Thinking of keeping quail, and I have a fe questions

Discussion in 'Quail' started by frickenchicken1, May 26, 2017.

  1. frickenchicken1

    frickenchicken1 Just Hatched

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    Hi, Already own chickens and have heard that quails are really fun to have. Just wanted to ask a few questions on this topic.
    1. We have a guinea pig/ rabbit cage thats roughly 100 cm in length and 40 cm in width, how many quail do you think I'd be able to keep in that size?
    2. Are they flighty birds or are they timid- more or less timid than chickens? Do they mind being held?
    3. What food is suitable for them? I've read that game bird is good, but its quite hard to come by because we live in an urban area. Our pet shop sells finch, budgie, cockatiel, parrot etc mix. Also chick crumble, layer mash/ pellets. Will any of these be ok for them? If not are there any other substitutes that I can keep an eye out for, other than game bird feed?
    4. Can they lay eggs without a male, and how many a day?
    5. Do they perch, is it a must for them to have a perch?
    6. Does anyone live in Victoria, Australia, Do you know if its legal to keep Back yard quail?
     
  2. frickenchicken1

    frickenchicken1 Just Hatched

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    Nov 27, 2016
    Melbourne, Australia
    by the way, thanks for any replies in advance!
     
  3. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer Premium Member

    I don't know whether your cage would be suitable. I have a pair of boy king quail in my budgie aviary. It's about 1m deep by 1 and bit (it's 1.5, but there's a safety door, so the aviary part is less than that). I was concerned that it was too small, but the bird shop lady said a pair should be ok. I would think if yours is sufficiently big, you could only have a pair, but I don't really know.

    Mine aren't flighty because they just run around. They can flap though, my dog scared them and they flew up one day. Mostly they just run and hide. Mine are timid and I don't know whether they would like being held, because I just let them be and run around and do whatever they want to do, I don't try to pick them up.

    I was told at the bird shop that they eat (unmedicated) chick starter crumble. I queried that on here, and it was confirmed that that is suitable.

    I have no idea about egg-laying because I was told to get 2 boys if I didn't want to breed. I think I may have been told that hens will fight, but I can't really remember now.

    Mine don't have a perch and, as far as I know, they don't perch (there's a stand thingy they could perch on if they felt so inclined.) I think they just stay on the floor.
     
  4. dpenning

    dpenning Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    1. Can't speak to this
    2. They are timid and flighty in that they will spook and fly straight up. If you read the quail forum here you will hear about "boinking" where the birds spook and fly straight up and boink their heads on the top of their cage. They recommend it be 18" or greater than 3 feet in height to avoid any injury from this. Mine are very young and their first week they did not mind being picked up but after that they are not impressed. Mine are still in their brooder.
    3. Quail need higher protein in their feed. Most recommend to use game bird starter. My game bird starter is 24% protein. Regular chick starter may not be adequate. They also need the crumbles to be crushed a bit initially since their beaks are so tiny. I only did this for the first week now they are eating the crumbles as they come.
    4. Yes, just like chickens, they lay without males, you will just not have fertilized eggs without a male.
    5. Not authoritative on this one but quail are ground birds and I don't believe they perch. They like to have little places to hide.
    6. Nope, sorry, as you can see from my measurements I'm in the US. :)

    They are cute tiny little things. I'm going to build an aviary as well as my hutch for the breeding groups. Have fun!
     
  5. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1) If we are talking Coturnix quail, which we usually are if it's eggs you want, the usual recommendation is at least 1 square foot per bird, meaning you could have 4 in your cage.
    2) Coturnix are relatively calm, but in general they don't like being held. Some individuals do though.
    3) They need something with more than 20% protein and 24% is better. None of the seed mixes have that much. Gamebird or turkey starter or sometimes chicken starter can be found with enough protein.
    4) Usually an egg a day at their prime if they are happy, healthy, fed correctly, not stressed and get enough light. As much as one every 18 hours is possible.
    5) They don't perch (still assuming they are coturnix quail) but might like to sit on slightly elevated surfaces
    6) No clue :)
     
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  6. HUGHES555

    HUGHES555 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2016
    alabama
    It really depends on the type of quail you want to get. Coturnix are the most common and thats what I have.
    1. We have a guinea pig/ rabbit cage thats roughly 100 cm in length and 40 cm in width, how many quail do you think I'd be able to keep in that size? I wouldnt do more than 4 in that size cage you need about 31cm square per bird.
    2. Are they flighty birds or are they timid- more or less timid than chickens? Do they mind being held? They can be spooked easily so you might want a cage with the roof lower than 46cm high or add padding to the roof so if they get spooked they wont break their necks when they jump up. Most of mine dont like being held (I have a few that dont mind).
    3. What food is suitable for them? I've read that game bird is good, but its quite hard to come by because we live in an urban area. Our pet shop sells finch, budgie, cockatiel, parrot etc mix. Also chick crumble, layer mash/ pellets. Will any of these be ok for them? If not are there any other substitutes that I can keep an eye out for, other than game bird feed? You want a protein level of 20% or higher. The higher the better. The Chick crumble will work but you will need to add some extra protein with mealworms or something high in protein.
    4. Can they lay eggs without a male, and how many a day? yes about 1 a day year round if you give them added light of atleast 14 hours a day.
    5. Do they perch, is it a must for them to have a perch? No they are a ground bird but love places to hide. So add some branches or bowls with a hole cut in it to the cage.
    6. Does anyone live in Victoria, Australia, Do you know if its legal to keep Back yard quail? Sorry I'm in the US so I cant help you there.

    Check out this guy he has some great videos on coturnix quail and lives in Australia so he could probably answer that question for you.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/markyv69
     
  7. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer Premium Member

    The quail I have and was recommended to get are different to the coturnix quail. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_quail
    I think they are smaller than the other type(s).

    It suggests from the "price in Victoria" on this page that you can buy and keep them over there http://birdcare.com.au/king_quail.htm. They are freely available over here, they aren't something you need to get a licence to keep.

    On the subject of them getting spooked and jumping up, that one time I saw my dog frighten them, they fluttered up very high (for such tiny creatures), I'd estimate about 900mm or so, I could easily imagine them hitting the roof of a smaller structure if they did that in one. I can see why they'd recommend having a certain height to their house.

    They are very shy, they don't come running out to "talk" to you. I have eucalyptus branches in my aviary and they tend to "hide in the corner". When I first got them, I put one of my little plastic "bunny houses" (those igloo things for small animals) in there for them to hide in if they wanted to, I don't know whether they've ever made use of it, but they definitely hide in the vegetation in the corner.

    They are lovely little birds. If you can, get some.
     
  8. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With regards to king quail - they lay nearly as many eggs as the coturnix, they are just tiny. So if you want eggs, I'd go for the coturnix. I actually don't have coturnix myself, only king quail, and they are very cute but definitely also very flighty and don't like to be held. If you are holding them too loosely they'll even drop their feathers to get out of your hand. And with regards to flight ability, I've had one that flew over a house - that's an estimates 5 meters above ground and maybe 20 meters in length. So yeah, they can fly ^^ I pad my cages to prevent them from injuring themselves by boinking into the roof, as that is a very real risk.
     
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  9. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ontario, Canada
    "Drop their feathers to get away"?!! Omgosh had no idea - that's kinda like a salamander dropping its tail to get away from a predator, so cool and yet so not good in a home setting lol!
     
  10. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, nature is pretty smart ^^ I've never had one drop enough to actually have bald spots (though they sometimes look pretty rough afterwards), but if I'm not holding firmly enough I have on several occasions been left with a sizable handful of feathers and a loose bird :)
     
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