Can Quail Eat Hemp Seeds?

The quail is a medium-sized bird, one which can be very amiable and fun to have around as a pet. Although an aviary is a better option, your quail in a birdcage will still be a very entertaining pet as it is a remarkable creature. These birds are extremely social and lively, and will, therefore, be a great addition to your life. And this extraordinary bird requires a very caring and loving owner who ensures the perfect lifestyle for this animal.

These birds liven up any space that they occupy and people admire these birds as pets. Not only are they great birds to keep as pets, but they are also very loving and affectionate birds. And with any bird, you are bound to sometimes get confused about whether you should be feeding them something or not. 

While hemp seeds are included in a lot of birds’ diets, are they safe for your pet quail to eat? And should your pet quail eat hemp seeds? If these are some of the concerns that you might be having, doing your research is the best thing to do. And if you want some answers, you have come to the right place.

What Is A Quail’s Diet?

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These gamebirds consume grains which make up about 80% of their diet but also munch on insects for protein requirements. Normally a quail farmer would just provide them with gamebird feed, the ones referred to as “complete feeds” as it carries all the essential energy food as well as supporting food. Though it greatly varies depending on what purpose a quail will be used, the general requirement is as follows:

  • Protein: 25-30% in young ones (till 8 weeks) and around 20% in adults
  • Energy(Fats and Carbohydrates): 2500 kcal/kg
  • Vitamins A 2000 (I.U)
  • Vitamin D 1000 (I.U)
  • Vitamin E 15 (I.U)
  • Vitamin K 0.3 mg
  • Vitamin B2 2 mg
  • Vitamin B3 20 mg
  • Vitamin B5 8 mg
  • Vitamin B6 2 mg
  • Vitamin B12 0.005 mg
  • Choline 0.7 g
  • Mineral requirement: Manganese, Iron, Cobalt, Copper, Zinc, Sodium, and Chloride.

However, all these requirements vastly vary between species and the type of gamebird. For example, a quail that is being raised for meat production will require a higher % of the protein in the diet, whilst the one for egg production will also require a lot of vitamin D and Calcium. The diverse dietary needs mean a quail owner will have a challenging time figuring out what is the perfect meal for their birds and therefore it is necessary to do your research instead of risking the health of your animals.

What Do Hemp Seeds Contain?

Before we can answer if your quail should be permitted to eat hemp seeds, we need to look into what are hemp seeds and what do they contain. Primarily, it is harvested from the Hemp plant that is grown in the northern parts of the world. 

They are processed to make an array of products for consumption ranging from hemp oil, hemp milk, hemp butter, hemp cheese, and more. Looking closely we can see what nutrients this seed carries:

This data is according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. 2 Tablespoon serving of hemp seeds weighing 20 grams (g) contains:

  • 111 calories
  • 6.31 g of protein
  • 9.75 g of fat
  • 1.73 g of carbohydrates (including 0.8 g of fiber and 0.3 g of sugar)
  • 14 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 1.59 mg of iron
  • 140 mg of magnesium
  • 330 mg of phosphorus
  • 240 mg of potassium
  • 1.98 mg of zinc
  • 22 micrograms (mcg) of folate
  • Hemp seeds also provide vitamin C, some B vitamins, and vitamins A and E.

As we can see by proportion size, these seeds are rich in proteins and fats along with a decent amount of various minerals like Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium. All these nutrients are abundant in hemp seeds and any animal that requires these nutrients can obtain them from hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are also sometimes used as bird feed and are famous among a lot of aviary owners and keepers so it should be a great alternative to your bird’s dietary supplements. They also contain a high amount of fiber, especially in their husks and layers while their oily texture is a sign of their high-fat content.

Can your Quail Eat Hemp Seeds?

Quail’s are omnivores birds, meaning they will eat both plant and animal-based food. They usually go with grains and cereals but they will not reject food containing hemp seeds as they are also plant-based. After analyzing the nutrient content of the hemp seeds we can say that they do not contain anything in abundance that is detrimental for your quail. This food can be a part of your quail’s diet without many troublesome thoughts as it is neither toxic nor harmful for your gamebird.

Moreover, they are also quite moderate in size and can be easily consumed by the game bird without any discomfort or trouble. They also are quite cost-effective because of their reasonable price, as you will not require them in a higher amount.

Is It Healthy To Feed Your Quail Hemp Seeds?

Effect of hempseed (H) in quail diet on carcass and intestinal organ... | Download Table

Whilst we saw it contains almost all the nutrients your bird needs, is it truly healthy for it? It can be said that it is a great source of protein and minerals for your quail, it cannot be a complete diet for it. The protein in it is quite high in ratio, with a lot of fats along with minerals. The extra fat is not needed by your bird unless it is performing an excessive flight routine which is quite rare, especially in a confined space like a birdcage, or even in an aviary. 

Furthermore, it barely contains as many carbohydrates as proteins and fats and although fats can be used instead of carbohydrates, it is only suggested when the bird is performing extra physically and carbohydrates should be the primary source as even in the wild, they consume grains and cereals which, again, are abundant in carbohydrates such as starch.

Thus, to answer if they are healthy or not, it is controversial, but we can say that they are healthy if in moderate quantity along with a proper number of grains and cereals. However, it will not be a completely balanced diet and thus is unhealthy if it’s the only part of the bird’s meal. This can be further seen as they are low on calcium and zinc which are necessary for the birds. Calcium is needed by the birds to build their bones and eggshells. Without proper calcium intake, they will suffer from weak bones and this can lead to various health issues that would require even more further dietary changes so it is best not to rely on a single source for your bird’s supper needs. 

Zinc is required for various purposes such as feather growth, growth in general and proper respiration. This is a very important part of a bird’s health that cannot be neglected and should be therefore catered via supplements.

The Fiber in the hemp seeds can also be quite beneficial for your bird’s stomach.

How To Feed Hemp Seeds To Your Quail?

There are many ways you could give hemp seeds to your bird, for instance, you could just give them the sterilized hemp seeds in their poultry tray. You could also give them the hemp seeds combined with their bird feed. This is especially beneficial as it will incorporate all the dietary needs of the bird in one single mixture of feed. This allows the bird to get all of its nutrients and enjoy a healthy lifestyle without any trouble. Also, with or without the husk, the seed is still packed with nutrition, although only a small amount of fiber is lost when the husk is removed which does not make much of a difference. You can also provide them with cocktail hemp seeds but that is not preferred over the other methods mentioned above. 


In conclusion, Quails can eat Hemp seeds, just with a little monitoring and care. You just need to control how much they are allowed to eat and in what form they are supposed to eat. We have studied how it is perfectly healthy in controlled amounts and is beneficial, along with how it could be a cost-effective method of nutrition. So, make sure you give your quail what they need and if they like hemp seeds, do not hesitate to make it a part of their daily meal to create a healthier relationship with your pet.

With any pet, it is necessary to be aware of their needs and see what they like and do not like. You should be able to tell if your pet is comfortable with their diet and if you think there are any problems, consult a veterinarian immediately. Consulting a professional is always a good idea when facing any health risks. 

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