Feeding Quail

Spring weather has arrived and the grass is growing like crazy.  The quail are happy campers and have discovered that bugs and grass grain are much better than feed.

These cuties are full grown and their appearance is nice and plump.

I raise quail different than most; the goal for me is to provide living conditions that benefit quail instincts while keeping them safe at the same time.

I knew if I could do this the birds would also be healthier because a natural lifestyle would have a positive impact on their diet.

Since I knew I couldn’t open free range I spent hours researching how to house and feed quail.

Research is great and a perfect avenue to learn but I couldn’t find what I was looking for which was really frustrating and when everything I did find basically stated it was impossible to raise quail on the ground.

Talk about frustrating so I decided to figure it out on my own.

Feeding quail was one of those things I had to figure out because I wanted to enhance their diet beyond traditional feed.

Feeding Quail Chicks

I did begin quail chicks with a game bird starter feed, this will be a non-medicated variety.

If you can’t find a Game Bird Feed starter to purchase you can substitute with a high quality dry cat food.

Protein levels require 30% or higher and you’ll have to grind crumbles in the blender so it looks like small crumbs.  You only need to grind feed during week one with a crumble and continue with a dry cat food indefinitely.

You can also feed mashed hard boiled chicken eggs.  Peel the shell off and mash eggs into small pieces, keep in mind the pieces need to be micro and small amounts as eggs spoil quickly.

After they’re two or three days old introduce fruit.  Favorites are apples, oranges, berries pears, and peaches.  Make sure you cut them into extra small pieces introducing in small amounts.

At week one you can supplement their diet with meal worms; they will love this so place enough for everyone.

Half Grown Quail

At 3 to 4 weeks old my flock went outdoors in their coop.  They we’re a little slow to the concept of a protected free range atmosphere, acting as if it was some sort of trick.

I continued with starter game feed, treats and found they even liked a little cucumber.

Then at about week 5 -6 weeks they decided grain and bugs were a wonderful addition to their diet and feed became an option.

Full Grown Quail

Free range diet is their first choice and feed has become a supplement.  Their coop is moved every 3 -4 days onto fresh grass and their lifestyle is about as natural as it gets for raising quail in captivity.

When the mobile coop is moved this welcomes a new crop of bugs to devour, they get pretty excited making all sorts of neat noises while they hunt.

Quail Food Treat Options

Fruit like I listed above continue to be a welcome treat.  Greens like sprouts, corn on the cob, bird seed mixture, and meal worms are also good options.
Greens are tricky, one day they loved lettuce and a week later they could care less.

Summing Feed Up

How to feed quail will depend on how you decide to house the quail.
The main thing to remember when quail are newborns they need a non-medicated feed.

Finding a GMO free feed will take research and a good place to start the search is at a local feed store.  They may not carry one but they could have a lead.

So I’m here to say, if you like the idea of raising quail in on the ground then you’re in the right place because that’s the only way I raise these birds.  I just figured it out and decided to share my experience along the way.

To learn more check out my book, Quail Getting Started.

Learn how to feed coturnix quail a natural diet at all ages. #CoturnixQuail, #FeedingQuail, #Homestead


  1. Here from the HomeAcre Hop. Glad to have found you. My son grows quail. Hatches the eggs and everything. He's only 13.

    1. That's Awesome! I just love these little birds – they're so peaceful. Would love to see his set up – you're welcome to post photos on the Facebook page. 🙂 Thanks for sharing – Carole

  2. Nancy W says:

    I've raised chickens and guineas but never quail, yet! Thank you for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop, hope to see you again tomorrow! – Nancy
    The Home Acre Hop

    1. Quail are so much Fun Nancy! You can't let them open free range but how I'm doing it has provided them that natural environment and they're thriving and I found out yesterday they do fly. They're a peaceful bird and make the neatest sounds. Wait till you see the next coop set up I've been working on. -Carole

  3. Lisa Murano says:

    This was such an awesome post…..I just had to feature it this week at Green Thumb Thursday! Thanks so much for joining us!


    1. Awesome – I didn't realize so I'll go ahead and get this linked up and shared. Thanks and glad you found the information helpful. -Carole

  4. Totally love your site and I didn't know a thing about quail. Thanks for letting me know.

    Come Share again please at Green Thumb Thursday


    Cottage Making Mommy

    1. Quail are so much fun! I will continue to share more as I learn, they are such a peaceful little bird. -Carole

  5. stewart says:

    Thanks,you helped me a lot,bought the wrong feed on a Friday & got home 60 miles away when I found out to late for an exchange,new my quail were supposed to arrive on Sunday 17th. day which they did,I didn’t know what to do,don’t feed for 1 day or what,just read this post & I’am in the process of boiling an egg,will see later if it works ,but at least I have an option thanks.

    1. Carole says:

      Well I hope they’re doing good. Keep their environment clean, that’s so important when they’re chicks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *