Why Are My Baby Quails Keep Dying

One of the most common questions that I usually get from poultry farmers new to the quail business is, why do my baby quails keep dying? Some even go as far as claiming that they were sold low-quality chicks, or that they were sold already sickly chicks.

This is not usually the case. Most of the time, it comes down to nurturing more than nature. How well quails survive to maturity comes down to how well you look after them once you have acquired or hatched them.

In this piece, I look at 7 reasons that your baby quails may be dying. If you can look out for or fix these 7 things, then the probability of your quails reaching maturity will be quite high.

7 Reasons Baby Quails are Keep Dying

There are many different reasons why baby quails are dying such as disease or parasite, low temperature, poor nutrition and diet, dehydration, lack of hygiene, too much handling or transportation, or genetic problems.

– Disease or Parasite

Just like other poultry, quail get sick and die. It is for this reason that it is usually advisable to segregate quail chicks from the older birds as they are fragile and not in a position to properly fight off infection or disease.

It is also imperative to ensure that they are regularly checked for parasites as they tend to overwhelm and kill them. Always inspect the quails for signs of disease and separate the sickly ones before they infect the rest.

Some symptoms of disease in quail include drooped wings, fluffed appearance, paleness, lethargy, watery droppings, swollen face, smelly, snotty beaks, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, rattling when breathing, weight loss, and loss of appetite.

A common parasite that infests quails is mites, this is why it is always good to spray the birds and their coop with ivermectin. Whenever you get to feed your baby quails, be it morning or evening, take time to examine them for these signs and symptoms and make sure to curb the infections and parasites before they affect the entire crop.

– Cold Weather

This is a great factor that contributes to the death of many baby quails. Since quails are small and usually have a thin layer of feathers covering their bodies during their infancy, they tend to be quite prone to succumbing to cold and harsh weather conditions.

It is for this reason that most birds don’t hatch their eggs at the start of winter but rather towards the end of the season and in spring or summer. It is also advisable that if you are going to artificially hatch your quail eggs, you follow this pattern.

If you happen to acquire quail chicks during the cold season, always take the appropriate steps to ensure that their coop is properly insulated and raised. This serves to keep them adequately warm and avoid the bottom of the coop from getting in contact with cold winds and water.

This will ensure that your quails can survive long enough to properly grow their feathers and protect themselves sufficiently from the elements.

– Poor Diet

Humans require a balanced diet to grow and live healthy lives. The same goes for your baby quails. What most people fail to take into account when raising poultry is their need for a balanced diet.

For free-range quail, this is never a major concern as they can supplement what they lack from their feeding bins with whatever they can get from the environment around them. Caged or cooped quail, however, do not have this luxury and many of them die of malnutrition in the early stages of their lives.

It is always good to ensure that the feed you offer them is whole and contains minerals as well as carbohydrates. This is essential as it promotes healthy bone growth and proper growth of feathers both of which are essential for their survival. Do not cheap out on the food and expect that your baby quails will grow to maturity.

– Dehydration

Water is life. This does not only apply to humans, but also to the poultry they keep. Water is essential to quails as it helps them with regulating their body temperature, digestion, and keeping bodily functions at an optimum.

It is thus advisable to provide them with adequate clean water at all times to ensure that they do not end up succumbing to dehydration or indigestion should they not have water available to aid in digestion.

It is good to note that there needs to be constant access to clean water at all times for the chicks to properly mature and adapt. You should change their water regularly, either daily or once every two days.

If the water gets too dirty, there is a possibility of contamination and this may affect the quails that are not yet old enough to tackle the introduction of disease in their bodies.

– Lack of Hygiene

Where your quail lives is as important as what they eat and how they are treated. A dirty quail coop is a sure way to ensure that your quails do not reach maturity. This is because a dirty coop puts them at risk for developing diseases, contracting infections from their environment, and promotes the breeding of parasites like worms and mites.

Lack of hygiene has also been linked to respiratory infections in quails, development of coccidiosis within the brood, development of quail disease in baby quails, and the development and spread of coryza in the quail.

If the environment is dirty, then the disease and parasites are likely to fester and spread through all the baby quails, which ultimately leads to their death. Lack of hygiene in the coop is also a leading cause of poor appetite and feeding habits among the baby quails, which tends to result in weight loss and death.

– Too Much Handling

It is no secret that quails are cute as they have colorful feathers. They are even more so in their infancy as they are tiny and soft to the touch. However, many people make the mistake of handling their baby quails too much.

Constantly carrying them and cradling them in their hands. This may not look like a big deal but it is detrimental to their survival for two reasons. The first is that it hinders them from developing the proper mechanism to regulate their body temperatures on their own.

The more they are held and exposed to an external controlled temperature, the more they become reliant on it. This hinders them from self-reliance. The second is their fragile state during their infancy.

At this stage of their development, they are quite easy to injure without noticing. Internal injuries and unregulated temperatures are the reason why overhandled baby quails often die.

It is advisable to resist the urge to constantly have the quails in your hands during their early stages of development unless you are inspecting them for disease, or checking on their weight and feather gain.

– Poor Genetics

There are cases where nature plays a part in the frequent death of your baby quails and that is when the quails themselves have poor genetics. This is however, not a common thing as through selective breeding, quail farmers have been able to ensure that they nature only the best of the brood, selling off most of the genetically inferior quail for meat or other uses.

If you happen to get quail that have poor genetics, then they may require extra attention to keep them alive as they tend to be fragile, highly susceptible to disease and weather, and poor feeders. It is always advisable that you raise these quails specifically for their meat and not breed them for subsequent generations.

Are Quails Hard to Keep Alive?

I would not necessarily classify quails among the hard animals to keep alive. However, just like most offspring at an early age, they do require a good amount of attention and effort. It is good to remember that quails by nature are small poultry, smaller than their other domesticated counterparts chickens, ducks, and geese.

As such, their chicks are even younger and susceptible to the harsh environment. However, if you take the time to set up an excellent coop and ensure that it is clean and the birds are well-fed, they grow up quite fast and evade that delicate stage.

You should thus not despair and succumb to the notion that baby quails are hard to keep alive. Rather, take up the challenge and see if you can give them the required attention to grow into profitable birds.


Even though the early stages of keeping baby quail can be rather tasking and demanding for a newbie, it is a venture worth investing your time and effort into.

This is because quail are quite beneficial as they can be kept for their eggs, their meat, their feathers, are a good source of manure, can be used to train hunting dogs, and are quite interesting to interact with and forage the ground ensuring even distribution of nutrients.

I would thus recommend that you put in the effort as you are assured to see the benefits of your hard work should you persist and see the venture to a fruitful end.

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

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