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Coturnix Quail Care Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on raising and caring for Coturnix quail, one of the most rewarding and low-maintenance poultry species for both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts. Whether you're starting a quail flock for eggs, and meat, or simply as fascinating backyard companions, this guide will walk you through every step of the journey. From the delicate process of brooding adorable quail chicks to ensuring their health and happiness in their outdoor enclosures, we've got you covered. So, let's dive into the world of Coturnix quail care, where you'll learn everything from temperature management to successful egg production and even troubleshooting common issues.

Get ready to embark on a quail-raising adventure!

Brooding Coturnix Quail:

Brooding typically lasts for the first 4-6 weeks of a quail chick's life. During this period, it's crucial to gradually lower the brooder temperature by approximately 5°F per week. By the end of the brooding phase, quail chicks should be fully feathered, indicating their readiness for the transition to a regular enclosure.

  1. Preparation: Set up your brooder 1-2 days before the chicks are expected and allow the temperature to stabilize at 99°F.

  2. Water: Provide a shallow and drown-proof water source. Ensure the water reaches the temperature of your brooder before placing the chicks inside.

  3. Feeding: Start chicks on a game bird/turkey starter feed consisting of 28-30% protein. Sprinkling some feed all over the brooder floor helps chicks find food before they find the feed tray.

  4. Temperature Management: Lower the brooder temperature by an average of 5°F per week. Remove heat after 4 weeks or when chicks are fully feathered.

  5. Temperature Assessment: Observe chick behavior to ensure the right temperature. If they huddle under the heat source, they're too cold, so raise the temperature. If they stay far from the heat source, it's too hot, so lower the temperature. If they are scattered around comfortably, the temperature is correct.

  6. Transition to Regular Enclosure: Typically, quail chicks can be transitioned from the brooder to a regular enclosure at around 6-8 weeks of age when they are fully feathered. Ensure the new enclosure provides adequate protection from predators and suitable environmental conditions.

  7. General Quail Care: In addition to brooding, it's essential to maintain a clean coop, practice disease prevention, and perform regular health checks. Keeping the coop clean helps prevent disease outbreaks, and checking your quail's health ensures early detection of any issues.

  8. Predator Protection: Protecting quail from predators is crucial in outdoor enclosures. Use appropriate fencing and predator-proofing techniques to keep your quail safe from potential threats.

Age in Days

Brooder Temperature


95° to 100° F


90° to 95° F


90° to 85° F


85° to 80° F


80° to 75° F


75° to all 70° F

Do's and Don'ts:

  • Do turn on the brooder at least 24 hours before the chicks arrive.

  • Do check several times each day to see if they are comfortable.

  • Don't handle the chicks too much, as excessive handling can cause stress.

Feeding Your Quail:

Never feed chicken feed to quail. Quail need high-protein game bird feed.

Here's a feeding guide:

  • Feed game bird/turkey starter with 28-30% protein until 7-8 weeks old.

  • Transition to a game bird/turkey layer/breeder/all-purpose feed with 20-22% protein after 7-8 weeks.

  • Feeding Amount: Ensure that quail have access to feed at all times.

  • Provide enough feed to prevent competition, usually around 1/4 cup of feed per quail per day.

Space Requirements:

Quail require about 1 square foot per quail.

Calculate the square footage of your enclosure (Length x Width) to determine how many quail it can comfortably house. Additionally, ensure 1-1.25 inches of feeder and water space per quail to prevent fights. A cage taller than 10 inches should be over 4 feet high to prevent quail from injuring themselves during their short flights.

Flight Ability:

Coturnix quail don't fly for hours like other bloodlines, but they can Jump/Fly for several feet at a time. Coturnix quail can Jump/Fly for several feet. To prevent injuries, keep cage or pen heights under 8-10 inches or over 4 feet tall.

Disease Prevention:

To prevent disease outbreaks among your quail, maintain a strict sanitation regimen. Regularly clean the coop and replace bedding to reduce the risk of pathogens.

  • When introducing new quail to your existing flock, consider quarantining them for a few weeks to ensure they are disease-free before integrating them.

Egg Production and Breeding:

Female Coturnix Quail start laying their eggs at 6-8 weeks of age.

To promote egg laying, provide around 16 hours of light (any white non-heat light) each day.

Setting lights on a timer is an ideal way to ensure consistent lighting conditions.

Coturnix quail can breed year-round, but they tend to be more prolific in the spring and summer months when daylight hours are longer. If you're specifically looking to breed your quail, consider providing artificial lighting to simulate longer days during the winter months, encouraging them to lay more eggs and breed.

Egg Collection and Handling:

Collect quail eggs daily to ensure their freshness and cleanliness. Gently pick up the eggs to avoid cracks or damage. If an egg is soiled, use a soft cloth or sponge to clean it. Store collected eggs in a cool, dry place with proper ventilation to maintain their quality.

Troubleshooting Egg Laying Issues:

If your quail aren't laying eggs, consider these factors:

  1. Feed and Water: Ensure they have access to clean water, appropriate feed, and adequate calcium through crushed oyster shells for strong eggshells.

  2. Light: Check if they have sufficient light exposure and maintain consistent lighting conditions.

  3. Stress: Minimize stress factors in their environment, such as sudden changes, loud noises, or overcrowding.

  4. Space: Ensure they have enough room to move comfortably and avoid overcrowding, as stressed quail may stop laying.

Generally, it takes a mature hen in proper condition about two to three weeks in the right environment to lay her first egg. After any major changes, wait two to three weeks to evaluate whether adjustments have been effective.


If you want your quail to breed, we suggest a ratio of 5 females to 1 male.

Optional Nesting Boxes for Breeding:

When you plan to breed your Coturnix quail, nesting boxes within the enclosure may be helpful. These boxes should be designed to offer a dark, secluded space where the female quail can lay their eggs. A simple setup can include small, enclosed compartments filled with soft nesting material like straw or wood shavings.


If you want to hatch quail eggs, you'll need an incubator. Maintain a consistent temperature of around 99.5°F and relative humidity of about 60% during the incubation period, which lasts approximately 17-18 days for Coturnix quail eggs. Turning the eggs several times a day is essential for even development. Hatchlings should be transferred to a brooder immediately after hatching.

(Hatchlings can last 3 days in the incubator with no food or water, you should remove the hatchlings by the 3rd day)

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