Despite their size quail do eat a fair amount and the larger breeds such as Italians, Coturnix and Japanese (all from the family cortunix ) will be able to cope with layers pellets and mixed corn. However, you may want to mash the pellets into smaller pieces to make them easier to eat. In winter you can add a sprinkle of chick crumb to give them a protein boost.
Offering a little extra on the side
Naturally you will want to offer your guests a little variation. Whilst the main course should be kept constant to ensure that the hens are ingesting a balanced diet it is good to vary the meal with extras. Things that quail eat include pasta, cake, rice, sweetcorn and lettuce. Basically, if they don't like it they won't eat it so you will quickly learn their dislikes and likes. It is not a good idea to give them anything salty like crisps and you must make sure never to give them any meat.
You should not feed cuttings from the garden.
Water must be kept clean you should check it regularly in winter to ensure it doesn't become frozen. You can add supplements such as Apple Cider Vinegar to help boost feather condition and help to aid in riding the birds of worms and other parasites. (1/4 tsp per drinker will aid digestion and help them keep their feathers in good condition.)
Quail will quite readily learn to drink from rabbit drinkers, they are very curious and will soon learn to peck for water, whilst they are learning this it is advisable to add a small dish of water just in case. Make sure you check that the water is not frozen each morning during the winter months.
Where can I buy feed?
You can order feed from our online shop. Or to be environmentally friendly and to save the postage you can find chicken feed locally. We supply Organic Feed produced by the Organic Food company, you can contact them to find a local feed distributor on their website.
Doriss, 3 January 2022
Concerned that you have not said whether sweetcorn offered to quail should be cooked. As I understand it, incompletely cooked sweetcorn can release cyanide.