Coturnix Quail Care, Breeding, Easy Guide

Coturnix quail are popular aviary birds. This is because coturnix quail are easy to keep, lay a relatively large egg almost every day outside the winter months and become tame easily. If you want your quail to lay eggs all year, you can provide a lamp to light their cage in winter.

Sex distinction

With different color mutations the sex can be distinguished by the throat band or the more even breast feathering in the cockerels. From the age of 6 weeks you can also pick up the quail and gently press the cloaca from the tail, when white foam comes out of the cloaca it is a cockerel. The males tend to be smaller than the females. On the pictures you see a female (picture 1) and a male (picture 2).

female coturnix quail
male coturnix quail

Social characteristics

Coturnix quail are quiet birds that are fine to keep in a mixed aviary, they are true ground quail and will only jump straight up and flutter as a violent startle reaction. The cockerels are quite pair-hungry, so keep several cockerels with a cockerel and provide plenty of hiding places. For this reason, I myself kept a trio of hens without a rooster.


Coturnix quail are excellent to keep in an aviary or chicken coop, a cage or rooming house is not suitable. Coturnix quail are hardy birds, but a draft- and frost-free night pen in which they can retreat is preferable. With the night cage, keep in mind that not all quail want to use a stairway, so just make the night cage and opening at ground level. Unfortunately, they do not leave plantings alone.


Coturnix quail are omnivores and will eat the spilled seeds of other aviary inhabitants as well. Their main food is often a tropical seed mixture or laying pellets with mixed grain. You can also give them a commercial quail food, want to know the best quail feed available, read here.

In addition, they like to eat regular green food and live food such as mealworms. Of course, grit and stomach gravel should also be available. Quail are true free-range animals and therefore throw a lot of food out of a normal feeding dish. To avoid waste, I use a feeder with holes (for chickens).


Most coturnix quail do not breed themselves anymore because they have been incubated with the incubator for generations in a row. With natural-born quail or a lot of luck they do go on to breed. At some point the hen will no longer lay her eggs scattered throughout the aviary, but in a sheltered spot in a shallow hole. The nest size is usually more than 8 eggs, this number can increase greatly.

The incubation period is 16 – 18 days. Quails are nest-lovers, so almost immediately after hatching they run after their mother and pick up food. They eat rearing meal for ornamental chickens or laying meal, water is best offered in a bowl with marbles so the little chicks cannot drown.

After 4 weeks, the little ones are already fully independent. The hen will neither interfere with the eggs nor the young during the entire period. In case the hen will not breed, you can collect the eggs yourself and incubate them in an incubator. Then provide chick meal, small seeds and fine live food for the chicks. And to replace the mother’s heat, hang up a ceramic or infrared heat lamp. Which you regularly hang a little higher, to allow the chicks to get used to the normal ambient temperature. After 6 weeks they are fully grown and soon start laying eggs.

quail eggs

Cotrurnix quail eggs

Coturnix quail have been kept and bred for centuries for egg and meat production, so our domesticated coturnix quail are not entirely comparable to the wild ones. Often coturnix quail are hatched with the help of incubators, so they do not or hardly breed themselves. Would you like to breed coturnix quail naturally yourself? Then look for naturally hatched coturnix quail.

Quail eggs are very healthy, containing much more vitamin (including B1, B2, & D), iron and phosphorus than chicken eggs.

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