Quails are small, cute birds, which are now often kept as pets. Not just for loving, but also because of the eggs they lay or because of your meat. If you want to get quail, you should think about the keeping of the animals.
Because regardless of whether it is for loving or because of the small eggs that they lay, species-appropriate husbandry is particularly important. This article is mainly about keeping quail in a cage and what you should pay attention to when keeping them in a cage.
In addition, we will introduce you to different ways of keeping quail, so that you can decide on the most suitable method for you.
How big does the quail cage have to be?
As already mentioned, species-appropriate husbandry is also very important for the quail, so that the animals feel comfortable and they develop well in terms of health. While poor conditions prevail in the fattening farms and several animals are kept in a small cages, these conditions should of course not prevail in private keeping.
Animal protection states the following: “All enclosures for quail must have at least 5000 cm2 of accessible space, with each animal from the age of 6 weeks having at least 450 cm2 available. The enclosure must be at least 40 cm high so that the enclosure can be structured sufficiently.”
This means that 22 quail per square meter would be allowed, although this is of course anything but species-appropriate. So if you want to offer your animals a nice home, you should offer them as much space as possible to enjoy observing them. Most keepers build their own cages and also set up small outdoor areas for the animals to give them the opportunity to scratch in the ground.
Above all, multi-storey stalls are often used for keeping, so that hatching eggs can be obtained optimally and as much space as possible is saved during keeping.
Experts recommend keeping stalls in tiers that are at least 1.80 m x 0.70 m x approx. 0.35 m. They are usually fitted with one or two front flaps in order to provide the quail with the best possible care and to be able to clean the stalls perfectly.
The height of these stables should be kept low. This is mainly due to the fact that the quail often fly up vertically, which can lead to the animals seriously injuring themselves or even breaking their necks. For this reason, it is not wrong to provide the stalls with a net in the upper area in order to be able to optimally protect the animals.
The housing of quail
Many quail fans keep their animals in stables. Above all, the Japanese quail are particularly suitable for this type of husbandry, whereby care must be taken to ensure that it is a dry and bright barn.
The lighting conditions in the barn
Sufficient light is an important point when housing quail. It is of course best to have a barn that gets a good amount of daylight. Daylight is particularly important for the well-being and health of the animals. The main aim here is to harden the bones and strengthen the immune system.
Anyone who does not have such a barn has to work with artificial light.
There are special lamps, which are mainly used in the field of terraristics. They optimally simulate sunlight and even emit UV-B and UV-A rays. When choosing the lighting technology, however, make sure that it is a high-quality light source.
Please do not use fluorescent tubes that flicker, as this property would also lead to health problems in the animals.
In addition, you should make sure that you regulate the time of the light source so that it is also dark at night. A timer is perfect for this purpose. In winter, the lighting duration should also be reduced.
A light source should provide light for approx. 10-13 hours a day, whereby models can also be used in which the light slowly gets brighter and then slowly gets darker again.
Before the quail move into your new coop, it is important that you whitewash it beforehand so that diseases can be avoided. In contrast to normal chickens, quails are much more sensitive, which means that the coop needs to be whitewashed regularly. Experts even recommend doing this every three to four months. If you only keep a few animals in the barn, you can do it every six months.
Of course, the barn must also be cleaned regularly. This means that you should remove all droppings and leftover food once a week. If it is a small barn, cleaning should be done more often.
Stable housing is also ideal for the winter, while the simple stable would not necessarily represent the perfect husbandry method. This is mainly due to the thicker walls. When kept in stables, it can be observed that the quails are still very active and diligently lay eggs even at minus temperatures. As a rule, additional heat sources are not necessary.
Quail husbandry in an aviary
Keeping them in an aviary is probably the most species-appropriate variant. These are usually a good size and can be furnished individually.
Aviaries do not necessarily have to be built by yourself, but also bought or ordered on the Internet.
These should be 2 meters high and stocked with lots of bushes, roots and other plants so that you can offer your animals plenty of shade so that they can easily retreat on sunny and warm days.
Stones and elevations should not be missing under any circumstances and ensure that the animals are kept in a species-appropriate manner. The sand bath is also a must here and ensures that the animals can take a sand bath together and that mites and vermin don’t stand a chance.
Aviaries can be equipped in many different ways, so that a natural run with grass is also possible. However, it is important that the aviary is not completely open. Because the animals must have the opportunity to withdraw in the sun as well as in the rain and cold. Insulate your aviary and make sure there are always warm spots. Overwintering the animals in an aviary is no problem.
What should be considered in an aviary?
The mesh size of the wire used should never be larger than 12.5 cm. If you can, you should also wire the floor with chicken wire to keep mice and predators out of the aviary.
The floor should be provided with approx. 20 cm of wire so that the floor can then be filled up. In addition, it makes sense to cover the aviary with wood from three sides and leave only one side open. The construction must also be closed from above, which is best done with roofing felt or various corrugated sheets.
How should the quail’s home be set up?
In addition to the perfect accommodation, the furnishing of this accommodation is of course also very important. Only with sufficient substrate, a sand bath and other furnishings can you ensure that your animals feel completely comfortable and have a long and healthy life. But what exactly is important here? Find out below:
The substrate for quail
Whether in a stable, in a cage or in the aviary, your quail’s home should be provided with a substrate that does not generate dust. For example, wood shavings or straw pellets, hemp bedding and other methods would be suitable. If the substrate is dusty, this dust would settle on the animals’ lungs, which could have serious health consequences. You should also make sure that this substrate is not pointed.
A sharp bottom can quickly lead to injuries. It is not uncommon for the pointed objects to dig into the animals’ claws, which of course can lead to severe inflammation. Mainly because they are shy animals that you don’t have to cuddle on your lap every day. As a result, the small injuries are often recognized very late, so that the bunions become inflamed and severe pain is the result. In the worst case, it can even happen that the animals can die from the inflammation.
House for laying eggs and as a retreat
Offer your quail a house to lay their eggs. You should make this available in all husbandry variants, which not only makes it easier for you to collect eggs, but also for the quail themselves. These small houses can either be built by yourself or bought. The size should be based on the number of animals kept in a room. Houses are also particularly suitable as resting places. If you don’t want to put a small hut in your stable or aviary or cage, you can also use a small corner with branches to make it easier for the animals to lay their eggs and at the same time to offer them a place to rest.
A sand bath
Quail love bathing in the sand and need it to clean themselves and stay healthy. The area with sand should be nice and generous. A shared sand bath for the animals encourages them to live together. It also frees the quail from mites and other vermin.
The drinking trough with fresh water
Of course, it is also important to always provide the quail with fresh water. However, it is important that you set up the drinking trough a little higher, otherwise, dirt or substrate would get into the water again and again due to the scraping. If you choose a slightly larger bowl here, you also offer the animals the opportunity for a small bath, which some of the quail will definitely use.
If you want to keep quail, you should be aware that keeping them is not as easy as one might think at first. These animals also want to feel comfortable and should therefore be kept in a species-appropriate manner. Offer your animals as much space as possible and equip the animals’ new home in such a way that it comes as close as possible to the animals’ natural habitats. This is the only way you will enjoy your quail for a long time and be able to collect a lot of eggs.