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If you're looking out for the well-being of a quail, offering her a nesting box can go a long way toward providing her with some much-needed comfort in laying eggs. Nesting sites are often extremely useful for these companionable ground-dwelling game birds. Not all quail use nesting boxes, but many domesticated quail appreciate the added feeling of security.
Antsy Behavior Without Nesting Boxes
If a domesticated female quail is reproducing yet isn't relaxed, her behavior might be reflecting her anxiety about the lack of a proper nesting site. She might act in an unusually antsy and fidgety manner prior to depositing her eggs. Minimize the possibility of discomfort and prepare a nesting box for her beforehand, making it convenient and attractive to her.
Quail greatly appreciate cover, both overhead and on two or three sides for a more private environment. If a female quail resides in an aviary, ample cover can actually sometimes make a suitable substitute for a nesting box. Cover is effective for easing frustration in quail and for making them feel more comfortable in general. If an aviary is located outside, shrubs often are effective forms of cover. If an aviary is indoors, some suitable choices for cover include fake plants, screens and straw. The presence of cover often enables quail to follow their instincts when nesting.
Setting Up Nesting Boxes
Nesting boxes work well when they're either fastened to the quail enclosure structure slightly off the ground or placed on the ground in a private location. Nesting materials also are vital components. Some commonly used nesting materials for quail are leaves, hay, corn husks and straw. Quail tend to prefer smooth items for these purposes. Although some people use fake grass for setting up nesting boxes for quail, the birds generally aren't big fans of it.
Button Quail and Nests
Not all types of quail are necessarily enthusiastic when it comes to establishing nests. Button quail (Coturnix chinensis), for example, aren't usually too big on nests. They seldom make them. Some of these tiny birds use holes in sand as nesting sites, but many of them opt instead to deposit their eggs anywhere they feel like, often in a random and unsystematic manner.
Quail Living Environments
If you have ample land and want to give the quail on your property a good living environment, make sure they can make effective nesting sites out of what's available to them. Cover, again, is imperative. Quail often establish nests inside of shallow pits, with cover in the form of thick masses of grass, stones or logs. Always make sure that water is nearby, too -- no farther than 400 yards away. If hens lack water, they're unable to nest or nurture their offspring properly.
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Quail -- Good Practice for Housing and Care
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: The Quail, Including Coturnix Spp. -- Good Practice For Housing and Care
- BirdChannel.com: Cute as a Button Quail
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: How to Help Quail on Your Farm or Ranch
- Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images