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Quail keeping is becoming more popular every year, especially amongst urban homesteaders who have to keep their quail in close proximity to their neighbors. Keeping quail in an urban environment can be especially challenging when your male quail decides to start calling out in the middle of the night.
There can be a number of reasons a male quail starts calling out during the night. He may be calling out because he can hear another male quail calling because something has changed in his environment which has caused him stress, or because some light is entering his house, maybe from a street light or a security light on the house.
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Why Do Male Quails Crow?
Male quails have a surprisingly loud crow. Not as loud as a rooster, but loud nevertheless. Male quail’s crow to show their dominance over other males, to attract mates, or as a way of keeping in contact with other members of their flock. Males usually only crow during the day.
A male quails crow can travel a long distance and they no doubt use their crow as a way to warn other males that this is their territory.
Why Do Male Quails Crow At Night?
It is not normal for male quail to crow at night. During the night quail are usually sleeping, or at least quiet.
Crowing because his environment has changed
A male may start crowing during the night if there has been a major change in his environment such as if his flock has been disturbed.
Occasionally, we as quail keepers may decide to rearrange our flocks. Maybe we take the females from one enclosure and add them to another. We don’t give it a second thought. If we look at it from the males’ point of view, one minute he has a flock made up of 4 or 5 females, the next minute he is living alone. He won’t know where his ladies have gone, or worse, he will see they are now living with a different male, and that can be distressing for him.
When we rearrange our quail flocks, the males can be deeply affected.
Putting 2 or 3 females back in with the male quail should make him feel like he has his flock back, and he should stop crowing during the night.
Crowing out of fear
Male quail will often crow when they are faced with danger. The crowing is often the first line of defense to warn other members of the flock.
If your male quail is crowing during the night, it is possible a predator like a rat or a snake is entering his home. Whilst both rats and snakes will take a quail, if the predator is small it may be looking for either eggs or young quail. The male is simply crowing to warn his flock of the predators’ presence.
If you believe predators may be the cause of the quails crowing, take some time to look closely at the quails’ home. Is there any way a rat or a snake can enter the coop? Both rats and snakes can fit through amazingly small holes.
If your quails are kept in a wire cage, it is possible they can see a predator outside the cage. Consider covering the wire sections with a piece of carpet at night. Not only will the carpet prevent the quail from seeing the predator, but it will also help keep the quail warmer in the winter.
Crowing because he can hear another male quail
It is less likely, but the possible reason a male quail crows during the night is because he can hear another quail calling. Quail calling can travel surprisingly far when the wind is in the right direction.
If another male quail in relatively close proximity is calling during the night, your male may be responding. The two birds may end up both calling to stake a claim on the territory they both live in.
Try covering your males’ coop with a piece of carpet at night. The extra insulation may provide just enough soundproofing that your male either can’t hear the other male or makes the call so faint your male doesn’t feel the need to respond to the initial crowing.
Crowing because some light is entering his coop
Quails have evolved to live their lives by the sun. When the sun is shining, they are normally up and about and enjoying their day. The problem can occur when artificial light from our homes or street lamps enter the coop, making the quail think the sun has risen.
Out of all the reasons a quail crows during the night, artificial light is probably the easier one to solve!
If your quail is crowing due to artificial light, simply cover your quails’ coop at night with a piece of blackout fabric (like this one on Amazon) or a tarpaulin. Essentially, it doesn’t matter what you use, providing it blocks the light out.
Crowing as a learned behavior
If the male quail is new to you and he is crowing during the night, it is possible it is a learned behavior. Research has shown that if one member of a quail flock acts out of the ordinary, like crowing at night, there is a greater chance other members of the flock will do it too.
Once a quail has learned a bad habit, it can be incredibly difficult to get him to break that habit.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution when the crowing is a result of learned behavior. I can only suggest trying to soundproof his coop so no one can hear his crowing in the night. In the past, I have used soundproof foam similar to these ones on Amazon
How To Stop A Male Quail Crowing At Night?
In my experience, once a quail has decided he wants to crow at night, it can be very difficult to talk him out of it. Assuming you have given him a few days, just to make sure it is not a phase, and you have looked at the suggested solutions above, you are essentially left with two options.
Try to make the quails coop as soundproof as possible. Either cover with some thick blankets or soundproofing material or build a timber box to place over the coop at night.
Unfortunately, if all else fails, you may need to cull your male quail. I only ever use culling as a last resort, but sometimes it is inevitable.