Backyard Quail – free range?

Backyard Quail – free range?

I have gotten a couple of questions lately about “free ranging” quail.  While this works well for chickens, ducks and other fowl, it is not recommended that you free range quail.  They tend to fly off never to be seen again. They don’t tend to roost in the same place each evening making free ranging difficult.

Flight Pens

If you check my site I recommend a smaller cage for urban quail, about 2X3 foot.  If you have more room and want to simulate a free range for your quail, you could use what is called a flight cage.  It is a larger completely enclosed area that will allow the quail some height and distance to fly and exercise.  It is usually used by growers who intend to sell their quail for training dogs to retrieve.  Quail used in this way need to have strong flight muscles.  it could also be used at ground level (as opposed to raised cages with wire bottoms) to allow the birds some ranging.  It creates a real problem if part of your intent is to raise the birds for eggs, they are harder to find in such a setup.

Quail Tractor?

Although I have never heard of it being used with quail, I would assume you could also used what is called a chicken tractor (search it).  This would allow the birds some ground contact and a chance at natural foods like insects.

I would recommend regardless that you can a small box with some sand in it the cage to allow for some natural stimulation of the birds.  Although the don’t need the grit if given a all purpose feed, it cant hurt them.

3 thoughts on “Backyard Quail – free range?”

  1. If anyone is considering doing this, I just wanted to put something out there that I’ve read. I believe quail can contract disease much easier when in contact with the ground. It’s been a while since I’ve read much about quail, so I might be wrong, but I’d research it more if you think you’ll try it out. I know there are people that do it successfully, they might have tips on how to keep the birds healthy in that kind of a set up.

  2. Raising chickens can be a hand full. It’s quite rewarding when you bite into your first homestead chicken though. I still remember the first time I had a free range chicken fresh from the farm and nothing compares. Even the eggs are 10x better. I’m the type of person that enjoys watching them as well. They are quite smart and entertaining. Predators are really the only problem with free range. You’ve got to have a close eye or a couple of dogs. I found a really neat new website that helps local farmers and homesteaders sell their products to the community. Anyone heard of FIFY? (Farm It For You)

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