Quail birds require high protein developer feed, available from most farm stores. Grit should also be provided.
Chicks should begin on a non-medicated turkey starter crumb until they reach 6 weeks, when they can transition to grower feed with no added coccidiostats.
Quail require a higher protein diet than chickens to facilitate their development and grow, and are classified as granivores – eating both seeds and grains.
Quail chicks require starter feed with 30% protein to replicate what juvenile quails would eat as juveniles in the wild.
Commercial quail crumb or turkey starter crumb is ideal because it contains high amounts of protein without using medicated ingredients commonly found in poultry feed to prevent coccidiosis, an illness which can kill young chicks and quails.
If you plan on raising quail as game birds for hunting or dog training, they will require special feed that contains higher levels of protein than standard chicken feed and lower fat levels so the birds have enough energy for flight and running. Quail-specific feed can also ensure your birds have plenty of energy reserves when needed to run around freely and hunt game.
Grit, or crushed stone used as an artificial tooth replacement for birds that don’t possess them, is an integral component of feeding quail. Grit helps break down large seeds or grains that the bird cannot digest. Grit can be purchased at most farm stores at a significantly less-expensive cost compared to more premium forms of chicken feed.
Not only can grit help quail digest their food, it provides vital calcium that allows hens to make strong egg shells. You can even find mixes containing red stone and vitamin pellets for additional protection against disease in your flock – red stone providing extra minerals while vitamin pellets providing additional layers of protection for their flock members.
Chicken feed is designed to supply all of the vitamins and minerals a chicken needs in order to thrive, making it suitable for raising quail. Some experts advise adding additional supplements so as to guarantee all the vital nutrients are received by each bird so it can flourish and produce eggs.
Quail require higher protein and calcium content (usually 18-22%) than most chicken and gamebird feeds can provide, so choosing one specifically made for them is key in meeting their unique dietary requirements.
Studies conducted in Japan on quail fed 0 control, 30, 60 and 120 mg kg-1 vitamin E showed improved reproductive and productive characteristics. Quails that received the highest concentration had higher hatch of fertile eggs, egg mass production rates, and production rates.
Quail require a diet containing an abundance of vital nutrients in order to thrive and produce high quality eggs, with 18-22 percent protein content and higher calcium concentration than many poultry feeds provide.
Alternative energy sources like millet, sorghum and cassava may be added to a quail diet without negatively affecting its nutrient needs or benefits such as heat/drought tolerance, resistance to bacterial diseases and improved feed conversion efficiency (Farahat et al. 2020).
Quail require small quantities of vitamin E for their health and can find this source naturally or add it synthetically, while vitamin K aids clotting blood and can be found naturally or added synthetically to their diets.
Young birds susceptible to coccidiosis – a parasitic disease which causes diarrhea and foul-smelling droppings – should receive medicated starter feed until 16 weeks of age, when their condition will usually resolve itself and they can switch back to regular feed without additional medicine. Quail chicks in particular are susceptible to this illness and should receive medicated starter food until that age when regular feed can be introduced without additional dosage of medication.
Quail birds can also suffer from bumblefoot, an infection of their feet caused by puncture wounds. Bacitracin, an effective antibiotic used in veterinary practice against this infection, is often included as part of game bird feed preventatives to treat this problem.
Provide your quail with fresh, clean water sources at all times to maintain their health and keep their bodies functioning optimally. Clean their water troughs two to three times weekly and refill as often as necessary.