Bobs are dying--any ideas?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Terri O, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all--I thought my problem was done but it seems it has started up again...sigh.
    SO I have my bobs and the cots outside in raised pens. We had quite a bit of snow and it got cold here. The cots were fine, the bobs (sho are supposed to be native) started dying 1 or 2 a night. I thought they maybe needed more protection so I brought them into the barn and installed them in another raised pen. Lost two more but I attributed this to change of scenery/colds from before.
    All was well for a week or so and now they have started dying again! Most have been plump and looking fine the day before. I changed their food from Game bird grower to chicken layer thinking that they werent eating, I put more hay on the bottom of the cage, changed food dishes, changed water dishes; nothing seems to help them.
    They are in with a few cots that were being picked on and they are fine. Both the males and the females are dying. No signs of picking at all--just dead. The birds will be a year old in July.

    Anyone have any ideas for me? I thought Bobs would be easy....Thanks! TerriO
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Make sure not to cross contaminate your chicken area with your quail. Chickens carry diseases that can kill quail. Have the quail been wormed this year? Worms are a sure killer of poultry. Chicken layer does not have enough protein and it contains way too much calcium for the male quail. Too much calcium will destroy the kidneys of the boys.

    Are there ANY symptoms that you can find...mites or bugs, funky looking poop, respiratory ailments, etc...Where are you getting this hay from...a place near your chickens? Is the hay or feed old or moldy? Mold kills quick.
  3. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for your reply. No weird poops or symptoms. Only the Bobs are affected not the Couturnix. The hay is the stuff that I feed my horses and goats--no mold. There are chickens that free range and they do go into the barn by the quail and under their cages when they are outside. This has just started with the cold weather; they were in the same place all last summer, fall and early winter. Are Bobs more sensitive than Cots?
    I only switched them to layer because I thought the pellets of the game bird looked larger than normal. They still have GB to eat too. I will take out the layer food tomorrow. It is so odd because it is like 1 a day dying.
  4. Woofless

    Woofless Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    Bacterial disease has been the culprit on both occasions when I've had that kind of death rate. Medicating the water every day AND feeding medicated gamebird feed, eventually brought an end to the problem....but it won't cure anything overnight and won't restore birds already showing signs of illness.

    Quail enteritis is apparently the most common disease in it, you'll find a lot of info....And when it hits, there will be a high mortality rate no matter what meds you throw at them, it seems to take a while for the medication to counteract the disease cycle. After spending many hours Googling I have seen evidence that this is a frustrating disease to deal with for any quail owner. Many of my lost birds fit the symptoms given for enteritis (droopy, fluffed up, listless- dead in 12-24 hours, emaciated)....BUT not every bird that died fit the description, probably 1/3 of dead birds I picked up were plump and lacking any sign of physical trauma but somehow still dead.

    I used Duramycin-10 powder in the water, 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water to start- I have used a full heaping tablespoon per gallon with no problems. Most feed stores usually carry it back by the cow wormers and stuff....comes in a little pouch about the size of a man's hand and costs about $7. The drug is actually tetracycline hydrochloride. Read the label and make sure it has dosing directions for poultry before you buy ANY product, many products look the same, even have same drug in it, but not made for poultry.

    I have been told you can use LS-50 as well, 1/4 to 1/2 tablespoon per gallon. This you can buy online or from a livestock vet supply, may be harder to find. I primarily have it on hand to reduce first-week losses in chicks. The stuff is like $40 for a relatively small bottle and I opted not to try it for the enteritis.

    The last time I had sick birds, I went to my vet after dosing Duramycin for 2 weeks, told her what I was dealing with & asked if she could reccomend anything. She's a large & small animal vet but doesn't do poultry, nobody does around here, but she looked into it for me & came back with a suggestion for Albon. Comes in a gallon jug, liquid form, costs just under $40 and would probably last forever with the dilution ratio I'd use. I have seen it for sale online but I was told it's only supposed to be administered/sold through a vet, so I would probably just go that route to be safe. I decided to try Duramycin for 7 more days then I'd try Albon....and lo and behold, 5 days later, the death stopped as soon as it had started.

    So, if you want to try medicating, that'd be a few suggestions. If there is any way to provide a heat source until the sickness is gone it may help reduce stress on the birds....illness is stress enough, sick birds die quicker in the cold. What kind of hay are you using for bedding- how old, how has it been stored, where did it come from etc? Might not hurt to change everything over to clean pine shavings bedding for now, or something like that...IF you can get the hay out without overly panicking the birds I suppose.....just to rule everything out put them on a substance you know is dry, clean, free from any kind of mold or fungus.

    Hopefully this helps and you find a solution, I know how frustrating it can be to have birds dying like that :(

    *ETA, I posted before I saw your last post- so disregard the questions about the hay LOL ;)...still, if you can change their bedding without utterly disrupting the sanctity of their little universe, it can't hurt....pine shavings are cheap and clean and even if you think the hay is fine, it never hurts to rule everything out.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  5. sheds

    sheds Out Of The Brooder

    by chance would your hay be up top in the barn where coons & possums could be spending the winter ,and urinating on straw and hay. Just a thought .
  6. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the recent replies. That sounds exactly like what I have Woofless. I will read up on the enteritis today. I have all of the meds here on the farm and will check those labels too. I hope I can stop this before Ilose all the birds. I think I have 2 males and about 8 females left! The funny thing is that the Cots that are in there with them (moved inside because they were being picked on in the outside pen) show absolutely no signs of sickness!
    The hay should be is pure grass hay that should not be contaminated,,,I may change to pine today if the temp ever gets up a bit! 20 now...a cold snap of below zero is forcasted Sunday so I think I will also add heat in there for the poor things. Today and yesterday there were no deaths but there was a puffy on....I guess I will carry on. I may be looking for new Bob eggs though.
    I am sure one of you nice people have a few for sale! [​IMG]
    Thanks for all the help! TerriO
  7. Woofless

    Woofless Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    Actually, I do have some Bobs for sale! But unfortunately I can't ship birds, and if you're in WI that's a pretty long drive for quail. I am in southeastern SD. But if you are planning a trip out this way or anything, let me know and I can hook you up :) Hope your birds are feeling better!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  8. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    I put meds in the water on the weekend along with a brooder hood and a 75W bulb. Have not had any deaths since Saturday morning. [​IMG] I wish I could have saved makes me sad to see how few are left in there!
    Hopefully they will start laying again and I can hatch some more out.
    Thanks for your help! TerriO

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