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Best litter to avoid poo-balls

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I know that poo-balls are a big issue for some quail keepers and I want to avoid it myself. I'm on a mission to discover the best litter/bedding to use to avoid said balls forming. I (of course) will do a big clean once a week and then little tidy ups when necessary, but my girls are messy ladies and even after being in a clean home for a day they've managed to leave quite a few little presents around the place that they have no issue in stepping in.


I've tried wood shavings and I found them to actually stick to their feet quite a bit. I'm now using turf in their run section and wood pellets with straw for warmth in their enclosed bedroom. I think the wood pellets work quite well, but I'd be keen to hear any other suggestions.


My next thought would be sand, just filling their run section with sand. I know they'd make a mess in terms of kicking it everywhere, but they'd love it as a giant sandbath and to my thinking it'd be easy to keep clean as I could easily remove any big poos that I see and/or just cover them over with a little more sand until it's time to do the big clean.


What do you think? Good idea? Terrible idea?


Many thanks!

post #2 of 5

I'm assuming those are coturnix?

I have button quail, but actually have the poo-ball issue right now. And I have it, because my ~5ftx7ft aviary went from 4 grown buttons to 4 grown buttons and their 15 almost grown chicks. Buttons make small poops (usually), so they don't take too long to dry. Thus, with 4 buttons in the aviary, the poops tend to dry before they step on them. But with 19.. Well. I cleaned 5 today and am in the process of cleaning another 4 ^^. 

However, I'm quite happy with my cleaning invention. An old plastic hamster cage, a layer of small pebbles and lukewarm water to cover the pebbles. The idea is that the water dissolves the poop and the pebbles scrape it of as the birds walk on them. It took about 1½ hour with the group I had in earlier, then their toes were nice and clean.


Anyway, back to solving the problem. For buttons I'd say more room is the best way. For cots, probably either more room or a wire floor. I don't particularly like wire though. But if there is not enough room for the birds, I think you can use whatever litter you want and still get poo-balls. That being said, I've read a suggestion of using "Coral Life Bird Litter" - apparently it's made of ground walnut shells. I'm assuming it is some kind of soft powder, and I can kind of picture the poop being enclosed by the powder, but I haven't tried it.


I've had buttons on wood shavings (they did stick to their feet sometimes, but with only 4 birds in the aviary they never formed actual poo-balls), wood chips(that's what's in the aviary now, it doesn't stick to their feed but since the chicks got big they have been forming poo-balls), and sand. I must say sand is my favorite, it's easy to clean and natural for the birds. But still, they can get dirty feet if they don't have enough room. 

Coturnix make larger poops though, so I'm not sure what'll work for them.

post #3 of 5

Pellets or wire.

post #4 of 5

I use straw and hay, almost never have pooballs

post #5 of 5

I use oat chaff and it works great indoors.  It's messy when they flap but is small and easy to vacuum up.  I have my water bowls elevated as otherwise it all ends up in there too.  Just another option to explore.

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