Can Quails Be Free Range?
Quails are the most difficult birds to free-range of all the domestic birds. Unlike chickens, ducks, and Guinea fowls, these birds lack a homing instinct. They will fly away if you attempt to free-range them.
In some states, it’s illegal to free-range these birds because they are considered non-indigenous bird species. Because of their flighty behavior and small size, these birds aren’t fit for free-ranging.
Why You Should Not Free Range Quails?
Free-ranging quails may seem like an impressive idea because free-ranging these birds will help them get extra nutritious foods out there. Free-ranging can also help your quails exercise as they flap their wings. However, free-ranging the birds isn’t the best idea. Here is why you shouldn’t let your quails free-range even under your supervision.
- Quails are flighty– unlike chickens, quails are quite flighty. These birds will take advantage of any opportunity they get to fly around. That means the likelihood of your quails flying away and never returning to their cage is pretty high. Domestic quails on the loose can easily run away from their home if you allow them to free-range. Free-ranging is the simplest way to lose your birds. Besides being flighty, these birds lack a homing instinct and will fly away as soon as you allow them to free-range.
- Free-ranging puts your quails at risk of predators– The further your free-range quails fly away from your yard, the higher their chances of encountering predators. Quails are adventurous and curious birds. They can easily fly to predator-prone areas out of curiosity. Free-range quails are vulnerable to many predators, including hawks and cats. Therefore, keeping the quails indoors can protect them from predators.
- Lost quail eggs-free-range mother quails will lay far away from your home. That means you won’t be collecting quail eggs when keeping free-range quails. Free-range mother quails may also build their nests away from your home, hatching in odd places you can’t access. Mothers can build their nests and hatch high on a tree far out from their homes. Therefore, you will lose eggs and quail chicks in the long run.
- Risk of contracting diseases-Free range quails are at risk of contracting diseases. Your quails can fly away and encounter other sick birds, hence contracting diseases. The harsh weather elements outside can make your free-range quails sick.
- Reduced manure– when you allow your quails to free-range, they will defecate anywhere. If you free-range your quails, you won’t have enough droppings to compose manure for your garden. Your quails can also create a mess with their droppings. Consequently, your outdoor chairs, for instance, will most likely become dirty due to quail droppings. Cleaning your dirty chairs can be time-consuming and tedious.
- Risk of injury-Free-range quails are at risk of sustaining injuries while flying outside. For instance, your free-range quails may hit on objects such as trees, buildings, and walls, leaving the birds with severe injuries. Such injuries can be fatal and cause lameness or even death in the long run.
How to Keep Your Quails Safe?
You can keep your quails safe while free-ranging the birds. Here are tips on keeping your quails safe if you are a novice quail raiser.
- Give your quails enough food– One reason quails fly away from their keepers is the lack of sufficient food. Your quails won’t hesitate to fly away from your home in search of food if you haven’t been providing them with enough food. Therefore, make sure your quails have enough food before letting them out. Furthermore, ensure they have plenty of water lest they fly away searching for water when thirsty.
- Protect your quails from predators-Predators are the biggest threat to free-range quails. Most free-range quails don’t return to their coops because of predator attacks. Ensure your quails are in a predator-free environment before allowing them to free-range. You can have some crows to scare away predators like the air birds. Alternatively, a dog will do a great job scaring away potential predators preying on your quails.
- Fence your home-Quails can fly, although these birds can’t fly too high. A high fence can help keep your quails within your premises by preventing them from flying too far from your home.
- Clip the wings– Being flighty, quails won’t stop flying even if you provide them with the best possible living conditions. Clipping their wings can help contain your birds because they won’t be able to fly everywhere.
- Inspect their health-it’s crucial to monitor your quails’ health if you have been free-ranging your birds. Since free-range quails are at risk of carrying diseases, it’s good to monitor their health regularly for any diseases.
- Protect them from harsh weather elements-Quails are delicate and tiny birds. These birds are pretty vulnerable to harsh weather elements such as rainstorms. Protecting your quails from harsh weather elements is vital to keeping the birds safe. Avoid free-ranging your quails during rainstorms and other harsh elements to keep them safe.
How to Make a “Free Range” Environment for Your Quails?
Free-ranging quails can have many benefits, only if you create the best free-range environment for your birds. Here is how you can create a perfect free-range environment for your quails.
- Have some shrubs and bushes-if a predator like a hawk is preying on your quails, the birds will run to a safe place to hide from the predator. Plant bushes and shrubs to provide your free-range quails with a natural hideout.
- Don’t allow cats in your yard– cats are notorious for preying on quails. Keep your home free of stray cats to protect your quails from such predators.
- Get a good coop-even if you are free-ranging your quails, it’s important to provide the birds with a haven they can roost in the evenings without worry. Therefore, have a good coop that will protect your birds from owls and other nocturnal predators.
- Having a guardian dog around-a guardian dog can bark at predators, scaring them away from your home. A guardian dog will also detect predators before they attack your quails.
How High Can Quails Fly?
Quails can fly for approximately a hundred yards. They only fly to escape predators and to reach roosts.
Can You Keep Quails With Chickens?
You can raise quails alongside chickens, although you need a separate section in the coop for your quails.
It’s good to free-range quails. However, free-ranging these birds can be risky. It’s best to avoid free-ranging your quails if you can’t create a perfect free-range environment for the birds. If you can create such an environment, free-ranging can help keep your quails happy and healthy.