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Male suddenly badly pecked on head--Help!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have a group of 4 young quail, all currently maturing at different times.  The oldest is 8 weeks old.  The other three quail are 5 to 7 weeks old.

 

The oldest of the 4 was identifiable as a male 2 weeks ago: when he crowed, but wasn't actually trying to mount any of the others (all younger than him.)  Since that time, I've seen him trying to mount some of the other younger birds a few times, but not a lot.  I was carefully watching the younger birds, in case he would injure them, since they were still juveniles, and since I didn't know my male to female ratio.  I still don't know the sex of the other birds, although they are all looking like they are getting close to full size.

 

The big surprise is that this morning I found the male with his head pretty mangled on top and bleeding.  It's not one bad peck--it's a LOT.  He's lost all his feathers on there, and such.  I'm not sure what the best solution is.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  Their cage is 15"x27".  I know that's not very big, but I thought it would be OK for now, for the 4 of them, until they all reached maturity.  I just wasn't expecting for him to be the one getting "beat up" since he's the biggest, oldest, strongest, and only "for sure" male.  I thought he might hurt the younger chicks--not the other way round.


Edited by Heyruthie - 12/6/15 at 9:00am
post #2 of 7

I'd separate him but keep him close to the others so he can see them, to avoid stressing him too much. If it's cold where they are, perhaps provide him with a heat source.

He couldn't have boinked, gotten stuck on something, been grabbed by a predator from the outside or similar? I agree is seems strange that the younger beat up the oldest, but I never had coturnix (assume that's what they are).

Once he has healed and you've figured out the sex of the others, you can re-introduce him to females only, if you decide to keep him.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for replying!  They are coturnix, and they are actually inside the house, in a "soft" type cage, so he couldn't have boinked, and it's nice and warm.  I haven't seen weird behavior today, but it happened in the night last night.....

post #4 of 7
I had that happen not too long ago to one of my boys , all the skin was off the back of his head. I moved him into the cage with my babies and he healed up nicely except he still has a bald spot on his head...he got a name and permanent residence . he's chop top. Basically he tried to dominate another boy who very clearly objected...at the time mine lived inside too. Now they have a big pen outside. And lots of ladies. Lol chop top lives with Mr.mom and some other boys in a bachelor group until I can get or hatch some more girls.
post #5 of 7

Certainly not uncommon in my experience.  We had one nearly pecked to death once, and it happened very quickly.  Poor thing lost so much blood from head that I thought it, (didn't know sex at time), was going to die as it was semi conscious.  Put it in a fish tank inside and gave it multivitamins and it soon recovered.

 

I would separate until it heals as they seem to be drawn to the blood, and then see if you can reintroduce providing the others aren't all male.

post #6 of 7
Once a bird bleeds or shows too many signs of illness the others will kill it to preserve their own well being. Its a natural instinct.

Either he hit his head, a predator like a crow hit it for him or one of your hens has a wound on her back legs or feet and he aggravates it by mounting her.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I've separated him from the other 3, with a divider, and besides crowing all the time, and pecking at the divider to show how "miffed" he is, he's doing fine.  His head is healing, and I'll reintroduce him when there's no blood or anything that could attract the others.  I'm going to move them to a bigger pen, too.

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