What to Feed Quail Chicks
When shopping for a starter feed, look for a game feed that has 30% protein for the best results. If you only have a handful of baby quail coming, don’t go overboard with bags and bags of 40lb starter feed because these teeny-tiny birds eat very little at the beginning of their lives—like a pinch a day
From hatch until 6 weeks of age, quail chicks should be fed a starter crumble that contains at least 23% protein.
If you’re having a hard time finding a good starter crumble for your quail chicks, don’t just settle for a bag of chick starter. Unfortunately, feed store employees untrained in the nutritional requirements of quail often tell those who inquire: “this is what you need.” And hand them a bag of 18 or 20% chicken starter.
Instead, if you’re coming up dry for high protein chick crumble options, try asking what your feed store carries for feeding turkey poults. Quail chicks and turkey poults have similar nutritional needs. Turkey starter is generally in the 28-30% protein range.
Food: Feeding wild quail is simple as these birds are primarily granivorous and will eat spilled seed from feeders. They are especially fond of millet and cracked corn, which can also be offered in ground-feeding areas
What should you not feed quail? This includes avocado, caffeine, chocolate, grape seeds, meat, parsley, rhubarb, the stems and leaves of tomato plants, salty foods and treats, uncooked potatoes, and most citrus fruits. Quail will avoid anything toxic to them unless they are starving. This indicates that you should feed your quail more.
Store the food in a clean, dry place, and use it before it expires. If you don’t store the food properly, it can get moldy, which is deadly for quail. It can also become food for other critters, such as insects and rats.
- Use the feed before it expires—usually 3 weeks after the manufacturing date. You may need to use it even sooner if you live some place hot and humid.
- Throw away stale or foul-smelling feed. This indicates that the feed has either expired or gone moldy.
- Rats can not only eat all of the quail’s feed but also contaminate it
Watering your quail
Offer plenty of water, and make sure that the quail have easy access to it. The water trough should be no higher than the bird’s back. Many quail breeders also recommend keeping marbles in the bottom of the trough. This not only makes the water more attractive to the quail, but it also gives quail chicks an escape route in case they fall in. The water trough for new hatch chicks should have small holes so that they cannot get in the water and drown or be pushed in and drowned by other babies.
Keep the water troughs clean and replace the water daily to minimize bacteria growth. Clean the trough three times a week with a commercial, non-toxic disinfectant. Don’t pour the old water out inside the pen. The pen must be kept as dry as possible.
- Pay special attention to the water during the wintertime. Don’t let it freeze.
- Add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to the water from time to time. This kills parasites and makes the feathers look nicer.