On keeping Quail

A fortnight ago, I bought 3 quail “chicks” (they were 3.5 weeks old), Waylon, Rose and Daisy. The idea was that they were two females and a male. They would live indoors in a large rabbit cage over the winter, and move outside when spring sprung. I set about buying all sorts of quaily bits and bobs, a nest box, some hay for nesting in, a water dispenser, grit, leg rings, chick crumb and pellets. On the second day I discovered mistake number one. Quail drink a LOT, and one budgie drinker (approx 250ml) needs refilling twice a day, so I invested in a 1.3L mushroom drinker. One thing I had been warned about was that they would kick bedding into their food, but I thought bowls would be OK. However it did get to be a bit of a pain, so I bought a food hopper at the same time as the drinker.

It became obvious after a week that Daisy was actually Dan when further speckly breast feathers came through (there were a few when we bought “her”). From the little information I managed to scrape from the internet, I knew that i’d need an excess of females as the males are over-amorous. Although the lady I bought the quail from had offered to swap Daisy if she did turn out to be a he, I felt reluctant to part with him. I’d joined a Quail Forum and luckily there was a member near enough for me to buy females from. When we got these two home, I let them run round with the others, and all seemed well. 5 quail in a cage 1m x 50cm take up a lot more room than 3 quail though, and so the mushroom drinker became major mistake number 2. After it falling over twice due to much quail stampeding I realised I was going to have to invest in a rabbit bottle for the birds. The two new quail were used to it, and seem to have done a good job of showing the other quail how to use it.

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