Do Quails Carry Diseases?

If you have any type of poultry or game bird, you know that they can be susceptible to some disease. This is particularly true of young birds, who are still learning how to fight off illnesses and build up their immune systems.

While quail are generally hearty little birds that don’t get sick often if kept properly, they can occasionally fall ill and need some help to recover. Knowing how to identify a few common signs of illness can make the difference between being able to treat a quail and having it die from a potentially fatal disease.

Ulcerative enteritis

The condition ulcerative enteritis (UE) is a very serious and sometimes life-threatening bacterial infection of the small intestine of quail. The infection causes a dramatic drop in nutrient absorption, resulting in severe weight loss and muscle deterioration.

This disease is highly contagious and can be spread easily among quail rearers and other animals in a poultry or game bird facility. Caretaker clothing, footwear and cleaning utensils should be disinfected before entering a quail rearing area to prevent the spread of this disease.


This is a very serious disease that can be very difficult to cure. The survivors of this disease become carriers for life, so it is extremely important to keep your Quail separate from your Chickens and never share waterers, feeders or cleaning utensils if you have both species in the same aviary.

Symptoms of this disease include: drops in energy, plumage change, changes in behavior or laying habits and even death. This is most common in bobwhite quail but can affect other breeds as well.

Leg Scale Mites

If your quail have a lot of scratching, cracked feathers and/or broken wings you may be dealing with Leg Scale Mites. These tiny parasites can burrow into the scales on a quail’s legs and toes, which makes them itchy and causes crusts to form on the skin that look like scabs.

It can be quite painful for the quail, so try to remove them as soon as possible and wash them thoroughly with soap and water. This will also help to kill the Leg Scale Mites if they are the cause of the problem.


If you have a few quail with bumblefoot, the most effective treatment is to soak their feet in epsom salts for 10 minutes every day, then rub them with neosporin. This will keep the pads clean and reduce swelling.


Coccidiosis is a protozoan that can be very dangerous for young birds, especially if it isn’t caught early enough and the quail is dehydrated. There are some antibiotics that can be used, but be sure to consult your veterinarian before using any medication on your quails.


If you keep quail as pets, you should check them regularly for psittacosis. These parasites are very small and can be carried from one bird to the next by droppings or dust, so testing is recommended before introducing birds to the home.