About 80% of quail’s diet in the wild is composed of plant materials? But why should you provide quality feed for quails?
Even though quails mainly feed on grains, fruits, and plants, giving them the best feed can help kickstart their growth and development.
In the long run, it can also benefit since you can enjoy better egg and meat production if that’s your goal of raising quails.
But, choosing the suitable feed for your quail out of hundreds of choices isn’t always easy.
So today, we’re sharing helpful insights on:
- how to pick the best food for your bird
- what special requirements should you look out for
- and what foods should you avoid
If you’re planning to be a quail owner or you’re already one who’s looking for other options aside from your go-to feed, this is for you.
Let us discuss how to find a suitable feed for your quails first.
What Quails Usually Feed On
Wild quails are primarily “granivorous,” which means they mainly feed on grains.
Millets and cracked corn are usually their favorites, but they also enjoy tasty treats like worms. They aren’t picky with foods.
But they’re specifically fond of eating safflower and sunflower seeds or kernels, millet, milo, wheat, popcorn, and oat groats.
But young game birds raised for meat or sport hunting and those raised for eggs or breeding have different nutritional requirements.
For instance, Bobwhite quail raised for meat has larger bodies and acquires weight faster than those grown for “flying.”
That means they’re more costly to raise since they need more food than fliers.
Smaller Bobwhite quail strains, on the other hand, are considered as good flight birds but not as good meat producers.
When butchered, they do not convert feed to meat as well and generate less appealing carcasses.
So, it’s essential to consider what each type needs, especially when it comes to commercial feeds, to make sure they’re healthy and happy.
Suitable Feed for Each Type of Quail
A quail’s diet depends on its breed and age.
Like other birds, their dietary needs gradually change, and it’s always worth considering if you want your quail chicks the way you want them to be.
So, let’s start with quail chicks who, like chickens, need a “starter” diet.
1. Starter feed for quails’ chicks
As soon as the eggs hatch, you’ll have to feed the chicks until they’re six or eight weeks old with starter quail feed.
Usually, the younger the quail chicks are, the more they need protein in their diet, and that’s one of the things you have to consider.
Starter diets often contain the highest protein level birds can ever have in their entire lifetime.
As the quail chicks age, their need for some nutrients like protein decline.
2. Finisher feed for quails
After six or eight weeks of the chick phase, it’s time to step up your feed.
If you’re planning to make your quails a meat-type bird, they’ll need a “finisher” diet until their tragic fate – the slaughter.
3. Developer feed for quails
If you’re saving your flight breeds or immature quails for breeding or egg production, they need to have a developer diet until you sell te, or they’re 20 weeks old.
4. Layer diet feed for quails reserved for breeding
A few weeks before the egg production starts, you need to provide your breeders with a “layer” diet until they complete the whole egg production period.
To know what’s the best feed for your quail, let’s take a look at the nutritional requirements for some of the most common quail breeds.
If we’d sum it up, a balanced quail food contains:
- a minimum of 11% crude protein
- a maximum of 10% crude fiber
- a minimum of 4% crude fat
- and a maximum of 12% moisture
However, if you want to give the best nutrition for your quails, taking their age and type/species into consideration is crucial.
So, let’s take a look at the nutritional requirements of quails for protein, calcium, phosphorus, and, lastly, methionine.
Special Nutritional Requirements When Choosing Feed for Quails
Meat-Type Bobwhite Quail
Here’s a summary of the dietary needs of this breed:
Starter feed for Bobwhite quail (0 to 6 weeks)
A young bobwhite quail requires at least 23.0% protein content, 1.0% calcium, 0.50% phosphorus and .0.50% methionine in their diet.
But if you want to achieve the best results, feeding your quail with a feed that contains 30% protein is the best solution.
Finisher feed for Bobwhite quail (6 weeks to marketing)
Their finisher feed must contain 19.0% protein, 0.90% calcium, 0.50% phosphorus and 0.40% methionine.
Starter feed for flight birds(0 to 6 weeks)
Flight birds need 24% protein, 1.0% calcium, 0.50% phosphorus, and 0.55% methionine in their diet.
Developer feed for flight birds(6 to 16 weeks)
Matured quails have lower nutrient requirements. A diet with 20% protein, 0.90% calcium, 0.50% phosphorus, and 0.42% methionine will already do great for them.
Starter feed for breeder quails (0 to 6 weeks)
If you want better egg production, you need to kick start with a diet plan that contains 23.% protein, 1.0% calcium, 0.50% phosphorus, and 0.50% methionine.
Developer feed for breeder quails (6 to 20 weeks)
Keep in mind that quails saved for egg production need developer feeds, not the finisher ones.
A healthy diet must consist of at least 18.0% protein, 1.0% calcium, 0.50% phosphorus, and 0.40% methionine.
Layer feed for breeder quails (20 weeks old+)
As for mature laying or breeder quails, you need to give them the exact laying diet to ensure you can get your desired results and avoid having thin-shelled eggs.
They need at least 19.0% protein, 2.75% calcium, 0.65% phosphorus, and 0.50% methionine in their diet.
Coturnix (Pharaoh) Quail
This quail breed is mainly used for meat and egg production.
They mature faster than bobwhite quail and begin laying eggs when they reach six to eight weeks of age.
Starter feed (0 to 6 weeks)
Coturnix quails need a diet with 24.0% protein, 0.85% calcium, 0.60% phosphorus, and 0.50% methionine.
Finisher feed (6 weeks to marketing)
If you want better meat production, Coturnix quails need a feed that contains 18.0% protein, 0.65% calcium, 0.50% phosphorus, and 0.40% methionine.
Layer feed (6 weeks+)
To make sure you can harvest more eggs, you need to provide them with a diet that consists of 18.0% protein, 2.75% calcium, 0.65% phosphorus, and 0.45% methionine.
What Foods Should Quails Avoid
Like other birds, there are things you should avoid feeding your bird too.
These foods may be tasty to humans but don’t jive well with the bird’s digestive system and can be lethal when taken in the right amounts.
So, any food containing the ingredients below is something you should also avoid giving to your pet.
As you probably know already, coffee contains caffeine that can also affect the quail’s health negatively.
Most dog owners know that chocolates are toxic to dogs, but they’re also poisonous to birds like quail.
So, better get rid of that chocolate bar or left-over brownies to prevent your bird from eating it.
It’s not toxic, but it can alter your quail egg’s delicate and distinct taste.
So, if you want to protect their egg’s flavor, it’s best to avoid them.
This veggie has no nutritional value to offer.
So, if you’re feeding them with it, there’ll be no more room for food containing essential nutrients like protein and vitamins. Your quails can become malnourished as a result.
Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese With Lactose
While it’s not that bad for quail to taste some yogurt or other dairy products because of their healthy bacteria, it’s usually hard to digest because it contains lactose.
Most of us love avocados!
But it’s poisonous to quails because it contains a fatty acid-like substance called persin that may cause heart damage and respiratory problems to birds.
This herb is also toxic for birds and will cause your quail to develop diarrhea or vomiting.
Like onions, these strongly-flavored root vegetables can affect your quail egg’s flavor.
Top 5 Best Feed for Quails
Now we’re listing down our picks for the best feed for quails and share what makes each one of them ideal for your pet.
We’ll also discuss the advantages and the downsides of each to give you an insight into how it can affect your quails.
Let’s start with this quail feed which is as sleek as its name.
1. All Natural Premium Game Bird Feed Freshly Milled
- This tasty crumble will get your turkeys, quail, game birds off to the right start in life.Non-medicated, soy free, corn free, non-GMO, and as always, fortified with organic Fertrell Nutri-Balancer in just the right amounts for your game birds’ health.
- All of our feeds feature No Soy, No Corn, Non-GMO grains, plant and animal protein, and Organic Fertrell Nutri-Balancer
- All our feed is shipped Priority Flat Rate USPS Mail throughout the United States (all prices shown include shipping and insurance). We ship Monday through Friday.
This freshly milled crumble tops the list for best quail feed due to its top-notch features and the fact that it overflows with nutrients your quail needs.
Features of this feed for quails
It contains complete nutrition for your quails, from its protein, needs down to essential vitamins.
What surprised us when we first discover this quail feed is the 28% crude protein content So, that you can use it as a starter crumb for your quail chicks.
Since protein is essential for weight gain and muscle development, we know this feed can satisfy your quails’ nutritional needs.
This crumb contains 1.0% to 1.5% calcium and 1.5% phosphorus and 0.70% potassium content.
It also contains 0.55% methionine and 1.50% lysine – amino acids vital to quail’s metabolic processes and growth.
On top of that, it provides Vitamin A, D, and E, which are more than enough for your quail chick’s needs.
This tasty crumble sits at the top because it does not contain soy corn, GMO plants, or animals.
Its grains are all-natural, and it contains organic Ferrell Nutri-balancer.
And it’s not just for your quail buddies! You can also give it to turkeys and game birds.
The downside with this feed is it smells slightly sour and can make the quail’s excrements even more smelly.
It’s sometimes powdery rather than crumbles due to the shipping, but other than that, we’re left with no other complaints.
Nutrition-wise, this crumble exceeded our expectations.
It’s hard to find a high-quality, corn-free, and natural quail feed with high-quality vitamins and essential nutrients, so we’re glad we found it.
We’re impressed with its nutritional contents, and the smell is just tolerable.
Item weight: 22lbs
Suitable for: turkeys, quail, and other game birds
2. Manna Pro Gamebird Snowbird Crumbles
- 25% protein for fast growth, efficient gain, and high-quality plumage.
- Yeast cultures for enhanced digestion
- Vitamins and minerals for sound development and health
- Non-medicated; perfect for mixed flocks
- Crumble formula
This healthy crumble is also one of our top picks since it comes with 24% protein.
Aside from that, here are its other features.
Features of this feed:
This crumble contains 5% crude fiber and 3% crude fat.
Additionally, it comes with amino acids like lysine(1.2%) and methionine(0.45%), essential for the quail’s growth and colorful plumage.
Furthermore, it’s fortified with vitamins and minerals that aids in the quail’s health and development.
Like the previous feed, this starter crumble is also non-medicated.
It’s also formulated with probiotics that support good digestion and absorption of essential nutrients.
And you will enhance, thanks to its amino acid contents, your bird’s plumage with this feed.
The disadvantage of this quail crumble, though, is it does not have enough calcium for laying quails, and they’re a bit pricey.
Some people received a bag full of flour mites too.
It can badly affect your bird, so we suggest checking it out to avoid feeding your quail with infested products.
Most quail chicks like it, and we noticed that the quails’ feathers indeed became shiny, so it’s worth a try.
It can be costly since it only contains 5 lbs, but considering the nutrition, it can give, it’s worth an investment.
You can use this as a starter crumb, then switch to a cheaper one as the quail ages or resort to a brand with higher calcium content if it’ll be laying.
Item weight: 5lbs
Formulated for: turkeys, game birds, ducks, geese, and broilers
3. Sleek & Sassy Dove & Quail Bird Food
- Family Owned & Operated in Oregon since 1983
- All Natural Ingredients
- Vitamin, Mineral & Amino Acid Enriched
- No Artificial Colors or Sulfites (SO²)
This quail food is famous and has a good reputation over the years in quail farming.
While it doesn’t have as much crude protein as the previously mentioned quail feeds, it still offers much.
Features of this feed:
We found out that this bird food contains 12% crude protein, 9% crude fiber, 10.75% moisture, and 4.5% fat.
It’s worth considering since it’s also enriched with vitamins like A&E, minerals, and amino acids that are crucial for bird’s development and maintaining their beautiful plumage.
It contains about eight amino acids, to be exact, thanks to its buckwheat content.
It can also provide enough energy your quail needs because of its canary seeds.
And the other wonder seed- the safflower provides the right amount of protein, fat, and fiber in this feed for quails.
Like the previous feeds, this crumble’s ingredients are all-natural.
As you probably noticed in the photos, there are no artificial colors or sulfites, making it safe for quails.
The downside, though, is you need to refrigerate it daily and avoid taking it out on your fridge to a room temperature environment.
It can be pricey too and is not suitable for mature laying eggs.
We found this feed pretty impressive for quails because they like its taste and leave no left-over at the table.
We bet that this quality feed will help your quails achieve their dietary needs, and your quail can enjoy the perks of this organic product.
Item weight: 4 lbs, 20 lbs, 40 lbs
Suitable for: dove and quails
4. Nature’s Nuts Deluxe Dove & Quail Blend
- White Millet, Safflower Seed, Canola Seed, Canary Seed, Wheat and Cracked Corn
This feed for quails and dove also won’t disappoint.
As its name suggests, it’s made of natural ingredients and is a blend of good food worth trying.
By looking at its nutrient analysis, you’ll know that this bag of goodness contains 13% crude protein, 11% crude fat, and 12% fiber.
Additionally, it has safflower and canary seeds, which are essential sources of energy and other nutrients.
This quail blend is all-natural and contains no artificial color, oil, or even fillers, and it comes with insect-resistant packaging.
It contains adequate nutrition for your mature quails.
Like most products in this list, this quail food appears to be a bit pricey, but many birds find it enjoyable to eat.
It may not be an ideal starter crumb for your quail chicks, but this seed blend can provide adequate nutrients for mature quails.
It easily attracts birds, so we bet your quail will enjoy it, and if you’re keeping your quail as a pet, then this is safe and will do good for him.
Item weight: 4 lbs, 20 lbs, 40 lbs
Formulated for: dove and quails
And now we’re down to our last pick.
5. Wild Delight Dove & Quail Food
- Dove and quail food
- A special blend of premium seeds and grain formulated for doves, quail, pheasants and game birds
- Ingredients are millet, milo, wheat, popcorn, oat groats, safflower seed, sunflower kernels, sunflower seed
- Uniquely cleaned; all natural
Our final choice is this wild delight that’s not just suitable for doves, quails, and pheasants but also for other game birds.
This delightful treat for quails offers a wide range of nutritional benefits.
It provides Vitamin D, E, and Phosphorus, which are all essential for proper bone development.
Furthermore, it contains Vitamin A, Zinc, and amino acids, including Lysine and Methionine, which support growth, and reproduction enhances their feathers.
Not to mention the magnesium enzyme and calcium that improve the quail’s eggshell quality.
And the long list of nutrients doesn’t end with that. It has so much more to offer for your quails.
This unique blend of premium, organic seeds is all-natural and processed hygienically like other feeds on our list.
You can scatter it in your backyard, so your quails can enjoy the feast or put it on their feeder, and you’re good to go.
One of the disadvantages of this quail feed is the large pieces of crack corn.
Birds may find it difficult to swallow if the pieces are too large.
There has been a review about the presence of maggots in its bag, so we suggest checking the bag thoroughly before feeding your quail.
It rarely happens, but it’s still better to ensure your quail’s safety.
Although it has a fair share of bad reviews, this feed for quail still deserves a shot.
And we believe that the benefits it can offer can outweigh the risks.
Item weight: 10 lbs
Best for: dove and quails
There’s a myriad of commercial feed options out there when it comes to feeding for quails.
So, we urge you to be discerning when choosing one for your pet.
Whether you reserve your quails for egg or meat production, you have to give them the best feeds possible.
Feed for turkeys and other game birds works well for quails most of the time because they offer high-quality nutrients.
But it’s still best to talk to avian vets before creating a diet plan and choosing the suitable feed for quails.
READ NEXT: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Quail