Basic Quail Care
Quail are one of the easiest of birds to keep. They require a minimum of 1 square foot per bird. They thrive with enrichment, such as natural obstacles, that are available. Wood branches, rocks and objects to hide in and under are ideal. Quail can be kept strictly on wire or in an aviary type setting with sand, dirt or shavings for a flooring material.
Food for quails can be bought commercially at a feed and grain store. They do well on a turkey starter or game bird ration. They can be fed a chicken starter (non-medicated) with dried corn that is broken up into small pieces. They will eat table scraps but it’s best not to feed them meat. If they have a natural habitat they may eat bugs and other invertebrates. Feed should be available free choice as quail will not over eat. Water should also be available free choice. A bowl of water or chicken waterer works well.
Bedding should be cleaned regularly. Having quail on wire makes cleanup easy. Just rake under your raised wire cage and you are done. Quail must have some sort of shelter to get out of wind, rain and snow. A tarp works well held down with bungee cords.
Pet quail would do well to have their wings clipped. This doesn’t hurt the quail and in case the quail should get out of his cage he can’t fly away. Quail can be very fast if they get loose. Have one person hold the quail and the other hold the wing outstretched (not so much as to hurt the quail). You can clip the wings with scissors along the top of the long wing feathers at the bottom of the wing.
When handling your quail it’s best to hold a hand on each side of the quail’s body so that you are holding the wings down. Don’t pick quail up by the legs as this could result in a broken leg.
Quail have a pecking order. This is when each quail establishes which other quails are stronger and weaker than he is. He gets out of the way of the stronger quail and weaker quail will get out of his way. If you find the quail missing feathers try separating the offending quail. Particularly with Button quail if you see feathers missing on the tops of the quails head they may be becoming frightened and jumping up and banging their heads. You can put a soft material like a burlap bag over the top to protect their heads.
Quail can bring much enjoyment to the quail owner. They are easy to keep and provide enjoyment when watching them. Young and old alike can care for a quail and enjoy the quail keeping benefits.