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Coturnix Quail

Scientific Name : Coturnix japonica Quail


Common Names : Coturnix Quail, Coturnix, Quail, Common Quail, Japanese Quail, Pharoh Quail, and also can be called any of the mutation’s names


Raising in Captivity : Done extremely easy, perfect beginner bird for a variety of purposes; pets, meat production, egg production, and in some societies for the call of the male. Coturnix quail are great candidates for home breeding, as they begin laying as early as 6 weeks of age, and can lay an egg a day year round with the use of lights providing a 14 hour day; due to their rapid sexual maturing, it is very easy to readily replace your breeders. They also are great for both meat and egg production due to their fast growth, and have been used for these purposes since the 12th Century.  Incubation is much quicker than other game birds, hatch on day 17, and reach mature weight by 6-8 weeks of age. Coturnix Quail are native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa, and were interbred to create a domestic breed of quail several hundreds of years ago. Some even say the Egyptians were the first to raise coturnix in captivity successfully. These birds are raised extremely easy, require minimum space, and do great when raised in wire floor cages or in an aviary open to the ground. Coturnix only need a minimum of 1 square foot per bird, although it does not hurt to go larger. When raised in wire cages, it is best to have only 1 male per colony to prevent fighting and the death of one of the males. They may be fine for a day, maybe a week, or even a month if not longer, but eventually you will be left with one male standing. If you decide to raise them in an aviary, it is perfectly fine to have multiple males so long as there are sufficient females and plenty of hiding places along with proper square footage. They can also be raised in pairs, but most decide to raise them in colonies around 1 male:7 female ratios with great fertility.

Japanese Quail


Breeding Season : March – September (Breeding season can be year round in captivity by using a light to provide 14 hours of light per day, and hens should lay an egg every day as long as all other conditions are right as well.)


Average Clutch : 9-16 eggs

Quail eggs


Incubation Time : 17 days


Background : Coturnix quail are a migratory old world quail, who are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The birds frequents farmlands, grassy fields, ,stream and river banks, and especially enjoy rice fields. It is said that the Egyptians were the first ones to raise coturnix in captivity, but the first documented cases are in the late 12th century. For nearly a thousand years, the domestic versions of the coturnix quail have been raised for meat production, egg production, hobby, and even for health benefits by many Asian cultures. The coturnix quail is available in many color mutations, with the most common being the Pharoh Quail (wild color). Other mutations include, but are not limited to, Texas A&M, Jumbo breeds, Tibetan, Tuxedo, Rosetta, Italian, Goldens, and many more.


Appearance (Wild color) : The coturnix quail is a smaller sized game bird, averaging 3-5.5 ounces and are about 8 inches in length. Some of the jumbo mutations can even reach up to 16 ounces. Both males and females look similar, but are still easily sexed. They are dark brown birds with mottling, and have an underbelly which is a lighter color of brown along with a whitish/light brown stipe coming above the eye similar to that of a bobwhite quail, but a much thinner stripe. With the Pharoh Quail (wild color), females can be distinguished by the lacking of mottling on the chest. Other mutations such as the Texas A&M are much harder to visually sex, but some are just as simple as the wild color.


Threats : Threats to coturnix quail in the wild are simply any predators larger in size than them, including humans. It is hard to make a list of their predators due to their range of habitat being so large. The other major threat to wild coturnix quail are the hybridization with escaped domestic coturnix and this has been experienced before in Europe. Realistically, there are no threats to the population or well-being of the coturnix quail due to their rapid reproduction rate and young age of maturing, and are expected to remain with us for a very long time.Coturnix1

Texas A&M (A Larger mutation of Coturnix quail that is all white with one black/brown spot on head)

3 Responses to Coturnix Quail

  1. Avatar Pet Island
    Pet Island says:

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  2. I would like to start raising some quail, and I was wondering which of the varieties of coturnix would be best to start with?

    • Avatar David (GBF Founder)
      David (GBF Founder) says:

      One of the biggest misconceptions about all of the varieties of coturnix quail is that they are all different species; they actually are just color and/or size mutations of the wild color through selective breeding. All varieties have the same requirements, and any would be a perfect quail for a starter. The only choice you have to make now is, which color do you like the best?! Be sure to check out our forum and feel free to post any questions you have there as well and myself along with others will be MORE than happy to assist you along the way with your new quail venture!