Can You Keep Just One Quail as a Pet? – (7 Considerations)

If you’d like to keep a bird at home, and you’re looking at the different options, you may have thought of quail as a possible pet. If you have limited space available and can only keep a small cage in your home, you may be wondering: Can I keep just one quail?

You can keep just one quail as a pet if you are looking for a rare ornamental bird. Quail are social birds and naturally live in flocks. It is best to keep at least a pair, but it is possible to keep just one. Quail are low maintenance, and a single bird can form a great bond with its owner. Consider a rare type, such as a California, Button, or Bobwhite quail.

While keeping only a single quail may cause you to miss out on some of the excitement and joy of having a large flock, you will find that a single quail will become a much-loved and unusual pet in your home. 

What type of quail is best to keep as a pet?

Coturnix quail are the most common type of quail kept for their eggs and meat, But if you are looking to keep just one quail, you’re probably after a bird to keep in a cage that decorates your room and fills it with some cheerful noise. 

Learn how to raise your own quail and have an unlimited supply of eggs and meat.

Here are some breeds of quail to consider if you want to keep a single quail as a pet. 

California Quail

Also known as the Valley Quail, is a small, plump bird native to the western United States and Mexico. It has a distinctive topknot on its head, a short, curved beak, and a round body. The male and female both have a brownish-gray color and white stripes on their sides. California Quails are social birds and are often seen in flocks, foraging for food on the ground. Their eggs are considered a delicacy in fine-dining restaurants. 

Button Quail

Also known as Tiny Treasures or Spotted Quails, are small, ground-dwelling birds native to Southeast Asia and Africa. They are named for their tiny size, measuring just 4 to 5 inches in length, and for their button-like appearance. They come in various colors including brown, gray, and black, and some species have distinctive markings. Button Quails are shy and nervous birds, but they are also hardy and can be kept as pets. They are omnivores and feed on seeds, insects, and greens. They lay eggs frequently and are popular among bird breeders.

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Bobwhite Quail

Also known as the Northern Bobwhite, is a small, ground-dwelling bird native to North America. It is named for its distinctive whistle call, which sounds like “bob-white.” Bobwhites are plump and stocky birds, with white throats, rust-colored sides, and black and white stripes on their heads. They feed on seeds, insects, and greens and are often hunted for sport. Bobwhites are also popular as game birds for bird hunters and bird dog trainers. Their population has declined in recent years due to the loss of their natural habitat. The good news is that efforts are underway to conserve and restore their populations.

What are the advantages of keeping a single quail as a pet? 

Keeping a single quail does have advantages. It can be a unique experience for those who enjoy having birds as companions. 

Here are some advantages of keeping a single quail:

  • Unlike flocks, single quails are easy to care for and can be housed in smaller cages, making them a convenient option for those who live in apartments or have limited space.
  • A single quail is a low-maintenance pet when compared to other birds. They are hardy and don’t require much attention or specialized care, so they’re ideal for first-time bird owners or those who have busy lifestyles.
  • Quails are social creatures, and a single quail can form a close bond with its owner. They can learn to recognize and respond to their owners, which makes for an enriching experience. 
  • Quails are also very active birds, and watching them move around their cage can be entertaining and provide stimulation for their owners.
  • A single quail will be a quiet pet. Unlike other birds, they don’t make loud screeches or chirps, so they won’t disturb neighbors.  
  • Feeding your quail is easy. They are omnivores and eat a variety of food, including seeds, grains, and vegetables. They do not require complicated diets or special feeding schedules.

Keeping just a male or female quail

Many quail owners prefer to keep a single female quail as a pet rather than a single male. Male quails can become aggressive and territorial, especially during the breeding season, and may attack their owners. Females tend to be calmer and less aggressive, making them better suited as pets.

Does your quail need a companion?

Quails are social birds and do well in groups, but they can also live happily as a single pet. While some quails may prefer the company of others, a single quail can still lead a happy life if it receives enough attention and interaction from its owner. 

It is important to provide a spacious cage and plenty of toys and activities to keep the quail stimulated and entertained. Regular handling and interaction with its owner can also help form a strong bond and provide the quail with social interaction. A single quail does not need a companion as long as it receives adequate care and attention from its owner.

Can a button quail live alone?

Button quail are popular pets due to their small, button-size! They can live alone in a cage, but like all living creatures, they will require attention and interaction from their owner to thrive. 

Handle your quail regularly and interact with it. Provide a spacious cage with toys, hiding places, small plants, a dust bath, and a water bath for splashing. Individual temperaments can vary among button quails, and some may prefer the company of others. Observe your quail and if you find that she is not happy, perhaps it would be better to keep her outdoors in a flock. 

Best setup for a single quail

Keeping your quail happy is vital, especially if she is a single bird. Here are some points to consider – 

  • A single quail can be kept in a cage. Look for a large cage that allows your pet to have space to move around. You can choose a small aviary, a large bird cage, a chicken coop, a hutch, or even build one yourself. The cage doesn’t need to be tall because quail are ground-dwelling birds.
  • Keep the cage in a safe place away from predators and other pets like cats and dogs. It can be indoors, provided that there is adequate light and movement of fresh air. If outdoors, you need to protect the cage from direct sun, rain, and predators.
  • Make sure that the space between the wiring is less than an inch. Quail can try to squeeze their heads through the gaps. 
  • The floor should be solid and not covered with wire mesh as this can hurt their feet. Cover the floor with pine shavings, newspaper pellets, or fir wood chips.
  • Cover the top of the cage with padding. Although quail don’t usually fly, your pet may try to gain some height and you don’t want her to get hurt. Clipping the wings can prevent quail from gaining too much height if they try to fly. 
  • Set up a water container that you can regularly clean and refill.
  • Set up a food container that you can access easily to refill and clean. You can feed your quail bird crumbles, canary mix, gravel, and grit. You can also sprinkle grass on the bottom of the cage so your quail can forage. 
  • Fill the cage with fun accessories to keep your pet happy. Create hiding spots where she can go for some me-time. A sand tub provides fun and also allows the bird to dust-bathe and remove parasites like mites. Small plants make quail happy and they can feed on them to supplement their diet. 
  • Give your quail treats from time to time. Quail will eat fruits, veggies, bugs, and table scraps. They may be fussy, so ensure that you remove any leftovers so they do not rot in the cage. 
  • Ensure that the cage is in darkness at night. Quail prefer to sleep in the dark and may become sick if light prevents them from getting enough sleep. 
  • Clean the cage regularly to ensure that your pet has a hygienic and healthy environment in which to live.

Final thoughts

Keeping a single quail as a pet can be a fun and rewarding experience for those looking for an easy-to-care-for companion. They are low-maintenance, quiet, and can form close bonds with their owners. A single quail is an excellent option for those who want a pet bird but don’t have the time or space for a flock.


Sam is an outdoor enthusiast, who loves spending time in the garden and learning about animals. His motivating forces are his wife and 5 beautiful children. When he doesn't get it right, he will go and try again!

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