Like many small birds, quails make great pets! They are easy to care for, full of personality, and fun to interact with, and they can provide you with eggs that are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. These birds are largely ground dwelling, and while some species can fly, they generally prefer to spend most of their time on the ground. Quails only need small cages or coops for housing, are quieter than chickens, and rarely bite.
There are dozens of species of wild quails and many domesticated species. In this article, we look at a few reasons that these little birds make such great pets and their basic care requirements. Let’s get started!
Do Quails Make Good Pets?
Whether you keep quails for meat or eggs or simply to observe and interact with them, they make wonderful pets. They are generally easier to care for than chickens because they don’t need as much space or food and for the most part, can easily be tamed. They are also inexpensive to purchase and care for and typically only cost around $5 each. They are happy to live both indoors and outdoors, as long as they are provided with ample space and are protected from harsh winds and temperatures.
Quails are unique little birds, and before bringing a flock home, you need to consider that they are probably unlike any bird that you may have owned before. While they are predominantly land dwelling and cannot fly long distances, they can still fly—much better than a chicken can! They enjoy these little bursts of flight, so they will need ample space to exercise this habit. Also, quails are not unlike chickens in that they lay eggs almost every day. These are delicious, but you’ll need to plan for having an abundance of small eggs around.
Quails are happiest in groups and will not do well alone or in pairs. You’ll want to keep them in flocks of at least four to five birds to keep each other happy. Quails can get brave and adventurous in their little flocks and are known to wander far from the safety of their coop if given the chance. They will usually come back for food and shelter if trained to do so, though a tractor or large coop is the safest bet, especially if you have dogs, cats, or wild animals close by.
The 3 Best Quail Species to Keep as Pets
There are over 20 different quail species found around the world, with about six of those native to the United States. Of these, three species are commonly kept as pets and for their eggs and meat.
1. Coturnix Quail
These medium-sized quails are around 4 inches tall and are native to Russia and Asia. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns and are best known for their delicious eggs, considered a delicacy in most parts of the world. They are commonly raised for meat too. These quails are among the most easily tamed species and are ideal for beginners.
2. Button Quail (Chinese Painted Quail)
The Button Quail is one of the smallest quail species, originating in Asia and reaching only 2.5 inches high as adults. They are typically grey with a blue face and red breast but come in various other colors. Since these birds are so small, they are not raised for meat, and their eggs are also tiny, though edible. They are fairly easy to tame if raised from chicks, making them more suited as pets than for meat or eggs.
3. California Valley Quail
The California Valley Quail is arguably one of the most beautiful quail species, with soft blue coloring and a topknot of feathers on their head. If you are simply looking for an ornamental pet, this species is the ideal choice. They are stocky birds that reach around 7 inches in adulthood, so they are commonly bred for meat and their delicious eggs.
Basic Housing and Feeding Requirements for Quails
Quails do not require much space in their coop, although the bigger, the better, especially if they cannot free-range. It’s not uncommon for quails to be kept as pets in small indoor coops, but be careful not to keep too many in the same space. Small rabbit hutches are great when converted for quails, as they are well-ventilated and easy to clean. These birds love to forage, so they should be provided with pine shavings, leaves, and other greenery to make them feel comfortable.
In the wild, quails feed on a variety of seeds, greens, and insects, and if you let them free-range, they’ll have plenty of access to these foods. They should still be fed on a basic diet of standard game bird feed, but they can also be given leafy greens like kale and spinach. Quails are notoriously messy eaters, so you may want to use enclosed feeders to prevent wastage.
Quails can make wonderful pets and be a great source of eggs and healthy meat too. They are generally healthy and hardy birds that can live for 3–4 years and are easy to feed and care for. If they are raised from chicks and tamed, they can be surprisingly affectionate animals, enjoying being petted and even the occasional cuddle. If you have experience with chickens and would like to add another bird species to your home flock, quails are wonderful options.
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