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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a pet California quail that I have had for about a month now. I have had it since it was a day-old. I have been feeding it some leftover turkey feed (non-medicated) and some bird seed (several different types of seeds mixed together) and occasionally some paprika mixed in. I put the turkey pellets and the bird seed in a heavy-duty freezer ziploc bag and hit it with the smooth side of the meat cleaver to make it into smaller sized pieces. The quail picks and chooses and eats what it wishes. Lately I have been offering ripe thimbleberries, blackberries and salmonberries. I don't know if it's eating them or just laying on them. It also seems to enjoy the clover I have been offering.

I don't want to feed this bird to plumpness and harvest it... I want it to live a long and healthy life as a pet. As such, I wonder if I shouldn't be feeding it something other than the "gamebird feed" sold at the feed store and wild bird seed. Does anyone have any recommendations, perhaps based on what they eat in the wild? So far I have read that they like willow buds/shoots, clover and "berries" and "seeds" but no mention of what kind of berries or seeds, aside from a mention of lupine. I don't have access to willow right now. Clover I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is a photo of the quail (gender unknown, name: Chief Little Bird... "Chief" for short) snuggling on top of my highly unamused Siamese. The cat is gentle with small animals, having been previously trained by ferrets, rats, iguanas and ducks. Her prey drive has long ago withered up and fallen off. The unhappy expression is her attempt to sublimate the "creeps" she gets when small animals climb on her. The quail found her warm and comfy and snuggled in.

Hm. The image isn't working. I'll have to figure this out tomorrow. Sorry!
 

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"The California Quail digests vegetation with the help of protozoans in its intestine. Chicks acquire the protozoans by pecking at the feces of adults. The California quail eats seeds, plant parts like buds and sometimes insects. They favor the small seeds of legumes. They feed in flocks in the early morning."

Looks like you will be out catching some small grasshoppers this evening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have an outside cage that I put Chief in for a few hours daily. It is wire and sits directly on the ground so that the clover and other plants poke up into the cage. Chief is always pecking at things I can't see. I figured it is eating tiny bugs.
 
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