Question about keeping 1 Quail in California as a pet

hantaehyun

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
11
10
24
Hello.

Long story short, I managed to come upon a lone Quail chick in my back yard. I have no clue how he got there and it's been nearly a week and no sign of anyone/parent coming back for him. He seemed to like me pretty well. From what I can tell it is a male California Valley Quail. This is based on just my own research, so I could be wrong, but I believe that is right. I happen to have enough space in my backyard/home as well as the resources to be able to keep this little guy (Space, money to care for him like food, space, vet bills...). I have raised ducks and chickens in the past, but that was in Texas when I was younger. I have never owned a bird in California as a pet (Southern California area). I have tried to get in touch with the proper authorities to try and figure out what I need to do to keep him as just a pet (just this one. Not planning on getting more as of this moment, but maybe in the future if it is better for him to have another buddy around.), but I'll be honest, I am not getting any clear answers and the lady I talked to seemed bothered by my questions and didn't really answer anything for me.

I figured I would come on here to try and get a clear answer about this all. So...Do I need some sort of permit to keep the quail as a pet? Or some other paperwork or anything?

I would really appreciate any help or advice you all can give me!


Thank you
 

Hei 20

Free Ranging
Oct 8, 2020
1,926
10,857
501
Hello.

Long story short, I managed to come upon a lone Quail chick in my back yard. I have no clue how he got there and it's been nearly a week and no sign of anyone/parent coming back for him. He seemed to like me pretty well. From what I can tell it is a male California Valley Quail. This is based on just my own research, so I could be wrong, but I believe that is right. I happen to have enough space in my backyard/home as well as the resources to be able to keep this little guy (Space, money to care for him like food, space, vet bills...). I have raised ducks and chickens in the past, but that was in Texas when I was younger. I have never owned a bird in California as a pet (Southern California area). I have tried to get in touch with the proper authorities to try and figure out what I need to do to keep him as just a pet (just this one. Not planning on getting more as of this moment, but maybe in the future if it is better for him to have another buddy around.), but I'll be honest, I am not getting any clear answers and the lady I talked to seemed bothered by my questions and didn't really answer anything for me.

I figured I would come on here to try and get a clear answer about this all. So...Do I need some sort of permit to keep the quail as a pet? Or some other paperwork or anything?

I would really appreciate any help or advice you all can give me!


Thank you
 

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Chip76

Songster
Jul 29, 2019
156
273
176
Sun City, AZ
How old is the quail? Are there other quail in your yard or close by? If you can tell it is a male, does that mean it already has black face feathers? Picture would help...

If he's too young to survive on his own and there are other quail around, you could help him make it to adulthood and then let him join with the covey. California quail are quite active and like to have a lot of space to run and fly, so it would be difficult to keep him. Also, if he's attached to you, he will want to be with you all the time or he will get very lonely.

If he already has black face feathers (8-10 weeks old), he'll probably be ok on his own, but you could put food and water out for him. This is the time of year (in Arizona at least) the quail are gathering in coveys for the winter.
 

hantaehyun

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
11
10
24
Thank you for your reply. He does have his feathers yes. I have a massive green backyard and no other pets so no one to bother him. I have looked everywhere, but I'm not able to find any other quails. Is there a place they like to like hide out in? I have no clue where this guy came from. Thought maybe a neighbor had them and he got out, but I checked and it seemed he didn't come from any neighbors. I think I will just leave him in the backyard for now and leave food and water for him. I am injured and stuck at home with a dislocated knee cap so for now I can keep him company and hopefully he will go off on his own. I haven't put him into any sort of confinement or taken him inside, but he has yet to leave my backyard, or if he does, by the time I check, he has come back. Doesn't seem injured or anything. Hopefully he will find his family soon enough and go live his life.

How old is the quail? Are there other quail in your yard or close by? If you can tell it is a male, does that mean it already has black face feathers? Picture would help...

If he's too young to survive on his own and there are other quail around, you could help him make it to adulthood and then let him join with the covey. California quail are quite active and like to have a lot of space to run and fly, so it would be difficult to keep him. Also, if he's attached to you, he will want to be with you all the time or he will get very lonely.

If he already has black face feathers (8-10 weeks old), he'll probably be ok on his own, but you could put food and water out for him. This is the time of year (in Arizona at least) the quail are gathering in coveys for the winter.
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
Premium Feather Member
May 15, 2019
9,281
59,786
1,046
Sonoma County, CA
I recommend taking him to a bird rescue. Quail are social creatures and aren't happy alone. If you're in CA, California quail require a permit to keep.
 

Chip76

Songster
Jul 29, 2019
156
273
176
Sun City, AZ
Sounds like he'll be ok in your yard. We have gambel quail which are similar to California and the same quail come by the house everyday. I have one quail left that lives on my patio. She could leave if she wanted to, but she is terrified of other birds, so she chooses to stay. The boys I raised still come through, now with their mates / family. I know they are mine, because they run to me while the others run away. There are also some lone males, because the dominant males chase them away. But they still come by and eat. I love sitting out on the patio and watching the quail. Now that I work from home full time I've gotten to enjoy them even more. If he enjoys your company, I bet he'll choose to hang around or at least put you on his daily routine.

For hiding places, quail like bushes or anything that provides cover from hawks. The quail in our yard usually sleep in the trees. We try to put the food under the trees to give them some cover from hawks when they are eating. Right now we have a lot of black hawks coming through.
 

hantaehyun

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
11
10
24
Thank you for your response. Just to make sure, it's not an issue to feed him right? I know like with something like squirrels it's not the best idea to feed them because then they might forget how to look for food themselves. At least that is what I been told.

Sounds like he'll be ok in your yard. We have gambel quail which are similar to California and the same quail come by the house everyday. I have one quail left that lives on my patio. She could leave if she wanted to, but she is terrified of other birds, so she chooses to stay. The boys I raised still come through, now with their mates / family. I know they are mine, because they run to me while the others run away. There are also some lone males, because the dominant males chase them away. But they still come by and eat. I love sitting out on the patio and watching the quail. Now that I work from home full time I've gotten to enjoy them even more. If he enjoys your company, I bet he'll choose to hang around or at least put you on his daily routine.

For hiding places, quail like bushes or anything that provides cover from hawks. The quail in our yard usually sleep in the trees. We try to put the food under the trees to give them some cover from hawks when they are eating. Right now we have a lot of black hawks coming through.
 

Chip76

Songster
Jul 29, 2019
156
273
176
Sun City, AZ
We put food out for the quail here and extra water in the summer. Lots of the neighbors do, too. The quail make their rounds. I think it's fairly common to feed birds. Quail are my favorite. :love
 

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