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Coturnix Quail Baby - Something evidently wrong

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi, this is my first time using the BackYard Chickens forum. I've seen lots of great information on here and I decided it seemed like a good place to seek some help. 

So I am new to the quail raising thing. I incubated my first quail in the beginning of May, starting small with one dozen eggs. I was glad to see 10 of them hatched (the other two: one was a yoke, probably not fertilized, and the other had a fully developed bird inside, not sure why it didn't hatch, even four days after the others). 

On the day of the hatch (or maybe a day later), someone who had been helping me with the incubation gave one of the newborns to someone to hold. (though I am guilty of not stopping it). That someone unfortunately dropped the bird, who was alive and seemed unharmed. It fell from maybe four feet up, and I am wondering if this might have physically (or neurologically) injured the quail. It didn't seem that way. I wanted to mark the quail to know which had fell, but I didn't have anything to mark it with, so he/she is anonymous. Keep that in mind. 

Okay, now for the hard part: I had transported the brooder to my house (it had originally been at the school) when the quail were about four days old. I put them in a transport box, and when I was placing them all back, they were eager to be in the brooder. However, there was this one quail who I noticed didn't jump out of my hand like the rest. He kept going back into my hand until I got him off (gently!). I then noticed how he seemed smaller than the rest of the bunch, only by a little bit. I hadn't done much observing at that point. 

BTW I don't know the gender. Every time I say "he" I mean "he or she". 

Okay, the morning of Day 5. I was observing all the quail when I realized I had not noticed something about the smallest quail. I saw that he actually seemed physically injured or disabled. To start, his neck is somewhat crooked to the right. But he seems to have fine functionality of his neck; he can reach both ends of his bosom (left and right) if he has a scratch, but will sometimes lose balance in doing so. However, this particular quail is smaller, and noticeably less active than the rest of them. He seems to sleep much more frequently, and when he sleeps he doesn't actually lay down half of the time: he will stand on his legs, bring them had the way in and sleep facing down (often the the side as well). Sometimes he lays down all the way. Also, he seems to be developing slower than the rest. This is evident in both his size and the way he holds his wings: his wings aren't held up closely to the body like the others do, and have not grown in as much as the others. Luckily, he will still occasionally eat and drink, and will get up and move around if he feels the need. I noticed on Day 5 of brooding that he would barely even flinch when I went to put my finger on him (that was alarming because this happened while the other quail scooted into the corner). Luckily, today on Day 6 he is showing signs of improvement. He will get up and move when I got to touch him (as a test) and seems to be drinking more. I also picked him up yesterday to see if maybe he had tight neck muscles or a pinched nerve by gently feeling his neck area and moving his head every so slightly (he didn't seem to mind). 

Anyway little by little he seems to be making improvements, but I am still concerned. He is noticeably less active and smaller than the rest, and seems to have some sort of disability with his wings. Remember, I didn't mark the one that fell so I have no idea if this is the one. He seems to have a whole array of things going on, which seems like more than what would actually happen if he was the one who fell (unless he was the one who fell and it affected his spinal cord, which may explain every symptom he is showing). Otherwise, it seems more likely a birth defect, genetic issue, or something that went wrong on hatch day. 

Here are some pictures. He is the one in the middle sleeping along side the white tray:

Thank you. Advice and insight is greatly appreciated on how to diagnose and try to fix this little one. 

post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 

Too late. He died today. Rest In Peace :hit:hit:hit. He was so small... the way he waddled around the brooder was so cute. 

But let his legacy live on. :rolleyes: He was such a gentle bird. 

post #3 of 3

Poor little creature. Sometimes they just don't seem to be meant to live. It kind of looks like 'wry neck' to me, but that is a condition I only know about from this forum. Supposedly some kind of vitamin deficiency or something. But as the others seem fine, I don't think it's the feed that's insufficient, the little creature might have had something genetically wrong with him to cause it. 

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