C Spots Farm
Do quails make good pets?
By Tammie Cappuccio
Quails can be wonderful pets for children and adults alike. They come in three sizes and many colors. The two top types of quail for pet status are the Button quail and the Coturnix Quail. There is also a “jumbo” Coturnix quail that is bred primarily for meat so we won’t include them here.
The Button quail (aka Chinese Painted Quail) is the smallest quail. They originate in Asia and can now be found in most countries. They are small at approximately 4” long and 2.5” high. The main colors they can be found in are silver (gray), blue face and red breast. The colors are mixed quite often so we have quite a number of diversified colors available. When acquired as chicks these small quail can get used to being held but in general they are a pet that is best to only be looked at as they can be delicate.
Coturnix quail (aka Japanese quail) are the medium sized quail maturing approximately 6” long and 4” tall. They originate in Asia and Russia and are now also found worldwide. Coturnix come in a variety of colors and patterns. When you hear of the delicacy of “quail eggs” on a food dish, this is the quail that produces them. Coturnix quail can be quite tame and are recommended as the first choice if you’d like a quail as a pet.
The benefits of having quail as a pet is that they are inexpensive, easy to house and care for and make a nice novelty pet. Both Button and Coturnix pricing is $5-6 per pet quail. Housing requirements are the same for all quail although the larger the quail the more space you would want for them. They can live indoors or out as long as they have shade from the hot sun and are protected from harsh wind and rain. Many people move their quail into the garage or a shed during snowy extremely cold winters and many keep a pair or trio of quail indoors year round.
Food for your pet quail would consist of a grain mix (preferably a game bird food) and fresh greens. You can leave the grains free choice and discard and refresh the greens daily. Quail will need water daily as well.
Bedding is usually a pine shaving layer about 1-2” deep. Never use cedar shavings as it can be toxic to the quail – always stick to pine shavings. Peat Moss and shredded newspaper will do as well as finely cut hay or grass.
Quail are quite hardy and are rarely sick if taken care of properly. The life span is from 3-6 years on average. They will molt (lose) their feathers once a year and grow a new set. Once mature at 3 months of age the females will lay eggs almost daily for rest of their lives. If you don’t want chicks you can get two females or dispose of the eggs (two males will not get along). Both Buttons and Coturnix eggs are edible although the Button’s is so small it’s hardly worth the effort however the Coturnix eggs are a bite sized eggs and are wonderful to eat hard boiled or in various dishes.
Quails raised with human attention regularly can become wonderful pets. They will sit on your leg or in your lap and enjoy the human touch when you pet them. They can learn to come when called and enjoy eating treats from your hand. If you’d like a pretty, fun and interesting pet to look at the Button Quail would be a wonderful choice. If you’d like to be able to handle your pet the Coturnix would be a better choice and make a wonderful pet. Consider a quail for your next pet!
See a how our quails interact with people in a Youtube video HERE