Is it possible raising quail with bantams?
Because we know that the consensus on keeping quail with regular-sized chickens is, in short, don’t do it.
But what about the smaller, size-comparable bantam breeds?
In this article, we will discuss how it may be possible to raise them together and why you still might be better off keeping the two species separate.
Which came first, the quail or the chicken?
Suppose you’re considering adding one of the two species to your barnyard (or backyard). In that case, you might consider keeping one in with the other.
Let’s take a look at why you would choose both of these feathery friends.
Why Raise Backyard Quail?
- Quail are small, agreeable birds that require very little space.
- They sing a melodic, enjoyable tune and are quieter than chickens.
- They quickly mature – fully feathered and laying by about 7 weeks!
- Prolific layers (comparable to chickens at once a day, but begin much sooner)
- Feed costs are low due to their compact size.
- Most cities do not consider quail a livestock animal (check your local by-laws); therefore, keeping them inside city limits is possible.
- Hardy, and rarely get sick.
- Simple and fast to process
- Profitable. Quail eggs, meat, and live chicks fetch a reasonable price providing a great return with little investment.
Why Raise Bantam Chickens?
- Bantams are prolific layers providing you with delicious eggs, much like their larger cousins.
- Friendly, curious birds often make excellent family pets or 4-H prospects.
- Smaller size means a larger number of birds in a smaller space.
- Likely to go broody, ensuring a self-sustaining flock
- Roosters make up for their small stature by being fiercely protective of their hens and will actively ward off predators
- Profitable when selling eggs and chicks as they require less feed and space than a regular-sized breed
- Low feed costs
Are you seeing double?
The lists above have many overlapping pros to keeping both Quail and Bantams.
It seems logical then to keep these two similar species together, right?
Wrong. We know how Quail and Bantams are the same. Here is how they are different.
Difficulties Of Raising Quail With Bantams
Despite their compact, similar stature, chickens (bantam or not) and quail are still separate species.
As it goes when erecting any multi-species pen, the animals within typically have one or two conflicting needs.
The chicken and quail are no different in this regard.
Raising Quail With Bantams: Feed Requirements
Beginning with the unavoidable issue is feed differences.
Bantam chickens require a regular laying ration, whereas a quail’s diet is primarily grain and seeds.
If you’ve ever thrown chicken scratch to your chickens, which includes grains, corn, seeds, and the like, you’ve seen a flurry of flapping feathers and scattering beaks.
They love it! And they’ll quickly go through your quails’ portions if given the opportunity.
Quail, forced to scavenge, may end up diving into your chicken feed which does not have the required protein a quail needs.
Raising Quail With Bantams: Behavior
Not only will the chickens devour quail’s feed, but they’ll also bully them out of it.
Bullying can damage your quail quickly, or worse, kill them.
If the quail do not have a safe place to retreat, they will often cower in the corners, which is very stressful for any bird.
Raising Quail With Bantams: Flying Habits, Enclosure Setups, and Coop Requirements
Combining a bantam chicken and quail enclosure could be doing both a disservice.
Bantam chickens can fly 3-4ft over a fence if they’re seriously attempting a pen break.
On the other hand, a quail can and do fly higher (though for short distances).
Considered a “game bird,” the quail will fly to freedom – up, out, and away! If given the opportunity.
Therefore, a completely enclosed pen is necessary for quail but not for bantams.
Despite their flighty nature, quail do not roost at night.
They prefer sleeping on the ground in whatever material you provide.
When building your quail coop, it should be considered the quail is a ground-dwelling bird, so ample space and comfortable nesting areas will make for happy birds.
Combining these two species in a coop can prove difficult as one roost (the bantams), and one sleeps and nests on the ground (quail).
There must be enough space for the quail to have a clean space and not end up under the roost.
As we all know, what falls from the perch… chicken droppings.
Chickens are innately curious creatures, and a small speckled quail egg is intriguing.
They are so fascinating, in fact, that chickens often peck, puncture, or break the quail eggs before you can collect them, drastically affecting your profit.
Raising Quail With Bantams: Transmitted Diseases
The Bantam breed specification makes them no less susceptible to common diseases and bacteria passed between quail and chickens, like salmonella and coryza.
This is something to strongly consider when deciding whether or not quails are a good addition to your chickens.
Are You Not Convinced That Quail And Bantam Chickens Should Be Separate?
If you’re still convinced this feat of nature can be achieved, there are a few ways to attempt to keep them in the same pen.
Taller Platforms And Clipped Wings
As stated above, quail are typically ground-dwelling birds but can fly straight up for a short time.
You could enable feed separation by constructing a higher platform the bantam chicken can not reach. This also provides the quail a safety plan should the bantams start a coop riot.
Clipping the bantam’s wings will make it difficult for them to fly.
Even the smallest bantam chicken outweighs the beefiest quail. Still, some are more comparable in size, and if you want to try them together, they could be the safest option.
Smaller than the Sebright, Serama, or Silkie – the Dutch bantam chicken weighs a mere 500g on average.
The Belgian D’Anver, a close second at 600g, could make the combination at least comparable in size.
Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Bantams Bunking With Quail
Unfortunately, none of these options guarantees a conflict-free enclosure, especially concerning disease prevention.
It is best to erect two separate enclosures and have the enjoyment of both species on your property, happily living apart.