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Chicks dying

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I read through half a dozen other BYC threads on fading baby quail, but all seemed inconclusive.  

 

I picked up some half-grown quail locally and was gifted some eggs to hatch as well.   The (now) adults  are outdoors.  I had some losses, mostly due to learning curve in containing them, but I did lose one to aggression (also a learning curve in male:female ratio).

 

I hatched 6 fertile eggs.  I lost 1 that ended up under the incubator grate (yet another learning curve).  The 5 were put into the brooder within 24 hours.  They took to food and water very well.  All was fine for a week...  One day 1 was struggling, laying strangely . I picked it up and water poured out of its crop.  It had some death throws and keeled over.

 

Another began acting funny.  It would put its wings up, almost backward over its head, and shuffle backwards, head bent forward,  like it was in pain.  This one is still alive and today showing this symptom less.

 

1 of the remaining 4 never grew.  At all.  At 2 weeks, the others were 3x its size and feathering, but it hadn't grown in size or produced a single feather.  It was eating and drinking well.  One morning I woke up to find that one dead, plus another one that was soaking wet.  The water dish is 1" deep and filled with pebbles.  No chance of outright drowning, but chicks get dramatic when startled, maybe it flopped around in the dish too much?  The wet dead one was one of the biggest, strongest chicks.

 

So I have 2 left.  After the last 2 died these 2 started crying from being alone and they desperately wanted to be held.  I haven't held them much at all so far.  So I ended up putting a day old chicken chick in with them and they took to that very well, quieted down and cuddled.  But it was getting too rowdy today so I removed it.  

There's the one that likes to back up as though in pain, and another, who as of 1 hour ago looked like it was dying.  It wants to cross its legs, which results in stumbling and falling, then dramatic flailing about.    

 

They're eating powdered feed.  Water is changed 2-3 times a day.  They go through feed well.  They are under an infrared lamp, which I just read can be a problem.  They aren't panting, nor are they 'sprawling out' like they're trying to cool down.  Actually they habitually hide on the hot side of the brooder and huddle against the warm plastic.  It's probably a good 85 degrees in the room, 90-95 or so in the hottest part of brooder.  I don't feel right making it warmer.  The cool end is covered with a towel for extra temp difference. They don't move around much like they used to.  I've tried moving them away from the heat and they start crying and screaming.

 

No idea how clean the genetics are.  The 4 adults I have seem healthy and happy.  Thoughts?


Edited by Jrose - 9/24/15 at 6:18pm
post #2 of 3

Well.. I've never had quail in a brooder, my buttons raise their own chicks, but I've read several threads about quail that fail to thrive as well, and the first thing that comes to mind is that you mention nothing about what this "powdered feed" contains. Chicks need more protein than adults, so even if your grown quail get by on whatever it is you feed them, it might be what causes the chicks to die. 25-30% protein is a must - game bird or turkey starter is what most use, as far as I have read. Those usually also contain the vitamins and minerals they need.

You can try feeding the remaining two chopped-up hard boiled eggs. They contain everything they need, so if the feed is the problem, that might help them.

I'm not quite sure whether the protein-theory explains why they have a tendency to drown, though. But in order to prevent them from getting wet, you might want to put even more pebbles in the water dish - there is no need of large areas of clear water, they just need small puddles that are just large enough to fit their beaks, the majority of the water can be covered by pebbles. Also, I have found that using a water dish with as small a surface area as possible tends to keep them out of the water. My button chicks would walk right through a shallow dish with a diameter of 6-8 cm., where as they walked around a slightly higher but still shallow dish with a diameter of 4 cm.

post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrose View Post
 

I read through half a dozen other BYC threads on fading baby quail, but all seemed inconclusive.  

 

I picked up some half-grown quail locally and was gifted some eggs to hatch as well.   The (now) adults  are outdoors.  I had some losses, mostly due to learning curve in containing them, but I did lose one to aggression (also a learning curve in male:female ratio).

 

I hatched 6 fertile eggs.  I lost 1 that ended up under the incubator grate (yet another learning curve).  The 5 were put into the brooder within 24 hours.  They took to food and water very well.  All was fine for a week...  One day 1 was struggling, laying strangely . I picked it up and water poured out of its crop.  It had some death throws and keeled over.

 

Water given to the chicks must be 90* +/- or it'll shock the chicks system and they'll die. Floor temp under the light should be 100~ and brooder temp the first week should not exceed 95-97* and should not be more than a few degrees below 95* at any time during the first week.

 

Another began acting funny.  It would put its wings up, almost backward over its head, and shuffle backwards, head bent forward,  like it was in pain.  This one is still alive and today showing this symptom less.

 

Hit it's head, ran low on water, or got a vitamin deficiency. They can be born with vitamin deficiency if the parents were improperly husbanded.

 

1 of the remaining 4 never grew.  At all.  At 2 weeks, the others were 3x its size and feathering, but it hadn't grown in size or produced a single feather.  It was eating and drinking well.  One morning I woke up to find that one dead, plus another one that was soaking wet.  The water dish is 1" deep and filled with pebbles.  No chance of outright drowning, but chicks get dramatic when startled, maybe it flopped around in the dish too much?  The wet dead one was one of the biggest, strongest chicks.

 

They get hypothermia extremely easily since the brooder is so warm and they cannot thermo-regulate. Use marbles and make sure the chicks can walk across or lay on top of the marbles without getting wet. They need to be reaching into the cracks in the marbles to get water, otherwise they'll get wet and problems ensue. 

 

So I have 2 left.  After the last 2 died these 2 started crying from being alone and they desperately wanted to be held.  I haven't held them much at all so far.  So I ended up putting a day old chicken chick in with them and they took to that very well, quieted down and cuddled.  But it was getting too rowdy today so I removed it.  

There's the one that likes to back up as though in pain, and another, who as of 1 hour ago looked like it was dying.  It wants to cross its legs, which results in stumbling and falling, then dramatic flailing about.    

 

Get the chickens away! Chickens carry many diseases that cannot be tested for, vaccinated against, or cured. They are quite resistant to these diseases but quail are not resistant at all. 

 

They're eating powdered feed.  Water is changed 2-3 times a day.  They go through feed well.  They are under an infrared lamp, which I just read can be a problem.  They aren't panting, nor are they 'sprawling out' like they're trying to cool down.  Actually they habitually hide on the hot side of the brooder and huddle against the warm plastic.  It's probably a good 85 degrees in the room, 90-95 or so in the hottest part of brooder.  I don't feel right making it warmer.  The cool end is covered with a towel for extra temp difference. They don't move around much like they used to.  I've tried moving them away from the heat and they start crying and screaming.

 

Buy game bird food or turkey starter, don't powder it, it should be a crumble. They really don't consume much when the feed is powdered and it's bad for their respiratory system. If the feed you use are crumbles like Purina Startena, then you don't need to grind the feed at all, just give it to them. 

 

No idea how clean the genetics are.  The 4 adults I have seem healthy and happy.  Thoughts?

 

Unless you have 1 roo and 3 hens you don't really have enough birds for a healthy group. Coturnix have been line bred for certain trait for so long they breed more aggressively than any other bird i can think of. Each coturnix roo should be kept with 3-7 hens. 4-7 is better in case you lose a hen over the life the birds. If you leave a roo with one or two hens, he'll breed them until he physically kills them or stress kills them for him. 

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