Japanese Quail Diet

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Japanese Quail Diet

Postby naruna » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:40 am

Hi there,

I'm Naruna, a newbie to the forum. I'm in the process of acquiring some female Japanese quail, and I'm stuck trying to find an appropriate feed (or feeds) for them. My research suggests they need a feed with 24% protein, 11.7MJ of metabolisable energy/kg, and 2.5-3% calcium. I understand I could put calcium supplements in their water, so that's not so much of a problem, I just can't find anything with such high protein.

A suggestion I found elsewhere was ground up chicken layer feed, plus canary/finch seed, plus grit/oyster-shell.

Does anybody here have any suggestions for a good healthy quail diet? Specific brands or recipes would be really useful.

Thank you very much for your help. If anybody has any other suggestions or gotchas, or knows any publications on the subject, regarding keeping Japanese quail I'd be interested to hear them also. I did read the previous thread with interest.
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby DRG » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:58 am

Hi there and welcome to the forum!

I would say it would be best to feed them Game Crumbles, but unsure where you can aquire this?

A member on here - Heir I believe, had success with feeding ground, high quality cat crackers which contain almost 50% protein or something along those lines, perhaps you could PM him for more information about that?

Those are the only things I can think of. The other thing to do is PM (private message) MrQuail as they breed quail so would have some excellent advise for you!
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby MrQuail » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:41 pm

Hi there
sorry I've been so busy with the err... quail I haven't been here for a while. Do PM me if you need me!
There are a few options for feeding japanese quail depending on how many you have and what you do with them. Since we have a lot of birds and we have high standards to maintain, we feed a specialised quail feed made by NRM. We have our local feed store get this in for us. It's not an easy thing however for most people to feed as it only comes in 30kg bags and only a few of the feed mills make it... we have to tell our feed store a couple of weeks in advance when we need it. Some feed stores stock meatbird (aka grower) crumble or turkey crumble, which are also fine. While chick crumbles are readily obtainable you MUST NOT use them on birds over 6 weeks of age unless you are certain they are UNMEDICATED. The medicine contained in almost all chick crumbles causes massive fertility problems and it also makes the eggs unfit for human consumption. If you can find an unmedicated chick crumble you can use it on adult birds if you wish but you will need to supply an extra source of calcium as chick feeds contain less calcium than adult bird feeds.
We have a couple of emergency recipes for when we can't get suitable feeds. One, which is expensive if you have lots of birds, is two parts chook pellets and one part purina kitten chow, ground to a crumb. We chose this particular brand of cat food because it is very high protein for the price. If you choose another cat food you need to check the protein level and adjust accordingly. Purina is also not as high in sodium as some other brands, which is important for birds.
Another way to get protein into feed is to add blood-and-bone. Same stuff the garden centre sells. You need to find some that contains absolutely nothing but blood and bone, no other added ferts. Actually almost all blood-and-bone is just that and if they do have anything else in them it will say prominently on the packet. The one the Warehouse sells is fine actually. If you can get an organic brand so much the better. Now adding blood-and-bone to your feed sounds gross but it is actually exactly what commercial feed has in it, and they love it. Once again about 2 parts chook pellets to 1 part blood and bone, ground to a crumble. The blood-and-bone is quite sticky and adheres to the crumble so they'll eat it all no problems.
We use the second of these two recipes reasonably often as it is inexpensive and they do well on it. We wouldn't use it on little bubba quail as their kidneys can be damaged by the high level of calcium in chicken layer feeds.
Little quail chicks do fine on regular chick crumbles (medicated) up to the age of 6 weeks.
If you have only a couple of quail in an aviary doing the vacuuming, then you won't go to these lengths. You want them to sweep up the spilled seed, so just provide some extra protein in the form of purina kitten chow or similar and they will be fine. They also enjoy chopped boiled eggs now and then (shell on). We give them the odd mealworm but we do not really recommend garden insects unless you are prepared to use worming medication, in which case you can't eat the eggs or meat of the birds for the withholding period of the medication. However if the aviary has bare ground or if wild birds could introduce poop into it, then you need to worm them anyway so you might as well give them an earthworm or slater now and then and they'll enjoy it.
The requirement for grit depends on your feed. If you use a commercial poultry feed, some of these already contain grit so you need to check the bag. If you really want to treat your birds probably the finest grit on the market is Piminix, which is made for racing pigeons, but all birds like it. It has a lot of minerals and trace elements in it and is great stuff. Otherwise the most finely ground bird grit you can find, and/or washed, baked eggshells.
Hope this helps, feel free to PM if you need.
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby DRG » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:07 pm

Awesome information, thanks for that MrQuail :D

I have a question!

MrQuail wrote: If you really want to treat your birds probably the finest grit on the market is Piminix, which is made for racing pigeons, but all birds like it. It has a lot of minerals and trace elements in it and is great stuff. Otherwise the most finely ground bird grit you can find, and/or washed, baked eggshells.


Is Piminix too fine for chickens?

MrQuail wrote: We give them the odd mealworm but we do not really recommend garden insects unless you are prepared to use worming medication, in which case you can't eat the eggs or meat of the birds for the withholding period of the medication.


Contact CountryGirl for a worming product with no withholding period.
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby naruna » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:31 am

Thanks for all this great info MrQuail and DRG!

Since I'm only getting 4 birds, 30kgs worth of food will be way too much! I'll go with one of the recipes suggested - it looks like the blood and bone option is more economical, although I hope of no less dietary value. (and having kitten food will just tempt me to get a kitten - must...resist...)

They will be in contact with the ground, so I will have to worm them, I didn't think of that! The withholding period will be a shame - I might contact CountryGirl for her solution. Are worming products intended for chickens okay to give to quail? Do I have to change the dosage due to their small size?

Sorry if all the questions make me sound ignorant - but I'd rather look like a dummy than accidentally harm a creature I've taken responsibility for.

Once again, thanks for your time!
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby MrQuail » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:26 pm

Hi Naruna
one other option if you want to use specialist quail food is to buy a small amount from us or there is a trader on TM who sells it in 1kg lots. The only problem with this approach would be the postage costs, unless you can pick up from us in Upper Hutt. It works out at about $5/kg for food plus about $3 for postage I think - my partner is in charge of that one. So chook food + blood & bone is cheaper. You can PM us if you want food from us. Whichever you choose, we recommend you only buy enough that you will use it all within 3 months.
As far as worming goes, the options I am aware of are Anthel, Aviverm or Avitrol, which are for caged birds as well as poultry. One is a pink liquid, one is a blue liquid. I can never remember which is which but in my experience birds hate the taste of the pink one and will refuse water with it in it. There is also a paste form of one of them which you syringe into their mouths. My avian vet also recommended canex puppy drops for my pigeons, I can look up the dosage for that if you prefer to use it. All of these would require a 14 day withholding period unless otherwise stated on the packaging. Go for at least 14 days if no period is stated, eg for off-label medicines such as canex and ivermectin.
For a natural method, we use a lot of Stockman's friend AHE - I think there's a thread on here somewhere with people loving it. If birds have a heavy infestation of parasites you would have to bring out the big guns, but AHE works quite well as a preventative. It is basically apple cider vinegar, garlic, kelp and manuka honey. Use 2mL per litre of drinking water. So for the small amount quail drink it is best to pop down to the local pharmacy and get a tiny syringe to help you measure the small dose eg 0.2mL in 100mL. Don't fuss too much about accuracy you can't OD them. The product is available on TM and it has no withholding period. I find it especially good for chicken chicks that have upset tummies. Give them water with this in it once a week, the rest of the time plain water, unless they are unwell in which case give them a course of AHE water.
Ask any questions you wish, even if you think they are silly. You have to learn somehow and asking first is much less silly than getting in trouble later :)
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby naruna » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:49 am

Thanks for the awesome help guys. I'm off to fetch my quail this weekend. Wish me luck!
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby DRG » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:41 pm

naruna wrote:Thanks for the awesome help guys. I'm off to fetch my quail this weekend. Wish me luck!


Exciting!! Good luck! :mrgreen:
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby CountryGirlNZ » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:21 pm

[quote="MrQuail"]Hi Naruna
As far as worming goes, the options I am aware of are Anthel, Aviverm or Avitrol, which are for caged birds as well as poultry. One is a pink liquid, one is a blue liquid. I can never remember which is which but in my experience birds hate the taste of the pink one and will refuse water with it in it. [quote]

The Aviverm is the pink liquid. I have used it in the past, but haven't found the chickens refuse the water. Maybe you have fussy birds LOL. ;)
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby MrQuail » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:17 pm

CountryGirlNZ wrote:
MrQuail wrote:Hi Naruna
As far as worming goes, the options I am aware of are Anthel, Aviverm or Avitrol, which are for caged birds as well as poultry. One is a pink liquid, one is a blue liquid. I can never remember which is which but in my experience birds hate the taste of the pink one and will refuse water with it in it.

The Aviverm is the pink liquid. I have used it in the past, but haven't found the chickens refuse the water. Maybe you have fussy birds LOL. ;)


lol must do
the pigeons are the worst, they can hold out for a long time without water if they have to, so they can turn their noses up at worming liquid
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Re: Japanese Quail Diet

Postby Samantha » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:25 am

GREAT POST!! I got the piminix and AHE now! ;)
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