Noise is an essential factor to consider when you get into quail keeping. If you live in a dense neighborhood or just like the quiet around your home, you may wonder if quail will disturb you and those living around you.
Quail hens are almost entirely quiet and only make quiet noises when they lay eggs or sense predators. Quail roosters’ crow is much louder, and some find it disturbing. Quail roosters are still quieter than chicken roosters.
I keep 60-100 quail at any moment and live in a densely populated urban area. I find that their noise blends in well with other wild birds that live in the neighborhood if they are appropriately managed.
I’m going to share my experience with you, and I’m going to give you some of the tips I have learned to keep my quail as quiet as possible.
Why do quail make noise?
If you start keeping quail by incubating eggs, you will be delighted to hear the first chirping noises from the incubator. This noise makes you realize that there’s life in the eggs.
Baby quail only make quiet chirping noises. It is very quiet in the first few days and quite amusing. When the newly hatched quail get a few days old, the chirping gets louder, but it’s not loud to disturb anyone if they are in the neighboring room. You can hear the quail noises when they are scared, excited, hungry, or thirsty.
Your quail will get less noisy as they get to know the world, gain confidence, and are not so easily scared of new things anymore. You barely hear them between two and five weeks of age. This is when they start to mature sexually.
Quail roosters start crowing at five weeks of age. This is a sure sign that they are reaching adulthood. The crowing is sporadic at first, but it gets more regular as more of them mature. The crowing of young adult male quail gets intense in the first few weeks of adulthood.
Quail are the noisiest at dawn and dusk. The morning crowing starts late and ends soon on short winter days, depending on where you live. As the days get longer in the Summer, the crowing starts earlier in the morning and is delayed quite late at night.
The noise depends on the number of birds you have. I usually hatch quail in batches of 30-50 and get 15-25 roosters. They can get quite loud when they all start crowing simultaneously.
The easiest way to reduce noise is by culling some of your roosters.
Since we sleep with open windows at home, and the quail pen is not far from our house, I usually butcher the quail roosters when they start disturbing us in our morning sleep. I only keep as many of them as necessary for breeding.
Quail usually reach butchering age at eight weeks, but I noticed that if I keep them on the starter feed instead of switching to a layer feed at four weeks of age, they are ready to be processed by week 6.
Besides crowing, quail make some other noises too. Females tend to make a noise similar to a frog croaking, but it’s neither loud nor disturbing.
The quail hens also sing an egg song after laying an egg to let the world know they are done.
You don’t hear much noise from the quail cage during the day unless something isn’t going well. If you have a wire-floor cage, you can hear their claws as they walk on the wire, but it’s not loud at all.
The only time you hear noises from your quail is usually related to stress, which agitates them. You will understand your quail from the noises you hear and their behavior as you get to know them.
Causes of stress in quail
Some common reasons that cause quail to stress are the following.
Since quail are small and vulnerable, they are pretty sensitive to predators. They start making noises as soon as they sense danger.
If you live in an area with many predators, secure the cage so the quail feel safe. Close all openings on your cage or aviary to give them protection. Remember that even your dogs and cats can cause stress to your quail, and they need to be kept safe from them.
Lack of food and water
Quail must have food and water readily available at all times. If they don’t, it causes them stress, which leads to fights and makes them noisy.
Aggressive quail can stress out your flock and make them noisy.
Some quail are calmer by temperament than others, but there are some best practices to keep down the aggression.
Introducing new roosters to quail hens causes so much stress that even your hens start making audible noises. You will probably find your roosters badly injured after just a few hours. If you purchase adult birds, purchase roosters and hens from the same covey, and keep them together, especially as a beginner quail keeper.
Too many roosters
Keeping too many roosters in a cage makes a noise not only because they are noisier than hens but also because they want to establish their dominance, and they cause stress to the entire flock.
Roosters aren’t necessary for eggs, but keep one quail rooster for every four-five hens if you decide to have them.