Can Quails Live With Chickens? (Explained)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Housing quails with chickens is a tricky business and even though some people might advocate the answer is no, quails cannot live with chickens. The best way to get around it is to house them in different cages close to each other.

As a new poultry keeper, the idea of keeping your quails and chickens together might sound exciting however there are various reasons why you shouldn’t do that.

Chickens can and will eat quail eggs which poses a serious risk to your poultry business especially if you are rearing them for economic purposes.

Other reasons why housing both birds together is not so good will be explained in the article.

Why Should Quail And Chickens Not Live Together?

Can Quails Live With Chickens

1. Chickens Eat Quail Eggs

Chickens love eating quail eggs as they are nutritious and proteinous. If kept together, the chickens will quickly figure out how to break the shells and eat. 

This will have a negative effect on the financial side of your business; the eggs would not be enough for breeding or selling.

2. Chickens Can Kill Quails

Birds have a terrible pecking order and chickens are bullies. If kept together, the quail would be at the bottom of the pecking order and would not get access to feed and water.

Also the chickens might keep pecking at any assumed quail till it suffers so many injuries and dies. Because of their size, the quails will not be able to protect themselves adequately.

3. Chickens Can Pass Diseases to Quails

Most times when poultry flocks are mixed together, it is easy for diseases to be passed between both species and the case is the same here. 

Most times, chickens carry diseases which might not affect them but would prove deadly and fatal to quails if they are infected.

An example of such is the coryza’s disease. In most cases the quail birds are harder to treat than chickens and it usually leads to death.

4. Different Feed Requirements 

Quails require more of their grass in their diets to remain healthy and fully mature while chickens have their starter feed and diet. 

If housed together, the birds will be in each other’s coops and as such might not be getting all the health requirements from eating the other flock’s food.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do quails mate for life

5. Free-roaming

Chickens do not fly, they walk on the ground most of the time and their owners usually let them free-range especially if it’s’ not an intensive method they are using.

However, quails can fly and given any opportunity they will fly away and are likely gone for good.

This can be difficult to track when both chickens and quails are housed together and have to free-range.

How Close Can Quail And Chickens Be Together?

Quails and chickens should not be housed together in the same coop for the above mentioned reasons and more.

An easy way to solve this problem is to house the chickens and quails in separate coops which could be side by side or even within the chicken coop.

To avoid the spread of diseases from chickens to quails it is best to space chicken and quail coop at least 50 feet apart.

This would help lessen some of the problems that come with housing chicken and quail together. 

Can Quails Eat Chicken Feed?

Quails can eat chicken feed however it is not advisable for you as a flock owner to feed chicken diet to quails.

The reason for this is that chicken feed does not possess the required nutritional needs for quail.

Chicken feed lacks the vitamins and minerals that a quail needs for healthy growth, maturity and survival.

A good quail feed should have grit, oyster shell, diatomaceous earth, vitamins and minerals. These serve as supplements that help the quail grow strong. 

You can also give your quails bugs, vegetables and sprouted seeds as treats.

Some nutritious feed you can give your quail include:

  • Starter feed
  • Commercial game bird feed
  • Grower feed 
  • Medicated feed

Can Quails And Chickens Mate?

Naturally chicken and quails do not mate. However, over the years, chicken owners and scientists have tried to produce hybrids due to the use of artificial insemination.

There have not been very successful attempts though as the chicks hatched from these hybrid processes do not live long.

Sometimes the eggs stop development at early stages while some do develop but are usually infertile.

A few of those who have survived also end up being difficult and most times have to be killed.

The process is still being carried out by scientists to see if there will be successful cross hybrids in the future. 

Also check out this article on quails being migratory birds

Will Chickens Kill Quails If They Are Housed Together?

Chickens even though quite docile and domesticated by humans are actually prey birds and they will attack anything that is smaller to them and can move which includes quails.

Because of the smaller size of the quails, they are unable to protect themselves from the chickens when they try to establish the natural pecking order.

The chickens can easily kill the quails and their smaller babies by excessive pecking, especially aggressive roosters who want to establish territories.

Chickens can also kill quails indirectly when they do not let them have access to food.

In the natural order of things, birds or animals at the bottom of the order rarely get access to food as that is dominated by the bigger stronger birds.

If quails and chickens are housed together, the chickens will bully the quails and as such the quails might not be able to get all the necessary requirements needed for them to be healthy and mature.

This makes it easy for them to contract diseases.

Also, chickens are major carriers of diseases which they can pass on to the quails.

Because of the less strong immune system of the quails, diseases which may not affect chickens can prove fatal to them and decimate their population. 

As such chickens and quails being kept in the same coop or space is not exactly the best idea for the health and safety of your quails. 

Can Chickens Protect Quails From Predators?

Chickens do not necessarily protect quails from predators as chickens themselves usually need protection in most cases.

The best way to protect your quails is to build a comfortable and protective coop for them which will keep out the predators.

Chicken coop and quail coop are not usually made from the material due to their differences.

Quails are much smaller than chickens and as such, their coop mesh should be smaller to bar predators like rats and snakes from slipping in.

Quails are  more preyed on than chickens and they require stronger protection.

Building your quails coop with aviary mesh as against chicken wire mesh is a sure way of protecting them from predators.

A poultry keeper shared his knowledge on the best types of cages for your quail bird’s protection.

Cleaning and maintaining their coops also keeps them protected as predators can smell a poultry coop a mile away.

By cleaning up their poops in the evenings and sweeping any spilled food, you are ensuring predators cannot smell anything attractive to them from your barnyard.

Also getting a guard animal that would alert you to the presence of predators among your flock is a great way of protecting them.

Guard animals could be trained dogs, miniature donkeys, llamas and alpacas.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages and you can choose whichever you are comfortable with.

These steps when taken will help keep your quail and other poultry flock safe and free from predators.


It can be pretty exciting as a flock owner to want to mix your bird species together however you have to know not all birds can live with chickens successfully. 

Chickens and quails being housed together are a no no except you want to spend a lot of time separating fights, changing food and treating diseases.

If not it is best to keep them separated and have them both growing healthily.

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About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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