Deciding what to feed animals is one of the most vital considerations that any farmer has to make. Feeding quails often requires a lot of thought since there are many options for a farmer to choose from.
What Can You Feed Quails With? You can feed quails with quail feed or homemade feed should contain 80% grains and seeds and 20% vegetables and fruits and you can also add some insects. Quails can be fed with crushed chicken feed adding the supplements seeds and vegetables that chicken feed lacks.
What Do Quails Eat?
Quails are game birds and their diet mostly consists of grains. Corn, millet, oats, wheat, and a wide range of seeds are among the most common items found in a quail‘s diet. On a farm, when raising quails, the feed you give them should be determined on the purpose of raising them in the first place.
If you are raising quails for meat, their diet will be different than if they are being raised for egg production. The age and size of quails are also vital factors that determine what you should feed them.
Quails in the wild eat a wide variety of food items. For quails on a farm, things are a bit different. Using information gotten from years of research and results from farms, manufacturers have put together specially-made feeds that are perfect for quails.
The best quail feed manufacturers consider every necessity and the feeds contain the right proportion of nutrients for quails. If you decide to use those for feeding your birds, you can rest assured that it will contain all that the quails need.
If you are not interested in purchasing quail feed, you can also make your own quail feed at home. The items that constitute quail feed are mostly (80%) grains and seeds, such as cracked corn, barley, oats, rye, wheat, millet, milo, and sunflower seeds.
Before making quail feed, you should do research on the exact proportion of nutrients that the feed will contain. The main constituents of quail feed are protein, calcium, phosphorus, and methionine.
The rest (20%) should be vegetables and fruits, such as manzanita, huckleberry, blackberry, currant, snowberry, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, and cucumber.
There are quail feeds that are tailor-made for quails and the constituents are dependent on the quail’s age and purpose. Below are some of the notable quail feed types.
A quail should be placed on a starter diet from the instant it hatches till when the quail is between six and eight weeks old.
One distinct feature of starter feeds is that they contain a high protein level, usually around 23 or 24%. Some farmers even go as high as 30%, ensuring that the little quails do not lack.
The high protein levels in starter diets are necessary for young quails to grow properly. The texture of quail starter feed is also unique, as it contains smaller, smoother crumbs that the small quails can eat easily.
If you are raising quails for eggs, you need to pay a lot of attention to the protein levels. Protein plays an important role in the presence of amino acids, which are necessary for the production of eggs.
Once quails have gone past six to eight weeks of age, they should be transitioned from a starter diet and placed on a finisher diet. As quails get older, their need for high levels of protein and other nutrients decreases.
The protein level in finisher feeds is lower than that in starter feeds, usually ranging between 19 and 20%. Finisher feeds are perfect for quails that are being raised for meat. Also, finisher feeds contain bigger pellets than starter feeds, since adult quails can accommodate coarse feed.
The developer diet is similar to the finisher diet since it is meant to come after the starter diet. However, the developer diet is NOT the ideal choice for quails that are raised for meat.
Rather, you should feed your quails with developer feeds if you intend to raise them for flight, breeding, or egg production. The transition to a developer feed should also start from six to eight weeks and should be complete by 10 weeks of age.
The layer diet is made specifically for birds that are actively laying eggs. You can begin a layer diet just before your quail begins laying and continue till the quail completes its egg-laying period.
To make up for the constant egg-laying demand placed on quails, the layer diet has a high calcium concentration than other feed types.
Quail Diet For Egg Production
Poultry birds that are actively laying eggs often require a different diet plan from other quails, because they need extra nutrients to lay healthy eggs.
All over the animal kingdom, the females that are in the process of producing offspring need to eat differently from others in order to maintain great health for themselves and their offspring. This necessity also applies to quail hens, as they need additional attention when fed.
As mentioned above, when quails are about to start laying, you should move them to a layer feed diet, and this should continue till the end of their laying period. The layer feed is rich in calcium, and this helps the hens to lay eggs with solid shells.
You can also improve the quality of eggs being laid by your quails by feeding them oyster shells which are rich in calcium carbonate. Oyster shells can be ground into small particles that the quails can pick at and eat.
Oyster shells are soluble and they will get absorbed into the bloodstream of the quails. The presence of calcium carbonate in these shells will positively impact the quality of eggs and can also help strengthen the bones of young quails.
How Much Do Quails Eat?
When raising animals, feeding them appropriately can be confusing, especially if you are a newbie. Confusion can arise when trying to determine the right amount of food to give out, because underfeeding and overfeeding can both have negative effects.
For a lot of animals, you might need to make calculations based on their weight and age to arrive at a food volume that is perfect. Raising some animals also requires you to serve food at specific times of the day.
With quails, however, you have a lot of flexibility when determining how much feed to place in the feeder. Fortunately, quails are not greedy eaters. While some animals will overfeed if they have access to an excess amount of food, quails are different.
When a quail is served with a lot of feed, they will stop eating once they are satisfied. Due to the conservative feeding habit of quails, the risk of overfeeding is more or less eliminated. This means that you can fill up their feeders, allowing them the freedom of eating when they’re hungry and stopping when they’re full.
Quails are some of the smallest poultry birds, meaning their daily feed intake is a lot less than other birds. On average, quails can eat between 20 to 30 grams of feed per day, which is tiny compared to chickens (99 to 113 grams), ducks (170 to 200 grams), and turkeys (up to 500 grams).
Another advantage of the feeding habit of quails is that you do not need to visit their enclosure multiple times in a day to feed them. You can simply dish out a large volume in their feed containers, giving them round-the-clock access to feed.
Putting an excessive amount of feed into quail feeders has its disadvantages, however, and should be done with some caution. The danger arises if your quails take a while to finish the feed placed in their feeder, causing the feed to last for more than a few days.
The problem with feed that lasts a long while is spoilage. If quail feed lasts for several days in the container, it can begin to develop mold. Moldy feed is dangerous to quails and can make them sick or even cause death.
For safety, you need to find a balance between serving enough feed without giving out an amount that will eventually develop mold.
If you notice moldy growth on quail feed and that of any other birds that you might be raising, you should clear out the feed instantly and wash the container properly.
Can Quails Eat Chicken Feed?
Quails can eat chicken feed, but it is not ideal. Quails and chickens are quite different and they do not have the same nutrient requirements. The quails might need supplements to balance out the lack of certain nutrients.
If you have chickens and quails on a farm, it is understandable if you are considering feeding quails with chicken feed.
The prospect of giving your quails and chickens (both poultry animals) the same feed can be appealing since chicken feed is often more available than quail feed. Also, if they both eat chicken feed, you can save costs on your farm and be free from constantly buying different feed types.
However, there are some issues that come with feeding quails chicken feed.
The first problem faced by farmers that give quails chicken feed is nutrition. As similar as both birds might seem, the nutrients that chickens need are quite different from those that are necessary for quails.
There is a high similarity in the composition of chicken and quail feed, but chicken feed is insufficient for quails in the long run. Quails are game birds that are genetically built for flight, meaning their nutritional demands will be higher and richer than chickens that mostly walk around.
Nutrients like lysine and methionine are important for the growth of quails, but they have low concentrations in chicken feed. Also, the protein level in quail feed is not quite the same as that in chicken feed.
If you want to feed quails chicken feed, you will have to make a lot of dietary plans. Farmers who have a lot of experience in raising poultry birds can make calculations of the number of nutrients that quails lack and give them these nutrients in the form of supplements.
Another problem that quails might encounter when eating chicken feed is the size of the feed itself. Different feeds made for poultry birds come in a range of different sizes. The size of birds corresponds with the size of the pellets found in their feed. The difference in size helps accommodate younger, smaller birds.
Quails are some of the smallest poultry birds out there, and when compared with chickens, they often seem tiny. Since quails are small, their food is made up of small particles and has an almost smooth texture, making it easy for them to digest and absorb.
If quails eat chicken feed that has large pellets, the whole process of digestion and absorption might not be as smooth as if they eat regular quail feed. If you intend to give quails chicken feed, you might want to crush up the feed to make it smoother.
How Much Water Do Quails Need?
While you can measure up the amount of water that you give your quails, it is best if they have access to water at all times. This way, they can drink when they are thirsty and not when you think they are.
Even if it does not get as much attention as many other substances, water is in fact, the most important food item for animals. Food, supplements, and medication all come after water when listing out nutrients that animals need to function properly.
This just shows how vital it is for you to get things right when making considerations for the amount of water that your quails need. Quails need fresh, clean water that is free of germs and other contaminants.
Another reason why water is very important for poultry birds and other animals is that you can use it to administer medication or supplements. If your animals are sick, in danger of falling sick, or in need of some additional nutrients, you can simply dissolve the needed drugs or supplements in their water supply.
In general, quails tend to drink twice the weight of dry feed that they eat. There are some specific factors that can affect the exact amount of water that a quail drinks and they are explained below.
Weather (Temperature and Humidity)
When the weather gets hot, it will be easier for your quails to get dehydrated, causing them to drink more water than usual. If the humidity level of the environment is also low, it can further contribute to your quails drinking a lot of water.
High heat and low humidity levels both contribute to the quails getting thirsty faster, increasing their water intake. In cold, wet weather, you might find that quails might not consume as much water.
Size and Growth Rate
On a basic level, the larger a quail is, the higher the volume of water it will consume. There is a wide variety in the size of quail breeds, as some breeds are up to five times the size of others. Logically, these bigger birds will drink more water than their smaller counterparts.
Water consumption is also affected by the stage of a quail’s growth. Younger quails that are growing actively have a high water content in their bodies and need to drink water constantly to stay healthy and grow fast.
Among adult quails, the amount of water consumed is also affected by whether the quail is a laying hen. When eggs are formed within hens, the process is a rather stressful one, affecting the quail’s feeding behavior.
Based on scientific studies, the ingestion of water in hens starts to increase several hours before the egg is laid. On days when a quail lays an egg, it tends to drink a lot more water than on days when no eggs are laid.
The components of a quail’s diet can also affect how much water it drinks. Different quail feeds contain different ingredients, whether they are purchased or you make the feeds yourself.
The higher the mineral content of your quail feed, the more likely it is for the quails to drink more water. For instance, if the amount of salt in your quail feed is high, then their water consumption is also likely to rise.
In animals, the kidney plays an important part in the whole process of drinking water and feeling thirst. The amount of water that a quail will drink can also be determined by how effectively its kidneys can reabsorb water.
The reabsorption capacity of the kidneys is a simple individual feature that varies among quails, making some of them drink more heavily and frequently than others.
The safest way to ensure that your quails do not go thirsty is to provide a non-stop supply of water for them. Farmers go for different watering options, with some of the most popular being nipple drinkers, pan and jar drinkers, manual drinkers, water troughs, automatic bell drinkers, and simple water bowls with protective grills.
While most of these watering systems can be used to provide a non-ending supply of water, it is easier to supply water non-stop with an automated system. For example, with nipple drinkers, pipes are used to connect a main tank to the nipple mouths.
Whenever your birds need water, they can simply push the nipple with their beak, releasing water into their mouths. This way, you do not need to carry water around in buckets. Once there is water in the main tank, your birds will never go thirsty.
Generally, you might find it easier to administer drugs and supplements through water if you’re using a manual watering system. For instance, if you are using a water bowl or trough, you can easily calculate the correct volume of additives to be dissolved in a specific volume of water.
One thing to note about quails is that they are messy eaters. When eating from a container, they tend to scatter it over a wide area. If you are using water troughs for your quail, you should give a good amount of space between the feeders and the water troughs to avoid feed falling into the water.
Also, if the feed and water containers are close to each other, water can splash into the feed. If quail feed gets wet, the chances of mold growth are almost 100%. Hence, the separation between feed and water containers is very necessary.
With water troughs and bowls, hygiene is very important. Even if the feed does not get into the water containers, other contaminants such as debris and quail droppings might get in after a while. So, you should clean these containers frequently to ensure that your birds stay in good health.