How to make Coturnix quail happy

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We have had Coturnix Quail for almost three years now, and, through trial and error, we have found out a lot about what they like.

If you’re new to the world of Cortunix quail or just looking for a way to spoil the ones you already have, here are some tips:

1) Diet: There’s a ton of information on the internet about diet for these types of quail, so we aren’t going to go too indepth. But we have two important notes: One is that a lot of sites suggest fruit. We have tried all kinds of fruit with ours and it goes untouched until we throw it out.

Instead, what works for us is alternating parakeet feed with chicken crumble feed. They seem to like the variety.

Parkakeet feed

For a little extra nutrition, we use ecotrition Ultravite Vita-Sol Multi-Vitamin Supplement. It’s labeled as being for all birds. It’s also inexpensive and can easily be added to their water.

Which brings us to our next care tip…

2) Water: We highly recommend changing your quails’ water every day, even if it looks fresh. We have often noticed that, as soon as we change the water, which we do on a daily basis, the quail will go to the bowl and drink from it.

Fresh water

We assume they appreciate fresh water, but changing the water is also important if you keep it in a bowl because Cortunix are super messy and they will run through the water bowl, getting sand and cedar shavings and food in it in the process.

Which brings us to what to keep on the bottom of their enclosure.

3) Sand and cedar (NOT pine) shavings:

We have kept our quail both outside and inside, and they actually seem to be happier indoors. For awhile we only used cedar shavings, but, when we had some problems with quail getting poop balls stuck on the bottom of their feet, we added sand.

Currently, the quail are in a large aquarium in our sun porch. A portion of the bottom has cedar shavings because they like to snuggle down in it. The other half has sand, which they also like a lot.

As mentioned, they are messy, so, on a regular basis, the sand needs and shavings need to be replaced. We change the shavings more frequently than the sand because it’s easier to come by and also gets messier more quickly.

4) Tunnels for hiding:

Because they are naturally animals that like to stay on the ground, as opposed to being in trees, we have tried different things to help them feel secure.

What didn’t work were cardboard boxes. The quail never seemed to appreciate the idea that they could hide in them. We also tried putting small branches with leaves from shrubs and trees in our yard so they could hide under them. This sort of worked, but it also took away from their available space to run without running into branches, so they didn’t seem too happy about that. Plus, as soon as the leaves fall off, the branches need to be replaced.

What has worked really well is bark from a tree we had cut down and cut up. They quail love to run under the bark tunnels for comfort or just when playing.

Quail with bark

We also have shorter pieces of bark in the aquarium just so they have something a little harder than sand or shavings to walk on.

Somewhere on the internet we read the suggestion of buying them small straw “tents” that are available for small animals. There are a variety of these types of straw hideouts on Amazon, including the one at this link:

We think our quail would probably like these straw huts, but, since the bark is keeping them happy, we haven’t actually tried it yet.

5) Stuffed animal for cuddling/comfort: And, speaking of happy, our quail have been known to cuddle up next to and on top of stuffed animals.

We can’t quite remember how we stumbled upon the idea of giving them a stuffed animal companion, but it started with a stuffed dog, which they seemed to think of as a larger (and very quiet) quail that would help protect them.

As you can see below, we now have a stuffed owl that is doing the job.

quail with owl

6) Give them space: Our final bit of advice is to provide them with enough space.

Cortunix quail really like to have other quail of their kind around, so we wouldn’t recommend having just one because it would probably be extremely lonely. But, they also need space so they don’t get overcrowded and so that they can run and play chase with each other. In our 50 gallon tank, we have three quail. This seems to be a decent number because it lets them have the option of either hanging out together or spending a little alone time off in a corner or under their tunnels.

Some people keep a top on their aquarium. We don’t, but that’s because we don’t really mind if they decide to fly the coop and go for a walk around the sun porch.

Also, we leave the top uncovered because we have heard that some quail will bonk their heads when in an enclosure if their “roof” is too low.

If you keeping our quail somewhere that it isn’t safe for them to get out, we would, of course, recommend a top, but maybe a soft one, such as plastic, cardboard or wire screen.

So, those are some tips that should help you happily raise these little cuties. Another tip is to simply talk to them. Coturnix quail can be skittish, but they seem to like when you talk to them in friendly and soothing tones. It’s fun to see them communicate look back at you with those sweet little eyes. Sometimes they will also chirp in response.

And, speaking of chirping, if you’re curious about how loud Cortunix quail are: check out our post/video.

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