Scientific name: Coturnix coturnix
Other common names: European quail; Coturnix Quail; African Quail
The wild Common Quail is a long-winged, migratory bird that is heavily hunted in the Mediterranean region. Like other Coturnix quail, it is a grassland species that nests on the ground. As a result, it has faced some challenges, but it currently continues to be a widespread and successful bird with an estimated five or six subspecies. The domesticated birds are raised for meat and eggs, and they may be seen on the menu of many high-end restaurants.
The Common Quail is a small, chubby streaky brown bird with a noticeable white “eyebrow,” similar to its close relative, the Japanese Quail. However, the adult male Common Quail possesses a thin black “chin” under his bill.
100 - 160 grams (3.5 - 5.6 oz.)
1 - 3 years
You can potentially double the life of your female Common Quail if you allow her to rest during the winter from constantly laying eggs, which does take a toll on her body. In an indoor bird room, put timers on the lights, so that there are increasing hours of darkness in the winter, which naturally discourages laying.
Behavior / temperament:
Like other quail, they are subject to imprinting, and a baby Common Quail raised by a human will follow that person around like a pet. While this species is tolerant of non-competing birds, both males and females are capable of attacking a rival of their own species, so provide plenty of space and cover in any situation where it's more than one pair to a territory. They have a surprisingly loud crow for a bird of this size, so be prepared. They have occasionally been recommended as apartment birds for people who have little space for poultry, but you had better have great sound-proofing if you expect to get away with it.
Common Quail can be acclimated to live in an outdoor aviary with sufficient shelter from extremes of heat and cold. However, like all quail, the males can be territorial, and breeders often recommend a minimum of 16 square feet of floor space for each pair of quail. Adult males cannot usually be kept together without fighting, and an over-enthusiastic male can also be a real nuisance to his mate, so some breeders have had success by keeping three or more females with each male. In this way, a male can't harass a single female to the point of ill health.
Like other Coturnix Quail, Common Quail have a bad habit of lifting off straight up like a helicopter when they're startled. To prevent them from hitting themselves too hard on the head, most breeders place netting or another soft barrier below the ceiling, as a sort of “false roof” to slow the birds down. They also benefit from plants in the aviary or cage, to give them more cover and a greater feeling of security. Aspen bedding is often recommended as a safer alternative to pine or corn cob bedding, if you are cage-breeding mutations in an indoor birdroom.
Common Quail are remarkably easy to feed as long as you make sure that these ground-feeding birds have easy access to food and waterers on the floor. The backbone of the diet is usually a non-medicated commercial gamebird starter, which the birds can eat their entire lives, not just as babies. Don't ever consider feeding them on starter crumbles meant for chickens, since the balance of medications, calcium, and protein in chicken feed is all wrong for these quail. However, this species has also been successfully maintained on unmedicated turkey crumbles, if for some reason you don't have the gamebird starter You can easily supplement the diet with a chopped salad of apples, greens, carrot, broccoli florets, and sprouted seed, and you may offer them some tiny mealworms or other small insects as well. They should have access to a grit that includes crushed oyster shell or another form of calcium.
Written by Elaine Radford
meat production, great egg layers, pure Texas A&M, extremely high hatching
loud, major feed eaters, water multiple times, tiny eggs
classic game bird, pheasant rearing pens, dining establishments
Great - once you work out the tricks!
I happened into this project on accident. I was given 13 quail chicks after a demonstration. By the time I'd worked out all the tricks, I was down to 5! (Fortunately, I had 4 hens and a cock, so things worked out quite well after that!)
These chicks were as dumb as turkey poults (see my review on the bronze turkey), but about 1/10 the size! As tiny balls of fluff, there really isn't any leeway - you have to get your game right from the get-go.
If you give them too much water at once, they climb in and drown - or freeze - I had to use the end of a juice concentrate can for water.
If they are in an ordinary box, they will jump out! I had to use a birdcage for my chicks.
Despite all the fuss getting them beyond the heat lamp, I found them to be quite durable and a lot of fun. I raised two clutches of eggs one spring (they all hatched overnight, literally) - I covered them with a strawberry box so that they wouldn't get crushed by the nearby chicken eggs when they hatched. I sold the chicks at the local feed store (the second time buying my pair of goslings in exchange!)
I would definitely raise quail again - hopefully more successfully from the outset this time!.
From clatsopduck May 6 2014 11:41PM
Small bird, Big resposibility
My mother got a bunch of these birds when my stepfather wanted to start raising them last year. For tiny birds they can be a handful, as I learned from helping out with them from time to time. These birds can be a bit flighty so you need to have them in a good cage and be careful to keep it locked. There was a time when I was visiting my parents and someone left the door open for a second, and trying to catch the few that got out was an adventure to say the least.
I would advise anyone thinking of getting into these tiny birds to possibly gain some experience in handling them first and would not suggest for a beginner. If you wish to raise these birds it may be best to start with a couple and get a feel for them before adding to you flock..
From absilverthorn Oct 9 2015 6:53AM
Raising the common quail: easy, in theory!
My family raised 7 common quails to adulthood out of a group of about 30 eggs, 12 of which hatched. Since my family had just moved to an old non-working farm with ample space and facilities, we thought it might be rewarding to raise some non-domestic animals. Quail were a great choice as beginners, they were easy to take care of and the experience of watching the chicks hatch and grow was extraordinary. However, the birds were perpetually afraid of us humans, which I assume is a result of instinct, but I always felt bad when cleaning their enclosure as they hid from me. As a result, there was little connection in terms of the quail being "pet" quality. They were more or a less a fun and entertaining daily chore which made adorable coos and calls throughout the day, and occassionally smelled unpleasant. However, as a first foray into keeping non-domestic fowl, quail were relatively easy.
I must add the disclaimer though, these quail were escape artists pretty much from birth. They are fast little things, and they will likely not want to be cooped up in a space smaller than 6'x6' area, which is a bare minimum. They tend to hide in brush if they do escape, which ours did after a hole materialized in the chicken wire. Unfortunately, we were unable to recover them during this incident, and eventually I think that they were likely hunted by the large population of foxes that lived in our area. For at least a week though, I could whistle at them into the woods mimicking their "bob-white" call, and usually I would get a response. I suppose they just really wanted to experience the outside, or perhaps there were more quail in our surrounding woods that we were unaware of. Whatever the case, despite their escape it was a fun experience, and definitely rewarding for a beginner looking to delve into the world of raising fowl..
From Mush_rooms Jan 5 2016 10:46PM