Why Quail Do NOT Make Good Pets

When you are a parent, all you want to do is make your
children happy. Sometimes you don’t stop to think in your pursuit of their joy.
An example of this happened recently when we decided to fulfill the oldest
country kid’s Birthday Wish. You see, all he wanted was a pet quail…… They only cost
$2.00…. We rock!!! Wrong!!!!

What started as four tiny, adorable quail chicks, turned into a homesteading nightmare. Oh, the first week went great….. But then they started to drop like flies!!! In a matter of three night, we lost three quail chicks. I stayed up night after night, trying my best as not only a parent, but as an animal lover, throwing antibiotics at them, adjusting every element of their care to the best of my ability, but to no avail. I failed the chicks and I failed my son. What started as such a great adventure was turning into a lost cause.

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If you didn’t know, quail chicks are TINY. They are so delicate. They can drown in their own water bowl!?!?! Yes, keeping quail is not like chickens chicks, not even close. They scratch their food everywhere. They eat their own poo, which can be laced with disease. I am not a vet, nor do I play one on TV, but I have been raising critters most of my life and if I were a betting woman, I would bet they died from coccidiosis. This is a disease that works on their digestive tract and while they were eating, they were starving. I believe they came with it, but they could have picked it up from anywhere as coccidia is common, it is everywhere, even dirt.

Luckily, one of the chicks was a bit older, and with antibiotics and a stronger immune system, it continues to thrive. But that has led to a whole new set of “what the heck” moments. You see, quail are lightning fast and they learn to fly VERY early. So the first time, I saw him ON TOP of his pen, which was covered with a metal grate, I was a bit startled. He was only a couple weeks old! Thus began the escaping……. I understand, he was just testing his wings, he was bored, he was lonely, I get it, there are a million reasons he was busting out, but it was getting a little ridiculous! No matter what I did, he got out. I swear it was time to rename him Houdini! 

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And then it happened….. He got out and disappeared….. Gone! I saw where he went, but no matter what we did, from moving furniture to playing quail calls off YouTube, we just couldn’t find him. After ten hours of watching and waiting, I went to bed, but not before putting out a plate of food for him. While everyone else had given up that we would ever see this quail again, I was NOT giving up. I would not have him perish and stink up my house after all the work I had invested in him to keep him alive and to make the oldest country kid happy.

I have no clue why at 1:30 am I sat upright in my bed that night, all I knew is that my gut told me to get my butt downstairs and check the food. As I crept to the door jam…. THERE HE WAS!!!!! Dancing in the glow of his heat lamp, nibbling his food, totally unaware I was watching. I slipped to another room and grabbed a butterfly net and ever so carefully I inched my way toward him in the dark. *BAM* I caught his lightning fast little Houdini butt!!!!! I wanted to scream with joy, but it was 2 am and I didn’t want to wake anyone, so I just did a little happy dance and returned him to his pen and ungraded the cover, again. I fell into bed exhausted but happy.

You can imagine my surprise the next morning when the oldest country kid came running into our room, quail in hand, exclaiming he had caught the quail. Wait, I caught the quail! Turns out, the quail had got out AGAIN!!!! What!?!?! So much for being the awesome mom who saved the world. This had to end, I couldn’t keep living with a runaway quail in my house. I set my hubby on the problem, while I went to the Farmer’s Market to clear my head. But that dang quail was on my mind the whole time, so much so, I ended up buying it a gift. That’s right, I bought my son’s bird a bush for its pen, because isn’t that what all crazy homesteading mamas do?

So with my hubby’s cover upgrade, and my cute little plant for cover, I am happy to report we have not had a break out since. Though I swear the quail is plotting and testing. Oh and the lungs on this tiny thing are really trying at times to my eardrums. They have an amazingly loud call! So my friends, let me just save you all from heartache and frustration….. Heed my warning……

 Quail Do NOT Make Good Pets!!

The new and improved Fort Knox of quail brooders

26 thoughts on “Why Quail Do NOT Make Good Pets

  1. What a smart little guy that quail is! Maybe putting a giant butterfly net over his cage would keep him in although that wouldn't help with viewing him. Good luck!

  2. i used to raise button quail, hardware cloth is a good mesh size for them. those things could squeeze out of anything around dime sized. quail are not smart. i was advised to not feed the chicks meal worms until they were older and not very often because they will mistake each other's toes for meal worms and try to eat feet. they do learn to drink from rodent style water bottles pretty easily, (obsessively pecking at shiny things happens to be a quail specialty which lends readily to water bottle training) which helps keep their water clean. all my females laid eggs constantly and sometimes got broody which was always a disaster unless i put the eggs in an incubator. if left with their mom- who would leave the nest if you moved her- the others would attack and eat the newly hatched chicks. once i navigated these learning curves, the quail were really nice to keep. i kept them in an indoor aviary hubby and i built. it was 6.5' high and most quail need height like that, they don't roost off the ground but they rocket straight upward when startled and if it were any lower, they would have bonked pretty hard. the males are randy little things and if you don't have enough females to "share the love" you can end up with bald-backed hens because the males grip the back feathers while mating and too many repeat visits in succession cause them to be pulled out. fun and interesting pets, but they do need things set up "just so" in some ways.

  3. I never knew you could keep quail as pets. I think I'll be grateful we have cats – any sort of birds in the house will get an automatic veto!

  4. They certainly are cuties, but they do not sound like pet material!

  5. This is a very interesting post… especially since I have seen all of those wonderful articles about how easy it is to raise quail in the city where they are so much quieter than chickens. Hmmm… thank you for adding to the picture on that idea. πŸ™‚

    1. Easy!?!?! Oh my, I don't know what you have been reading LOL Everyone I have talked to has said how hard they are to keep alive! Quieter…. hmmm…. with just one downstairs, he wakes me up in the middle of the night with his high pitched voice that carries. It has been such a surprise and learning experience, that's for sure!

  6. Holy smokes, that sounds like an adventure! I'm rooting for that last spunky quail. Sounds like he's quite the character!

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

    1. He is doing really well, despite his attempts at trying to kill himself LOL I warned him the dog could swallow him without even chewing!

  7. Oh they look so cute and fragile, thanks for being part of #WednesdaysWisdom linkup

  8. I don't think I would ever get quail because we just don't have space, but man that they were that "special".
    I am sure that a lot of people didn't know about it either.
    Thanks for sharing this post on #WednesdayWisdom.

  9. I thought this post was going to talk about how vicious they can be to one another. My best friend raises quail, and they lay cute little eggs that my son loves to eat hardboiled, but she recently decided that she wants to get rid of them because of how vicious they are. She put some little ones in with the big ones, thinking they were ready to be in the bigger group, and one night the Daddy quail ripped all of the babies' heads off in a bloody massacre, leaving her and her children to see the horror the next day. She has said they are quiet and easy pets, that is until that happened.

  10. I raised quail when my kids were younger, and they definitely don't make good pets. πŸ™‚ They are tricky to raise. I was new to homesteading and thought I would raise a bunch, so we had close to thirty. There cages were made out of hardware cloth on sturdy wood frames, so they never got out. But they were very mean to each other. Even though I built their cage with more than enough room than is suggested they would gang up and pick on the weaker ones, and the results were not pretty. After awhile I would dread going out to feed them for fear of what I might see. The boys are loud, but I don't mind their call. We tried raising them a second time, with even fewer in the cage, and it still didn't work out. I still want to try again one day, this next time keeping them in small breeding groups, rather than a colony. I really enjoyed the eggs, but they were not the funnest animals to raise. Definitely a homesteading adventure to remember though. πŸ™‚

    1. I had no idea they were so mean to each other. Maybe it is a good thing we ended up with just one!

  11. I mus say I was wondering why you got quails, but sometimes we all do stuff to keep our kids happy πŸ™‚ Then we learn!

  12. So basically: You didn't do 5 minutes of research on quail and ended up being an irresponsible pet owner by neglecting to provide adequate living conditions. Congratulations. Hope your kid's birthday was worth the death of innocent animals. Where do people like you get off on writing these blogs bitching about animals being animals? You buy an animal, you're responsible for its life. Simple. Do your homework next time, please, for the sake of all your future pets.

    1. Wow Anonymous, it takes a real big person to hide behind anonymity in order to bash someone they don't know. I hope you feel very proud of yourself. First off we did do our research before purchasing the quail, thank you very much. It turned out the BREEDER was selling sick animals. How is that my fault as a parent or a caregiver to another living thing? Second who was bitching, other then you? I was explaining in a humorous manner what it was like for us and our first quail experience. Obviously I am responsible for the animals we take care of. I stayed up night after night administering antibiotics. So how did I fail my son or the quail? Because it seems to me, I did everything within my power. The surviving quail had MORE then "adequate" living conditions. In fact, he turned out to be a she and my son's best friend. Oh and my son, who has special needs (which you would have know if you knew anything about my blog) bonded with her and she spent most of her day sitting right by him. It was the perfect gift of responsibility and love that happened to have also taught some tough lessons on life and death and that not all people give a rats fluffy butt about the animals they breed and sell. So excuse me for cleaning up someone else's mess. Excuse me for bringing joy into a little boys life. Excuse me for giving that bird a MUCH better life then it would have had at the breeds where we discovered he had a box he discarded the dead chicks in and it was FULL. Excuse me for having a sense of humor about it all. Oh what…… Honestly I don't give a shit what you think you uneducated moron. Go troll another blog, because here at the (mis)Adventures, we keep it real. The only thing you comment did was show the world that you are a shmuck. Oh and next time, please, don't bother to leave a nasty comment, for the sake of all the sane people in the world.

  13. That's telling her girl. What a cowardly troll doesn't even have the balls to put a fake name. I always wonder where people get the time to troll on all these sites just so they can leave hurtful nasty comments. Must lead a boring life and live off someone else because they sure don't have time for a job or a life when they spend all their time trolling sites. Don't worry about people like that, your true followers know you and your family well enough to know the true story. Keep blogging and will keep reading and interacting with delight. Thanks for sharing your life with us and being interested in ours. ❀️

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