If you have been thinking of rearing quails then there requirements you should know about them which will make it easier for you.
On spacing, quails do not require much space, experienced flock keepers advocate 1 square feet per bird.
The total amount of space you would require to keep your quails is quite dependent on the amount you are planning to rear. This would depend on your purpose for raising the birds whether its for commercial breeding purposes or for the meat and eggs.
Todays article would discuss space requirements for quails, nesting and caging and the necesasary things quails need in their cages.
Table of Contents
How Much Space Do Quails Need?
Quails are quite small in size and as such they don’t take a lot of space.
In contrast to chickens who require about 4 square feet to one bird, quails only require an average of one square feet to a bird.
Some flock keepers though advocate that the spacing could be bigger if there is actually more spacing left.
Also in their pens or coops, the quails will also require about 1inch and ½ inch in between food and water feeders due to their territorial nature.
Overcrowding will only lead to fights among the birds and stress.
Stress in female birds can be seen in the color of the eggs they produce, as the egg would be pale as opposed to the natural brown speckle color.
An enclosed form of housing is best used for quails to avoid them flying away and not returning.
Quails are naturally wild birds with the power to fly and if they see an escape route they will definitely utilize it.
Most flock owners make use of aviary meshing to ensure the birds cannot slip out while also protecting them from predators.
Related: Here is an article I wrote on quails living with chickens
Do Quail Need Nesting Boxes?
Yes, quails need nesting boxes for laying their eggs. Out in the wild, the female quails usually make nests in hidden grass or shrubs or anywhere hidden they feel is warm and safe. The domesticated usually do not have the luxury of that option.
Utilizing the nesting boxes helps the quails feel they are laying in a calm and secure place and it also helps them be calm and well behaved.
Female quail who do not have nesting boxes might act in an anxious and fidgety way because they feel uncertain about where to lay their eggs.
Providing the nesting boxes are also good for security and roosting. When setting up your nesting boxes, ensure it’s close to the birds where they can easily access it.
Anchor the boxes to the quail house by tying it. You can also play it on the ground near the birds and this even makes it easier for them to reach it.
The materials for nesting are as important as the box itself.
Quail prefer straw, hay and leaves as bedding in the nesting boxes as they are smoother and softer to lay in.
The nesting box should also have a cover on both sides which makes the bird even more comfortable.
By providing good feed, water and living conditions for your quails, they will be calm and produce lots of eggs because they are not stressed.
How Many Quails Can Be Kept Together?
Quail have a terrible pecking order and when too many are confined in a space it can lead to stress on the less dominant birds.
Sometimes they even peck themselves to death as quails can be quite harsh.
The number of quail you can keep together is dependent on your purpose for rearing them.
If you are raising them for breeding purposes, then you might want to keep one male quail to about 3- 4 hens at the maximum five.
Having too many hens for one male, can cause the females to be distressed as they would not be getting enough attention.
On the other hand, keeping more than one male in a cage would cause a lot of fights as male roosters are very aggressive.
The dominant male would be getting all the attention from the ladies and mating with them.
It is usually advisable to keep one male to about four females once they sexually mature.
As chicks both male and females can stay together in a large cage depending on their size, but once they reach sexual maturity which happens between 5 – 7 weeks of birth, they need to be separated.
What Is The Size Of A Quail Cage?
A quail cage should generally have any space to accommodate a certain number of quails without them feeling overcrowded.
Quail cages should be constructed from aviary mesh wire or rabbit hutch to make the cage netting too small for any predator to slip through.
Quails are much smaller birds and as such they require smaller cages which would still give them enough space per bird.
Each quail cage should be about 12 inches though you can increase it like some flock keepers do all the way to 18.
Shorter or longer cages are made because of the flighty nature of the quails.
When they get startled they shoot upward and might actually bang against the ceiling and break their necks.
Quails enjoy living in smaller spaces due to their and a 15 inch or 18 inch cage is perfect for them.
You can keep from 5 to 10 quails in one cage depending on the width of the cage. The quail cage should also have slanted trenches which would allow the eggs to roll out for collection.
Using the one square feet per bird rule will help you determine how many birds can fit into your cage conveniently.
Quail birds should not be overcrowded in a confined space as this could lead to stress, pecking, fighting and even death among the birds.
Quail cages should be properly aerated and given ample space for the birds to thrive.
Also check out this article on vegetables that are good for feeding quails
What Do Quails Need In Their Cage?
Apart from the normal spacing size for each bird there are few things required in a quail cage and they include:
- Ventilation: quails require good ventilation in their cages however it should be made in a way that it will not get chilly during weather as quails do not do well in cold weather.
- Soft bedding: quail cages need soft bedding of hay, pine shavings or straw. These should be cleaned out regularly to reduce the incidence of diseases and predators.
- Lighting: quail require good lighting to produce eggs and also reach sexual maturity for the younger chicks. More hours of lighting are required during winter so your quail brood stays healthy.
- Nesting boxes: for cages with female layers nesting boxes are important for the birds to kay. The boxes make them calm and feel safe enough to lay their eggs.
- Food and water feeder: the quail birds need food and water feeders in their cages. More than one should be placed in each cage depending on the number of birds in the cage. There should be about 1.25cm of feeding space between the feeders.
- Sand tray: provide a sandtray in your quail cage as quails love sunbathing. Sunbathing is the quail’s way of keeping clean and the sand tray should be placed in an area within the quail cage.
This comprehensive guide will also give you more information on how to set up your quail cage.
How Far Should A Quail Coop Be From The House?
Quails can be quite loud birds on occasion and even their males crow although not as incessant or loud as chickens.
How far you want your coop to be from your house depends entirely on your discretion.
Some flock keepers keep their quail flock indoors while others make use of their garage. You can place the cage in your backyard.
However note that the cage shouldn’t be too far from your house so you can hear if the quails make an alarm cry.
They can emit loud noises when they are distressed or notice a predator in the area.
Quail hens are naturally calm, but they would also emit sounds if they are distressed. The males crow to get the female’s attention and they also do that when there are more than one male nearby.
They use that to establish dominance and it could become an incessant behavior if the males are not separated.
As such the rule of one male per cage to about three to four females is advised. Keeping 2 roosters in the same cage is just asking for trouble.
Apart from being gamebirds, quails are reared for their delicious meat and egg. If you are new to the quail keeping business you would need all the necessary information to successfully carry out the venture.
By learning all these about quails, you can set up your quail cage and house them without any problems.