How to Protect Quail From Rodents

How to Protect Ground Raised Quail from Rodents

Since the beginning I’ve received many questions about, “How to protect quail from rodents?”

The thing is, I honestly haven’t had any issues with rodents in any of my quail runs.  Pretty amazing right?

So, what’s my secret? Well, I’m not sure I have any fantastic secrets but one of the main things, I never leave food out overnight.   If Rodents are making their way into a quail sanctuary there’s a reason and it’s not to eat your quail. it’s to eat their food.

Our quail have a feeding schedule, this includes a morning and early evening feast.  The rest of their days is focused on a free-range diet where they hunt for bugs and seed inside their habitat.  Sometimes I mix in fresh vegetables and remove leftovers and their dishes at the end of the day.

Since I’m in the middle of establishing a new sanctuary and we’re way more rural than our farm I thought it made sense to incorporate a rodent detour just in case my luck runs out.

This brings me to one of my favorite herb plants, Chocolate Mint.

beautiful planted batch of mint

Planting Mint to Detour Rodents

I’ve been growing chocolate mint for many years and propagated a couple nice size plants from the farm to establish at Quail Grove.  Well as we all know mint is invasive; it loved our black soil and it multiplied perfectly.

This herb comes in a variety of options and each one is a good detour plant towards rodents.  Learn more about mint here.  

Why does it work?

Like most herbs, mint has a strong scent most animals don’t like so they normally move on.  At our farm I had this plant everywhere because it worked wonders.

When I added that protective boarder a few weeks ago it dawned on me it was the perfect place to transplant the mint.

So, that’s what I did.

Successful Transplant

Transplanting Tips

When it comes to gardening there seems to be a lot of rules and I often wonder who made up these restrictions?  I’ve found over the years that sometimes rules can be broken if the temperatures are right, you work fast and the soil is moist.

Those are my three key elements I seek when I want to move plants from one place to another the summer.

Last Wednesday night it rained, the temperatures dropped and when I went outside in the morning it felt like I was given a gift. I quickly grabbed my boots, shovel and water bucket and decided to transplant that mint.

Follow these steps and you can also have a successful transplanting experience any time of year.

  • Transplant in the early morning or late evening (late evening is best, just make sure temperatures are below 80)
  • First prep the new planting area, make sure it’s moist and dig holes for the new plants.
  • Remove plants from current planters with a hand spade one section at a time.  Try not to disturb the roots but with mint that can be difficult.
  • Most important, soak the roots in a bucket of water for a good 15 – 20 minutes.

Move plants to moist soil bed

Establish Plants

Establishing these plants into their new home is a quick process, add bundles of mint to each hole and cover the roots with additional soil.

I had enough mint to go around the entire sanctuary and made sure to water each one again after it was secure.

Plants successfully transplanted

Gaps were left between each transplant and leaf mulch covered the entire surface to help maintain moisture.  Any mulch would work and don’t skip this step because it really helps the plants recover.  I’ve been using leaf mulch all summer, it’s amazing learn more here.

In about a year those mint plants filled in the gaps and expand with gusto.  It will make a beautiful presentation and welcome the honey bees to help pollinate the garden beds inside this quail sanctuary.  It’s a win, win situation.

Use this tip to protect your quail from rodents but remember clean spaces and removing their food will also help detour these pests.  If you have a quail run with space to add a protective boarder this may be a good solution to detour rodents.

There is no 100% guarantee but there are things you can incorporate to make the experience more enjoyable and hopefully less frustrating.  Who knows this might even be a neat solution for chicken runs and fenced in gardens.

How to Protect Ground Raised Quail from Rodents Naturally#Quail, #Homesteading, #Rodents, #ProtectingQuail


  1. Patti says:

    Carole, it’s just another Monday for me too. I love chocolate mint. Though there are tons of mint varieties, it’s my favorite and the one that I grow. I love the deep color and the flowers. Of course, as you know it can take over but that’s a good thing for your quail border. It already looks pretty good but I know it’s going to look gorgeous very soon.

    1. Carole says:

      I agree the color, flowers and of course the scent just make a fantastic presentation. This will be a good place for it to sprawl and run wild. Thinking I may cut it back in a few weeks because that would really give it a fresh new boost.

  2. Melinda says:

    I wish you all the luck, but my rats weren’t deterred by mint. They gladly ate it down to nothing when I put it in planters under my quail hutches. Then after I took up the quail food and put the chicken food in a rodent proof feeder, they moved on to eating my quail. Even when my hutches were moved into my basement garage, the rats found a way in and went right past 50 pound bags of chicken/quail/dog food to break into the hutches and eat the quail. Once they got a taste they wouldnt stop, to the point of chewing the air holes in the wooden side down 2 inches overnight to get in a hutch. It took layering 1/8 inch hardwire mesh over every square inch and surrounding the cages with traps and sonic repellers to get them to stop. We live in a subdivision but have acerage that backs to woods, and had no issues for 2 years until remodeling of the dilapidated house next door drove them this way earlier this year. Hopefully we can drive them away again, but I probably won’t be replacing the lost quail or trying to make a big aviary like I had originally planned.

    1. Carole says:

      interesting experience to say the least. Think I would have called in an exterminator and get suggestions from them since it sounds like the problem was coming from next door. We’re surrounded by farm fields and right now I’ve got little chicks using the run during the day till they grow out. So far so good – getting quail in a couple weeks and really don’t expect any issues but if they do surface I’ll just face them head on like everything else that comes in my path. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Karen says:

    Hi Carole,

    I’ve been growing chocolate mint for a few years too, but always in a pot. I had no idea it would deter rodents! Borders are a great idea – both boundaries for the mint, and protection from the area you’re concerned with – definitely a win-win situation. I’m going to give this some thought because I’ve had a lot of success with my mint and I didn’t realize it had benefits beyond just enjoying it’s amazing fragrance and flavor.

    As for transplanting in general – I totally agree! This spring I transplanted a couple of hydrangeas to a more appealing location in our back yard – THEN I googled to see about transplanting. Seems I should have waited until the fall, but would you believe they are doing fantastic anyway? They went through a few days of adjustment, but I kept them very wet and mulched, and after they recovered, the really took off in their new home. Breaking the rules (wherever they came from) does work if you are mindful of a few things, as you mentioned.

    Thanks for sharing this! I think it’s time to get that mint out of its pot!

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you so much for sharing because you clarified what I do perfectly. Mint is a great my dog doesn’t even like it because it makes her sneeze. Which is great because when that border is over grown she won’t have that desire to dig when I’m not around. She’s pretty good but at the farm everything was fenced off from here when I would leave so I’m hoping all these precautions will pay off.

  4. Mint is a great idea for some raised bed I have around the chicken run. I’ve been looking for something that doesn’t require a lot of care.

    My sister tells me road runners are a problem for her wild quail. It never occurred to me road runners would bother them.

    1. Carole says:

      Yes a great addition – Mint is such a wonderful statement and when it offers dual purpose options it’s even better. Interesting – we have a few road runners at the farm but they never messed with my quail. Even the ones I released they came back to visit one season which was neat and then I could always hear them in the distance. Love those Bobwhite Chirps.

  5. Christine says:

    Great article! I had read catnip is toxic. Is that true? Thanks.

    1. Carole says:

      I really don’t know because I haven’t done a lot of herb planting with my quail.

      I try to keep their environment similar to nature as I prefer raising bobwhites. It’s possible catnip would make them drowsy and just overall have odd behavior.

      If you’re raising coturnix, they prefer a simple diet, bugs, berries and grass grain. I had a few that loved lettuce and then I would feed it a few days later and they wanted nothing to do with it.

  6. Kathy says:

    Thanks for the mint suggestion and the additional details. Do you have any idea if coturnix eat fodder, if so, which grain is best? Thanks Again! Kathy

    1. Carole says:

      Coturnix are picky eaters and actually prefer bugs and berries over grain. However I’ve run into exceptions in some of my flocks but it always remained true as bugs being their first chocie for natural food. You might enjoy reading these two articles:

      I take a very hands off approach to raising quail, but to that their habitat needs to be quite large and set up on the ground where the grass can grow wild.

      Hope that helps. How long have you been raising quail?

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