If you’re wondering; can quail live with chickens happily in the same coop, pen, run, and generally sharing the same space, unfortunately, the answer is ‘no’. In short, quail are a little too small and fragile, and chickens are too big and bossy.
Raising both chickens and quail is a tremendously rewarding and fun experience. Both are an excellent source of meat and eggs, although admittedly chickens are better for both.
Both are easy to raise and inexpensive, too. However, if you’re going to raise both chickens and quail, you will need to keep them separate.
In this article, I’m going to explain the potential problems with letting quail and chickens mix together:
Will Quail and Chickens Live Together?
A lot of people ask if they keep quail and chickens together, as well as various other kinds of birds.
I get it, it’s so much easier to have one larger pen and coop and keep all of your birds in there instead of having separate enclosures.
In the case of quail, however, you will need to house them in a separate enclosure for their own safety.
The main issues with keeping both quail and chickens together really boil down to the following:
Chickens Are Capable Of Killing Quail
It’s not as if chickens would go out of their way to kill a quail, but at the same time, it’s also completely feasible for chickens to decide to kill them.
I’ve read plenty of stories about chickens turning on quail. Both when someone tried to keep them both in the same living quarters, and occasions when an unsuspecting quail tried its luck in a chicken run.
It’s not a risk that is worth taking. That much I know for sure.
Quail Are Capable Of Flying Away
Let’s be honest, one of the best things about raising backyard chickens is that they’re not the most flighty of birds.
As long as you have a high fence and provide plenty of reasons for them not to escape (food, shelter, space to roam) you’re not at much risk of your chickens escaping.
At the very least, they shouldn’t be hard to round back up.
Quail on the other hand are very different in this respect. You need to keep them in an enclosure, otherwise, it’s very likely they will fly away and you will never see them again!
They can only fly a good 40-60 meters at a time, but that’s more than enough to cover some distance and get outside of your property.
Chickens Are Likely to Eat Quail Eggs
Much like chicken eggs, quail eggs are delicious and packed with good nutrition - and hens know it!
Quail can be very productive layers, laying anywhere in the region of 230 eggs per year. That’s a lot of eggs, and it’s not always easy making sure hens do not find them before you do.
If hens get a taste for their eggs, it spirals pretty fast from there. They will go looking for their eggs, and may even crack some of their own eggs open.
Related - Here's a look at how many chickens you need to feed a family of 4.
Quail and Chickens Have Different Dietary Requirements
If you were to keep quail and chickens together, you’d have to separate out their feeds. Just think how difficult that would be if they both have access to the same area.
Just as chickens have specific dietary requirements depending on their age and stage of life, so do quail.
Quail being a game bird, eats game feed. They typically require a higher protein content in their feed than chickens do.
Which means that if chickens were to eat quail feed, they’d be getting too much protein and vice versa.
Quails require around 27% protein from their starter feed from the age of hatching to around four weeks.
This drops to around 20% from 4 to 6 weeks of age, and from 8 weeks on quail are usually laying eggs and need to be moved onto a layer feed with around 20%.
A layer feed for chickens only has 16% protein, which might not sound a lot but it’s nowhere near 20%.
In addition to this, there are also various vitamins and minerals specific to each species in their respective feeds.
There Is an Increased Risk of Diseases Being Spread
There is always an increased risk of disease being spread when you keep more than one type of bird or poultry together.
This is because certain diseases affect different species more than others. For example, there might be a certain disease within your chickens that isn't causing any problems. But it can be devastating to your quail, and vice versa.
Even when keeping chickens and quail within their own living quarters, you need to tighten up on your biosecurity when going from one enclosure to the other.
Can Quail Free Range With Chickens?
If you've allocated your quail and chickens their own living quarters, but wondering if you can allow them to mingle free-range from time to time the answer is also no.
In an ideal world, you'd be able to let quail roam free-range and find some tasty bits to eat. But the reality is, quail are pretty good at flying and they don't have the same homing instincts as chickens.
If you let your quail out to free range, there's a good chance you're never going to see them again.
In addition to this, it's outright illegal in some areas as you're effectively releasing them into the wild and they are a non-indigenous species.
The best advice is to speak with your local government and find out what guidelines they have for raising quail where you live.
Do Quail Eggs Taste Like Chicken Eggs?
First of all, quail eggs look a lot different from chicken eggs, so you don't need to worry about getting them mixed up.
Quail eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs, typically about one-third of the size. They also have a cream-colored shell with various shades of brown splotches.
Taste wise they are very similar though. The yoke is typically a deeper yellow in a quail's egg, and I may be imagining this but I think it does have a stronger egg taste.
If you're raising quail for their eggs, you’ve made a good choice. T shey're prolific layers of small but delicious eggs.
You did the right thing researching whether or not quail and is happy with chickens. but unfortunately the answer is no, there are too many risks.
Both chickens and quail make for awesome backyard pets though I'd hate to have to choose between one or the other, hopefully you're able to accommodate both!
Image credits - Photo by Daniel Hernández on Unsplash