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Quail-ness of a Quail

 
Julia Franke
Posts: 66
Location: Berks County, PA
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I've recently become aware of the the opportunity to raise Quail. They seem like they have tons of pros: Quiet, Mature Quickly, easy to process, and they don't take up much space. (although I just finished reading a thread on here about how their quails were NOT so quiet, hmmmm....)

However, when I read about the recommended ways to raise them, it seems a little cruel. What is the Quail-ness of the Quail?

I've read that it's best to keep them in cages with wire bottoms so that their dropping fall out and they remain cleaner. Don't Quail like to scratch at all? And the short tops so they don't scalp themselves. I like the idea, but I want to make sure I'm raising an animal with the respect it deserves to live a good life.

If you have quail, do you keep them in these small cages? How do quail act in the wild?

As always, I appreciate any thoughts/experience you may have on this.
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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I have day dreams about someday having a quail tractor. my understanding is doing tractor style one would need to be very careful that all the quails are in their coop or something before moving it so that they would not be hurt. there are many youtube videos this a random one showing a quail tractor
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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also this video was interesting but may not apply to you. she seems to free range her quail not sure if she only does that in her green house. her comment on quail eggs being used to treat hay fever is really interesting to me because this past year i had quail eggs a few times and right now is the worst time of year for me as far as allergies go but my allergies are much milder than last year.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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I know when I've observed quail passing through my parent's property out in the desert suburbs they are always scratching around for stuff. I would hate to think of them not being able to scratch.

Around here, people buy "quail blocks" (compressed blocks of seeds similar in size to a salt lick) and put them in their yards to attract quail along with shallow basins of water. I remember one time a pair came by with their newish family to have a snack. All the puffballs dispersed around the water bowl and stared into it and then back at mom. Then the mom quail put one of her feet on the lip of the basin and bent over to dip her beak in the water. All the babies (about 6), except one, then put one of their feet on the lip of the basin and took a drink. The 7th baby was hopping around and peeping - usually quail do not hop. Finally he hopped right into the basin, stood in the middle and drank his fill. Later it turned out this quail had a bum leg and so instead of scurrying along, he hopped on his good leg. He was always last in line when the family traveled but dad always brought up the rear to protect him from predators. That family hung around the property for years and "Hoppity" as he was called, found a mate and had his own family. Like his father before him, he always hopped along behind the chicks to protect them from the rear. He was a good dad.

The young quail also enjoyed playing "king of the mountain" on the quail block - each trying to get on top, then stay there. They also developed artistic skills and I swear to you, one block they carved into something resembling an antique sewing machine - complete with the empty space through the middle (through which they liked to jump). Another piece of quail block art bore a striking resemblance to Ronald Regan. That one was dragged off one night by javalinas (wild pigs).
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 198
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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I have Coturnix quail. I keep them on deep litter so they do have a chance to scratch. Apparently they have been raises in captivity for so long that they have lost many of their instincts including brooding instincts for the most part. I believe one of the videos posted above shows them with bantam chicken mama who brooded the quail babies. I think they were only free ranged as babies with the mama chicken to keep them in line. I think they would take off once they became independent. Keeping them in a greenhouse is an idea I hope to implement this fall.
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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I just ran across another video I think by the same lady as the previous video with the hen raised quails. this one has more information on how she lets her quails spend time outdoors and in her green house. I am assuming the outdoors is only when it is warm enough. there are lots of wild california quail where I live.

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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If it is of any note, I have bred and raised several quail species...and greenhouse quail are awesome...buttonquail (of several varieties) are great for that and become quite tame. I liked having birds in my greenhouse, from the doves to who ever was being rescued. Even had a few hummingbirds decide that the Greenhouse was a good place to have a nest...very aggressive little feathered folk I might add...
 
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