Posted Oct 05, 2014
We had gotten a few, on a whim, from a butcher that raised them, as well as other birds and livestock (we initially were there to buy butchered quails for dinner). For the first day or two they lived in a cardboard box and were kind of skiddish. Then my boyfriend came home with a sturdy, hutch-type enclosure he made at work. It was two parts, one was a partly caged area with an open bottom, and the other was fully enclosed with a small hole for them to go in and out, and a wire bottom to keep them off the ground at night.
After a couple days out of the cardboard, they warmed up to us, and would peep and come to the edge of the cage when we approached. I wouldn't call them cuddle or lap animals, but they were much more calm when handled. The one in the front of both my pictures I nicknamed 'Boss Bird' because it was always the first to approach. I watched BB try to scare off a wild bird who was pecking too close to the cage by rushing the other bird and angrily thrust it's head in and out of the wires, no doubt giving the bird the stink eye, until it finally flew off. The same would go for lizards.
Feeding was a snap, and once we figured out how to have water set up that they wouldn't spill, caring for them was so easy and fun. We started them on ground corn, then moved to seeds and veggies (They would eat simple bag salad), plus any bugs they scratched up; and they loved scratching. Once, after boiling a couple crabs for our dinner, I dried the back shells and ground them, adding it as a calcium supplement for potential egg production.
Sadly, I never did get any eggs from them. We were very naive to the idea of keeping quails. One night, several months later, a very determined predator ripped open the chicken wire and separated the two parts of the hutch, which were latched and weighted. We think that because they were cage raised, they had absolutely no predator response, and did not run into/stay in the full enclosure for protection. We found two neat little piles of feathers in the morning, and 3 were MIA.
They seem very low maintenance, provided you can preemptively keep them out of harm's way. I would love to have them again, but maybe from a free-range breeder next time.