Am I feeding my button quail too much? How about separating them when the get close to adulthood?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by CondoCountryBoy, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. CondoCountryBoy

    CondoCountryBoy Out Of The Brooder

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    My button quail are about 12 days old now. They have been eating since day one and growing fast! I ordered starter food from Garrie Landry and each time I see their feeder low we fill it up. Could I be over doing it? A friend of mine once left a gate open and his pony got full access to his entire stash of horse feed for 24 hours. They found her bloated barely alive the next day and the pony almost literally ate herself to death because food was constantly available. Can something like this happen to my quail? I know a quail is not a horse, just being new to this an over protective of my babies, I wonder if I could over feed them. Is once a day sufficient for feeding? I do know that water if very important and we both fill up their water each time we walk by their cage.

    Also, we have 19 babies. I was only going to keep a few but my Girlfriend is very attached to all of them and not sure she will be able to select 4 or 5 to keep. We already met a farm girl that is willing to take our extras but not sure I will be able to deliver them to their new home without my GF killing me. From all I have read it looks like we will need a 18-20 square foot care to support this many and some say males will fight and other issue could develop. I also read buttons pair off and become monogamous. Does anyone know if I separate a couple will they look a new mate or do they spend the rest of their quail lives longing for their old mate? I would not want to do anything that would cause one to die of loneliness. I know quail are basically farm animals, but mine are becoming our pets and we want them to live the best lives possible. All advice welcome...thanks
     
  2. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    Buttons won't over eat, so keep feeding them well. They are active little things but don't eat much once they are adults.

    I have 3 males and 2 females that we had to raise as our female abandoned her eggs as they were pipping. They are still living together happily in a corner guinea pig cage inside. I'm waiting for the day that they start fighting, but so far I've had no problems. It probably helps that the females haven't started laying eggs yet. They are 4 months old and hopefully the fact we are moving into winter will prevent any problems for awhile. Birds that are raised together tend to get on very well as opposed to introducing new faces to the group.

    They are our daughter's birds and she has a hard time letting any go, so I do understand! And they are such cute little things! Some people successfully keep large colonies but they do need a lot of space (I've read 4 sp/ft per pair) and hiding places. They are mostly kept as pairs or trios (1 male, 2 females). You could keep females in one space, and males in another if that's another option. As long as they can't see each other they should be fine, and that would be a good solution if you don't want/need more babies!

    They should take to a new mate very quickly and you can keep boys together no problems as long as they don't have a female to fight over. They need company and one on its own will often die of loneliness. Males will fight over females, and females will fight over territory (so I've read). But there's no reason to fight if none of the opposite sex are present. So if you did do same sex pens you could probably get away with less space per bird.
     
  3. CondoCountryBoy

    CondoCountryBoy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply...right now we have 2 guinea pig cages, a bigger one and smaller one. I put them all in the smaller one this morning because I wanted to clean out the bigger one. I think they are ok in one corner. Not sure the appreciate the extra space, but the feces does add up in the smaller area. I will put them back in the larger cage tomorrow. We will keep it up as long as we can, but I can already tell they are going to smell if we do not clean the cages every day. BTW today is day 12 and we still keep the red brooder light close to the cage. The seem to appreciate it and get quiet and huddle under it. We live in Florida so it will not usually get below the 70s at night. Will that be warm enough? I have read you should keep the brooder light on for at least 2 weeks but not sure when or if it will be ok to turn it off. The seem so much happier with it on, with it off they seem more fidgety and peep loader.
     
  4. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I second what JaeG said.
    With regards to the brooder light, it should be moved further away from the chicks at least once a week to lower the temp little by little and wean them off it gradually. Usually people say 5 degrees colder every week. Once it's far enough away to hardly affect the temp at quail level, you can turn it off.
     
  5. CondoCountryBoy

    CondoCountryBoy Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks for the advice. I noticed last night the quail were restless late into the evening, but quieted down as soon as we put the red light close again. I guess they still need it or still enjoy it. Does anyone have any suggestions on controlling the smell? We live in a small condo with a porch that is part of the unit and only separated by a sliding glass door. I have been keeping the porch windows open, but even with us cleaning the cage every day it still smells like a barn out there each morning when I go to add clean water and food. Right now we just have pine shavings in the cage with them and paper towel under it. A Coturnix owner I know suggests kitty litter, but I want to be careful with anything I put in the cage with them. I know the real answer is probably own less than 19 birds in a small condo, but it looks like they are going to be with us for a while. Does anyone know if kitty litter will be ok with buttons? Any other suggestions? Pet stores know little about quail and really do not know what to suggest. I have to depend on real quail owners. Maybe I could mix something with the pine shavings or use something completely different??
     
  6. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    It could be the brand of food you are feeding so you could try switching that to see if it helps. I can't recommend anything as I'm in a completely different country where I can't even get game bird food without paying an arm and a leg to get it to me! I use meat bird crumble that has 20% protein.

    I'm assuming it's quite humid in Florida? Unfortunately if it's damp they will smell. Check they can't spill their water and that it's not leaking. My 5 in an indoor cage which isn't that big hardly ever need a clean out.
     
  7. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another factor to smell is the fact that they're growing so fast, they're literally poo machines!

    Once they stop growing, they won't eat as much which means they won't poop as much. You live in a climate where the "deep litter method" may work? I don't have experience with it but it's low maintenance.

    I didn't catch what you're using for litter right now? I would not use kitty litter - it's full of perfumes and other chemicals and the birds are going to dustbathe in it and probably eat some.

    I use wood shavings - smells nice, they enjoy it, helps dry up poop and you can get a gigantic bag for about 5 bucks at TSC here in Canada. You can also try sand which you could sift with a scoop like you would with kitty litter.
     
  8. dpenning

    dpenning Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    On the poop board in my chicken coop I use something called Sweet PDZ. It is a horse stall deodorizer. You might try that under or mixed in with your pine shavings. I would think if it is safe for chickens it would be safe foe quail? I'm just getting into quail so maybe someone with more experience will confirm.
     
  9. CondoCountryBoy

    CondoCountryBoy Out Of The Brooder

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    I found some "bird bedding" at Petco and it has baking soda it in..seems to be helping although the real reason is probably that we reduced our flock from 19 to 7. 19 was just too much to manage in our small condo. We were out in the country and stopped at a farm to buy fresh cheese. We told the farm girl about our quail and showed her pictures. She was happy to take some off our hands. I drove back out there yesterday after my gf picked out her favorite. They cried during the entire car ride, but took to their new home in just a few minutes. The farm girl released them into a cage larger than they were used to and within minutes they were all quiet and appeared to be enjoying themselves. We miss them but at least they will have a chance to live a happy quail life
     

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