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Crazy Quil

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

About a month back i purchased 13 roughly 4 week old quail. I have them housed in a hutch with a run on the ground, they love dust bathing and everything. But as of the last 2 weeks or so. Every now and then they will go ballistic when i come near. All running around the pen frantically. A few jumping and hitting their heads on the wire roof.


Just now though as i went out to the hutch, i saw some pigeons, which flew away as i approached. The quail were fine at that point. I opened up the hutch and noticed an egg, off time from my usual egg so i believe we have a second layer. It was about the time i went to retrieve the egg that all of them went crazy (We have no males so it's not a fertile egg) They ran around but even more so this time, crawling over each other. Heaps of them jumping up and hitting their heads. I tried replacing their food with new food. And cleaning out their water and hutch bedding. They didn't calm down for a long time.

 

I do not know what is wrong with them or why they seem so suicidal. Would anyone be able to give advice for calming quails or any ideas as to what it may be?

post #2 of 3

I assume those are coturnix?

I think it has to do with the cage, but I don't actually have coturnix myself. I've read that they are supposed to be relatively calm though, so why aren't yours? Well, are you approaching them from above? As they are on the ground, I assume you do. That makes you rather predator-like. Is the hutch opened from the top or from the side? Is the door large or small? Or is it an actual walk-in hutch? The smaller an intrusion you cause, the less likely they are to freak out. But if they are coturnix, I'd think they can get used to a lot of intrusions - they just have to realise that you are not a bad thing. You find them suicidal, but they are actually trying to save themselves from something they perceive as very dangerous - you. So you have to make them understand you are not. And bribery is probably the way to go. Give them something they really love eating - meal worms, other bugs, pumpkin, small seeds, whatever - every time you approach them. That should make them start perceiving you as something good, rather than as someone that has come to kill them. If they are not coturnix, you might need to make some changes to the cage, like adding something they can hide under, to give them an alternative to boinking if they are scared. 

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Yes, coturnix. I do come from above as it is a pretty small cage. They are usually fine with me coming along, but recently they've been acting that way. Don't know what happened tonight though, its the craziest I've seen them. Thought they had seen a rat or something but there were none in sight. I had already opened up their cage earlier that day and they were fine. It opens from the top, so maybe they are trying to escape through there. For some reason when i stand next to the cage and break up a leaf of kale they seem to quieten down. But when i put it in the cage they never eat it == it's as if they are mesmerized by the sound of kale being ripped apart. I do hand feed them from time to time, most of them are quite skittish though and don't like my hand being near them at all. 2 of them regularly hop around like frogs when i try to feed by hand, trying to get away from me. Hoping to eventually expand their living space but for now that isn't possible. By the 1ft/1ft rule i should be able to keep 14 of them, so i don't think it's overcrowding as an issue. It did seem as though they were scared, but I rarely see them all go into a frenzy like that, its as if one bird triggers all the rest. "The sky is falling" :P

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