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Blue Scale Quail: Traits, Care & Health

blue scale quail

Are you looking for an interesting and exotic addition to your homestead? Look no further than the Blue Scale Quail.

These small but mighty birds are perfect for homesteading life. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they also offer a lot of benefits to your homestead.

In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about raising these adorable little birds.

What Are Blue Scale Quails?

These birds are native to the southwestern part of the United States and  Central Mexico.

Blue Scale Quail are small birds weighing between 5-7 ounces. They are sometimes referred to as “Cotton Tops” for their plumage.

These birds are often hunted during hunting season. However, they are also becoming more popular as a sustainable source of meat.

Blue Scale Quail are easy to raise, and they require minimal space and feed.

Because of their small size, they are perfect for homesteaders who want to raise animals for meat but have limited space.

These birds live in deserts, scrub, and grasslands. This means homesteaders in the southwestern part of the United States will have the easiest time raising Blue Scale Quail.

However, they have also been successfully raised in other parts of the country, such as Washington and Nevada.

Blue Scale Quail Breed

What Do Blue Scale Quails Look Like?

The most striking feature of these birds is the blue and black scaled pattern on their breast, belly, flanks, and back.

As mentioned earlier, the wings and back are a gray-brown color. The head has a “cotton top” crest, which is white in color for males and in hens is a beautiful buff color.

The male and female quail are very similar in appearance, but there are subtle differences that can aid in distinguishing the two.

The easiest clue to spot is the color of their throat. The male has an ash-gray throat, while the female has a throat that is pale yellow.

Also, the hen has dusky markings on her throat, and her crest is buff, not white, and shorter than the males.

Their beak is black, and their eyes are dark brown. The legs are blue-gray and relatively short compared to their body size.

They have a compact body with round belly, and their tail is relatively short compared to their body size.

It is important to note that these birds often blend in with their surroundings.

How Big is a Blue Scale Quail?

Blue Scale Quail are small birds, reaching an average size of about 10 inches long and weighing about 4-5 ounces.

Behavioral Characteristics of Blue Scale Quails

First and foremost, Blue Scale Quail are runners! They prefer to run instead of flying and have been known to reach speeds of up to 15 miles an hour!

In the winter, Blue Scale Quail live in coveys, groups of around 30 birds. Within these groups, they show a remarkable social hierarchy.

Males will establish themselves as leaders, while females will form tighter social bonds within the covey.

They will also roost in outward-facing circles, keeping watch for predators while also providing warmth for one another.

This social structure is what has helped the Blue Scale Quail to thrive in many different habitats.

One fascinating aspect of Blue Scale Quail behavior is their response to danger. Unlike other bird species, they are not easily spooked and will often stay put even if a predator is nearby.

Instead of flying off, they will hunker down and rely on their camouflage to stay hidden. This unique behavior has made them so successful in the wild.

In fact, they know how to outsmart their predators and stay safe.

Another intriguing fact about Blue Scale Quail is that they are cold-hardy, especially when kept in coveys. They huddle together to preserve body heat, which helps them survive those chilly winter nights.

They’ve even been known to survive in environments other bird species can’t handle, like the deserts of the American Southwest.

blue scale quails outdoor

What Are Blue Scale Quails Raised For?

More often than not, Blue Scale Quail are raised for their eggs. Each female can lay up to 60 eggs in a year, which provides a decent supply for their caretakers.

These eggs are highly nutritious, containing more protein, iron, and vitamin B12 per gram than regular chicken eggs.

Plus, they are a unique addition to any dish that requires eggs.

Aside from egg production, Blue Scale Quails are also raised for their meat. While they don’t offer much meat, they are relatively inexpensive to raise and provide a great source of protein.

Don’t let their small size fool you; their meat is tender and flavorful. And let’s not forget—they are easy to prepare and cook!

In addition to being efficient for egg and meat production, Blue Scale Quail also makes great pets. They are sociable creatures that get along well with many other species.

They don’t require a lot of space, making them a great addition to any backyard or homestead. And who wouldn’t want a cute little bird to call their own?

ALSO READ: Complete Guide to Raising Quail as Pets

How Many Eggs Do Blue Scale Quails Lay?

While they’re not the most productive layers, Blue Scale Quail still hold their own in the egg department. On average, they lay around 50-60 small, white eggs per year.

Wondering what those eggs actually look like? Well, Blue Scale Quail eggs are definitely a sight to behold.

These small beauties have a white base with irregular brown spots, making them stand out from your typical white or brown eggs.

And while they may not be your go-to for baking a large cake, their unique appearance is sure to impress guests at brunch.

Raising a Blue Scale Quail

Pros and Cons of Raising a Blue Scale Quail

Can’t decide whether Blue Scale Quail is right for you? Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind.


Pro 1: Low Maintenance

One of the biggest pluses of Blue Scale Quail is that they’re incredibly easy to care for. These birds are known for their low-maintenance nature and don’t require a lot of space or special diets to thrive.

Unlike chickens, you don’t need to worry about building a large coop for them, and they don’t require as much attention as other types of poultry.

If you’re looking for a pet that won’t require a ton of your time and energy, Blue Scale Quail might be a good choice.

Pro 2: Egg Production

Another reason why people raise Blue Scale Quail is for their eggs.

Not only are these eggs tasty and nutritious, but they’re also smaller than chicken eggs, making them great for use in recipes that require smaller portions.

If you’re someone who loves to cook and wants a reliable source of fresh eggs, Blue Scale Quail might be worth considering.

Pro 3: Good For Urban Settings

Due to their small size and low-maintenance nature, Blue Scale Quails are a great choice for people who live in urban or suburban areas.

Because they don’t require a lot of space or noisy equipment, they’re less likely to cause a disturbance to neighbors.

Many cities and towns allow the keeping of quail, making them an attractive option for those who want to raise their own poultry but don’t have access to large amounts of land.


Con 1: Fragile Birds

While Blue Scale Quail may not require a lot of attention, they are quite delicate creatures.

These birds are sensitive to changes in temperature, and excessive handling or rough treatment can lead to injuries.

They’re not as hardy as other types of quail, so you’ll need to take extra precautions to keep them healthy and safe.

Con 2: Limited Market Value

While Blue Scale Quail eggs may be delicious and nutritious, they don’t have as high of a market value as chicken eggs.

This means that if your main reason for raising quail is to sell their eggs, you might not get as much return on your investment.

Plus, their small size can make them more difficult to sell to consumers who are used to buying larger eggs.

How to Raise Blue Scale Quails

Here are a few tips to help you successfully raise Blue Scale Quail in captivity.


The first thing you need to know about Blue Scale Quail is their dietary needs. In the wild, they enjoy seeds, succulent fruits, grasses, other greens, and insects. Treat them with mealworms and fresh greens.

Game bird crumble is appropriate in captivity, even for chicks—but it’s best to supplement their diet with soft-bodied live food. Yes, even chicks!

This will help them grow healthy and strong, providing them with the necessary nutrients they need.


Next, you will need to consider their housing requirements. Though they can tolerate smaller living conditions, Blue Scale Quail do best in a larger enclosure. This should be raised off the ground in wet climates.

If you live in a wetter environment, you may also want to use a wire floor. Roosting areas are essential.

Predators are a significant concern, so provide some natural cover and a sturdy fence. Also, make sure that their enclosures have access to fresh water at all times.

Health Concerns

Blue Scale Quail are generally healthy animals, but they are susceptible to enteritis, which can be fatal. You can use Bacitracin as a preventative, and you can usually get it from your local feed supplier.

You can also improve their health by providing them with a clean and comfortable living area, along with a well-balanced diet.

blue scale quails

Breeding and Hatching Blue Scale Quail Eggs

Breeding season for Blue Scale Quail is between April and September, with the males and females separating from the covey to form pairs.

The hens will lay around 12 to 14 eggs per clutch, which usually takes place in an indent in the ground that is filled with grass and plants.

You shouldn’t need to do anything special for this—just encourage the natural nesting behavior by providing the proper environment.

The eggs will hatch in 21 to 23 days. It is common for the Blue Scale Quail to have multiple clutches each season.

Raising Blue Scale Quail Chicks

Both parents will share in raising the chicks and teaching them how to find food. These chicks are highly precocious and are up and running within the first day!

By the time the chicks reach twelve weeks old, they will have reached adult size. Keep in mind that Blue Scale Quail are social animals and thrive in a community of their own species, so keeping a larger group is recommended.

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to breeding and hatching Blue Scale Quail eggs is to ensure that the eggs are fertile.

You can do this by having more than one male in your group, as males usually mate with multiple females.

Another important factor is to have the right temperature and humidity when incubating your eggs. A temperature of around 99.5°F and 60% humidity is the ideal condition for Blue Scale Quail eggs.

During the incubation period, it is essential to avoid any sudden movements, which can damage the developing embryos. It is best to resist the urge to candle or handle the eggs.

Once your chicks hatch, provide them with the right diet to support their growth and development. Feed them a high-quality game bird starter diet that is rich in protein, along with fresh water and grit.

Are Scaled Quail Endangered?

There has been a lot of speculation and concern about the population of scaled quail and whether they are an endangered species.

Many people across the globe are interested in the welfare of these cute birds and hope to see them thrive in their habitats.

So are they endangered? You’ll be relieved to hear that the answer is no.

Scaled quail are a widespread species and are fairly common in their natural habitats. They are known to be adaptable birds, often living in harsh desert environments.

Due to their resilience, they were listed as a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This indicates that their population is stable and not currently at risk of extinction.

The average lifespan of scaled quail in the wild is around a year and a half. However, in captivity, they can live up to five to seven years, which is a significant increase in their lifespan.

These birds have a unique social structure, where they form large coveys or groups to protect themselves from predators and the desert heat.

Scaled quail have a low rate of reproduction compared to other bird species. Still, their breeding habits are not a significant threat to their population, as their eggs hatch quickly, and they are able to produce multiple clutches per year.

Blue Scale Quail: Final Thoughts

Blue Scale Quail can make excellent pets for those who are looking for a low-maintenance option that produces tasty eggs.

However, it’s important to remember that they are fragile birds that require some extra care to keep healthy.

Ultimately, if you’re someone who wants a low-key pet that can provide you with fresh eggs without requiring a lot of time and effort, Blue Scale Quail might be a great option for you.

If you are still looking over other quail breeds, you might want to check out the Button quail and see if they’d make a great addition to your flock!

READ NEXT: Button Quail: Characteristics, Care & Health

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