Beginner Questions

Quail FAQ – Simple answers to beginner questions

What do quail eggs taste like? Can I eat fertilized quail eggs?
Given that you feed the quail a commercial game bird feed, the eggs will taste the same as chicken eggs. If they have a different diet it can affect the taste, but not much. I have also been asked about eating fertilized eggs. There is no problem eating fertilized eggs, the problem comes in if you dont collect, clean, and refrigerate them daily. If it is super hot (90F plus) or super cold (below freezing) you should collect eggs at least twice a day.

Why raise coturnix quail? Why raise quail? Why keep quail?
Quail, especially coturnix quail, are easy to raise. They will give you eggs and meat if you desire. Finally, most locations and HOAs do not restrict them like chickens or ducks. Need more information check out my post “backyard quail – ten reasons why they are the perfect backyard animal”

Why aren’t my quail laying eggs? When do quail lay eggs? When do Japanese quail start laying?
Japanese coturnix quail will start laying eggs around 8 weeks old. A couple things that might affect this is hot or cold weather, age, and gender. Seems obvious, but make sure you have a female quail. Also, a lack of fresh clean water or good quality food can also decrease egg production.

What to feed quail?
I recommend a good quality commercial game bird feed. I tend to use Purina game bird products because they are available locally and easy to use. You can do some research online if you want to mix your own, but it is difficult to get the nutrition, protein level and vitamins just right. So proceed with caution! At one time I tried to feed some treats of grass/weeds/bugs, but my birds didn’t seem to get it, so I stopped.

What is a group of quail called?
A group of quail is called a “covey”.

What sound does a quail make?
Different quail make different sounds but the Japanese coturnix quail make a sound like a cricket chirping. The males do “crow” but it it is very soft. My urban neighbors didn’t know I had quail until I told them.

Can you free range quail?
The direct answer is “no”. Quail do not roost in the same place each evening, so if you release them they are not coming back. See my “free range quail” post for more information.

When do quail eggs hatch?
Typically they take 17 days to hatch. I say typically because modern quail, coturnix in particular, have had the ability to sit on and hatch eggs breed out of them. This means you will have to use an incubator. Differences in temperature and humidity can cause some eggs to hatch earlier or later. But nothing more than a day or two each way. So 16-19 days.

Quail when to start regular feed?
I feed my new quail chicks game bird starter feed with 30% protein for at least the first three weeks, then until it runs out after that to finish the bag. Then I start them on adult game bird feed of at least 20% protein.

I hope this was helpful to someone. Feel free to use the “contact for”m if you have any other questions or need more information.

9 thoughts on “Quail FAQ – Simple answers to beginner questions”

  1. I have a 10 by 10 walk in chicken coop. Had to get rid of my flock when found out was against zoning code to have poultry. What size cage would I need for say 6 or so quail? I would mount I inside of coop so its protected from predetators and weather. I live in south east Georgia.

    1. The common recommendation is 1 square foot per bird for coturnix quail, but you can get away with a little less than that say maybe 3/4 square foot per bird if needed. My breeder cages are 2ft X 1ft X 18 inches high and I keep three birds (2 female, one male) per cage. My grow out cages are 3ft X 2ft and I usually put 10-12 birds in there depending on how many hatch. 🙂 The other thing to consider if you are keeping males to have fertile eggs for hatching, only one mature male per cage or they will fight. I keep one male in each breeder cage, but for the grow out pen I dont worry about it because I will harvest them just as they are maturing so it is not a problem.

      1. As we mentioned I have a walk in coop. It looks like a little church with steeple and all. I’ve been told that I could just slow the quail full use of the coop with shavings on the floor. Do they like to lay eggs in boxes like my chickens used to? If I open the door to walk inside will they try to fly or run out the door as soon as I open? I’m not familiar with their personalities or behaviors.

        1. They do not use nest boxes, broodiness has been breed out of them. They will try to fly and run out in this setup, is there something you could place inside the door so the dont have a direct route out when you open the door? Maybe hang a sheet or shower curtain that you can easily get through without allowing them a wide open door.

          1. Thank you for the advise. What about if I mesh off half of the coop even. How high do quail fly like I mentioned my chicken coop resembles a church fully enclosed big enough to walk around in. I would have to snake proof or though cause black snakes can get in up at the ventilation eves.

          2. Given enough room they can fly pretty high but not long distances, but not sure they would in that enclosed space. The mesh is a good idea, but I would recommend running it floor to ceiling. The snakes may be a real problem if the birds are confined to the floor. While they don’t “roost” per say, a couple of bars or perches where they could get up away from a snake might be helpful.

          3. Thanks again….I have two roosting poles inside the coop and three open top laying boxes inside the coop already from the 14 chickens that used to be in there. I think maybe a little trial and error will be warranted. Maybe start with cage until I get coop snake proof up at the ventilation eves.

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