Feeding and Housing

CPQ are ground dwellers and will eat a lot of spilt seed from other birds if they are kept in an aviary. They love millet spray and will drag it around their pen, pecking it until there is only a strip left. They will also eat all sorts of fruit and vegetables: apple, cabbage, broccoli and cucumber are their favourites. Put in a slice of cucumber and in no time at all they will have pecked all the way through it. DO NOT GIVE THEM AVOCADO AS IT IS POISONOUS TO THEM.

Grit should also be supplied to help with the husking of the seeds.

chinese_painted_quail_female As a treat for the CPQ mini mealworms can be given but only a few each day. And don’t forget the male won’t eat any so make sure you don’t count him when you’re putting no more than six per female into the cage. You can feed them through the bars of the cage – they will learn to take the worms out of your fingers.

Crushed up boiled egg, shells included, can be given to the quail (especially egg laying females) to put nutrients and some of the calcium back into the body. The egg of a CPQ is large in relation to the size of the bird (even though it is not much bigger than a mini egg sweet).

My quail love to peck at tubs of grass, which I grow for them. Within days they have pecked all the grass and turfed out the seeds and most of the soil. It feeds them and also keeps them amused.

Baby quails should be fed chick crumbs or turkey starter from being born to about 5 weeks old. It should be high protein. But by far the most important thing for all quail is the supply of fresh clean water, which should be provided daily.

Button quail can be easily kept in almost any environment. Most people have them in their aviaries to eat all the spilt food that the other birds drop. Some people, mainly overseas, keep them in large fish tanks inside the house, with a net over the top to stop them flying out.


I prefer to keep mine in what I would describe as large rabbit hutches that I make myself. They are 4ft x 2ft x 3ft and will accommodate a trio of CPQ quite easily. The hutches have living quarters and sleeping quarters so they have somewhere to go to avoid the weather. I also put a board over ¾ of the mesh front in severe weather to shelter them more.

If I want to breed a specific pair I put them in breeding cages measuring 36in x 15in x 12in. All the ceilings of the hutches and breeding cages are boink proof using foam underlay/packaging foam.

All my quail are housed on wood shavings with bits of conifer thrown in so they can hide and forage looking for insects. They also have little wooden houses they can sit in or lay eggs in, or just sit on top of to watch the world go by.