Keeping Quail Safe, Secure and Happy
Raising quail can be an enjoyable experience, whether you’ve raised many quail before or if it is your first time trying your hand at caring for quail. Looking after quail is not particularly difficult; however there are a number of things to consider in relation to quail as they get older. Many people will keep quail chicks then release them into the wild when they are old enough to fend for themselves, but this is not for everyone; if you intend to keep them for longer there are some important pieces of information that should be remembered.
Looking after quails should not be viewed as a chore, and daily care of quails is an amazingly simple task. Quails should be kept in a house built specifically for their living area, which should be joined to a large enclosed run. Daily they should be let out of their house into the run, this rule holds true for all seasons of the year as they are very robust birds capable of coping with cold weather. Ensure they can still return into the house should they feel cold or want food, and never let them out of the run for numerous safety reasons. They can fly well, and even if they seem tame they could still fly away, causing them to get lost. Also they can be hard to catch once they are out in the open, so this is another reason to keep them within the confines of a run.
Cleaning out the house and run of the birds should be done once or twice weekly; they are relatively clean birds, and as they tend to spend most of their time outside in a run their bedding should only need to be changed every few days. Whilst you are cleaning the house you can take this opportunity to handle and check all of your quail to ensure they are healthy and not showing any signs of illness or health issues, and to help with their general level of tameness.
Feeding the Quails
Quails have a decent appetite for their size, but they will not overeat, so they can be left with excess food as they will not eat it if they don’t want it. Their main diet will consist of mainly of corn and can be mixed with crushed pellets or whole pellets if they are slightly larger quail, such as the Cortunix family of quail. Another addition to the diet of the quail can be kitchen leftovers such as pasta, rice or even lettuce. They will not eat anything they do not want, so you will quickly learn the likes and dislikes of your quail. Never feed them meat, salty items, or garden cuttings as these are not something they can easily digest. Ensure the quails have access to fresh water at all times, you may also wish to consider adding some citricidal to the water as it is a natural antibiotic which will help keep the quail safe from diseases carried by wild birds.
Safety and Security
There is no way to keep the quail you are caring for 100% safe, but there are some precautions you can take that will help to keep them as safe as possible. At night, close the door of the house they stay in so as they cannot move into the run and attract any possible predators. Also check the run for any security issues it may have. Dependant on where you live there may be many predators around. If you live on a farm you may find there are certain types of farm insurance available to cover any damage to the property or animals you keep within your farm, which may be beneficial if you plan on keeping a very large number of quails. Most insurance companies will state what animals they cover if this is an option, so it may be worth enquiring if it is something you are specifically interested in.
Quail can be a delight to keep, whether you intend on just keeping a few or whether you plan on keeping a large number; they are easy to care for and simple to keep happy. Remember to never let them roam freely outside of an enclosed run, and to keep fresh water and food available at all times, as well as a warm shelter for them to hide in if they need or want to. Most of all, enjoy your new quail companions.