Why not get quails instead of parrots?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Quails1, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. Quail

    3 vote(s)
  2. Parrot

    1 vote(s)
  1. Quails1

    Quails1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2015
    Walnut, CA
    Quails, most of all, are fun little birds to own (as long as you have the time and effort to attend towards them, of course!), whether you're hungry for quail meat, quail eggs, or just for the sake of them as pets! Personally (in my opinion), quails are better than parrots when it comes to pet birds. And, I'll list the 3 most important reasons why. You've got to see it to believe it!

    Quails are gamebirds; they're in the same order as pheasants and their kin; Galliformes (gamebirds), plump-bodied birds that spend most of their time on the ground. They can fly (normally in quick, short bursts), but they prefer to walk and run as their main means of locomotion, and typically take flight usually to roost or escape a predator.

    Parrots, on the other wing (LOL!), are placed in the order Psittaciformes; an order of tropical or sub-tropical birds, often colorful, characterized by a hooked bill and zygodactyl feet. These kind of birds are some of the most commonly-kept kind of bird, alongside pigeons/doves and finches.

    Quails are my favorite birds to keep as household pets; they're small gamebirds (excluding the button quail; they are too small for me!) that appear cute and plump, but more importantly (in addition to their small size), they lack spurs (and spurs are usually found in most gamebirds, especially large ones) and are prized for their euphonic, musical sounds and calls, each with its own, unique melody varying with each individual and kind of quail.

    Now here's when we stumble upon the big question: Why are gamebirds (like quails) better pets than parrots?

    Here are the 3 most important reasons I'll point out why:

    Beak/bill: Compare the beak of a gamebird to the beak of a parrot's. What shape is a parrot's beak (or bill)? You guessed it, hooked! The beak of a gamebird? Straighter than a parrot's, of course! Imagine, if a gamebird bites you, it wouldn't do as much damage as a parrot bite (which can do far more damage)! So, gamebirds have a straight bill, so that it hurts less when they bite. Parrots, on the other hand, because their bills are hooked (hence their alternative term "hookbill"), it'll hurt more (and far more in a large parrot) when they bite! Now let me tell you this: I got bitten on my left arm by one of our Rhode Island Red hens we used to have and the bite itself felt like a hard pinch and left minor bruising due to its straight beak. It would have done far more damage if that chicken were to be a parrot instead, say, a large one like a cockatoo!

    Type of young (precocial vs altricial): You know that hand-feeding a baby bird is very time-consuming and difficult, right? Well first off, it depends on the bird! Another reason why I pick gamebirds is because they're precocial, like waterfowl. What precocial and altricial means:

    Precocial indicates an animal that's born in an advanced state after birth and is able to walk, run, and eat by itself. The only precocial birds I could think of as house pets are gamebirds and waterfowl, with gamebirds (particularly quails) being my sole choice.

    Altricial, on the other hand, is not the way to go; after birth, the animal is defined as helpless (and sometimes naked) and will heavily depend on the caretaker for its survival by being fed constantly and attended to throughout the day and night. This is an extremely time-consuming process (unless you really know how to do this precisely!). Altricial birds include parrots, songbirds, pigeons, etc.

    Flight: Remember what I told you about that quails, like many gamebirds, prefer to walk and run rather than fly (and when they do, it's normally done so in short, quick bursts); they don't fly very often? Most other birds as pets tend to fly a lot (like songbirds, parrots, pigeons, and waterfowl), and I get really uncomfortable when a bird flies frequently. I found this out on my own by letting wild-caught songbirds loose in the house, and it was chaotic! I had a gut feeling to get rid of them! Gamebirds don't fly very often and choose to walk and run, while parrots fly a lot and rarely spend time on foot!

    In conclusion, I simply wanted a bird that doesn't fly so often, but prefers to walk and run, and will resort to flight only if necessary (like as a last resort). In addition, their bills are straight like a pigeon or songbird. Gamebirds, like waterfowl, are precocial, so there's no need to worry about the time-consuming process of hand-feeding them day and night like you would with an altricial bird.

    Therefore, I wanted a bird that has a straight beak, is precocial, and doesn't fly very often (and when they do, it should just be a short, quick burst of flight.) = Gamebirds! They're the kind of birds I highly recommend as pets when it comes to getting a bird. In addition, certain gamebirds are more of a 'hands-on' kind of bird, while birds like parrots and finches are more 'hands-off'.

    As a bonus, I would also like to point out that while parrots usually don't talk, some do, and when they talk, they can curse and swear! And that's no good! An extra bonus for gamebirds! Plus, gamebirds aren't as temperamental as parrots, especially large ones like cockatoos, so therefore, you can come in contact with gamebirds while rarely getting bitten by them.

    One last thing I want to say: The sound and calls a gamebird makes can be melodic and pleasant compared to most parrots like cockatoos and macaws, with their raucous screeching and scream-like calls.

    And, many gamebirds cost cheaper than most parrots, which are generally more expensive when it comes to price.

    I hope you folks enjoy this discussion! Feel free to PM (private message) and/or reply to me if there's anything else you'd like me to know.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  2. paneubert

    paneubert Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think another thing to consider is the average lifespan. Parrots can outlive you..... Quail are a shorter time investment.

    P.S. A poll about which is better that is posted on a Quail forum is going to get you skewed results. Hahaha. Do you think you are going to be getting a ton of votes for parrots in a forum that is dedicated to people who raise quail?
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  3. 2chicksagain

    2chicksagain Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2013
    Northern California
    Cool! i have 2 quail chicks right now and they are really tame!
  4. fishforbrains

    fishforbrains Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2015
    Another concern is that parrots are extremely intelligent animals that are very difficult to maintain in a state of high quality of life in captivity. Quail, not really a concern.
    Button quail are very entertaining. I don't know why they haven't caught on as children's pets. Far better than the boring hamsters and gerbils we had as kids. They don't bite or chew, are active during the day, and sing in the afternoon. Plus they make edible eggs instead of unwanted babies.
  5. Quails1

    Quails1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2015
    Walnut, CA
    Exactly! Depending on the parrot, some parrots, like large ones such as macaws, can outlive you and live an excess of 70+ years, and that parrot will be forced to live the rest of its life without you (a miserable, depressing moment for the parrot) when you pass away. Quails have a much shorter lifespan, so there is no need to worry about quails outliving you (unless you get them when you're in your elderly years)! And, fishforbrains, you are correct too. Parrots are an intelligent species of bird. Due to their high-level of intelligence, they're also prone to developing behavioral issues and bad habits (especially cockatoos) that can be difficult to correct, like excessive biting, sensitivity of being touched on certain parts of the bird (like the belly), feather-plucking, etc. Be thankful for quails; they don't carry any of these traits, which is why I strictly pick quails as pets far over parrots.

    To answer your poll question, I wanted to know what other people think of my idea of owning quails (and most gamebirds) as pets rather than having parrots.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  6. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2015
    It's not correct that parrots 'rarely spend time on foot' - they spend the majority of their time like that. Some parrots might not fly at all for days, despite being able to and having plenty of space to do so. But yes, most parrots surely fly more than quail.
    You also don't have to 'worry about hand feeding' parrot chicks, as long as you let the parents keep the chicks. Quail are actually more trouble if you take that into consideration - coturnix quail at least rarely incubate their own chicks, so you have to get an incubator and a brooder. Some species of parrots can be about as difficult to get to rear their own chicks as cots though, but others do very well and are very prolific.
    And if parrots course and swear, that's because someone taught them to - if people are not swearing where the parrot can hear it, it's not going to invent the swear words on its own. But sure, you don't need to watch your language around quail.
    Also, properly tamed and socialized parrots are not 'hands off' pets - some parrots enjoy physical contact very much.
    But in conclusion, I don't disagree that for the majority of people, quail are probably better pets. Being less intelligent, shorter lived and not having hooked bills, makes them pretty easy to maintain, compared to parrots. It requires a lot of knowledge to keep parrots happy - they need to be entertained, either by other parrots in a large aviary or by the owner and their toys, almost all day. And their diet needs to be perfectly adjusted for them - a bird that lives for 3-4 years is less likely to develop serious issues from eating a diet that is slightly off, than a bird that lives for 30 or 40 years. And even if they do develop issues, the owner will hardly notice if a quail dies 20% earlier than what is normal for the species - but if a parrot does, 20% could be a decade or more.
  7. Quails1

    Quails1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2015
    Walnut, CA
    What I meant is that parrots don't spend much time on foot compared to quails. But parrots, still, are sure to fly more than quails!

    Now, for the young you mentioned, what I'm talking about is the human parent caring for the chick, not the bird parent. For the human, precocial birds are easier to raise than altricial birds. As long as you allow the chicks to be raised by their bird parents, there's no worries of caring for an altricial bird. But, what I mean is about the human caretaker raising the type of young. Raising altricial birds can put great stress on a human compared to a precocial bird.

    For the cursing factor, parrots can pick up swear words when you say them; they'll learn it when you say it, even though not all parrots talk. Quails don't talk, on the other wing. That's better (of course!) so they don't curse and swear!

    Properly socialized and tamed parrots aren't really hands-off; they're more hands-on, but not as much as tame quail, in my opinion. Parrots, especially large ones, have been reported to bond with one member (whether it's a person, animal, etc) and preceive everyone or everything else as a threat, and also are known to become aggressive towards their owners at times. Quails don't have these (like parrots, they can become aggressive to people, but this occurrence is rare).

    I agree with you and the majority of people that quails make better pets than parrots. Parrots, compared to quails, need a lot of stimulation like providing them toys and demanding them lots of attention. A parrot's diet, depending on the parrot, must be adjusted for them. Quails, on the other wing, have an easier, more basic diet, like seeds and commercial feed, in which we can provide quails with, but not with the complex dietary needs of most parrots like cockatoos, in which they favor cooked food!

    You are right about the lifespan too! When a quail dies at an early age for any reason, it's barely noticeable due to their short lifespans. Now compare that with the lifespan of a long-lived parrot, let's say, a cockatoo! When the cockatoo dies early, this time, let's say, due to improper diet, you'll realize at the point that it lived to be much shorter than you expected, because cockatoos, and most other large parrots, can live to be roughly as long as a human being; 70+ years!
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016

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