Despite its petite frame, quails enjoy devouring every meal they get. That said, quails are particular about their dietary intake and prefer specific foods over others.
Unlike most birds, quails require a protein-rich diet, so their feed depends on their age and their nature.
Quails have a diet of mainly grains and seeds; however, this does not mean that they do not enjoy eating bugs and plant matter like most birds. Their grain-based diet is what makes them easy to feed, and their ascetic nature does not allow them to overeat.
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How to feed quails?
The question of how to feed quails can be understood by examining their age as well as their nature, i.e. whether they are captive or wild.
However, their nutritional requirements remain the same regardless of their nature so understanding their dietary needs bears great importance. We can comprehend the quail’s diet by taking a look at its behavior in wildlife and how those factors are important when feeding your quail.
If we examine the quail’s eating habits in its natural habitat, we see that the quail’s diet primarily consists of grains and seeds. Thus, quails in wildlife prefer to stake out in soybean fields or corn fields to harbor maximum amount of grains
In the case that grains are not available, quails enjoy bushy fruits and nuts like currants, berries, and even acorns.
However, if there is a lack of nuts and fruits and grains, the last resort for quails is staking out insects. Worms, slugs, and other insects are a great source of protein for quails, and in some farms; bugs are specially planted to increase the protein intake for quails.
Water’s importance in quail’s diet
Like every other species, fresh and cold water is essential for the quail’s health. Thus, adding a water attachment to your quail’s coop is crucial.
You will need to ensure that the water is clean regardless of the water attachment you choose and during winter’s keep check on whether the water is frozen.
A helpful tip for deworming your quail would be to add a bit of apple cider vinegar to your quail’s water source. The vinegar helps in clearing out the quail’s body of any worms and parasites.
Can poultry feed be fed to quails?
While other birds can survive splendidly on poultry feed, quails cannot.
Commercial poultry feed is not formulated with the essential vitamins, and minerals need for the quail to be healthy and survive properly.
It is critical to understand that all birds have different nutritional requirements. Hence a one fits all feed is not helpful and deprives the quails of proper nourishment.
Nutrition for baby quails
For young quails, a special feed called “starter feed” is formulated with blends of essential grains and fiber intake. Although these starter feeds can be hard to locate, they fulfill the nutritional requirements of baby quails adequately.
You might need to take a trip to a feed mill to find this type of feed and discuss it with the manager to help you find a feed that’s curated explicitly for quails. This starter feed should be packed with at least 30% protein.
However, you do not need to go overboard with the quantity as baby quails do not eat that much. Just a pinch of feed a day is enough for them to be healthy and grow properly.
Free choice feeding for quails
The quail is not a greedy bird, so the choice of fee feeding is open for them. Quails only eat till they are full and do not proceed to overeat.
This makes the process of feeding them leisurely. It would help if you made sure that their feed is laid out and made available to them at all times. This way, they will feed themselves when they are hungry throughout the day without you consistently on the watch to feed them.
However, do not overfill your feeders as the feed will rot and form molds within them, and if quails happen to consume them, it can prove to be fatal.
Supplements for quail’s diet
Now that you are aware of the necessary dietary requirements of the quail and how to feed them, here are some supplements that will boost their immunity and promote better growth:
Oyster shell is an excellent source of calcium for all birds. This calcium intake promotes the production of thick and better-formed eggs.
Quails can lay up to one egg a day, so oyster shells ensure that the quail’s calcium intake is balanced and helps in the formation of the egg itself.
Like all birds, quails require an ample amount of grit in their diet. Grit is a name for crushed stones, and the reason they bear significance is that they help in the digestion process.
Since quails do not have teeth, grit helps to digest and grind the food properly and breakdown the larger grains and seeds.
Like oyster shells, grit also provides calcium to some extent, and often they are formulated in a certain way to provide additional benefits.
Grit is relatively cheap and easily accessible at any farm store.
Diatomaceous earth is a fine dust that is made from silica and ground fossils. This ingredient is used to kill pests and help with tick or mite infestations.
If you spread this around the quail’s pen and onto your quails, they will act as drying agents and will effectively kill off all critters without adversely affecting the quail. This dust works well for internal parasites as well.
However, it would help if you were cautious of the amount you use, as too much dust will adversely affect the quail’s feet and cause infections due to its drying nature.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are an essential nutritional need for quail. In the wild, they struggle to search for grains, seeds, plants, and other sources of vitamins; however, when they are captive, it is your duty to provide for their vitamin and mineral needs.
Different ages of quail need different quantities of vitamins and minerals. Fortunately, game bird feed is a complete feed, which means it includes all the essential vitamins and minerals for your quail.
Packing on the Pounds in Winter
Quails are known to struggle in winters due to scarce food sources. This fragile nature of the bird makes it incapable of prolonged survival in the cold climates; hence it needs to pack on the layers of fat beforehand.
Quails have a high metabolic rate which makes it impossible for them to last for long in these conditions. Therefore they need to pack on the pounds and protein sources beforehand to survive throughout the season.
Be sure to give your captive quail free choice feed throughout the year and even in this weather so that when the temperature drops they have an adequate food supply to live off of.
Like all animals, quails have their own set of dietary needs, and you need to cater to them for them to grow properly. By using quality feed and encouraging free choice feeding for your quail, you will be delighted to see improvements in your quail’s eating habits.
While you are making sure on your end that the dietary requirements are complete, be sure to check up with vets of feed manufacturers to address the dietary needs of your quail and how you can help your quail grow better.