Many people get tempted to mix their chicken flock with other species. The most commonly asked question is, Can quail live with chickens? After all, having a mix of quail eggs and meat might sound like a great idea to mix up your flock. And when you look up the answer to this, you are going to find a lot of differing responses. Luckily we are here to help you determine facts from a ticking time bomb.
Can Quail Live With Chickens?
The short answer is No. Raising quail and chickens together is never a good idea. Many owners might have success at first, but things go wrong quickly. There are too many factors to consider when attempting this difficult task. You might start with a perfectly mixed flock, but one little mistake could devastate your birds. And quail usually get the short end of the stick. Let’s take a closer look at why keeping quail and chickens together is a bad idea.
Many birds carry diseases that are quickly spread. And with these two birds, several things can go wrong. Chickens have a reliable immune system due to their rigorous breeding. Quails, on the other hand, have a weak system since they are not domesticated. Anything that a quail catches is potentially deadly.
Many viral and bacterial infections can pass between quail and chickens. The most common disease is coryza. When a chicken gets coryza, then generally have cold-like symptoms and are cured with antibiotics. But when quail get coryza, they hide their illness out of instinct. So when you finally start seeing the signs, it’s usually too late. Coryza is known to take out entire quail flocks within days.
Chickens are known to have an exact pecking order that only they understand. Sometimes chickens can get a little aggressive with their orders. It is only inevitable that chickens will pick on quail. A chicken’s aggressiveness could keep your quail from food, water, and nesting areas. Your chickens could even end up killing the quail while bullying them.
You might be wondering, can Bantams and quail live together? But the average Bantam weighs between 1-2.5 pounds while quails weigh about 3 ounces. This is a significant difference if you have a pecking order issue in your flock.
Chickens Will Eat Quail Eggs
Most people who want quail want them for their rich eggs. But if you raise your quail and chickens together, your chickens might get to the eggs first. Chickens love the taste of quail eggs just as much as we do. You likely won’t see many eggs, making all the work not worth your while.
Many people love to let their chickens free-roam at times. Free-roaming gives your chickens the chance to stretch their wings and to forage. As mentioned before, quails are considered a wild species. If you let your quail free-roam, there is no guarantee that they will come back. They might come back after a few days for food, but if they fly off, they aren’t coming back. Which brings us to our next point.
Quail Fly Away
Chickens do their version of flying, but quail fly great distances. A quail run will need to be covered and needs to be taller than a chicken run. If your quail fly out of the coop, they are likely gone for good. Even if they do try to come back, their next obstacle is not to run into predators. Quail can be terrible at protecting and hiding. So if they run into a cat, dog, or raccoon, they will not survive.
When quail live with chickens, they often have a hard time getting the nutrition they need. Quail feed consists of mostly small grain pieces that are high in protein. And chicken feed has larger pieces with lower protein content. If you house these birds together, you will notice that your chickens are a little greedy and will eat all the quail feed. Your quail will then become malnourished because they can’t eat the chicken feed.
Coop And Run Requirements
Our last topic is about living requirements. Here are a few differences that a quail coop will need:
- No Ramp- Quail do not use them.
- Close to the ground- Since quail live their lives lying low, they need to have a coop to fit this need.
- Small Spacing- A quail run will need to be covered in hardware cloth because they are notorious for getting their heads stuck in the wire.
- Ventilation- A quail coop needs more ventilation than chickens.
- Insulation- Quail do not fair well with too many drafts or in the cold.
What If I Accommodate All Of These Things?
You might be wondering if you did everything right, will quail live with chickens? If you were able to keep them from free-roaming, fed separately, and disease-free, they would be fine. But even if your quails live with chickens for years peacefully, there is no guarantee of how long it will last. Your flock might seem fine for years, and then suddenly, a chicken starts pecking at your quails. Or disease wipes out your flock. For the safety of all animals, it is best to keep them separate.
But even though quails can’t live with chickens, you could have both of them in coops and runs that are spaced out. Distance would keep accidents from happening between the fence dividers, and disease wouldn’t spread as quickly.
Can Quail And Chickens Mate?
Chicken breeders have been trying for years to get successful crosses. Chickens and quail do not mate naturally, but through artificial insemination, it can happen. But these chicks rarely live long if at all. Most of these fertilized eggs stop developing at the early stages. And the ones that do make it are usually infertile males. They also have multiple mutations that make life difficult, and they have to be humanely culled.
Scientists and breeders alike are still trying, though. These hybrids are very complicated, and an amateur shouldn’t attempt it.
What Other Birds Can Live With Chickens?
Can quail live with chickens? No, but there are a few birds that can. They make much better matches and can add a little variety to your flock.
Guineas and chickens are a popular mix among coop keepers. Guineas are a hardy bird that can hold their own against a bully chicken. They are docile and very protective. People love to integrate guineas into their flocks because they eat insects from the yard, and make magnificent watch birds. These birds are loud and can scare off most predators with their screech.
The downside to guineas is that males can be too aggressive towards chickens. They are also a very loud bird, so keeping too many might annoy the neighbors in close communities.
Ducks can be a little riskier to try. Male ducks will try to breed with your hens and might get a bit territorial. They also have different nesting requirements than a chicken so that you will need separate sleeping spaces for them. And of course, ducks need a place to swim. If you don’t have a small pond at the least, then ducks aren’t for you.
But if you do get ducks, they can make a great addition to your family. Ducks can learn tricks and seem to enjoy a person’s company more than chickens do. Not to mention, if your female lays eggs, they can be rich with flavor.
Surprisingly chickens and turkey can live together happily as long as everyone gets what they need. The biggest concern is making sure that you have enough room for these large birds. Without enough room, your turkey and chickens will feel like they need to compete for resources.
Turkey is a gentle bird that mostly keeps to themselves. They rarely attack unless provoked, and are intelligent. Most people who raise meat, a start-up in June to get their birds nice and big for Thanks Giving.
Geese are a lot like ducks as far as their requirements. But they also make a great addition to a chicken flock. Many people prefer to keep a single goose with their chickens for protection. More than one goose will keep your geese protected, but they will ignore your chickens. If you have ponds available and ample room, adding a goose can give your flock some added flare.
Making Inter-Species Flocks Work
There is a common saying that birds of a feather flock together. And that saying is true for every bird. You can keep some species of birds together in harmony, but they likely will stick to their own kinds. But if you want an inter-species flock to work, here are a few tips to get started.
- Feed all species in separate areas. Most of these species like to forage throughout the day, but they should have regular access to feed specialized for them. Doing separated feeding will ensure that all birds are eating well and not being bullied.
- Have more than the recommended amount of room. If your whole flock only needs 100 square feet of space, go bigger. You will need enough room to make sure that all birds can get away from each other.
- Free-roaming is best for inter-species flocks. You will still need to lock them up at night for protection, but give them as much space as possible for several hours a day.
Can quail live with chickens? No. But there are plenty of other types of poultry that do well with them. And don’t like the idea of these types of birds in with your flock, you can choose different chicken varieties. Having several chicken breeds can be an excellent compromise for a stunning flock.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!