Can You Keep Quails Outside in the Winter?
Keeping quails outside in the winter might be the easiest way to kill your birds. Although wild quails do remarkably fine in tough winters, domestic quails aren’t cold-hardy enough like their wild counterparts.
As risky as keeping your quails outside in the cold can be, you can keep the birds comfortable and safe in the winter by doing a couple of things. For instance, your quails will be fine in the winter if you ensure ample ventilation and insulation in their cage.
What Temperature Can Quails Withstand?
Quails can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it would help if you protected the birds from rain, snow, and wind in the winter because these harsh weather elements can be disastrous. Quails can withstand extremely low temperatures when living together because they will pile together, warming each other on cold nights.
However, baby quails can’t withstand lower temperatures, unlike adult quails. They need extra protection from cold and snow in the winter because they stand a high chance of freezing.
Do Quails Need a Heat Source in Winter?
Older quails don’t need a heat source in winter. They will withstand the cold without a heat lamp because they are pretty cold-hardy. Nonetheless, baby quails need plenty of heat in the winter, so a heat source is essential for these tiny birds.
The reason why baby quails can’t withstand the cold in winter is that they don’t have enough feathers to cover their bodies. Therefore, they are vulnerable to cold and need a heat source to keep warm. Fortunately, baby quails grow feathers within weeks, and they will be hardy enough to withstand cold in the winter without a heat source.
5 Things to Consider When Keeping Quails Outside in Winter
Although winter remains one of the hardest times for quails, this harsh season shouldn’t necessarily translate into a death sentence for your birds. It’s possible to keep quails outside in the winter.
However, you must consider a few things to help your birds withstand the freezing weather. Here are five essential things you should consider while keeping quails outside in the winter.
– Feed Them Enough
It’s easy to keep your birds warm, safe, and comfortable in the winter by feeding them enough food. Quails need a variety of food sources in the winter, particularly if you are keeping these birds outside in the freezing weather. Quails use plenty of energy to stay warm out in the winter.
They, therefore, need plenty of nutrients to keep them warm. Seeds such as sunflower and broomweed seeds are some of the perfect winter foods for quails during the cold winter months. These seeds have a remarkably high energy content per gram.
Because it’s hard to provide your quails with enough vegetables in the winter, you can consider substituting their diets with various seeds. Giving your quails enough scratch feed will also help warm up their bodies. Your quails will require energy to digest scratch feed, ultimately increasing their body heat effectively.
The molting process usually occurs in the winter. It’s thus vital to provide your quails with enough protein in winter to help them withstand the repercussions of the molting process. The bad news is that your quails might die easily if you keep them outside in the winter as they keep losing and growing feathers.
Supplementing your quails’ diet with enough will help the birds stay warm and further enable them to grow feathers fast. Give your quails enough protein treats such as mealworms and fishmeal in the winter to ensure they get a nutritional boost that will keep them warm and healthy in the cold.
Although fresh vegetables and greens are in short supply in the winter, your quails need to eat enough vegetables and greens to keep warm outside in the winter. The nutrients in vegetables and greens will give the birds enough stamina to withstand winter.
Some healthy vegetables for your quails while keeping outside in the freezing weather include chards, kales, spinach, and lettuce. You should chop up the vegetables to make it easier for the quails to eat without choking.
– Keep Water from Freezing
Quails will need water in the cold winter months. Although quails don’t drink plenty of water in the winter, they will need sufficient water for proper digestion. One of the biggest challenges when keeping quails outside in winter is ensuring the birds don’t drink freezing water because the freezing water can make your birds freeze.
You can purchase a heated poultry waterer in winter to keep the water you want to give your quails from freezing. Or, you can get a heated water bottle to keep the water warm.
– Make the Cage Draft Proof
Because quails are somewhat hardy, it is easier to give these birds the best living conditions when keeping them outside in the winter. A good way to keep your quails outside in the winter while ensuring they don’t freeze is by making their cage draft-proof.
Doing some minor modifications can help keep the draft at bay. It’s essential to ensure cold air doesn’t blow on your quails during winter. Therefore making the cage draft-proof is necessary for those keeping quails outside in the winter.
If drafts are entering the cage through the walls, it is essential to cover the walls to prevent drafts from the cage. You can use cardboard pieces or feed bags to block the drafts from the cage’s walls.
You can pull the cardboard pieces or feed bags down from the walls during summer when preventing drafts in the cage isn’t a challenge. You should find out where precisely the drafts are coming through in the cage. Seal any holes in the cage to ensure the draft doesn’t get into the cage.
– Insulate the Cage
Insulating the quail cage is important for keeping the birds warm in the winter. When cold air gets inside the cage from the roof, the air inside the cage will cause condensation that soaks the cage with moisture. Sometimes things can get so bad that the wooden beams in the cage will start dripping off moisture.
Your quails risk dying when there is moisture in the cage. Furthermore, moisture can make the cage start stinking. Therefore, insulating the cage is the perfect way to ensure the birds are warm.
You can use silver heat reflective rolls to insulate the coop. Staple the rolls to the cage’s wooden beams to prevent the wind from bringing the rolls down. Ensure adequate ventilation at the cage’s top because ventilation is quite important, especially in the winter.
A cage with poor ventilation can kill your quails more easily than the cold air entering the cage. The cage will also become humid due to poor ventilation, causing frostbites and ammonia buildup in the cage.
Insulating the coop is pretty easy, and it is a DIY project you can do yourself. Start with placing Styrofoam between the roof and the wooden beam to hold the warm air at the top of the cage.
Straw can also work as a good insulator, especially when insulating the cage from the ground. Ensure whatever material you utilize for insulating the cage can retain the warm air in the cage and prevent the cold air from accumulating.
– Cage Placement
Where you place the cage matters greatly when keeping your quails outside in the winter. Improper cage placement can expose your birds to freezing weather, leaving the delicate birds vulnerable. Place the cage in a location where it gets good sunlight in the winter.
Avoid placing the cage next to buildings or objects such as trees because your birds won’t get sufficient sunlight in the winter months if you place your cage in such positions. Furthermore, please don’t place the cage facing where the wind is coming from. Instead, ensure the cage faces away from the wind to keep cold air from entering the cage.
What Bedding to Use for Quails in Winter?
Good bedding for your quails will keep your birds warm in the winter. However, not every material makes good bedding for quails. The softer and thicker the material is, the better it is for your quails. Straw makes one of the best bedding materials.
It is also a great insulator for birds, including quails, in winter. Furthermore, straw is also easy to clean and relatively cheaper than other materials such as hay. A thick layer of straw makes comfortable and warm bedding for your quails.
Sawdust can also work as a good insulator for your quails. However, it tends to get dusty with time, especially if you have too many quails in the cage. Furthermore, sawdust gets wet quickly, making the cage stink over time.
Some quail keepers also use wood shavings and hay as bedding for their quails. However, these two can be relatively expensive compared to cheaper bedding options, such as straw. Wood shavings from trees like pine can be toxic to your quails.
Quails may be delicate, but these small birds can be cold tolerant. Although it isn’t the best idea to keep your quails outside in the winter, these birds can withstand cold during this season if you provide the quails with proper living conditions.
Ensure you have everything to help your quails withstand freezing temperatures in the winter if you plan to raise your birds outside during the winter.