Beginner with coturnix - what am I missing?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by brewer12345, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2017
    We got 28 2 day old chicks on Saturday from a local breeder and now have 25 (mysterious expirations in the first 24 hours). I cannot get game bird feed locally that is not laced with antibiotics, so while I wait for my order of a few bags to come in I am feeding them chick starter supplemented with dried mealworms (which they go crazy for). They all look pretty good and I am planning to start pulling the heat lamp gradually back starting this weekend. These guys are going to eventually end up in the 3X8 coop I am almost done building in the backyard. We live in the Denver area, so I am somewhat concerned about how and when to put them outside since it is cold. The plan is to pull the heat lamp entirely at 3 weeks of age and then give them a week or so in the garage to further acclimate. Will that suffice? The coop is wire bottomed, but about a third is otherwise enclosed and I plan to put cardboard and shavings inside the enclosed area until it warms up (though we often have night lows under 50 until well into May).

    I have figured out that they like to dust bathe, so I plan to put a tray or box with sand mixed with a bit of diatomaceous earth out for them. What else can I put in the coop to give them some cover? Clipped tree branches with leaves/evergreen foliage sound OK?

    We have a 2 gallon waterer and a 15 pound feeder for them and can add more if necessary. These sound big enough?

    These guys will be for eggs, with some pet aspect. I know I will have to cull roosters. Can I get away with a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of roosters to hens? We are planning to try incubating at some point this summer, so I want fertile eggs and I have a funny feeling that the kids will be attached enough that the fewer I have to cull the better. I am also hoping that he crowing is not so loud that I have neighbor complaints.

    Anything else I am missing? We have lots of predators nearby so I have been trying to make the coop as secure as possible. By the time next fall rolls around I am hoping to rig up a small solar panel system to power some LED lights (to keep them laying) and a heater to keep the waterer from freezing.

    We are already having fun with these little guys.
     
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like you are planning on having several roos in the same enclosure? If so, you should know that people usually regret doing that. Sometimes even before the birds are 6 weeks old, sometimes not till much later, but problems are very likely to arise - roos scalping each other, over mating the hens, stressing the hens by fighting so the hens don't lay as much as they should.. Anyway, you'd most likely be better off with one roo for 14 hens than with 2+ roos in the same enclosure.
    Perhaps you could separate the enclosure down the middle, making it 1½x8 ft (it's easier to collect eggs when the cage isn't too deep) or 3x4 ft and keep one roo for ~7 hens in each half. I'd definitely not attempt keeping more than one roo in each cage.
     
  3. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2017
    Definitely not contemplated in my coop design. Splitting it down the middle would be a major job. I also hadn't planned on culling that many birds. I don't really have any issues with culling (I am a hunter and a favorite quarry is invasive Eurasian collared doves), but the rest of the family tends to be squeamish.

    Would setting up a separate "bachelor pad" for several roosters (no hens) work? Or will they fight anyway?
     
  4. crimsonmama

    crimsonmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 2, 2017
    That's what I am hoping to do with my extra roos.... I have heard they will still try mating each other. But as my roos will have grown up together from hatching I'm hoping they will be more tolerant and peaceful together.
    In fact my daughter has quite taken to one of our roos who is extremely tame letting her cuddle and pet him. I have some pics of him lazing on her bed!

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  5. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2015
    Yeah, many people have success with bachelor groups. Some say they should be kept so far away from the hens they can't hear them, some say it's okay as long as they are in a separate enclosure.
     

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