Raise Quail Without 24 Hour Caging?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Salt and Light, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Salt and Light

    Salt and Light Songster

    May 20, 2008
    Osteen, FL
    Raise chickens and thinking of trying quail. I don't like caging animals anymore than absolutely necessary. Is it possible to raise quail without caging 24/7?
  2. _Randall_

    _Randall_ Songster

    Nov 3, 2009
    Grenada, Ms
    Quote:Well, I'm just one of several answers, but..............either they're caged here 24/7, or.........they're a cat meal, a coyote meal, or............(to be blunt, they're a goner before sunrise!!!)
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Sorry, but quail won't stick around without four walls and a roof. If they would, you might be able to cage them only at night to protect from most predators (although hawks and raccoons and domestic dogs and cats and snakes would still get them some of the time). But they just won't. We had one escape soon after we got our first batch of quail. We looked high and low, searched for two days before finally finding her remains at the bottom of our property.

    Sorry. [​IMG] I wish we could do without cages too, but I just don't see it as a possibility with quail.

    Now, if you want to raise them and give them a good quality of life, it's still possible. You'll have to construct large flight cages out of fine mesh heavy duty wire, and ensure that it is flush to the ground, and add a wire skirt or concrete footings to prevent things from digging under. If you keep the bird density low and the cage well planted, it's almost like free ranging. Optionally, you could construct cages around the outside and drive the quail into the cages at night, and release only some of them into the flight cage each day--so they take turns using the flight cage in order to reduce the damage they do to plants and soil, while still maintaining a reasonably high density population.

    Good luck. I love having quail and I'm very particular about the quality of life for our animals, but free ranging is just not possible with the quail. Ours live on wire, which I don't love, but it keeps the cages clean and I make sure they have weeds every day to pick through and I'm working on adding sandboxes to each cage for their enjoyment. Birds that are being grown out for meat go into a good-sized flight cage where they enjoy life for a few weeks till it's harvest time. It's not ideal, but it works fine for us and I think they have a reasonable quality of life.
  4. aprophet

    aprophet Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    Quote:Part of this may depend on what kind of quail you are trying to raise, all kind of nasties on the ground they do not come into contact with on wire.
  5. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Crowing

    Mar 2, 2009
    A. 99% Of Quail Only Free Range Once

    B. Turning Quail Loose Is Most Likely Illegal As Most States Prohibit It
  6. peewee

    peewee Songster

    Sep 25, 2008
    Orlando, Florida
    I made a flight for my quail. It is around 10ft long x 8ft wide x 7ft tall. I am constantly having to replant plants in my fight for my birds but I admittedly have a few to many for it. They absolutely love to eat the long leaf fern that grows around here like a weed. I have to rake and sift the dirt every two weeks at a minimum but I try to do this every week. I also alternate between lyme and DE that I lay down and rake into the ground. I also have had to replace the dirt in the pen as well. They really like to dig that perfect hole to take a bath in. I deworm my birds every three to four months instead of the recommended twice a year because they are on the ground. All that being said I have noticed that my birds are much more calm and not nearly as flighty being in their flight as apposed to being in a cage. They actually greet me at the door every time that I go out. I have a chair in the flight that I sit in to just watch the birds and I have some that come over to lay down by/on my feet. I have one that flies up on the arm rest and sits there looking at me like "Where's the treats?" Yes, a major change / incident/scare will put the birds off their lay but I have noticed that things that would have totally freaked the little guys out in a cage, they never even bat an eye at in a flight.
    So to your original question - NO I would not try it. But what iamcuriositycat has said and in my own dealing with my quail, if you build a flight big enough with enough place to hide to them it would be about the closest thing to being free and SAFE as you could get them.
  7. 95yj

    95yj Songster

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    I'm a little confused by your question, what do you mean by cage. Do you mean small wire enclosure with a metal bottom, or just anything that contains the bird. Mine are in a section of my dove shed and they're pretty happy, they get out occasionally into the flight section and take dust bathes and bask in the sun. I don't really think they want to be out in the yard dodging hawks, weasels, fishers, dogs, coyotes, foxes, cats etc. If your really against cages, but like quail so much, perhaps hunting would be a good option for you?
  8. GBov

    GBov Songster

    Apr 3, 2009
    I have my quail on the ground in our finch flight cage. Even my mum who is totally against caged birds loves to watch them. She says its like the best of all worlds, a natural environment to play and live in (Its heavily planted with bushes and vines) and yet totally safe from hawks and snakes and cats and the like.

    I got our quail from a breeder who uses wire bottomed hutches and they were flighty as anything but 6 weeks of being on the ground had them calm and running TO me instead of away from me.

    Its NOT cheap to make a pen big enough to mimic a wild habitat but sooooo worth it, both for you and them [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by