Are Quails Legal in California?

Quails are legal in California and many states in the US. However, you need permits to keep quails in California, particularly if you want to keep any native quail species in California.

You won’t have to get permits if you want to keep some quail species such as Coturnix since such species aren’t native birds. It’s mandatory for every person that wants to raise or import quails in California to get the requisite permits and licenses.

Permits and licenses are also crucial for anyone venturing into quail farming.

Can You Farm Quails in California?

You can farm quails in California, although you can’t farm all native quail species in this state. Furthermore, you need to get permits to farm native species such as the California quail and the Northern Bobwhite.

Quail farming is popular in California because the state has dozens of quail species for people to raise, eat and keep in captivity as pets or ornamental birds. There are some restrictions, though, regarding quail farming in California.

For instance, there are restrictions barring people from raising quails alongside other farm animals and poultry birds. Some of the quail species you can farm in California include-

  • The mountain quail
  • Montezuma quail
  • Gambel’s quail
  • Scaled Quail

Can You Sell Quail Meat in California?

Yes. You can sell quail meat in California. However, you must meet some requirements before selling quail meat in this state. For example, you must get a license to sell quail meat locally and overseas.

In addition, you will have to slaughter your quail at a facility with accreditation from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Authorities must check the quail meat to ensure it is free of diseases and fit for consumption.

Like all game birds, quails are non-amenable, which implies that quail species aren’t subject to regulation under the Poultry Inspection Act and Federal Meat Inspection Act.

However, processing quail meat in California must follow the USDA’s requirements. The USDA provides inspection of quail meat for a fee. All quail species are eligible for inspection before slaughtering and processing.

The Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) act also allows people to sell quail meat from their homes. Despite this act enabling people to sell quail meat from home, it’s mandatory for those seeking to venture into this business to get a license.

Otherwise, selling quail meat from home in California is illegal if you don’t have a valid license from relevant authorities.

Under Californian law, only quails from farms that raise game birds are suitable for slaughtering under appropriate regulations. You cant sell quail meat from wild quail species.

Wild quail species are the species that people hunt legally upon adhering to the state and federal authorities. The quail meat from wild quail species is strictly for personal consumption but not for sale locally or overseas.

It’s best to know which quail species are suitable for slaughtering and sale and which aren’t eligible for slaughtering and sale before venturing into the quail meat selling business.

Can You Sell Quail Eggs in California?

Yes, it’s legal to sell quail eggs in California. Like selling quail meat, there are restrictions when selling quail eggs in California. Anyone who farms quails for eggs, whether small or large scale, must apply for an Egg Handler’s license. To obtain this license, you must register with the CDFA (California Department of Food & Agriculture).

Currently, the USDA doesn’t regulate the sale of quail eggs in California. Neither does this department outline any grading or sizing requirements for quail eggs. Since there are no requirements for selling quail eggs, you can sell any size of quail eggs.

Farmers in large-scale quail egg farming need a plant license to sell quail eggs in bulk. You can get this license from a certified egg handler in California if you intend to sell quail eggs in bulk.

The CCR (California Code of Regulations and the FAC (Food & Agricultural Code) requires that all quail eggs for sale should be clean. Cleaning entails washing and sanitizing the quail eggs. There are also packaging requirements for quail eggs for sale. For example, sellers must specify the origin of the quail eggs on sale.

They also need to indicate the number of quail eggs they are selling on the packages. For instance, you should indicate that one dozen of the quail eggs you are selling contains 18 or 24 eggs.

The California law states that anyone selling quail eggs should collect and refrigerate the eggs 36 hours after laying. Collecting and refrigerating quail eggs is crucial because it helps keep quail eggs fresh.

Furthermore, collecting eggs promptly and refrigerating them within the specified duration helps remove contaminants that are hazardous to humans.

Can You Own a Valley Quail in California?

Yes, you can own a Valley Quail in California, although on conditions. This quail species is native to California, so you have to get a permit to keep the species, whether for meat, eggs, or pets.

The California law also requires people to have a permit to raise valley quails before releasing these birds to private properties.

However, the law isn’t specific about where to raise Valley quails. You can keep these quails in cages or in your backyard because there is no law barring you from keeping your Valley Quails where you wish to keep them.

Do You Need a Permit to Raise California Quail?

Yes, you need a permit to raise Californian Quail because it is one of the native quail species in California. Everyone who raises or imports California quails or keeps these birds in captivity must have a Game Breeder’s license.

You need this license within one month of acquiring your California quails.


Quails are legal in California, like other game birds and animals. However, keeping quails in California isn’t that straightforward because you need to have permits and licenses depending on the quail species you are keeping.

Nevertheless, you can keep quails without permits or licenses if you opt to keep any quail species that aren’t native to California.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *