A Guide To Quail Raising (due note that this is more of a memoir)

Discussion in 'Quail' started by derpmister1234, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. derpmister1234

    derpmister1234 Hatching

    5
    3
    9
    Nov 12, 2018
    G'day to anyone reading… I wanted to write about my experiences when raising quail. I have 13 lovely juveniles and adults, most of which raised from chicks by me. This was my first time hatching birds, and I hope to hatch chickens someday. I'll be bolding tips, just so you can skim read.

    Do feel free to comment and talk about your own experiences! I'm super happy to hear anything :D

    The Beginning
    When my first pair laid eggs, I had to order an incubator. For the moment, I constructed a temporary incubator with my dad, it consisted of an ordinary house lamp from the 90's and a heat pad from the time I had crazy crabs. I thought that the hen wasn't broody (but proved me wrong later.) While I waited for the incubator, I did research to ensure I was ready for the chicks. I learned a lot thanks to the community. So really, this memoir is a love letter to the community.

    The incubator arrived, half of the manual was in Chinese and the other in broken English. I learned where the water tray was and what each of the buttons did. I put the eggs on the racks and put water in the trays. The humidity was at 50, and I kept it that way.

    The turning mechanism turned the eggs for me, every two hours, as I couldn't be there to turn the eggs by hand… mostly due to school. After eight days (as most sites told me) I used the candler in the incubator to candle the eggs. But because I was raising button quail, the shells were dark, and I saw nothing.

    The first batch of eggs (roughly 10 eggs) did not hatch. Not one. I was disappointed. This went on for about a month.

    The First
    One Thursday morning in August, I awoke sick, with a harsh sore throat in my neck. I stayed home from school. I went over to the incubator. The humidity was at 55. And, I looked at the egg with number 9 written in a thin texter. It had a tiny crack, on the fat side, as most of the websites had said should happen.

    Eventually, the crack widened and shook, revealing a tiny little body. The hatch took about three hours from pip to hatch. (Which is unusually long, I later found out.) Once it was out of the egg, it immediately got its head stuck in the egg bay. I had to call for my parents to rescue him. Eventually, he was out and under the heat lamp. I held it in my hand for about an hour and then let it wander. Something was a little off, it couldn't stay balanced and it was almost naked. Every picture I saw of quail chicks were fluffy and puffy. This little guy was… odd.

    I had food and water available for him, but it would fall in the water and collapse in the food. I didn't want it to drown while I was away, so I decided to hand feed it with a syringe.

    As the days went by, we named him Gus, after August. He didn't seem to get better, he continued to fall over and couldn't eat for himself. At six days old, on a Wednesday, he gave out and passed away. Egg number nine hadn't been so lucky after all.

    My first hatching had ended in a tragedy. There was another like Gus, he never got a name, he lived for two days. You cannot save them all.

    The Second
    I'm sorry that this hasn't been so much of a guide so far, as I cannot recall back to August quite as well.

    By the way, for this successful hatch, I changed the humidity at lockdown (day 13 of incubation for button quail) I made it rise to 65 at this time, yielding successful results.

    Near the end of August, another egg hatched. This one was on a Friday. The hatch took 30 minutes and the chick was different to Gus. She was strong and could run fast. She never fell over. After long sessions of cuddles. I taught her how to eat, I tapped the food with my finger, making lots of noise to catch her attention. (Btw, I used chick crumbs I had bought of a store on Gumtree. I just whizzed them up into dust with a blender and put the crumbs in a little jar lid for the chick) She pecked at it and ate it. I had to repeat the tapping a few times a day to prompt her to eat for the first two or three days. As a side note, its super important if you want tame quail to cuddle them as much as possible for the first two days. This is their imprinting period, its when they know who their mum is. After that period, they'll be skittish.

    In her water bowl (I just used a jar lid) I put colourful pebbles in it to prevent drowning and to catch her attention. They work very well.

    I named this chick Bean, who grew up to be a beautiful girl. Though, she flew away on my birthday just in this November. I wept a lot :(

    Back to when Bean was a chick, whenever I left the room, she would scream a lot, like calling for her mother. The best I could put it is:
    "Beeeaapp! Beeeeeeaaapp! Beeeeeeaaaappppp!" Very loudly. This is also their distress call, so listen for it, your chicks could be in danger. Mine also did this when they flew out of their box and were lost and cold without their heat lamp.

    A few days after Bean, two beautiful girls named Olive and Pretzel hatched. She was strong too. Pretzel had fallen down from the egg rack and had sprawled legs. She didn't make it.
    I'm sorry it had to be that way, Pretzel.

    Olive made it, she cuddled with Bean day and night. Bean didn't cry out for me anymore, she had a cuddle buddy now. (I still cuddled them lots, don't worry!)

    More chicks made it, every fifth chick seemed to pass away. It was sad, but it was nature's way of dealing with things that couldn't be.

    As more were in the cage, it got very stinky, I had to clean out their box every week. Otherwise they got poo-balls on their feet.

    Hugh-Mungus, The Accident Prone Child
    One afternoon, I was cleaning out their box, and noticed a quail (Hugh Mungus) with some sort of string tied tightly around his foot, one of his toes had turned purple. I had to call my mother for help. We took turns holding the quail and gently rubbing his neck (which calms them down.) while the other person very gently pulled the string up and snipped it with a tiny pair of scissors, slowly undoing the knot of string. Eventually, his foot was all good. As we helped him, I noticed a red patch of feathers on his bum. Which was odd, because his parents were a white/silver and natural coloured female. I thought that maybe, this was a natural coloured male.
    We later discovered that string was my hair. Which is why you have to clean the box weekly.

    The Present
    Right now, as of November 29, I have 13 Quail, 7 of which are adults, and 6 juveniles. The adults are outside. (Except for the parents of the incubator-hatched chicks, who are in a cage together, which I'll elaborate on Later.) They live peacefully with 6 Zebra Finches (All of which are gay males and paired up. We didn't want finch babies.)

    I treat them with zucchini noodles (chopped up of course), Slaters/Woodlice from the garden, lettuce, spinach and bok choi. The finches like this as well.

    The Parents
    The parents of our quail, Bill and Corky are living in a cage together. Because when we introduced the fully grown chicks, the two of them started to fight the other birds. I was scared that they would hurt them and moved them to a cage. They both seemed fine in there.

    That was until, Corky became broody. She sat on her eggs all day every day. (She had about 10 of them under her…) and would go
    "sceep sceepsceep sceepsceep" at Bill whenever he came near, as a warning. Bill never listened, and the broody hen would chase him around and sometimes peck. I hadn't heard about this on the internet, and there was no information on it. I'll say this now. If the hen is pecking at the rooster, take the rooster out and put him in his own cage for a day or two, to let things cool down. On one morning, I awoke to a bruised and bloody rooster and had to put him in a separate box for three days for him to heal. Do not put an injured bird in with a flock. Make sure it is dark for them to sleep and rest and provide food and water.

    General Things To Keep In Mind

    - Chicks are fragile, do not hold them too tightly.
    - Make sure chicks always have a cool area in their box to go to if it is too hot under the lamp
    - Keep water and cold things away from your heat lamps, they blow out easily.
    - Put pebbles in water dishes to stop chicks from drowning.
    - During the incubation period, be gentle with eggs if you touch them.
    - During incubation, keep the temperature at 37.5 degrees celsius and the humidity around 50 until lockdown, then let it rise to 65 humidity. Stop turning the eggs at lockdown.
    - Avoid letting the humidity and temperature fluctuate too much.
    - As the chicks grow, make sure they are not too hot.
    - When your birds are adults, make sure to provide them with a sand bath, this reduces stress and is fun for them.
    - Keep the enclosure clean
    - Make sure there is lots of room, so that the males do not fight
    - Provide a hiding place for your birds. This is important so that hens feel safe when laying, and they have a place to hide.
    - Provide them with shell grit and bugs, this gives them calcium and protein required for egg laying.
    - Keep dogs and pets away, this can stress them out.
    - Always hold them with two hands, one hand on top, and the other below their feet. This makes them feel safe during handling.
    - Be quiet and speak softly during handling.

    That's it from me, I might add to it as I remember things. Thanks for reading along. I appreciate any comments. Feel free to talk about your experiences!



     
  2. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Songster

    1,099
    2,088
    216
    Oct 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    Button quail are not flock birds, they're best kept in pairs and occasionally work in trios.
     
    007Sean likes this.
  3. derpmister1234

    derpmister1234 Hatching

    5
    3
    9
    Nov 12, 2018
    Huh, I keep seven siblings together and they're all fine. That might be because they are brothers and sisters though…
     
  4. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Songster

    1,099
    2,088
    216
    Oct 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    How long have they been together, and how much room do they have? Be prepared for the peace to collapse.
     
  5. derpmister1234

    derpmister1234 Hatching

    5
    3
    9
    Nov 12, 2018
    I'm guessing about two - three metres in length and a metre in width? It's a fair amount of room. They've been together all their lives, and moved to the aviary about two or three weeks ago.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: