Unlike chickens and some other egg-laying fowl, quails and pheasants require a lot of protein. Your optimal feeding strategy will depend on whether you are feeding quails or pheasants, and on whether the birds in question are captive or wild.
Feeding Captive Young Quails
Young quail chicks require high amounts of protein from hatching until 8 weeks old. You should feed the quail chicks a "starter" meat bird feed available from most feed stores. After 8 weeks, quail chicks don't require as much protein, but they do require more calories. Between 8 weeks and about 16 weeks, the young birds need either a developer ration or a finisher ration, depending on whether they are raised for meat, flight or breeding. Developer ration is normally between 18 percent and 20 percent protein. Developer ration is used for flight and breeder birds. Finisher ration is typically around 19 percent protein and is intended for birds meant for butchering.
When feeding captive adult quails, you will be feeding birds meant primarily for breeding. These birds should be fed layer ration specifically designed for game birds, with about 19 percent protein.
Feeding Captive Young Pheasants
Feeding captive young pheasants requires a "starter" game bird ration that has 30 percent protein from hatching to 6 weeks old. You will need to feed a "grower" ration that is 19 percent protein for birds who are 6 weeks old until they mature as adults.
Feeding Captive Adult Pheasants
Adult breeder pheasants require a diet of 20 percent protein. Nonbreeding adult birds require only 12 percent protein in a maintenance diet.
Feeding Wild Quails and Pheasants
When feeding wild quails and pheasants, you will be working at supplementing their current diets. The best way is with food plots -- planting different bushes and garden plants that will allow the birds to naturally obtain food. Such plants may include corn, Partridge pea, soybeans, wheat, rye, millets, oats, blackberry, cow peas, clover and other plants within quails' natural diet. Conversely, you can feed wild adult quails and pheasants from game bird feeders and supply game bird food to them.