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How to Raise Chicken and Quail Together

Last Updated: 22.04.24



If you are looking for an automatic chicken coop door for your flock, but are also considering getting some quails too, you should know that they do not go well together. It’s best to keep them separate because chickens might kill quails and they will also eat their eggs, while quails will fly away if given the chance.

Chickens have been around for a long time now, and people are very used to either keep them in their backyard or to go out to the supermarket and buy some eggs or chicken meat. Quails, on the other hand, have recently started to gain popularity, and proved to be quite a successful business for some people.

Many people that already have chickens may be tempted to get quails too, and put them in the same enclosure, for practical reasons. However, there are quite a few reasons to stop you from doing such a thing. There are many differences between chickens and quails, and the better they are understood the more obvious it becomes that they do not mix and match.

So, let’s take a closer look at the main reasons you should keep quails away from chickens, even if they are in the same yard. In the following lines, we will show how quails are different from chickens, and what the risks of keeping them in the same enclosure are, such as the risk of disease, of quails flying away and never coming back, or the different feeding requirements.


Chickens might kill quails

First and foremost, even if they are being kept in the same space, quails should always be kept separate from chickens, in an enclosed space, in such a way that chickens cannot reach or touch them. Why? Because chickens are prey birds, they will attack anything smaller than them that moves. And quails, especially baby quails, fall right into that category.

Furthermore, you can never foresee what triggers their hunting instincts, therefore you can never know if and when chickens will attack the quails. And having a significant loss in individuals can be a massive blow to any breeder. Therefore, the best thing to do is to keep quails out of the reach of chickens.

Also, the chicken’s immune system is a lot stronger than that of a quail’s, meaning that chickens may carry the disease without showing any clinical symptoms that can prove to be fatal to quails. One example here is Coryza disease that can be transmitted to quails by chickens that do not show any symptoms, and that can affect large numbers of quails at once, causing massive loss.

There is also the matter of parasites that could be transmitted from chickens to quails, but treatments and treatment responses are different for the two species, thus posing a real threat for the quails. It’s always best to stay safe than be sorry, therefore consider keeping them away from each other, even if they are in the same yard.

Moreover, since the quails are the sensitive ones, if you have chickens in one enclosure, and quails in a different one, it is advised to feed and clean the quails first, and to do all that for the chickens afterward. The reason is to avoid contaminating any of the quail food or living space with potentially dangerous germs from the chickens.


Quails fly well, high, and for long distances

Most chicken owners and farmers let their flock free-range at different times of the day, and since chickens cannot fly very well, and even if they do, they seem to find their way back in the evening, breeders are seldom concerned with keeping chickens in a very safe space. When it comes to quails, there is a whole different story.

Quails do fly, both well and quite far away. So the typical neck high fence that would keep the average flock enclosed, proves to be insufficient when it comes to quails. Furthermore, once the quails are gone, they have no idea how to come back, so, unlike chickens, if they are out, they are lost for good. 

Therefore, trying to manage a system in which you keep them together, but only allow the chickens to go out and forage can be tricky, to say the least. Quails are also much faster than chickens, so they are most likely to be the first ones out of the enclosure. You even have to be very careful when you go inside the pen to feed then, or to collect the eggs.

If you want to keep your quails safe, healthy and happy, it’s best for them to be kept in a separate pen, away from any sort of contact with chickens. And this works out well for the chickens too, as they can free-range as much as they want to, every time their keeper allows them to. 


Chickens love quail eggs

If you intend to breed quails for eggs, then it’s best to keep them away from chickens, as they love eating their eggs. It won’t take long before the first egg is cracked by mistake, and then your chickens will get a taste of the quail egg. Soon after, they will be hunting for them, and you will have no eggs left.

Also, quails tend to get their eggs quite dirty if they are not kept in special enclosures that have a special egg tray for the eggs to fall into and remain clean and safe. Therefore, in case you would still be able to find quail eggs in the enclosure, they might be dirty and not very pleasant looking. 

There is also a high chance that both quails and hens will get stressed because they are not used to each other, and in such a case, both species would stop laying eggs for a while. This is one situation to be avoided, and the right way to do that is by either keeping them in close proximity but separate spaces or keeping them away from each other. 


They have different housing requirements

First of all, quails and chickens have different temperature requirements in order for them to keep on laying eggs. If it gets too hot or too cold, quails will completely stop laying eggs, while hens will keep on with their reproductive cycle. Since quails are the sensitive ones, they should be kept in very well ventilated but climate-controlled areas.

Secondly, given their size, quails can escape most traditional chicken pens, just as baby chicks do in the first days of their lives. So the risk of having your quails fly away is quite high. Investing is a quail safe pen that is also suitable for chickens does not seem like a very good idea either, for all the reasons stated above.

And last, but not least, if kept outdoors, quails can rapidly become food for snakes and rats. Rats actually love killing and eating them, while small snakes have no problem eating them either. So attracting pests into your chicken pen by putting quails inside it does not seem like a smart thing to do either. They are best kept separate.



Different feeding requirement

Chickens and quails have very different feeding requirements, so feeding them in the same pen would only cause a multitude of problems. Quail food is a lot richer in protein and minerals, and chickens seem to love it. However, it is not good for their health, and it may even make them sick. Hens, in particular, might suffer from too much protein.

Quails, on the other hand, do not like chicken food and cannot eat the bigger pellets. So, if you were to feed them all in the same pen, you have a case of fat chickens versus malnourished, skinny quails, that do not produce eggs and fall ill the first chance they get. It is obviously a situation to be avoided, by feeding them in separate enclosures.

Also, chickens need a lot of greens and fresh vegetables that do not go well for quails, and the last thing you need on your hands are small birds that have diarrhea and need treatment. As they say, prevention is the best medicine, so feeding your chicken flock separate from the quails is the best way to keep them healthy.

Moreover, if you are still considering placing a quail pen inside your chicken pen, make sure you place them at a higher level of the pen, to prevent your chickens from pooping on their enclosure, and to prevent any unwanted pests from reaching them. The better life quails have, the more eggs they produce.




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