When we hatch out quail, we leave them on paper towels or one layer of newspaper for the first week, then switch to smaller wood chips (or wood shavings, to be more clear).
I have found that the paper towels work the best for the first week. Just one layer, and then remove them as they get poopy and add a new layer.
I haven't ever used wood chips or leaves, but I tend to think that when quail are born in the wild, they have to just walk around on whatever is out there - so a bit of leaves, pine needles, and/or wood roughage would more accurately just mimic their natural surroundings, and I think after the first week they would do just fine!
How about cut grass? Or foraged clover or sword fern fronds? Depending on where you are, I would just pick up whatever looks nice and DRY. They don't do well with wet, especially in the first month, but you've probably already noticed that! Quail like to skitter, and play and hide and jump, so I would say something nice and diverse would keep their minds working and whatever bugs come in on the natural bedding wouldn't do them harm, either.
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