Can Quail Live With Chickens? Essential Guide & Risks

Can quail live with chickens?

The short answer to the question “Can quail live with chickens?” is a resounding NO. While the idea of keeping quail and chickens together may seem appealing to streamline housing, it’s crucial to understand the reasons behind the separation. Mixing these domesticated birds may lead to a ticking time bomb of potential issues. Although some owners might initially find success, the delicate balance can quickly go wrong due to various factors.

Quail and chickens, originating from different parts of the world, share common ground in being domesticated. However, the key lies in providing them with separate cages or enclosures throughout their lives. This separation ensures that each species has ample room to roam, as they have distinct dietary preferences and roosting habits. Quail, often getting the short end of the stick, requires special care, considering their specific place of origin.

Quail and chicken feeding together
Quail and chicken feeding together
Can Quail Eat Chicken Feed

Attempting to raise quail and chickens together is not only a difficult task but a potential mistake that could devastate the flock. Owners must be aware of the nuances involved and the importance of maintaining a perfectly balanced environment. Chickens, being more adaptable to a wider range of food sources, including grains, insects, and seeds found in the grass, are comparatively easier for people to take care of than quails, emphasizing the need for individualized attention to each species.

Why Quail And Chickens Should Not Live Together?

Feeding Order

Keeping quail and chickens together in the same living space can be a challenging endeavor due to several factors, primarily revolving around their instincts and behaviors.

feeding order
feeding order

Firstly, the concept of a “pecking order” is crucial in understanding why cohabitation might not be ideal. Chickens, whether roosters or hens, establish a hierarchy within their group. When introduced to quail, which are generally smaller in size, chickens tend to assert dominance. This dominance is often displayed through aggressive behavior, especially during feeding times.

In the feeding order, chickens prioritize themselves over quail. If quail attempts to access food before chickens, it can trigger aggression from the larger birds. The result can be harmful to the quail, with reports indicating instances of chickens causing harm to or even killing quail in some cases.

This aggressive behavior stems from the instincts of chickens to protect their territory and assert dominance. Quail, being smaller and less assertive, may struggle to compete for resources, leading to potential harm.


Keeping quail and chickens together can pose a significant health risk due to the nature of bird diseases, particularly Coryza. Chickens, known for their robust immune system, might withstand certain diseases, but quail are highly susceptible and can be severely affected.

Coryza, a prevalent disease among both quail and chickens, spreads easily between them. While antibiotics can cure chickens after displaying flu-like symptoms, quail, being non-domesticated, have a more fragile immune system. What may seem like the mild flu for a chicken could potentially be deadly for the delicate quail species?

Moreover, quails tend to hide their symptoms well, making it challenging to detect illness early. Over time you notice something happening wrong, it is often too late. Due to the high contagion level of Coryza, there’s a risk of losing the entire flock within a matter of days.

Chickens Will Eat Quail Eggs

If you choose to raise quail and chickens together, there’s a risk that your chickens might discover and consume the quail eggs before you have a chance to collect them.

Chickens Will Eat Quail Eggs
Chickens Will Eat Quail Eggs

Chickens, surprisingly, have a liking for the taste of quail eggs, much like we do. This behavior can lead to a situation where you won’t see as many quail eggs as you anticipated. The effort put into raising both quail and chickens together may not be worth your while, especially if the goal is to harvest a consistent supply of quail eggs. It’s essential to consider this aspect when deciding whether to house quail and chickens together, ensuring that your expectations align with the practical challenges associated with their coexistence.

Dietary Differences

Quail, being smaller birds, require a diet primarily composed of small grain pieces rich in protein. On the contrary, chickens thrive on larger feed pieces with lower protein content. When housed together, a noteworthy challenge arises – the chickens, known for their voracious appetite, tend to consume all the available quail feed.

This seemingly innocent behavior has profound consequences. The quail, unable to access their specific nutritional requirements due to the dominance of chickens in feeding, inevitably become malnourished. This dietary discrepancy jeopardizes the health and vitality of the quail, hindering their growth and overall well-being.

Chickens Can Kill Quails

Keeping chickens and quail together poses a potential threat to the safety of quails. Chickens, while not inherently aggressive towards quails, may, under certain circumstances, decide to harm or even kill them. This phenomenon has been observed in situations where both birds share the same living space or when a quail ventures into a chicken run.

Chickens Can Kill Quails
Chickens Can Kill Quails

The risk of such incidents is not worth taking, as evidenced by numerous stories recounting instances of chickens turning on quail. Whether due to territorial disputes or the instincts of chickens, the potential for harm exists. To ensure the well-being of both species, it is advisable to keep them separate to prevent any unfortunate occurrences.

How Close Can Quail And Chickens Be Together?

Quail are generally compatible with a variety of bird species, and they can coexist peacefully with several types of birds. Here’s a list of birds that can live with quail:

  1. Cockatiels
  2. Canaries
  3. Finches
  4. Budgies (Budgerigars)
  5. Doves
  6. Ducks
  7. Turkeys
  8. Geese

These birds are likely to share living spaces without posing significant threats to one another. However, it’s essential to monitor their interactions and ensure that they have adequate space and suitable conditions for their specific needs. Additionally, introducing new birds should be done gradually to minimize stress and potential conflicts.

Which Birds Can Live With Chickens?

Several bird species can coexist with chickens, provided that their needs and temperaments are compatible. Here are some birds that can typically live harmoniously with chickens:

Which Birds Can Live With Chickens?
Which Birds Can Live With Chickens?
  1. Ducks: Ducks and chickens often get along well. They share similar space requirements and have compatible diets. However, it’s essential to consider the water needs of ducks, as they enjoy having access to ponds or shallow water.
  2. Turkeys: Turkeys can be kept with chickens, but it’s crucial to monitor their interactions. Turkeys can be more aggressive, especially during mating season, so providing enough space is vital.
  3. Geese: Geese and chickens can cohabitate, but geese may become territorial, especially during the breeding season. Adequate space and supervision are important to prevent conflicts.
  4. Guinea Fowl: Guinea fowl are known for their pest control abilities, as they eat insects and ticks. They can live alongside chickens, but introducing them gradually is recommended to avoid aggression.
  5. Pheasants and Quail: While pheasants and quail may coexist with chickens, it’s crucial to provide separate areas for nesting and feeding. Additionally, their specific habitat requirements should be considered.
  6. Peafowl (Peacocks and Peahens): Peafowl can share space with chickens, but their distinctive vocalizations and vibrant displays should be taken into account. Adequate space and consideration for their unique needs are important.
  7. Guinea Pigs: While not birds, guinea pigs are small pets that can live near chickens without major issues. Ensure that they have a secure enclosure to protect them from curious chickens.

When introducing different bird species, it’s essential to monitor their interactions closely. Providing ample space, separate nesting areas, and observing their behaviors will contribute to a more harmonious living environment. Additionally, individual personalities and the specific needs of each species should be considered to ensure the well-being of all birds involved.

Can Quails And Chickens Mate?

Quails and chickens are different species, and generally, they do not mate with each other. While they are both members of the bird family, Phasianidae, and share some similarities, their genetic differences usually prevent successful mating and reproduction between the two species.

Can Quails And Chickens Mate?
Can Quails And Chickens Mate?

Mating compatibility is determined by various factors, including genetic and physiological differences. In most cases, quails and chickens have different courtship behaviors, mating rituals, and reproductive anatomy, making successful crossbreeding unlikely.

If you are looking to breed quails or chickens, it’s best to keep them with members of their species to ensure healthy offspring and to maintain the distinct characteristics of each species.

Will Chickens Kill Quails If They Are Housed Together?

While chickens are generally considered docile and domesticated by humans, it’s crucial to understand that they are instinctive prey birds. When housed together with quails, a potential issue arises due to the natural pecking order. Chickens, being larger and more dominant, may attack anything smaller that moves, including quails.

The size difference plays a significant role, as quails are unable to protect themselves adequately. The chickens, particularly aggressive roosters, may engage in excessive pecking to establish territories, putting quails at risk. Moreover, chickens can indirectly harm quails by restricting their access to food, as the natural order often favors bigger and stronger birds.

The consequences of housing chickens and quails together extend beyond mere bullying. Chickens can be carriers of diseases, posing a threat to the less robust immune system of quails. Diseases that may not affect chickens can prove fatal to quails, leading to a potential decimation of their population.

Can Chickens Protect Quails From Predators?

While chickens do not necessarily protect quails from predators, they require protection in most cases. The key to ensuring the safety of your quails lies in creating a secure and comfortable coop that effectively keeps out potential threats.

When constructing coops, it’s crucial to consider the differences between chicken and quail coops, particularly in terms of material and size. Due to their smaller size, quail coops should have a mesh designed to prevent predators like rats and snakes from entering.

Quails are more susceptible to predation compared to chickens, emphasizing the need for stronger protection measures. Building quail coops with aviary mesh, as opposed to chicken wire mesh, provides an added layer of security.

Additionally, a poultry keeper suggests various types of cages for quail protection. Regular cleaning and maintenance of coops play a vital role in preventing predation, as predators can be attracted by the scent. By cleaning up in the evenings and ensuring no spilled food remains, you reduce the likelihood of attracting unwanted attention.

Introducing a guard animal, such as trained dogs, miniature donkeys, llamas, or alpacas, can act as an alert system for potential threats among your flock. Each guard animal has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, allowing you to choose based on your comfort and specific needs.

Implementing these steps helps keep your quail and poultry flock safe from predators. It’s important to note that keeping chickens and quails in the same coop or space may not be the best idea for the health and safety of your quails.

Can all quails live together?

In the wild, quails, much like partridges, are known for marking their territories and allowing only one male to enter. This behavior helps maintain peace within their community. When considering keeping quails together, especially in captivity, it’s essential to understand their social dynamics.

In a domestic setting, it is advisable not to combine male quails in the same cage, as they tend to exhibit aggressive behavior and may end up fighting each other. However, a more harmonious arrangement can be achieved by combining one male with a few females. This mimics the natural order, creating a more peaceful living environment for the quails.

So, can all quails live together? In the right conditions, yes. In captivity, it is advisable to house one male with several females to avoid conflicts and promote a harmonious coexistence. Understanding and respecting the natural tendencies of quails, both in the wild and in captivity, are essential for creating a suitable living arrangement for these fascinating birds.


Can Quails Eat Chicken Feed?

Yes, quails can eat chicken feed, but it’s important to note that quails have specific nutritional requirements, and not all chicken feeds may meet those needs adequately. Quails generally require a higher protein content in their diet compared to chickens.

Can Quails Eat Chicken Feed?
Can Quails Eat Chicken Feed?

If you’re planning to feed quails with chicken feed, make sure it’s a high-quality poultry feed that contains sufficient protein (around 20-24%). Additionally, quails benefit from having access to grit, which helps them digest their food, as well as crushed oyster shells or another calcium source for egg production if you have to lay quails.

Can quail live alone?

Yes, quail can live alone during the breeding season. However, after the breeding season, they tend to come together and form small flocks called coveys, with a membership ranging from 3 to 20 birds. This behavior suggests that while quail can live alone during specific periods, they also exhibit social tendencies by forming groups outside of the breeding season.

Can quail live alone
Can quail live alone

What is the lifespan of a quail?

The average life expectancy of a wild quail spans approximately 1.5 years, although, intriguingly, some may defy the odds and endure up to four years. When we focus on the mature members of this avian species, they typically measure an impressive eleven inches in length and carry a weight ranging from 5.1 to 6.5 ounces, which translates to 160 to 200 grams.


  • Jill Taylor

    Hello there! I'm Jill Taylor, the seasoned homesteader and guiding force behind Bird Queries. With over two decades of hands-on experience in animal care, coupled with a BSc in Environmental Studies, I am deeply committed to sharing authoritative and practical insights with fellow avian enthusiasts. Growing up on a farm, my childhood was immersed in the rhythm of nature and the nuances of animal care. This profound connection led me to further my education with a BSc in Environmental Studies. The degree not only enriched my understanding of ecosystems but also deepened my expertise in holistic animal and plant care within sustainable environments. After college, I transitioned from our family farm to establish my own homestead, where I've mastered the care of diverse flocks ranging from chickens, ducks, and geese to exotic bird species. My journey also involves nurturing organic gardens, preserving food, and mastering age-old homesteading skills. Bird Queries was founded as an embodiment of my passion and dedication. This platform offers in-depth advice, evidence-backed tips, and time-tested practices on all facets of avian homesteading — from optimal bird nutrition and health to creating bird-friendly gardens and beyond. Your journey to mastering avian homesteading is backed by my 20+ years of experience. I'm always here to assist, answer queries, and guide you in building a thriving bird-centric homestead. So, if you're ready to embark on this transformative journey, I'm eager to support every step you take.

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