BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Other BackYard Poultry › Quail › Button quail losing feathers on back of head?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Button quail losing feathers on back of head?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have a male and female and my male button is losing feathers on the back of his head. I've read it can be a protein issue, but his diet is made of chick starter feed, finch seed (ratio 3:1 mixture) and they also get whatever veggies/fruit scraps I have maybe three times a week. They also have a cuddle bone in their enclosure. I was worried the female may be picking on the male, but they still sleep curled up together at night and I've never seen them squabble.

 

I know mites can be a possibility, but I've had them since October and the hair loss started maybe two weeks ago. My parents watched them for about a month while I got settled in after a move, and I know they did not get veggies during that time, only seed.

 

If they are mites, how should I treat them? I have other pets in the house: 2 cats and a rabbit. If they are mites, can they spread to my other critters?

 

Any ideas on what might be happening?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 9

During mating, the male will hold the feathers on the back of the female's head in order to stay on.  Could the female be riding the male and doing the same?  I've seen chicken hens with bald patches when they've been a favourite of the roos.

post #3 of 9

What does their cage look like? I housed two young female buttons together in a wire cage about 50 cm high for a few months. They both got bald patches at the back of their head and I'm very convinced they got them by boinking into the top of the cage, probably at night. One ended up getting eaten by a cat, the other has been moved to a custom made button quail cage with a padded top and looks just about normal now.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

@DK newbie they are in a 40 breeder- this is their tank now. They were in a 55 (taller) until the first week of January, but switched them into this because it gave them one more square foot of surface area to walk on. If it is from boinking, could you pad the top?

 

@Em Ty My old roommate is a bird lady (got me into buttons) and she said that the female picking on the male was pretty likely. I dabbed neosporin on the bald spot to deter picking on him since it'd taste bad. She said once they start a bald spot it's hard to make them quit :/

 

post #5 of 9

What's on the top now? Glass? I'm not sure whether glass would cause bald spots like wire, but perhaps it does. I pad my cages with foam rubber or a layer of tulle stretched out about 2 inches below whatever I cover the cage with. It might not be necessary to cover the cage with anything but tulle when they are inside, but my cages are exposed to cats so tulle won't suffice :P A towel or other piece of fabric attached to the top of the tank with clothespins should work. As the problem started after you changed cages, is there anything apart from the height that is different about the top of the cages? Could be he got used to the height of the old cage and thinks he can fly as high in the new one..

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

@DK newbie That's a possibility. I will try padding the top and see if it improves. otherwise, might switch back over to the 55. Thank you!

post #7 of 9

Really a male quail should have at least 2 females

 

 

(I learnt the hard way because I kept a pair and the male mated to much with the female and she got her neck brocken and died)

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyschickens1 View Post
(I learnt the hard way because I kept a pair and the male mated to much with the female and she got her neck brocken and died)

 

Suicide is always sad.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyschickens1 View Post
 

Really a male quail should have at least 2 females

 

 

(I learnt the hard way because I kept a pair and the male mated to much with the female and she got her neck brocken and died)

Well..  At the pet shop where my original buttons came from, the owner said the males can kill the females by over breeding. So I got a male and 3 females.

On this forum, however, people usually say buttons should be kept in pairs.

So I've been trying to experiment on my buttons - the original group hatched about 25 chicks last year and I've kept 3 females and bought two new males.

One male has two females, the other has one. Unfortunately I don't really have enough 'data' to conclude anything yet.

The male with two females live in my room and they seem to be doing good in general, though I did notice one of the females chasing the other a few days ago, despite them being raised together. I think both the hens are laying.

The male with one female, however, lives outside. As in freezing temperatures from time to time. I haven't even seen them mate and the hen is not laying. The male is quite small too though and doesn't appear too healthy - I gave them a worm today, he pecked at it a couple of times without calling the hen, then stood still and completely ignored it while the hen spent several minutes trying to peck it into smaller bits right beside him. At least he has been completely and utterly non-aggressive this far. Anyway, until it gets warmer and those two start entering breeding mode, I can't really begin to conclude anything.

I will say though that the male with 3 hens seemed to be able to fertilize just about every egg. But again, the usual advise on BYC - from people with waaaaay more experience than me - is pairs, not trios or groups with button quail.

 

With regards to the broken neck, it might be the males fault - I have seen my original male chase the hens around from time to time (so that happens even if the roo has 3 hens) - but unless you actually saw it happen, the hen could also have boinked for some reason unrelated to the male. I think the usual advice on here is to avoid breeding males that will chase the females - apparently most roos don't chase the females.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Quail
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Other BackYard Poultry › Quail › Button quail losing feathers on back of head?