Quail sex


New member
Hi All,

I am new to quail keeping- managed to hatch 4 out of 12 mixed coutornix quail eggs I bought from eBay. (Sent at start of lockdown so spent 4 days with Royal Mail!)

Now 4.5 wks old- clearly hoping for at least one girl so can get some eggs to balance the flock (1:4 ratio). At this stage from what I can tell from on calling alone - 3 are boys ie stand up and do the typical male call.

Couple of questions-

- do girls do the male call?
- is the only one not calling a girl? Shown in the 2 photos- she seems not to have a speckle chest which I thoughts signified girl? However she is not calling like the others.
- is the brown one def a boy, calls all the time like a boy but as per the single photo has speckled chest. (Very confusing!)

Finally, they are currently in a brooder (large 100gallon tote box) at night with an electric hen) and hutch in daytime. When can I leave them in hutch permanently?

Thanks for any help or advice,

Cheers, Chris


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PKF Sponsor
Hampshire, U.K.
Hi Twixchris and welcome to the Forum.
Yes 4/12 is a bit disappointing as a hatch rate, what a shame about the delay in the post. Of course there might have been fertility problems as well - and I wonder if perhaps you added more water to the incubator than they need? They do best if incubated dry until the day before the hatch is due as they’re susceptible to drowning in shell if humidity is too high for them - a combination of large shell area to volume of contents in such a small egg, and porosity of egg shell, in a bird that evolved in hot dry countries.
Anyway, they look lovely little birds with a nice variety of colours. I found that yes, there were always a disproportionate number of males to females and when they really hit puberty (later than 4-5 weeks in the case of the ones I hatched) the males piled in and tried to mate the females by clinging on to their head feathers with their beaks and basically raping them. When the females objected they just hung on, with their weight often tearing the skin and making wounds. I got so upset at coming down each day to a cage covered in blood and a poorly female that I culled all the boys as soon as I could sex them and after that the females lived happily together and laid constantly for several years. From what I’ve read on here from other people, coturnix males are much rougher in their mating habits than Chinese Painted quails, who seem much more domestically minded. If you get similar problems, or just want more quails, you might consider setting more eggs now for another hatch.
I kept mine in big cages (2ft by 3 ft for 3-4 birds) until the weather got warm and then put them out on grass in a moveable rabbit run. I made a cover for the run out of clear plastic tarpaulin so they were sheltered from cold wind and rain, and provided several little shelters for them to hide under, and I think they did like to feel they had shelter overhead, being naturally ground-living birds. Also the sunlight was good for them though they do need shade to avoid overheating. I moved the run every few days, so no need for bedding underfoot, and it did the grass good as well. They did very well out of doors until October, when it started getting wet - adults can manage cold down to freezing, but are not happy in damp conditions. In the autumn I took them in again to the cages in the shed, and when it got really cold I added the Ecoglow chick brooder which they liked to snuggle under.
It will be very interesting to hear how you get on - do let us know how it goes.


New member
Hi Twixchris
Love the colours on your young birds.
I've only ever kept Chinese painted quails, and for the calling, female have their own too... When males tend to make a longer "tune" of 3 or 4 segments, and repeating 2 or 3 times, followed by a growl sometimes, the female call is shorter and often only uttered once.

But no idea if your variety has the same calls. Also what's the decisive point for sexing them is the red feathers that male get as they reach "puberty"... No other way to describe it lol ?

Not sure if this proves helpful at all...