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Pecked Head

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I have four japanese quails which I believe to all be females. They are approx 7 weeks old now. Three have light/golden feathers and the fourth one has darker brown feathers and is noticeably smaller than the others (not skinny, just smaller). They were all from the same hatched group from a local breeder.


Last weekend we moved them from a small 3ft x 1.5ft rabbit hutch to a custom made 4ft x 1.8ft coop and run set up that my wonderful dad built. They seem to enjoy it, but yesterday I noticed that the small dark brown one (who is called Blue) has had about half the top of her head pecked clean of feathers! I have watched them a bit the last day and haven't witnessed any bullying. I'm certain they're all girls, they all have spotted breasts rather that any reddish/ginger colours and none of them crow. What could have happened do you think? Are they picking on the "runt" of the litter? Does that happen?


Blue seems okay, she eats and drinks, but she does appear just a little subdued - I put scattered some mealworms about this morning and where the three golden girls raced about grabbing them, Blue only sort of meandered, she wasn't really fast. And then she stood still for a moment, closed her eyes a little, then she opened them again and walked off to eat some layers pellets. So she does seem a little out of sorts.


They have a feeder full of layers pellets and I give them some mealworms each day and throw in odds and ends from the kitchen, a bit of cucumber, some apple, mushroom, crushed chicken egg shell etc.


Any thoughts? It's a bit silly but I feel so responsible for them, the thought of any of them getting really sick and dying horrifies me.


Many thanks!

post #2 of 3

Could she have boinked into something? I have two young button hens that live in an old wire cage, about 50 cm. in height. They both have bald patches on top of their head. I have never seen them either pecking each other or 'boinking', but I'm convinced boinking is the cause, given the height of the cage and the fact that the top is relatively hard. It might have been the others pecking her, but she could also have become scared of something at night and flown into the top of the coop, if it isn't made of soft material..

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks DK Newbie, I do wonder if she boinked rather than got pecked. It's so difficult to know without setting up a CCTV camera lol. The roof of the pen is made of aviary grid wire, and it's only a foot high so I'm hoping they're not able to build up enough speed to really harm themselves.


Whenever I go to see them I don't witness any bullying, but whose to say what happens during the night or when I'm at work!

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