A Guide to Raising Quail

Written by melissa bajorek
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A Guide to Raising Quail
Quail make charming pets. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Raising quail can be a fun and lucrative hobby as long as you start with healthy quail and take care of them properly. Before you begin, make sure you have the appropriate resources. In addition to capital to buy birds, you need space for them and the right kind of housing (quail coops). You must also provide them with food, water, and bedding, plus grit and minerals for their digestive system health. Remember that certain quail species will have special needs, so research your quail type before making a big investment. Also check with local authorities. In some areas, like California, you will need permits to raise quail.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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  1. 1

    Get your paperwork in order. Before you start raising quail, be sure you are allowed. State and local laws change quickly regarding pet ownership, zoning and breeder licenses.

    According to Bird Channel, most cities have zoning laws, plus local ordinances about outdoor bird breeding. These laws can affect the number of birds you can have and whether they are allowed in your area.

    If you rent, you should check with your landlord about pets. A deposit may be required, as well as a signature releasing liability of the landlord in case your birds do any damage.

  2. 2

    Choose the right species and variety to suit your needs. Do some research to ensure that you are able to provide the right kind of habitat for your quail.

    Button quail, for example, are known for their small size, scrappy personality, and tendency to get scared and hide. These little birds are becoming more popular as household pets and the miniature variety can even be kept in large fish tanks. Blue scaled quail, on the other hand, are much more nervous birds and will require an outdoor aviary.

  3. 3

    Build your aviary or develop your indoor housing. You can order plans online to build quail coops and aviaries if your birds will be kept outdoors, or you can purchase quail pens for outdoor birds.

    Quail pens are bottomless rectangular wire structures. The website Raising Quail says contact with the ground is healthy and energising for the birds. Quail breeders arrange quail pens in their yard, with openings between pens so quail families can interbreed.

    Note that quail pens must be wire-grounded to deter predators like foxes and cats. Pens are not appropriate housing in flood-prone areas.

  4. 4

    If you plan on breeding quail or raising quail from eggs, you need to purchase and set up an incubator. According to Elm Creek Quail Farm, you should set up your incubator a week before getting your eggs to ensure you have plenty of time to get the incubator to the perfect temperature and humidity.

    In addition, Elm Creek stresses that incubator temperature is the most critical part of incubation and suggests locating your incubator indoors, in a room with a stable temperature between 21.1 and 26.6 degrees C. Temperature and humidity requirements are different for every quail species, so do your research and talk to the supplier sending you the quail eggs for best results.

  5. 5

    The Raising Quail website instructs that after proper housing, proper feeding is the most important aspect of quail care. Commerical, blended quail foods are available for both young quail and adults.

    Feed your quail a starter diet until they are eight weeks old, then switch them to an adult diet. For adult quail, different diets are available depending on the purpose of the birds: as food, as brood stock or as pets. Read the label and choose the right feed for your purpose.

Tips and warnings

  • Start raising quail on a small scale, rather than a large expensive investment.
  • As with most other animals, avoid quail purchased from pet stores. Only buy your quail from responsible breeders with good reputations.

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