Can Quail Eat Chicken Feed? Unveiling Facts You Need to Know

Can quail eat chicken feed?

Many folks often wonder, “Can quail eat chicken feed?” It’s a common question, and rightly so. Quails are interesting little birds, and what they eat is a topic that keeps curious minds buzzing. So, let’s dive into this feathered inquiry and explore whether these tiny creatures can munch on chicken feed. It’s like uncovering a piece of the quail’s dining puzzle to ensure they’re happy and healthy.

Quail can indeed eat chicken feed, but it’s important to understand the nuances surrounding this practice. Contrary to a common misconception, quail are capable of consuming chicken feed, but it should not constitute their primary food source. The key lies in moderation, as chicken feed alone lacks the essential vitamins and minerals crucial for the optimal health and survival of quails.

While quails can eat chicken feed, it is advisable to consider alternative dietary options to ensure their nutritional needs are met comprehensively. Feeding quails a diverse range of foods, such as grains, seeds, insects, and greens, can provide the essential nutrients that may be lacking in chicken feed.

It is crucial to be mindful of the fact that chicken feed might not offer the specific nutritional profile required for quail well-being. Therefore, reliance on chicken feed alone could lead to deficiencies in vital elements necessary for quail growth, reproduction, and overall health.

What is Chicken Feed, and what does it Contain?

Chicken feed is a specialized commercial food mix meticulously crafted to provide essential nutrients crucial for the well-being and egg production of chickens. This carefully formulated blend caters to the specific dietary needs of chickens, ensuring they receive a balanced diet.

The primary ingredients in chicken feed are selected with precision to meet the nutritional requirements of chickens. These ingredients include staples such as corn, soybeans, oats, and limestone. Each component plays a vital role in providing the necessary carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals needed for the chickens’ optimal health and productivity.

In addition to the core ingredients, chicken feed may incorporate supplements like vitamins and minerals, enhancing the nutritional profile to address any potential deficiencies. This supplementation is especially important in scenarios where the base ingredients might not cover all the essential micronutrients.

What is Chicken Feed, and what does it Contain?
What is Chicken Feed, and what does it Contain?

It is noteworthy that while chicken feed is designed as a comprehensive source of nutrition, chickens are opportunistic eaters and may consume other items if available. This can include insects and scraps of fruits or vegetables, providing additional variety to their diet.

What To Feed Baby Quail

Different types of feeds suitable for quails

Commercial game bird feed

Commercial game bird feed, specifically crafted for the unique dietary needs of birds within the pheasant family, offers a diverse range of options tailored for quails. The feed is available in various sizes and textures, including mash, crumble, and pellets.

While pellets are not recommended for quails due to their size, which can pose challenges in the digestive process, mash also presents potential hygiene issues, especially if the quail enclosure is relatively small. The compact nature of crumble emerges as the optimal choice for feeding quails, providing a balanced and easily digestible form of nutrition.

What is Chicken Feed, and what does it Contain?
Different types of feeds suitable for quails

Choosing the right type of feed is crucial for the well-being of quails. Pellets, being larger, may lead to digestion issues, while the use of mash in confined spaces can result in hygiene-related problems, potentially leading to illnesses. Therefore, the emphasis is on crumble as the preferred form of commercial game bird feed for quails.

Starter feed

Selecting the right feed for young quails, commonly known as “starter feed,” is crucial for their growth and development. Starter feed is specially formulated to provide the essential nutrients that mimic the protein-packed diet of insects that juvenile quails consume in the wild during their initial eight weeks.

When searching for an ideal starter feed, it’s essential to focus on key factors, with protein content being of utmost importance. Opt for a game feed that contains at least 30% protein, as this ensures that your quails receive the necessary nutrition for optimal growth.

Quail Eating Chicken Feed
Quail Eating Chicken Feed

Starter feeds play a pivotal role in supporting the health and well-being of young birds. The high protein content is particularly beneficial during the early stages of life when quails are establishing their growth patterns. This protein-rich diet not only promotes healthy development but also replicates the natural dietary preferences of juvenile quails in the wild.

Grower feed

When considering the various types of feeds suitable for quails, one crucial option to explore is the “Grower feed,” often interchangeably referred to as “finishing” feed. The primary objective of this specialized feed is to foster a healthy growth rate in quails without leading to the accumulation of excessive fat.

The Grower feed plays a vital role in promoting bone mass, which, in turn, supports the development of muscle in quails. This is particularly beneficial if your goal is to raise quails for the dinner table, as it ensures the birds develop a robust musculature while maintaining a lean profile.

Baby Quail Eating Chicken starter Feed
Baby Quail Eating Chicken starter Feed

To optimize the benefits of Grower feed, it is recommended to introduce this type of feed once the quails reach six weeks of age. At this stage, incorporating a diet comprising 20% protein becomes crucial. This specific protein content is tailored to enhance the healthy growth rate of quails.

Medicated feeds

Medicated feeds play a pivotal role in safeguarding quails from this parasitic infection, which can lead to severe digestive problems and, in some cases, even result in death.

Quail chicks, in particular, are more susceptible to coccidiosis, making it essential to choose the right kind of feed for them. Opting for medicated starter feed becomes instrumental in preventing and warding off parasitic infections, ensuring the well-being of your quail flock.

Medicated feeds, designed specifically to combat coccidiosis, contain additives that help in preventing the onset of this disease. These feeds are formulated to address the unique needs of quails, providing them with the necessary nutrients while simultaneously acting as a protective shield against potential health threats.

Quails as flight birds

Quails, when raised to be flight birds, necessitate a distinct approach to their care and diet. The key lies in understanding their unique needs, particularly in terms of protein intake. Unlike quails raised for meat, flight quails thrive on a diet that is lower in protein. This is because excessive fat and muscle are counterproductive for birds intended for swift and agile flight.

When considering quails for fields, their dietary requirements diverge further. For these quails, a feeding strategy distinct from that of meat or egg layers is essential. To prepare them for their field activities, it is recommended to sprinkle the feed, promoting foraging and increased physical activity.

Feeding these flight-bound quails with specially formulated feeds designed to enhance feather growth becomes crucial. These feeds are tailored to meet the unique needs of birds intended for field flights. By adopting this specialized diet, quails stand a better chance of finishing out lighter, ensuring they are well-prepared for activities such as release, hunting, or even dog training.

Things to include in the Quail diet


Grit serves as a digestive aid, playing a role analogous to teeth in the quails’ crops. These tiny yet mighty crushed stones are instrumental in breaking down large seeds, grains, and various other substances that necessitate thorough processing within the digestive system of quails.

When contemplating what to include in your quails’ diet, consider incorporating grit as a fundamental element. This substance can be conveniently procured from most farm stores and, remarkably, is relatively affordable. Pay attention to acquiring grit that goes beyond its basic composition. Opt for varieties enriched with beneficial additives, such as calcium or diatomaceous earth, which contribute to the overall health and well-being of your quails.

Ensuring the presence of grit in your quails’ diet is a proactive measure toward promoting robust digestion. It aids in the efficient breakdown of substantial food particles, enabling your quails to derive maximum nutritional benefit from their diet. Therefore, as you curate the perfect menu for your quails, remember that grit, with its multifaceted benefits, is a key player in fostering their digestive health.

Oyster shell

Oyster shell, rich in calcium carbonate, plays a pivotal role in fortifying the bones of young quails. This mineral not only strengthens their skeletal structure but also catalyzes enhanced egg production in breeding quails.

Calcium carbonate, found in oyster shell, is crucial for the development and maintenance of robust bones in young quails. Including this natural supplement in their diet ensures that the quails receive the necessary nutrients for optimal bone health. Strong bones contribute to the overall well-being of the quails, promoting their vitality and longevity.

Furthermore, the benefits extend to the reproductive aspect of breeding quails. The calcium from the oyster shell actively supports and stimulates egg production. This is particularly significant for breeders, as a consistent and healthy egg-laying process is vital for a successful breeding program.

Diatomaceous earth

When considering including diatomaceous earth in quails’ diets, it’s crucial to focus on its food-grade quality. This ensures safety when ingested in small amounts, aiding in the eradication of internal parasites.

This natural substance acts as a drying agent, effectively eliminating pests. If you’re concerned about ticks, fleas, or mites affecting your quails, a direct application of diatomaceous earth onto the birds and around their pen can be beneficial. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the quantity used, as excessive application may lead to dry and cracked quail feet, potentially causing pain and infections such as bumblefoot.

To strike the right balance, only apply diatomaceous earth to areas where pests have been identified. This targeted approach ensures the well-being of your quails while effectively managing any pest-related challenges. Always prioritize the health and comfort of your quails by incorporating diatomaceous earth responsibly into their diet and living environment.

Vitamins and minerals

quails obtain essential vitamins and minerals from seeds, plants, and grains they forage for. However, when in confinement, it becomes the responsibility of the caretaker to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients.

To meet the specific dietary needs of quails, it is recommended to provide a well-rounded game bird feed. This specialized feed is designed to be a complete source of vitamins and minerals crucial for their well-being. Let’s delve into the key components:

1.      Vitamins:

Quails need various vitamins for different physiological functions. Vitamin A is essential for vision, Vitamin D for calcium absorption and bone health, and Vitamin E for immune support. Game bird feed typically contains a balanced combination of these vitamins to support overall health.

2.      Minerals:

Minerals play a vital role in the development of strong bones, feathers, and eggshells in quails. Calcium is particularly important for eggshell formation, while phosphorus contributes to overall bone health. The game bird feed should contain an appropriate mix of minerals to ensure these needs are met.

3.      Protein and Amino Acids:

Quails require protein for muscle development and maintenance. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are crucial for various physiological processes. The game bird feed should be rich in high-quality protein and a diverse array of amino acids.

4.      Specialized Formulation:

Game bird feeds are formulated by experts to meet the unique nutritional requirements of quails. These feeds often include a precise blend of grains, seeds, and supplements to mimic the quail’s natural diet as closely as possible.

5.      Digestibility:

Ensuring that the feed is easily digestible is vital for quails, especially in confinement. Game bird feeds are designed to be highly digestible, maximizing nutrient absorption and promoting optimal health.

Things to bear in mind when feeding quail


Adequate water supply is paramount when feeding quail. Quails, like all birds, require constant access to clean and fresh water. Water is essential for digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall well-being. Ensure that water containers are regularly cleaned and replenished to prevent dehydration.

Feed Quality:

The quality of the feed directly impacts the health of quails. Opt for a balanced and nutritionally complete game bird feed to meet their dietary requirements. Check for the presence of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins in the feed to support the quails’ growth, egg production, and overall vitality.

Feeder Placement:

Consider the placement of feeders within the quail enclosure. Locate feeders in areas easily accessible to the quails, but avoid placing them directly under water sources to prevent feed contamination. Proper spacing of feeders ensures all quails have equal access without crowding.

Avoid Overfeeding:

Overfeeding can lead to health issues in quails, such as obesity or digestive problems. Follow recommended feeding guidelines based on the age and purpose of the quails (e.g., laying eggs or growing). Observe their actions and modify the feeding quantities as needed.

Regular Inspections:

Conduct regular inspections of both feed and water containers. Ensure that there are no signs of mold, spoilage, or contamination in the feed. Likewise, check water containers for cleanliness and functionality. Regular maintenance prevents the risk of bacterial growth and disease.

Keeping Feed Dry:

Quail feed should be kept dry to maintain its nutritional value and prevent the growth of mold or harmful bacteria. Store feed in a cool, dry place, and use airtight containers to protect it from moisture. Wet or moldy feed can lead to health issues and may be refused by quails.


Can quail eat chick starter feed?

Yes, quail can eat chick starter feed. When quail chicks hatch, it’s important to feed them a “starter” diet. You should continue giving them this starter feed until they are six or eight weeks old. This special diet is crucial because it contains the highest level of protein that the birds will receive throughout their entire lives. So, to ensure the health and growth of quail chicks, it’s recommended to provide them with this specific type of feed during their early weeks.

Outside taking feed
Outside taking feed

What should you not feed quail?

Quails dislike and should not be given anything salty, like crisps. Moreover, it is crucial never to offer them any meat. Quails have preferences, and if they don’t like a particular food, they won’t eat it. Therefore, it is advised to avoid giving quails salty snacks and meat to ensure their well-being and dietary preferences.

Can quail eat grass?

Yes, quail can eat grass, especially during late winter and early spring. They consume green leafy forbs and tender grasses as part of their diet. The availability of such food is important for quail, and it contributes to their habitat. Young quail, in particular, need a diet rich in insects during the first ten weeks of life, but as they grow, they include a variety of vegetation, including grass, in their diet.


  • Ashley Sherman

    Meet Ashley Sherman, a dedicated ecologist and field biologist with a BS in Ecology and Field Biology, specializing in Wildlife with High Honors. With a passion for the intricate world of wildlife, Ashley is the perfect expert to guide you through the fascinating realm of birds.Her academic prowess, coupled with hands-on experience, positions Ashley as an authority in avian ecology. Having honed her skills in the field, she brings a wealth of knowledge to her writing. Ashley's expertise extends to bird behavior, conservation, and ecological impacts, making her the ideal companion for anyone eager to delve into the captivating world of birds.Embark on a journey with Ashley as she shares insightful blogs, offering a blend of scientific understanding and practical advice. Her commitment to wildlife and dedication to education make her the go-to source for all things avian. Let Ashley Sherman be your guide in exploring the diverse and enchanting universe of birds.

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