Welcome to the Quail Keeper's Journal! This section of Anoles, Quails, and Maybe Cattails will cover random bits of information on keeping quail, good products to buy, and may someday even include questions and answers. It will be under construction for quite a while, but when finished will be a useful tool for both beginning and experienced quail owners.
Quail are, for the most part, very hardy little birds. They have fluffy, warm feathers and when cold they will all pile together to keep warm. That being said, your birds will still need help staying cozy during the colder seasons. Here are some ways to make sure your quails stay comfertable in the cold:
Looking at Amazon, you will see mugs, clothes, home decor, and a number of trinkets marketed to animal owners. Although quail are not as common to keep as dogs or cats, there are still some products that appeal to them.
No matter what animal, hobbyists and owners all disagree over the best way to care for their charges. Things like diet and housing are especially controversial.
When it comes to quail, which are rather small, owners and those interested in keeping quail will probably wonder how many quail can be kept in a given space, and what space to keep quail in.
There is a difference, not only between a large space versus a small space, but also between a "livable enclosure" and an "enriched enclousure". A livable enclosure is technically ethical, as long as it is kept relatively clean, but without enrichment you aren't increasing quality of eggs, and the quails will get bored very quickly. Boredom will quickly lead to the quails entertaining themselves in any way possible, and this usually presents as egg eating, pecking at eyes, and increased fighting. This, understandably, then leads to stress, decrease in eggs, and higher mortality. So, yes, this type of enclosure is clean and has food and water: the basics to keep an animal physically healthy, but it doesn't have much, if any, included enrichment.
An enriched enclosure, on the other hand, has the physical requirements of a clean space with food and water, but also has enrichment: in the form of new, clean bedding versus wire flooring, dirt or sand for dustbathing, tall grasses to hide in, etc. These simple things can provide quail with hours of entertainment.
As you can imagine, it is easier to provide enrichment to a small covey of pet quails than it is to give enrichment to a large-scale farm, sometimes with entire barns full of quail. Is there any way that these large-scale farms can give their birds more mental stimulation, and would it be profitable for them to do so? It may not, at least at first. However, adding solid floors and providing shavings or another type of bedding to a setup that has neither of these would be a small improvement. Keeping the cages stacked would be okay as long as all of the quail are readily accessible and visible, and dropping aren't falling down from birds above. Large quail farms could also join with agricultural farmers and take their access vegetation for the quail to hide and nest in. Doing these two things will ultimately produce better eggs and improve the lives of the quail. Also, potential customers are often more likely to buy from farms that offer better conditions and enrichment.
I have seen quail owners on YouTube talk about aggression in Texas A & Ms. This suprised me, since all of mine are fairly docile around other quails. Especially Lemonbalm and Chai were showing behaviour that was the opposite of what these YouTubers were saying. (Although, when Lemonbalm got older, she had days where she was a bit cranky.) I am not sure if this is just a coincidence, but one YouTuber in particular had many birds together in a wire cage with no bedding, and it seemed like the reason the Texas A & Ms were displaying aggression was because the birds were bored, and dark eyes contrast with white feathers, which probably made the Texas A & Ms even more of a target.
Gen 4 of my couternix quail are in the incubator, and with a countdown of around 18 days until they hatch, I have been wanting to give some attention to the fee gene.
According to Maine's Confetti Quail Farm, the Fee gene "Turns wild-type and fawn base colors white. If in homozygous form, you get twice the white dilution." The fee gene is incomplete dominant, it can be homozygous, with 2 copies, or heterozygous with 1, and it has an effect on a base color, changing brown feathers to white.
Pearl Fee is a cross between the fawn gene and the fee gene. It produces a pretty light bird, that has feather-sexable plumage similar to that of a wild-type quail.
The first baby quail hatched today, and more are on the way! These are Pearl Fee variety coturnix quail that I purchased from a fellow quail owner. As these quail grow, I hope to document their growth and put a growth chart, with a picture of them each day, somewhere on my website. A growth chart like this will show the quick growth of quail.
I am excited about adding this new variety to my covey, and I look foreward to watching them grow up!