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Help!! Chick Has Stopped Eating

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am a total newbie here, so I am ready to learn!  Yesterday I purchased 4 Coturnix Quail from a local woman who has been breeding them for some time. The makeup of the 4 quail is as follows:


-2 tiny chicks (3 days old yesterday)

-1 bigger chick ("about 3 weeks old")

-1 biggest juvenile (now I'm confused about how old this one is. I thought the two "bigger" ones were both 3 weeks old, but one is much bigger than the other, and it's the smaller of these two that is having problems.)


Yesterday, we almost lost BOTH the tiny 3-day-old baby chicks on the ride home.  They got too cold and I actually thought one of them was already dead.  But they miraculously recovered, after some doctoring, and are doing fine.  I was SO relieved that I didn't notice until today that the "middle sized" chick has stopped eating.entirely.


HELP!  What are some things I can do to help her start eating again?  All 3 of the other chicks are doing great at this point, and the older juvenile is actually "mothering" this middle sized one so sweetly.  But I'm afraid I'm going to lose her if she doesn't start eating.  Is there something I can feed her to helpl "jump start" her again?


More info: They were all being fed "game bird food" when I got them, but after I brought them home, and I asked her some more questions via email, she told me it was only 20% protein.  I immediately went to the store and picked up the highest protein they had at my local supplier, which was 24%.  But I don't think this particular quail has even eaten any of that at all today.  The rest of the 3 are gobbling it up, but she is just sitting down in the corner.  Also, she is under a brooder light now, because I was afraid she was too cold without it, and maybe that's how this started.  But she's been in the warmth for several hours now, and she's not perking up.


Please, no flames!  I'm trying very hard to learn what I need to do!

post #2 of 8

I'd try tempting her with different things to get her started. Live bugs from your garden for instance, they should be hard to resist. Or hard boiled chicken eggs, chopped finely. If that doesn't get her started, you might have to syringe feed her - I'm just guessing though, never had the problem myself.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you!!!!  I've already tried the live bugs, and even bugs that I killed.  She just ignores everything I put near her, and keeps her eyes closed.  She won't even open her eyes.  She's just sitting there looking wobbly.  I will try the egg, but I'll need to boil on, because I don't have any boiled eggs on hand!  Can I fry an egg (dry, with no oil or butter) and chop that finely and give it to her?  It's much faster than boiling them for me.

post #4 of 8

Frying should work too, but if she ignores the bugs, I strongly doubt she is going to eat it. I can't really figure out what might be wrong with her. Could she have hit her head on something if she got scared and flew up? I think you'll have to syringe feed her - but be careful, if she doesn't want to eat there is a risk she'll try breathing while you feed her, which could make her even worse.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

OK, I've gotten her to eat something!  Hurray!  :celebrateI had some leftover organic cooked whole grain oats.  I discovered that she would eat the very runny part of them.  I'd cooked them with some milk, so even though it might not be the best thing for her, I got her to eat quite a bit of it.  She was perking up quite a bit, and I presented her with a tiny moth I'd just killed, which she ate off my finger.  I've subsequently gotten her to do the same with two centipedes from the garden.  (None of my quail seem particularly interested in live bugs (they were in cages) so I'm hoping to re-interest them in that, because I hope to get them to eat bugs regularly, since it's so healthy for them.) Anyway, I'm going to be checking on her regularly, and I'm hoping that she will be improving!  I will keep you updated.

post #6 of 8

Good to hear she's eating! I find it strange that they don't like bugs, my buttons go crazy for them (not ants, though - think they taste bad).

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

OK, it's good to know about the ants--because that's what I have the most of, and mine don't like the ants either.  But I won't assume they don't like other bugs.  But the really aren't good at catching then!  They peck and peck, and don't seem to "get" the bug.  I hope they will get better at it!


The chick is doing better, but she's still not strong.  I hope she improves soon!  I'm going to try to make her eat some more before I go to bed.  Thank you!

post #8 of 8

The two tiny chicks need to be much warmer than the older chicks.  85-90 degrees for the first week.  If they can snuggle with the older chicks that might be warm enough.  Also it's generally not a good idea to keep chicks of different ages together.  The older chicks can hurt or kill the little ones.


Your two older chicks may indeed be the same age.  They don't all grow at the same rate and depending on the parentage you can end up with jumbos and regular sized quail.  There is also the possibility that something is wrong with the smaller of the older chicks and that is why it is smaller.  Runts are not uncommon.

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