Quail in the Winter

Raising quail Naturally in the Winter Details

When cooler temperatures arrive winter has this way roaring through our farm.  Which left me a little concerned how the quail would handle the temperature change.

We’ve had a few nights in the teens, early mornings in the 20’s, daily temperatures around 40 plus.  This has been followed by an abundance of rain, and a wind chill that blows damp air.

They have been remarkable and resourceful through this period.

Today I’m going to share how Coturnix quail handle winter when the temperatures drop in the south, it might surprise you.  It does get cold here and sometimes it even snows.

How Quail Nest

If you’ve been following my quail journey you know I raise my birds outdoors on the ground.  Shortly after fall quail stop laying eggs when the time change goes into effect ad temperatures drop.  Egg production came to a halt with my flock after they molted in November.

They’re favorite place regardless of temperatures is to nest on the ground and nest in small groups of three or four.  It appears space is their priority which was a little bit of a concern prior to the change in weather.

When temperatures dropped they began to blend their nest so the grass completely covers like a tunnel.  They occupy these nests until temperatures rise to 30 degrees; this is when a group will march to the nearest covered shelter for additional warmth.

At one point I actually placed the shelter boxes over these nest to protect the quail from wind chill.

The nest on the left in this photo is a better example of the tunnel; the grass dried when the first frost arrived.

No heat lights have been necessary and I recommend staying away from them as they can be dangerous if not set up correctly.

I’m finding trusting their instincts has been a fascinating learning experience.

The benefits of Shelter Boxes and Hay

The Shelter boxes work like a charm; I built several since they tend to spread out.  They use these mostly when it rains and temperatures are extremely cold.

I also keep their food dishes under these boxes so it stays dry.  These shelter boxes are pretty sweet and can moved when needed.  I like to add a little hay inside for additional insulation and in worse case situations hay bales could also be incorporated to work as insulated walls.

We haven’t had snow but if we do the hay will remain and lifting the shelters off the ground on boards will also be implemented.

So, far the Coturnix quail are doing well over the winter, they eat more to stay warm but they use their instincts to live smart.

The key is to remember implementing the shelter boxes in your outdoor set up, they offer many benefits to ground raised quail.

How to Prepare quail for the winter months. Click here to get details for ground raised quail. #Homestead, #WinterQuail, #Quail


  1. Anonymous says:

    Do you know yet if you'll be offering Quail Basics at the Dallas show in March? Or just the Fort Worth one?

    1. Yes I will be in Dallas for the March show with live birds at both. Building workshops will be on Saturday and Quail basics will be both Saturday and Sunday at both locations. I'll be sharing more information in my email subscription in the next couple of weeks. Excited!

  2. Angie Church says:

    I can remember my grandparents and the quail in the winter they were farmers and I learned so many lessons there
    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

  3. Lysa Wilds says:

    What an interesting and educational post. I can now say that I learned something today! Thanks for linking up with us on the Oh My Heartsie Girls Wordless Wednesday Linky Party.


  4. Interesting! I'm getting chickens and possibly angora bunnies this Spring. My biggest fear is what to do when our frigid Michigan winter arrives. Thanks for sharing your experience with Quail. 🙂

    1. He Monica – I raise chickens too and when you're building your set up take your weather into consideration. Hay bales are a great insulator inside the coop during the winter. The Chicken Chick has a neat post on water heaters using a cookie tin for the water containers. I would stay away from windows in your set up too. Those were just a few tips – Can't imagine extreme cold weather… I love the heat… Thanks for stopping by- Carole

  5. Oh my goodness, your quail are so cute!

    I love that I learned something from this. I would have never thought that they would stop laying eggs when the temperatures drop. I love their little nests.

    Thanks so much for sharing and for linking this post up to the #SHINEbloghop!

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  6. Natalie says:

    Very interesting. I'm going to search out the rest of your quail experience…I just found you on From the Farm hop

    1. Hello Natalie – Welcome! Hope you enjoy what you find. I recently published an eBook – it's a complete detailed guide to getting started raising your own flock. If I can answer any questions just let me know.

  7. Joy Mooiweer says:

    Beautiful birds, glad to hear they are doing well in the cold. Thanks for sharing at Oh My Heartsie Girls Wordless Wednesday 🙂

  8. Thanks so much for linking up at the Totally Terrific Tuesday Link Party! We hope to see you again this week!

  9. Hello cute lady! Awesome post. Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you taking the time to stop by and party with us. It wouldn't be a party without you! I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm. Lou Lou Girls

  10. What a nice friend to have, My doggie just passed away and not ready for another dog, but maybe a litte bird.
    Thanks for sharing this on Fabulous Friday

  11. This fascinates me. I've been addicted to Quail eggs (pickled) for years….and the thought of raising the birds for a meat source has been an interest. We live in Utah–and I see them running about often.

    Do these birds stay on your property if you raise them from chicks?

    1. I raise them on the ground in a 60 ft X 12 ft x 6 ft enclosed area. They would leave your property if you tried to raise them in open spaces, they have strong instincts I recently published an ebook that goes into great detail about getting started, everything from breeds, establishing a flock, housing, feed and even some business opportunity ideas, and more. It's jammed back even did a comparison with chickens. I love these little birds so much easier to have around than chickens. -Carole

  12. Sue says:

    In NJ winter has been mild so far, but I’ve been concerned about the comfort of my birds.
    We had lights on them for weeks and they seem to move through the area. When in cow tubs I purchased a platform heater- recently I extended the legs and put it in one of the cages. Birds move around under for comfort – no lights that might stress the egg season – I don’t want an artificial egg production. Now I have no worry about temps. Will install one in each cage.
    I am enjoying these little friends more that expected.

    1. Carole says:

      You should be find by adding in hay for bedding. If you have a large space hay bales make great insulation. Another thing I did with my mini shelters is lifted them off the ground, can use 2 x 4’s and then cover the base with hay. They loved that and then I would arrange them so they were facing each other and sometimes added additional plywood so they had like a breeze way between the two. We recently moved so I’m starting from scratch again and weeks away from installing our Quail Grove. Just waiting on a burn ban to be lifted to I can clear that area first. Excited because I miss my quail… They’re so fun to watch…

  13. Paul Scarborough says:

    In my experience, shelters like the ones you describe also attract rattle snakes in the summer. Be sure to pick them so the snakes don’ use them as shade. Thanks for the quail info. Planning on reading your book and getting started when we get moved back out to the farm in the Texas Panhandle.

    1. Carole says:

      Hey Paul, thank you for purchasing my book I wrote it for beginners so it will get you started if you’re seeking to raise them on the ground. It’s the nature of quail to move so yes those shelter boxes are moved about every week or two and you might enjoy this read on keeping snakes out of the sanctuary, I’ve never had a problem with them.


  14. Patti says:

    Such interesting characters. I do love to watch birds when I’m outside in the garden or on our porch. In one of our previous houses when even had some wild birds that looked a lot like your quail. I don’t know if there is such a thing or if they escaped from a neighboring home. Sadly I don’t see them in my future but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy hearing all about them.

    1. Carole says:

      They are very interesting and their behavior is different between breeds. I think what we forget is birds have incredible instincts and actually know how to care for themselves. So I just did some quick research and the Northern Bobwhite is a known resident in your state. Which means they could be raised and released in your area ( Check laws first of course) also raised for self reliance. Could become an interesting topic of conversation over the holidays. Maybe your husband might want to raise them in his retirement? Raising quail is normally a guy thing – how I snatched onto it was me just looking for something new to do on our farm and fell in love. I just love to explore bird behavior.

Comments are closed.