybe 4 IDK
hu.gif
And they dont sit on their eggs like ever so get an incubator. I got a hova bator 1602n. Because I just had to have a bunch of cute chicks
jumpy.gif
love.gif
It works pretty good for 50 bucks or 90 if you want the fan version

Can quail be trained to come when you call for treats, and eat from your hand or at your feet?

Yeah they can. One of my quails comes towards the door when I get close.

Are quail any less vulnerable to sky attack? (stay under cover more? better camouflaged? spot predators better? harder for predators to spot due to size?)

Predators love quails cuz they are stupid and easy. But if they hear a noise they flatten themselves and look up at the sky
hide.gif
and wait for danger to pass its quite funny

That's about everything I can think of.... I apologize if there's a place this is already laid out in a nifty chart or something because I did a Google search first and didn't find a quail vs. chicken answer. And I don't want a POV on wild quails from Wikipedia -- I want the perspective of farm-raised/backyard-raised quail.

Thank you! :)
I answered for coturnix quails because they lay the most eggs
Edited cuz I missed a question
 
Last edited:

dc3085

Crowing
7 Years
Jan 6, 2013
3,288
356
251
SF Bay Area, California
They actually don't roost for physical reasons. If you look at their feet they lack the rear facing toe that many other birds have.
Hi,

Not looking for a war about quail and chickens. I want facts about the differences between them.

For example I just saw that quail hatch in 17 days instead of 21. And they start laying in a single digit number of weeks (7-9?). Wow. Also apparently the chicks are more frail (more info, please?)

Types of information I'm looking for:

Are quails omnivores? Insectivores? Vegetarians? Garbage disposals? Lawn mowers?

They are true omnivores and require both vegetable and animal protein.
30% protein for chicks
24% for laying hens


They also require calcium to be fed freely and will require digestive grit if given anything besides water soluble game bird food.

Do quail lay all year? About how many eggs do each quail lay a year?

Coturnix and button quail will lay all year if given proper lighting and allowed to molt once per year. They usually stop laying in the winter months which is when you would add lighting. without lighting you're looking at around 260 eggs/year +/- with lighting around 300+.

Keep in mind forcing production with a light will shorten the life span of poultry/fowl/gamebirds.

Are the boys aggressive? Do they make lots of noise?

All game birds are aggressive and territorial. In hobby sized cages (under 100 sq ft) it's best not to have multiple males or they will fight often to the death. If given the proper (technically improper) conditions all game birds can become cannibalistic. Bleeding birds must be removed immediately or the entire flock will often dispatch them.

Can you free-range quail? Will they still roost in a coop?

No to both. In most states it illegal without a license to release quail. When you free range them you are basically doing exactly that.

Coturnix quail lack the rear facing toe that most birds use to grip a perch. They are physically unable to use a perch.

Also being ground birds they typically couldn't care less about getting on top of things above them, like a two part cage with a ramp for instance.

Are they human-friendly or human-shy? i.e. you can cuddle a friendly chicken, and if raised right and handled often they won't run from you -- what about quail?

They will be as friendly as you put in the time to make them. Coturnix anyway. Most other quail will only ever see you as the food monster.

If penned, how many square feet per bird is recommended? What size roosts are recommended? What size nesting boxes? Will a "chicken tractor" design work for quail?

As the others stated 1 sq ft per bird for coturnix but I too prefer to give more because space and stress level directly relate in game birds

A chicken tractor is probably fine as long it's predator safe and has been disinfected between being used for quail and chickens.

How well do quail fly compared with chickens? (I have banties, who can fly fairly well for chickens)

A quail that has never flown farther than across the cage can fly vertically 10-15 feet depending on size and can fly 30-50 yards before coming down. If flight conditioned even more. In essence they can easily fly far enough away to lose them.

A point of consideration is that when startled they fly straight up. This often leads to brain damage and or death. Make sure that ceilings are either too low for the quail to generate enough flight power to hurt themselves (roofs less than 16 inches) or high enough that they have wasted enough flight power to avoid injury (higher than 3 ft at least but 4' is safer)

)Do quail play egg hunt every day like chickens do, or will they consistently lay in nesting boxes? Can't imagine having to hunt down those small speckled eggs every day if I free-range them.

Coturnix will pretty much lay an egg wherever they standing when it's ready, although older hens will often all lay in the same pile. Most cage raised quail lack the instinct to hatch eggs and therefore require an incubator for propagation.

Do quail prefer shade (deep woods) or sun (fields) -- or a mix (woodland margins) similar to chickens?

They like to be in the shade in a sunny place if that makes sense.

How long does an individual quail live? Average vs possible.... How long do they lay reliably?

Coturnix 1.5-3 years bobwhites and other new world quail a year or two longer under the right conditions.

Can quail be trained to come when you call for treats, and eat from your hand or at your feet?

Yep

Are quail any less vulnerable to sky attack? (stay under cover more? better camouflaged? spot predators better? harder for predators to spot due to size?)

No and cage raised quail, coturnix especially, are pretty stupid as someone else pointed out. They do not last long around predators. Here is a link to photos from my game cam of my coturnix trying their best to get eaten by a raccoon. If you notice as the pictures progress more birds come over to investigate the raccoon.

That's about everything I can think of.... I apologize if there's a place this is already laid out in a nifty chart or something because I did a Google search first and didn't find a quail vs. chicken answer. And I don't want a POV on wild quails from Wikipedia -- I want the perspective of farm-raised/backyard-raised quail.

Thank you! :)
ETA: The other posters covered most of this well but I thought I'd toss in a couple more tidbits.
 
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COsteveo

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 16, 2014
128
13
73
Looks like all the questions have been answered, but one more thing to think about is zoning. Where I live, to have chickens you have to have a big enclosure and they have to have a fenced-in area where they can run around during the day, AND it has to be inspected AND you have to get a license.

With quail I just built a wire pen and put it in the back yard. Easy decision.
 

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