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Can Quail Live With Chickens?

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Having a farm or small-holding is lovely. Especially when you have animals like chickens and quail walking about your yard. So, you plan to get a few of each to make your garden merry with the added benefit of having fresh eggs every day!

But you have heard some people say that it is not good to keep these two species together in one environment. Why not? What can go wrong? Can quail live with chickens?

Quail can not live with chickens. Chickens are large and tame, and quail are small and wild. Quail are the underdogs in this case and are dominated and bullied by chickens. They are more prone to diseases and often become malnourished due to the chickens eating their food.

quail and chicken on separate photos

In an ideal world, it would be nice to keep both of these fowl together because they bring lovely energy to your outside home, but in this article, we will discuss the unfortunate reality that things won’t work out so well if chickens and quail are kept together.

They are just too different. Chickens are robust, resilient and have been dominating other fowl for centuries. Quail are more dainty, more sophisticated, and not as tough as their bulky, sturdy counterparts.

Why Quail And Chickens Should Not Live Together

Keeping chickens and quail in the same coop or environment is a tricky business and not recommended. You can keep quail and chickens on the same property, but they mustn’t be held in the same pen.

Unfortunately, if you do not separate them with a minimum distance of 50 feet in between them, you are more than likely to experience the following problems;

Feeding Order

Chickens are bigger than quail. The pecking order will be chickens first, quail last! If quail is to try and get the first peck of food, chickens (roosters or hens) will get aggressive with the quail. Many people have reported their chickens killing their quail due to dominance and territory.


Many bird diseases spread very quickly. Chickens might outlast quail because of their stronger immune system, but quail are highly susceptible to diseases, and it will affect them more than other fowl.

Coryza is one of the most common diseases that spread between quail and chickens.

You can cure chickens with antibiotics after they experience and display flu-like symptoms, but quail, aren’t domesticated, therefore have a fragile immune system.

So, what appears to be a mild flu for a chicken, could potentially be deadly to the more fragile quail species.

Quails hide their symptoms well, so by the time you notice something is wrong, it is too late, and due to coryza’s level of contagion, you could lose your entire flock in a matter of days.

Different Dietary Needs

The chicken feed consists of large grain pieces, which are low in protein. Quail feed consists of much smaller grains and has a high protein content.

Chickens are known to eat everything you put in front of them until there is nothing left. So, if you feed your chickens and quail in the same area simultaneously, quail will hardly get any food and will eventually become malnourished and are likely to starve.

Quails also can’t eat the chicken feed as the grains are too big for them. But if they have to fight for the food they need, they will try to consume the chicken feed and possibly choke to death.

Chickens Eat Quail Eggs

Another disturbing fact is that chickens eat quail eggs. Chickens are omnivores and will eat almost anything you put in front of them. They are inquisitive birds and peck at anything and everything in their way.

When they get a taste of a quail egg, there is no turning back. They will continue to be on the lookout for quail eggs and eat them as soon as they are laid.

quails eating food

Quail Can’t Be Left To Roam Free

You can leave chickens roaming around freely without having to worry that they will escape. They can be “free as a bird,” and they tend to return home after a while. Quail, on the other hand, not being domesticated birds, fly off, and more often than not, never return.

Yes, quail can fly. They are small enough to lift off without too much effort. So, if you were thinking of keeping your quail in a standard, semi-open chicken coop, where the birds are free to go about their business, you will be disappointed to find out that the same does not apply to your quail.

They will fly away. The only way you could prevent this from happening is to build an enclosure where they cannot get out of and have access to the open air.

Another problem when they are left exposed is the predators that hunt them. Hawks and eagles can snatch them as if they were chicks because of their small size. Even rats have been reported to catch quail and kill them.

Which Birds Can Live With Chickens?

Just because quail shouldn’t live with chickens does not mean that they have to live alone, isolated from all other fowl. Various types of birds can live in complete harmony alongside chickens, such as;

  • Geese
  • Ducks
  • Guinea Fowl
  • Turkey
  • Bantam Chickens (smaller versions of regular chickens)

Which Birds Can Live With Quail?

Although it is not a good idea for quail to live with chickens, other birds can live peacefully alongside quail, such as;

  • Cockatiels
  • Canaries
  • Finches
  • Budgies
  • Chinese Painted Quail do well with most cage birds
  • Doves

Any birds that are above quails should be kept in deep nesting boxes. This could help to prevent chicks from falling out and being killed by the quail below them. You could always place a layer of mesh between the quails and the other birds above them.

separate cells of chickens and quails

Can Quail Live With Chickens If They Are Separated In Different Enclosures?

It could be possible to keep quails and chickens on the same property by installing individual coops to separate them from each other.

If you make sure that you take all the necessary precautions to keep them away from one another to prevent these bad things from happening, there is no harm in giving it a try.

But as the saying goes, better safe than sorry. Even if you change everything from separating enclosures and keeping a close eye on diseases, realistically and eventually, there will come a time where nature takes its course and disaster strikes.

Whether it be injury due to aggressive pecking, or quails dying from coryza, simply put, it just isn’t worth the risk.

In Conclusion

As lovely as it seems to have a mixture of chickens and quail be a part of your family, there are just too many negatives that outweigh the positives.

And since they can’t talk and explain to you that they are sick, the humane thing to do is instead to follow the advice from people that have experienced first-hand how soon things can go south when you try to keep chickens and quail together.

If you have a more extensive farm or space and can ensure that your fowl have no way of getting near each other, you could easily have quail and chickens on the same property.  But always make sure that there is no way that they can gain access to each other’s environments.

Rather try the safer option. Pair animals that live in harmony together and that do not endanger one another.