Can You Keep Quails with Chickens?
It is fun to keep poultry and this comes with the urge to not only increase but diversify the flock. The expression however is, that birds of a feather flock together. So, is it possible to mix birds of different feathers? This is entirely dependent on the birds in question.
With chicken and quail being some of the most commonly domesticated birds for meat and eggs, the temptation to keep them together to increase output is always there.
This, however, is not a good idea for several reasons. While the chicken may thrive and continue living as they were, the quail are bound to suffer as the relationship would neither be cooperative nor symbiotic. There are some reasons for this.
The following article seeks to shed some light on the matter. It also offers some information on what birds you can pair with your chickens and your quails.
Do Quails and Chickens Get Along?
In any multicultural society, there is always the need to establish who is the better party. In nature, there is the need to establish an alpha and those that follow in order of strength. Poultry is no exception to this rule. They tend to establish the leader and the order in which the rest get food, mates, and other resources.
This is what is referred to as the pecking order of the flock. The competition becomes even stiffer as you put different types of poultry together as you will have to mix various males and females.
There is always a level of aggression among birds, even among quails or chickens when kept separate. This increases when they have to share the same space, compete for nutrients, and in situations where mating hormones are raging. Thus, there is always some friction when it comes to keeping the two breeds together.
By nature, chickens are aggressive and loud, and overly assertive toward other animals most of the time. On the other hand, quail are relatively silent, and docile and tend to keep to themselves. These two birds thus don’t go together in most scenarios.
Why You Should Not Raise Quails with Chickens?
There are several reasons why you should not raise your chickens and quails together. Most of them are for the safety and prosperity of your quail, which are usually small, frail, and susceptible to disease. Here are 5 good reasons why you should not keep your quails together with your chicken.
Chickens Will Bully Quails
Chickens are bigger, more aggressive, and tend to take up more space per square foot than quails. It is also the nature of chickens to attack and play with each other. While this is ok when the chickens are together, it becomes detrimental when you put them with the quails.
Chickens are ruthless and upon reaching maturity, get aggressive with each other. It is for this reason that the quail kept with the chicken will constantly get bullied. The chicken will seek to establish a pecking order based on strength and all the chickens will be stronger than the quail.
This creates a poor environment for the quail to grow and thrive. Chickens also attack weaker and injured birds to show dominance and the docile quails would suffer from these attacks if raised together with the chicken.
Chickens Will Eat Quail Eggs
Chicken eat everything from grain to vegetables to meat. They can even feed on chicken meat. Quail eggs are a delicacy, not just for humans but for other animals in nature including chickens. It should be noted that chickens tend to eat the eggs of other birds and animals when they encounter them in bushes and secluded areas.
Keeping your quail and chicken together increases the probability of their eggs getting eaten by the chickens. Even if the quail are naturally trying to hatch their eggs, chickens are much bigger and aggressive and will peck them out of their nests just to get a crack at their eggs.
If you have a designated egg laying area, then the chicken will monopolize it and this will make it difficult for the quail to find a safe space to lay their eggs. As they are forced to lay their eggs in the open or a secluded location, chickens will target this location in search of their small, delicious eggs that they can easily break and feed on to increase their protein intake.
Quails Will Fly Away
There is only so much that quail can take before their survival instincts kick in. Since quails can fly, they will flee the coop in search of safety, warmth, space, and enough nutrition. They will do their best to escape their oppressors.
It is also likely that the wire used to create the chicken enclosure will have holes big enough for the quail to squeeze through and walk away and finer wire will not allow for proper ventilation among the chicken thus creating another problem altogether. If the quail and chicken are free range, then the chances of the quail flying away is even higher.
Quails and Chickens Have Different Diet
Chickens will eat anything and forage to supplement their diet to ensure that they get a balanced diet most of the time. Quails on the other hand are fragile and require proper care and nutrition to thrive, especially when they are being domesticated away from their natural habitats.
The diet that you feed your quail can work for your chicken most of the time. The same cannot be said for the diet that you feed your chickens when quails are concerned. Though chicken and quail can both eat table scraps, there are far more entities that are harmful to quail that chicken can eat and digest easily.
This difference in diet is why the two cannot be kept together if you intend for both to thrive and produce a good amount of meat and eggs.
Chickens carry many diseases. They are however not affected on a large scale by the disease as they are the carriers and develop immunity as they grow. Quail are more fragile than this and once they contract coryza from the chicken, there is always a higher probability that they will die.
There are ways to treat the disease and lessen the pain for the quails, but this is an extra expense that you can avoid simply by separating the two birds.
Chickens have been domesticated for centuries and this has enabled them to build defenses against many of their diseases. Quail however have been free for quite and while and only recently started being domesticated for meat and eggs.
They thus have weaker immune systems to protect them from their common fowl illnesses. Keeping the two separate is the surest way to ensure both their safety.
What Birds Can Live with Quails?
With all this information, you may be wondering if there are any birds that you can pair up with your quail that will neither endanger their diet nor eradicate them with the disease. A good alternative when it comes to keeping quails with other birds is usually guinea fowl.
There are other compatible bird species like pigeons, doves, tiny bantams, and canaries. It is however advisable not to have more than three bird species together in the same coop as the risk of infection increases and this endangers their survival and thriving.
You can keep the chicken with quail if and only if you hatch them together and ensure that they bond at a young age. When they are both young, the chicken and the quail can exist together. However, as the chickens mature and increase in size, you should separate them for the safety of the quail.
What Birds Can Live with Chickens?
As far as chickens go, there are some other birds that they are compatible with. Despite their diet, disease, and size, they can flock with other birds of a different nature. Some other poultry that you can keep with your chicken include birds like turkeys, geese, ducks, and guinea fowl.
Since chickens are excellent when left to free range, they can generally mingle with other birds and animals well. It is however best to pair them with birds that are the same size as them or slightly bigger so that their aggression does not get out of hand.
They are very aggressive when it comes to establishing a pecking order and this is why they should be paired with birds the same size as them.
I hope that now you have a better understanding of the risks that come with keeping your chicken and quail together. The best way to get the most out of your chicken is to leave them at free range. The best way to reap benefits from your quail is to keep them in an enclosure.
Do not pair the two birds and make sure to observe the proper diet when it comes to feeding your quail. It is safe to keep chicken and quail together, when they are chicks and less than 6 weeks old. Separate your flock and you will reap more benefits from your poultry.