Quails are the goofy little birds that run around the bottom of an aviary, fuss around in the sand and nestle quietly together into the corners. Whilst other birds enjoy the middle and upper areas of the cage, these birds prefer to keep their feet on the ground, enhancing an aviary by providing interest at the lower levels.
Being predominantly ground dwelling, quail need plenty of space to run around so care should be taken not to overpopulate an aviary. At least half of the roof should be covered to offer protection and at least one wall should be made of solid material. A double door will help to stop these very fast birds from escaping as you walk into the aviary with food and water. Place a few upturned wooden crates or polystyrene boxes with holes in at the back of the aviary for them to escape into and hollow logs or large pipe for them to hide in.
Include a dried bunch of branches for them to nestle amongst or perhaps some potted plants of bamboo or grasses. If the aviary floor is concrete, cover it with layer of clean dry sand and, to mimic a forest floor, spread dry leaves and grasses over part of it. Quail do not bath in water but prefer to dust bathe in the sand on the floor or in a shallow dish. The wire on the aviary should be made of mouse proof wire which has 7mm gaps or a solid material such as flat galvanised sheet metal. Care needs to be especially taken if baby quail are in an aviary as they are very small and move quickly so check the gaps around doors and add a second barrier if necessary – they can easily run through the 13mm wire often seen on cages. In a large aviary, it is a good idea to restrict the babies to a part of the cage so that they don’t get lost or stuck in bad weather.
Although part of the roof may have protection, it is important to offer extra protection in winter. Flying birds can huddle on the upper perches but quail do not have this option so temporary walls and roofing may be needed to keep them dry and out of draughts.