When it comes to keeping poultry, the first birds most people think of are chickens, then ducks and finally maybe turkeys or geese. But did you know that quails are becoming an increasingly popular livestock species?
It’s true, and this isn’t even a recent fad: quails have been kept as domestic animals by people for centuries both for meat and for eggs.
When it comes to diet, quails eat many of the things that other birds eat but they still have unique nutritional requirements and so they should not eat certain things.
How about apples? Can quails eat apples safely?
Yes, quails can eat apples safely on a limited basis as part of a complete diet. However, quails should never eat apple seeds because they can cause cyanide poisoning.
Apples are definitely a nutritious and safe component of a quail’s diet as long as there are only fed to them as a supplement or treat.
Too many in a quail’s diet will lead to nutritional imbalance and because they contain a lot of sugar this can cause other issues. But, generally, they aren’t a problem.
Keep reading and I’ll tell you what you need to know if you want to make apples a good part of your quails’ diet…
Are Apples Good for Quails?
Yes. Apples can be good for quails as a part of their diet, but not as the majority item in their diet.
Apples are great for giving quails a boost of energy, and also for supplying them with various vitamins and minerals that they need to stay healthy.
In any case, they will definitely appreciate a little change from their usual feed or other natural foods.
Apples have been proven to improve circulation, digestion, feathering and overall cellular function in birds generally, and this includes quails.
Especially during hot weather or times of stress when it quails might be going through a lot of energy, sweet apples can help them stay energetic and healthy.
In short, they are a great option for giving to your quails on a limited basis so long as they have a well-rounded diet already, but you don’t want to overdo it because apples contain a good amount of sugar.
Apple Nutritional Profile
Apples are often stereotypically considered one of the healthiest fruits around, and though they are definitely good for people and birds alike, they have a somewhat limited nutritional profile.
That said, apples do contain lots of things that birds need, vitamins and minerals both, including vitamin C and many B vitamins, among them B1, B2, B5 and B6.
Apples also have a good amount of folate and a little bit of vitamins K and E. You’ll also find minerals that quails need to thrive, among them a little bit of iron and calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese.
These are all things that quails, and most birds, need in order to stay healthy, and they can definitely get them from apples.
Can You Feed Apples to Quails Raw?
Yes, and feeding raw apples to quails is best. Raw apples are easy for quails to eat with just a little bit of preparation, and they also contain the maximum amount of nutrition.
Can You Feed Cooked Apples to Quails?
Yes, cooked apples are safe for quails so long as they’re not made with any ingredients that they shouldn’t have, things like sugar, butter and so forth.
However, cooking apples does significantly deplete their vitamin content and also some of their minerals, so your quail won’t be benefiting from them as much.
Can Quails Eat Apple Seeds Safely?
No, they cannot. Birds eat all kinds of seeds, this is true, and it makes sense that they should be able to eat apple seeds but it isn’t safe.
Apple seeds contain compounds it will basically turn into a type of cyanide gas in the gut. This can easily poison quails!
Most birds are highly vulnerable to various poisons and dangerous chemicals, and quails are different. Plus, they are so much smaller than chickens they are even more at risk of poisoning.
Always take the time to core apples and remove the seeds entirely before giving them to your covey.
Is Apple Skin Okay for Quails?
Yes, strictly, apple skin is safe for quails to eat but it’s generally a bad idea to give it to them.
It isn’t that it is too tough for quails to nibble and swallow, but if you purchased apples from a grocery store it is certain that they will have been treated with pesticides.
These residues can have devastating health consequences for quails over time, so it’s a good idea to peel your apples before you feed it to your birds. I’ll talk more about that a little later…
Are Apples Still Safe for Quail Chicks?
Apples are safe for quail chicks that have had a couple of weeks to grow up. Newly-hatched quails, even though they’re quite active compared to other chicks, still have developing digestive systems that don’t need much sugar if any.
But, they can have a few little nibbles of apples once they have matured a little bit. Give them a bite or two here and there as a treat, and they shouldn’t have any problems.
Once they are grown up and eating the same things as all the adult quails are, they can have apples as usual.
How Often Can Quails Have Apples?
I would recommend feeding apples to quails no more than twice a week in small quantities.
Used this way as a supplement or treat, your quails will get maximum benefit and won’t have to worry about any negative side effects.
How Should You Serve Apples to Your Covey?
You have a few options for giving apples to your quails. If you want, you can core the apple, be sure the seeds are removed, and then put out slices that they can nibble on at their leisure. This can last quails a little while since they don’t take very big bites!
Another good way to serve apples to quails is to grate them using a cheese grater or microplane. This will produce tiny slivers that quail can easily eat. Just be sure that a seed doesn’t get in with the mix!
Peel Any Grocery-store Apples before Feeding them to Quails
I touched on this briefly above but it is worth explaining in detail. If you purchase your apples from the grocery store, you want to make it a point to peel them entirely before you serve the apples to your quails.
This is because apples, like pretty much all of the produce that we buy today, are heavily treated with pesticides at all phases of growth.
Even if you wash the apple’s skin these residues will stay in the skin which will then be eaten by your quails. Over time, the buildup of these pesticides can cause serious health issues.
Your best bet for store-bought is to buy organic apples, but even these might have been treated with some kind of pesticide.
Truly your best options are to purchase completely untreated apples from a local, trusted grower, or else grow them yourself.
Don’t Feed Quail Apples if They Have Bad Ingredients
It shouldn’t have to be said, but it bears mentioning for some people: never give your quails any apples that have been prepared with lots of extra sugar, caramel sauce, spices, and other ingredients that they shouldn’t have.
Likewise, don’t give your quails any dish that is made with apples, like pies, cobblers and things like that. All this stuff is truly awful for your quails, just because something has apples in it doesn’t mean it is healthy!
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.