Aggressive male quail?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by starshrike, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. starshrike

    starshrike Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2008
    This is for Coturnix quail...

    I recently introduced one male to a group of 6 females. They are in a rabbit hutch with 1/2"x1" wire floor and 1"x1" wire sides on 3 sides and plywood on one side. They also have a little wooden shelter inside as well. Today, I found one of my females battered with many feathers missing and a large cut across (like when you want to decapitate a bird) from the back of her neck. Could this be from the male too enthusiastically trying to mate or from them always sticking out their necks between the holes in the wire? I was thinking from the missing feathers, maybe, but the cut makes me think otherwise. I also have caught two stray/feral cats around the hutch and shooed them away. I have removed the tattered female and put her in 'quarantine' to see if she can heal up.
     
  2. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 25, 2008
    It sounds like either it was a ferel cat or maybe the male started something and it turned into cannabalism.

    Just keep and eye on them. I don't think the wires did it, but maybe the female stuck her head through and a cat tried to get her.

    I think hawks are notorious for decapitating quail that stick their heads through the wire.

    -Kim
     
  3. SamG347

    SamG347 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2007
    PA
    Could also be an aggressive inexpirenced male...trying to mate and not knowing quiet where to grab.
    Keep an eye on them.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. starshrike

    starshrike Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2008
    A somber update - one of my females died last night, no visible external injuries. My guess is the attacker has not been the new male, but rather one of the feral cats. I believe the female died of either fright or snapped her neck when she was scared (from hitting the roof of the hutch). The cats cannot reach inside, but the damage from the exterior of the hutch has been enough.

    All the other girls seem okay, as the male. No more feather plucking incidents, but I need to figure out a way to get rid of the cats. I tried pellets (ie the Shake Away stuff), lavender, dog urine (my own), laying out chicken wire on the ground. Pretty much anything short of live trapping - as I have no idea what to do with them after I trap them... I can't transport or go near lest I want to get an allergy attack.

    Since she was not cold (pretty stiff) this morning, I assume the incident happened around dawn, likely when the cats were active. Her legs were extended out as if she was jumping, so it was likely a self inflicted incident. Unfortunately these quail were adopted by me when they were adults and were not very socialized with people and many are VERY flighty. I handle them minimally (food, water, collect eggs and change litter). If I am within a 3 ft radius of the cage they start to run around.

    Moving the birds inside is not really an option at the moment.
     
  5. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    Mar 3, 2008
    :aww.... I'm so sorry.
    I accidentally startled my birds the day after I put them in a new hutch. Previously they had been in a pen in my coop that has an 8' ceiling, so they could pop up and not hit anything. Well, I scared them as I opened the pen, and one popped up and hit her head on the wood. Sounded just like it does when the wild birds fly into a window. She killed herself... flopped around like a fish out of water, then stretched out and died in my hands. [​IMG] I felt horrible. Now I don't sneak up... I make all the noise I can and make sure they see me coming first. So far so good. But I have also witnessed them trying to get through the 1" wire and catching their heads in there, so I'm thinking of swapping it out for 1/2" hardware cloth. I think it would be harder for other animals to get through too, just a little sturdier.

    If you have some 1" foam you could tack to the roof of the hutch, maybe that would help? I'm thinking about doing that...
    [​IMG]
     
  6. starshrike

    starshrike Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2008
    Well, I have been watching them closer - it seems that that maybe the male is being hormone driven to the point where the females are telling him to back off and he just wants ... more. Sam, you're probably right.

    Now how come the recommended ratio is 3 females to one male and that's usually okay - but 6 (now 5) girls and 1 male won't work?

    This is now making me more uncertain if it's the cats, or just him.

    He's too old for the table, and so I'm not really sure what to do with him. If I could build a bigger enclosure then everyone may be happier. They currently get slightly above the minimum recommended 1 sq ft/bird.
     
  7. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How big is the pen they are in?

    -Kim
     
  8. starshrike

    starshrike Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The rabbit hutch is about 2.5x3.5 on the floor - about another 2 feet tall and about 4 ft tall with the stilts. It really is the minimum space requirements of 1 sq ft/bird.
     
  9. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well i can say this, the cats are probly pesting them at night, you will wanna set some traps or somthing to stop them, as the quail will kill themselfs trying to get away..even though the cats cant get to them they will flush them all night long, coons are good at doing this two..,
    also, as those females get a bit older they will turn on each other in most cases. If your lucky they'll be good to each other till spring when the new mating season starts and thats when the trouble may begin

    Best of luck
    Charlie
     

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