Aggressive quail, why?

quails-n-tails

In the Brooder
Sep 20, 2018
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so cal
my female quail killed a parakeet today in a huge aviary that they share. she also has been chasing everyone (other quails) meaning to harm. what is her problem? she just recently started doing this. I live in california, south, please comment if you know what is up with her. thanks all
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
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Has she got a nest somewhere that she is defending? Are they Button quail? They often don't do well as a group and should ideally be kept as just one pair per enclosure because they are very territorial, though it's unusual that one would attack a bird of a different species (but stress could be the reason for that). Quail will peck at dead birds so are you sure she actually killed the parakeet, or did she just find it dead and start picking at it?

Females will fight over territory (boys fight over girls). I've had success with one trio - that is until one of the females hatched babies - then for some reason (despite being parent raised himself) the male went nutty and killed three chicks and I had to rescue the rest. Very frustrating (and sad).
 

quails-n-tails

In the Brooder
Sep 20, 2018
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40
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so cal
she did not eat her, just killed her and left untouched, i saw her attack her before, i just never thought she could kill someone. no nests around, she is attacking everyone, they are not laying now. i have no clue what her problem is, she is evil!
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
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Perhaps she's hit her head at some point flushing upwards and it's done some damage and that's caused a change in her behaviour. That's certainly very out of the ordinary, though they can be horrible when the mood takes them. I've never heard of one attacking a bird of a different species before.
 

007Sean

Face it, Embrace it, Ace it, Replace it
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Never witnessed that in my quail but have with my pheasants. Out of the blue a hen just starts arguing and attacking other hen's, the same species or a different one doesn't make any sense at all. Sorry I can't offer a better answer but sometimes they just don't behave the way they should. I have no idea what sets them off.
 

DK newbie

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Apr 20, 2015
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You never answered if this was a button quail? If so, I'd say something was wrong with the parakeet - no healthy parakeet would be over powered by a button to the extent it can't escape.
Also - you found the parakeet dead and because you've seen the (button?) attack her before, you assume she killed it? Although there were no visible wounds? I strongly doubt a button could deliver a blow strong enough to kill a parakeet - she would need to strangle it or break its neck to kill it without leaving wounds and I have a hard time imagining a button do this..

Lets start with determining:
What kind of quail do you have?
How big is the aviary?
How many male/female quail do you have in this aviary?
 

quails-n-tails

In the Brooder
Sep 20, 2018
41
40
46
so cal
You never answered if this was a button quail? If so, I'd say something was wrong with the parakeet - no healthy parakeet would be over powered by a button to the extent it can't escape.
Also - you found the parakeet dead and because you've seen the (button?) attack her before, you assume she killed it? Although there were no visible wounds? I strongly doubt a button could deliver a blow strong enough to kill a parakeet - she would need to strangle it or break its neck to kill it without leaving wounds and I have a hard time imagining a button do this..

Lets start with determining:
What kind of quail do you have?
How big is the aviary?
How many male/female quail do you have in this aviary?
the quails are brown coturnix and white a&m. i have total of 6 quails. 4 females and one male. the female attacking is coturnix, brown, she is the oldest. all laying age. the attacker is also is the biggest.
the aviary is about 8x7x9 feet.
parakeets come to the ground to feed/fun. she has been attacking the yellow one specifically since the beginning.
How I know she did it: I know I saw her do it before. all she does is grab her and hold her. but the parakeet would flip and the feathers would fly. I saved her once from the evil grip before. the parakeet obviously dies of a heart attack associated with being held. the feathers were everywhere from the struggle.
 

DK newbie

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Apr 20, 2015
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I can believe a cot can hold on to a parakeet long enough to kill it - they are much bigger and stronger than buttons.
You have 5 quail you mean, right?
As to why she does it.. I actually have 4 females and one male cot in an aviary that's right about 7x8 ft. And guess what? One of the females is being aggressive. She had pecked the male so much there was blood on his shoulders about a month ago. I put her in a guinea pig cage inside the aviary for a couple of weeks to cool her down, then I let her back out again. She was nice at first, but I saw her chasing and pecking one of the other females again yesterday.. I might try to put her and the guinea pig cage outside the aviary if she keeps it up, so I break up her relation to the flock. Or I might just cull her - and the male as well, he's not very nice either - when my first batch of chicks is ready to replace them/go to the freezer in a few weeks.
I think your hen - and mine - are just particularly territorial birds that don't tolerate the conditions we provide them with very well. Although we both provide them with seemingly good conditions, we are still very far from how they'd live in the wild and some birds just don't cope very well with that. The yellow parakeet was probably singled out because it looked 'different' - quail can be racists towards other colors of their own species as well.
If you are lucky, it's something hormonal that will pass soon, but unless you are giving them additional light they should be less aggressive in the fall and winter than the rest of the year. Mine have no additional light, yet they are still laying and the hen is still aggressive with just 12 hours of light, so I don't expect that to pass..
 

quails-n-tails

In the Brooder
Sep 20, 2018
41
40
46
so cal
I can believe a cot can hold on to a parakeet long enough to kill it - they are much bigger and stronger than buttons.
You have 5 quail you mean, right?
As to why she does it.. I actually have 4 females and one male cot in an aviary that's right about 7x8 ft. And guess what? One of the females is being aggressive. She had pecked the male so much there was blood on his shoulders about a month ago. I put her in a guinea pig cage inside the aviary for a couple of weeks to cool her down, then I let her back out again. She was nice at first, but I saw her chasing and pecking one of the other females again yesterday.. I might try to put her and the guinea pig cage outside the aviary if she keeps it up, so I break up her relation to the flock. Or I might just cull her - and the male as well, he's not very nice either - when my first batch of chicks is ready to replace them/go to the freezer in a few weeks.
I think your hen - and mine - are just particularly territorial birds that don't tolerate the conditions we provide them with very well. Although we both provide them with seemingly good conditions, we are still very far from how they'd live in the wild and some birds just don't cope very well with that. The yellow parakeet was probably singled out because it looked 'different' - quail can be racists towards other colors of their own species as well.
If you are lucky, it's something hormonal that will pass soon, but unless you are giving them additional light they should be less aggressive in the fall and winter than the rest of the year. Mine have no additional light, yet they are still laying and the hen is still aggressive with just 12 hours of light, so I don't expect that to pass..
thanks, but damn, i do not want to kill her, and i do not have the means to permanently separate her, hmm...
 

DK newbie

Songster
5 Years
Apr 20, 2015
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A temporary separation might be enough. It doesn't seem to be in my case, but some have had success removing aggressive birds from the flock for 1-2 weeks and then putting them back. So it's worth a try.
 

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