Quail is not such a typical bird for backyard birding. It has several endearing qualities that make it a productive bird. Its fluffy plumage, bouncy, whimsical topknots are reminiscent of chickens. Quail are picky eaters for their food choices, and they eat only as much as they need.
What do quails eat?
Quail are small birds, and they are members of pheasant and partridge species. This bird belongs to the omnivore’s family – this means they eat plant-based food like leafy green vegetables and seeds and animal-based food, such as insects. But seeds compose a major part of quail’s diet.
Quail mostly has a diet of grains in the wild, but farm quails have few requirements for feed with special considerations. It is also a fact that all seeds are not the same for quail, and instead of smooth or fluffy seeds, they like to eat slick and hard seeds.
What is a balanced quail diet?
Quail in the wild better know what they want and when they want. This savvy bird needs a diet that must be a complete feed. This diet should have everything a young quail requires to meet their nutritional needs. Wild quail forages for seeds and grains, including nuts, berries, and insects, in their diet.
Pet birds are not free in choosing their diet options. It is necessary to provide quail a commercial feed formulated, particularly for sports quail. This formulated diet must have all the ingredients of a balanced diet in the right proportion.
A balanced quail diet is a combination of:
- Crude protein (11%)
- Crude fat (4%)
- Crude fiber (10%)
- Moisture (12%)
Seeds and grains for quails:
Plant material contributes about 90% of quail’s diet, dependent on their species and time of the year. In this 90 percent, bulk part (75%-80%) comes from seeds and grains. It means the other food items included in quail’s diet provide them trace elements. Following are common grains and seeds that quail love to eat:
- Cracked corn
- Sweet corn
- Oat Groats
- Sunflower seed
Can quail eat cooked corn?
Yes, quail can eat cooked corn. It is one of the most preferred seeds by quail, and they can eat it raw as well as cooked. The only condition is to use corn kernels for quail in a crushed form that makes it easier for quail to intake.
With keeping quail in mind, it is important to understand that the cooking method counts a lot. Cooked corn with salt, spices, mayonnaise, etc., is not for quail. Corn Husk, cornbread, and corn on the cob are also safe to eat for quail and other backyard birds.
Corn for quail:
Quail loves to eat dried corn. It is tasty to them and plays an important role in the overall nutritional needs of quail. It is usually served to quail and other birds in cracked form. Corn kernels are dried and cracked into small pieces because the cracked corn is easier for birds to eat.
These cracked corns are low in oil percentage but rich in protein and fiber, making them ideal for quail and other backyard birds. These cracked corns are also used as fillers in quail’s seed mixes.
Is corn hard to digest for quail?
Quail do not have any issues eating and digesting corn, so there is nothing to worry about. Quail has a large muscle called ‘’gizzard’’ that munches up their food. This gizzard in quails and chickens contracts to ‘’chew’’ the food. It is also the reason quails eat grit to provide a strong and rough substance to grind the food.
Quails easily chew corn into small pieces through their small intestine, and all its nutrients absorb here.
Benefits of corn for quail:
Corn is nutritious. It provides fiber, folate, thiamine, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin C. Corn kernel helps the quail better resist transportation stress and lower physiological changes. Corn has 72 percent starch that converts into energy.
How to prepare cracked corn for quail:
To prepare cracked corn for quails, you have to dry corn cob first. This dried corn is now easy to remove kernels from the cob, and this kernel can be ground by a grain grinder, or you can use a plastic zip bag and hammer to gently fracture.
Popcorn for quail:
Quail enjoy snacking on popcorns, and you can serve your pet bird either popped or unpopped corn kernels. For unpopped kernels for quail, you need to boil these corns for a while. This boiling of corn in plain water makes their tough hull soft. For popped kernels, use a minimal amount of pure coconut oil.
Popped corn can spoil quickly, so never offer microwave or buttered popcorns to your quail bird.
Risks of corns for quail:
Corns are most likely to be contaminated with aflatoxin, and even its low level is extremely toxic and causes aflatoxicosis. Always avoid moist or wet corn, and never serve your pet quail with an amount that can’t be consumed within a day. Never serve your quail with corn during humid or rainy days. Some of the standard clinical signs of aflatoxicosis in quails and chickens are:
- Poor growth
- Decreased feed intake
- Increased mortality
- Higher feed conversion and feed passage
- Abnormal pigmentation on shank and feet
- Inhomogeneous flocks
Never serve your quail bird with corn intended for planting. Corn kernels for cultivation are often treated with different fungicides, and these are highly toxic for humans, animals, and birds.
Note: Treated corn kernels for cultivation are marked with red dye as a warning.
Conclusively, yes Quail can eat corn is cooked, dry, and cracked form. Boiled or fresh corn can lead to yeast growth, and aflatoxicosis present in moist corn may lead to genuine health risks for quail birds. Cracked corn is the best option to serve corn to your sport bird. Corn kernels used for cultivating corn crops are also coated with pesticides, and serving your quail with this corn may lead to severe health conditions or even death.