Solutions for Ground Raised Quail

Detour Fears for Ground Raised Quail

Since the beginning the goal has been to raise quail on the ground and every time I tried to research this idea I came up empty handed or received negative responses.

It was frustrating because in my heart I knew a natural environment was the best way to raise quail. Later after figuring it out I realized those negative responses were based on a myth sprouted from fear.

After writing Quail Getting Started I’ve had the pleasure of helping folks with this same desire to raise quail on the ground. I receive emails weekly asking questions that either make me smile or sometimes a little sad because they received similar negative advice.

If someone is giving you advice on raising quail at ground level make sure they’re actually doing it. To many times opinions are shared based on hearsay and not experience.  It’s that simple!

Let me explain this bold statement because I’m definitely not a “know it all resource” and l love that with each flock of quail I bring to the farm something new is discovered.

I’m however a problem solver who doesn’t follow what others are doing.

When I decided to step outside the box and raise quail in a natural environment I had to figure it out by making it happen.  I applied some key concepts that detoured fears and influenced my journey for positive results and that’s what I’m going to share.

No more do you have fear and keep questioning ground raised quail.

Detour fears for ground raised quail

Those Key Elements

  • I applied Common Sense.
  • Turned fearful comments into proactive solutions.
  • Observed all types of bird behavior from wild to free range chickens.
  • I studied live Coturnix and Bobwhite quail activity for hours.
  • Most important I allowed the quail to live as birds were intended by being hands off.

Why Common Sense

Common sense in general is overlooked; I once believed it to be a natural thing but I’m finding that’s not the case.  Some of us recognize patterns and others don’t.  The same is true in nature so when I designed each quail home I reminded myself of this truth.

Animals arrived on this earth prior to man which means they either survived or they failed to survive. The same holds true when raising quail on the ground and no matter what there will be loss, embrace that concept and don’t get hung up on it.  Implement common sense in your planning as it will help improve your journey and the life of your quail.

Here are just a few of my key common sense tips and concerns that I’m often asked from readers across the country.

  • Keep the grass low outside the quail home.
  • Don’t leave food available in large quantities.
  • Build your coop with quality materials – Cutting corners is asking for trouble.
  • Raise quail in a fenced area – reduces the risk of evening or day predators

Detour Fears for Raising quail on the ground

Turn Fear into Proactive Solutions

Those vocal fears that spring into the air sometimes make it impossible for us to think outside the box.  For every fear, I believe there is a solution; it’s a matter of figuring it out.  I’m listing a few of the most common fears and their solutions.

  • Snakes will take over – Solution is to keep the grass low outside the quail run. Learn more here..
  • Mice and Rats will eat your flock – Solution is to keep the quail home clean – I’ll share more on this topic later.
  • Fire Ants Will Kill them – In the south fire ants are a way of life but quail are smart and they don’t nest where fire ants live.  If a quail dies fire ants will arrive to feast on that bird  so it’s important to remove the quail quickly and bury elsewhere.
  • Quail will Drown in Heavy Rain – This was a concern one year on our farm so I created a solution.  Read Here..
  • They will die in the winter – Here’s another solution read here..
  • It’s impossible for them to hatch in captivity – I did the impossible read more here..

The list of fears continues and because of this I’ve decided to begin writing solution posts for each one as they come to surface.  I’ve covered a few and believe me there are many more and some are just plain silly.

If you have a fear and you’re seeking a solution for a current quail problem please share it with me.  Either in the comments or send me an email to

I’m here to help and I do respond to all my emails and those really awesome questions almost always get turned into a blog post.  Most important there is no dumb question so let’s get them answered. The goal here is to turn fears into Proactive Solutions because I really want you all to have a fantastic quail experience.

 Detour fears for ground raised quail

Observe Quail Behavior and Study their Activity

Prior to raising quail like most I had experience raising chickens and ducks through open free range.  Our experience with those birds was very positive and somewhat similar to a degree.  The main difference was I knew I couldn’t open free range quail and this is where I had to figure out how to plan a protected free range environment.  Quail Coops I’ve designed and used at our farm can be found here. 

I started small and by studying my quail flock from the time they were chicks I was able to understand the life of a quail and how simple these birds really are.  Always make sure their environment isn’t overcrowded, if you see a lot of fighting then you either have to many males or not enough space for your flock.

Don’t overlook the opportunity to observe and study their activity. I have learned so much this way and it happens to be one of my favorite pass times. It’s also relaxing and a great way to be involved in the process without over stepping.  Remember you’re the caretaker and understand that every quail breed is a little different.

Raising Quail Hands off

I’m a very hands off quail owner; there’s no bonding with my quail as I’m simply their caretaker, which means there’s no bird hugs or names taking place. I raise for the purpose of eggs and meat and because these birds have a short life span I don’t get attached.

So, what I mean by being hands off is let these birds be birds by allowing them live in a beautiful natural environment, something that you and the quail will both enjoy.  Your experience will be one of the most amazing things ever if you choose to raise them on the ground.

Let me end with this, don’t let the fear of others keep you from raising quail on the ground, use common sense with careful planning and the results will show you that anything is possible.  When you break it down ask yourself this, “If you were a quail would you rather walk on wire or grass?”

Get ideas and solutions for ground raised quail. No need to fear this natural concept, it's exciting and will enhance your experience. Learn more click here. #RaiseQuail, #Homestead


  1. Jemma says:

    I have so much to say about this no-nonsense, commonsense, and practical guide to raising quail. However there is not enough space or time.
    So I will say this – your alternative approach and guidelines are of tremendous value and I know your style of writing is of such value as well.
    Looking forward to your adventures and lessons learned at your new property.

    1. Carole says:

      Wnhen I start raising bobwhites at the new property you’ll have to come out on release day… it’s going to be amazing because I plan to release them at 7 or 8 weeks old so they should actually leave. LOL
      Thank you for your compliments – I’m just trying to help others so they can experience the beauty of these awesome birds too. It drives me crazy sometimes at all the negativity that is out there.

  2. Patti says:

    Hi Carole,

    If I ever have the property to raise such beautiful creatures I know just who to turn to. Great practical advice is hard to come by and you authentic approach is very refreshing.


    1. Carole says:

      Hey Patti – We’ve been at the property today and I’m telling you I just love it out there and can hardly wait to raise quail out there. That’s me all practical and thank you for the sweet comment. Hope you enjoy a wonderful Easter weekend.

  3. Joan says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Some the things I have heard —-the quail will fly up and break their necks on the roof of the coop.

    Do you have any recommendations for what to plant in a quail coop? I’m thinking clumpy, hardy, grass like plants? maybe daylilies? rain lilies? Ruellia?

    1. Carole says:

      You’re welcome and I have to say I’ve never heard of the neck breaks with coop roofs. My quail have roosting bars and I use shelter boxes that are low to the ground inside their sanctuary for hiding, they also provide protection from really cold, wet or hot weather. I would probably stay away from flowers like the day lilies because they would try to nest underneath them which would eventually destroy the plant. Native grasses are your best option as that is what their environment is in the wild. I have planted edible veggies in the past and they loved loved broccoli. Hope that helps and thank you for sharing today.

  4. We’ve been thinking about adding quail to our homestead, but we’re not quite ready yet. I’d like to get a few more projects done before we start on a new animal, but you’ve given me a lot to think about.

    Is there one variety of quail you’d recommend for a beginner?

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Maria, Yes I recommend coturnix for beginners and my book if you’re thinking of raising them on the ground.

  5. Mike Heine says:

    Hi Carole,
    I just found a two year old article you wrote. I’m glad, too. I was going to rotate 3 raised beds. 1 with strawberries.
    How about squash & zukes? I’m using 48″ wading pools for them. I could build round coops.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    Mike Heine
    Louisville, KY

    1. Carole says:

      You’re welcome glad these quail articles are helpful. I raise quail a little different than most in a natural environment on the ground. Quail love strawberries so they would be a great addition to a quail coop. I’m working on a post for later this month on Quail building materials and to be very honest a wood frame works best and lasts longer. Not sure waking pools would be the best way to go.

  6. Kim says:

    So do you still feed your quail commercial feed, or do they only eat what is in their pen? Thanks

    1. Carole says:

      I do, just a bit of wiild game bird feed in the morning and some in the evenings depending on the time of year. They mostly prefer grazing and because I release many of my Bobwhites I like to make sure they’re foraging more than depending on me.

  7. Kristin says:

    I bought and read your book in 1 day, and it was so helpful to me. My husband built your mobile quail coop, and it’s a beautiful addition to our suburban backyard! We have 3 baby quail so far in the brooder (our incubation didn’t go that well) and we plan to incubate more eggs (hoping for a flock of 10 or so). A few questions have come up. I loaned your book to a friend, so I’m sorry if you addressed this in the book: 1. Can all the quail, male and female, live together peacefully, or do I need to divide the coop in half (or build another coop to separate the mating groups?) We are willing to cull some males if we get too many. 2. If so, when you do you suggest separating them? 3. Any tips for peacefully adding new baby quails to the flock?

    You are such an inspiration. Thanks so much. We are enjoying this journey a lot already.

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Kristin, What a neat message to receive, thank you! I love it when others tell me they read that book in one day because that was my goal. Making it straight forward so you would be encouraged to move forward. Would love to see your mobile coop, feel free to send in a image or even post it on our Facebook page. All quail can live together peacefully without over crowding, it’s 1 square foot per quail. With a flock of 10 I would only have 2 males especially if you’re raising coturnix because they can be territorial and some males are pretty aggressive with the females during mating season. I would recommend culling the additional, I have a post on how to process here on the blog. No need to divide the flock or separate, I would never do that unless one is injured. If that ever happens just remove it and care for it. Cull additional coturnix males around 10 weeks, I also have a post on how to sex them. Add new chicks at around 4 weeks, they will be fully feathered and half grown. Watch them and if any pecking or fighting occurs then remove them and wait till they are 6 weeks and introduce in the evening. If the earlier introduction doesn’t pan out then I would put them in temporary housing so they can begin to live outside naturally from 4-6 weeks. If Possible. Hope that helps and thank you for asking these questions on the post because this helps other readers. -Carole

  8. Brian Cameon says:

    I am a WV boy now living in a village in Africa. I’ve enlarged my bird population slowly. I now free range turkeys, Austrolorps, Guinea fowl, and doves. I’d love to introduce quail. I recognize that I can’t free range quail. If I provided them with a ground level shelter from the elements, would they fly over a fence or must the top be covered? I still have much to learn. Thanks.

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Brian – Quail will fly away in a open area and become prey for sky predators. A covered space would be your best option. I have many examples on the blog under the Quail category and I’m currently working on a new sanctuary that incorporates gardening. I just have the wiring left which I hope to finish this week, fingers crossed!!

      Just click Quail on the menu and enjoy. I also have a great little beginners book “Quail Getting Started” available on Amazon.

      Thanks for stopping by and if you have any specific questions feel welcome to ask. -Carole

  9. Tanya says:

    Hi! We are looking to keep quail on the floor of a shadehouse with some planted boxes for them to forage in and branches to hop on/hide under and we’re thinking we would cover the floor with weed cloth and then use sand and hay as a floor medium that would be easily cleaned and changed out when needed but still allow water to flow into the ground. Does that sound like it would work? We could also have them just on the lawn in the shadehouse but worried about how soiled the area would get and that we couldn’t “wash” it…the space would be about 2.5m x 1.5m for 6 females. Can you give me some advice regarding our plans or other options hat may work better? We want them in as natural an environment as possible and thought that having the plantings and grasses with foraging areas was better than a movable hutch/run on the lawn that could really have any plantings in it. Any advice is greatly appreciated!? I wish we had the yard to do what you have done! Unfortunately we live in Auckland, NZ and have only a very small back yard! Thank you so much!

    1. Carole says:

      First, Welcome I’m so glad you found me. I’ll be writing more about quail – like starting next week so I hope you stick around.

      To answer your questions: It looks like your thinking 8 ft x 4 ft space which is plenty of room for 6 females. I like to offer 1 square foot per bird.

      The rain cleans those grassy areas and I recommend grass covering There’s a couple things you could do…
      You could divide that space into two allowing a rotatation living space for the birds between 4 x 4 sections.

      This post here will explain what I’m talking about:

      That link is a larger set up but with only 6 quail you can do something similar by scaling it down. So, if rain is minimal you can always wash down resting areas with a water hose and their waste becomes fertilizer. This is a good thing!

      Quail do better in grassy areas because it helps calm them. Adding a few small sandy areas where they can sift is good because they love that and it’s so fun to watch.

      Now another option is to remain with your set up as a whole (skip dividing) then add alittle house at the end where they can go into while you wash down their ground between rainfall.
      I hope that makes sense.

      I also like to use small shelter boxes inside and move them around to clean ground. If you’re going to raise coturnix they tend to stay in one place for awhile so moving their shelters encourages them to move.

      Some quail though will just nest in the grass and be completely content and move on when their ready. As you observe their behavior you’ll see what I’m talking about and be able to modify things better. The thing to remember is they’re a simple bird that loves the ground and allowing them to be birds will completely enhance your exprience.

      Hope that helps – Carole

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