Button Quail Babies Dying a Few Days After Hatching.... HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by thehighandlow, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. thehighandlow

    thehighandlow In the Brooder

    May 9, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Within the first week or two after hatching, I keep losing my babies! They come out healthy and eating/drinking then suddenly become lethargic and die soon after. out of the last clutch of 12 eggs, only 2 survived to adulthood. Those aren't great numbers.

    I incubate my eggs with a Brinsea Mini (with the egg turner) at 99.5 deg and get almost 100% hatch rate. I then put the chicks in a brooder box that consists of a large rubbermaid plastic bin, a gerbil style waterer, a small food dish, a red heat lamp, digital thermometer and paper towel bottom. Thermometer reads between 85 and 90 degrees. I keep it very clean in there and feed them game bird crumbles mixed with egg food.

    I have noticed, however that the last few chicks that died had dried poo stuck to their bottoms and I had to gently remove it so they didn't get backed up. Perhaps it's this that is killing them? I don't know what else to do.
  2. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Songster

    Oct 10, 2012
    The chicks could have gotten pasty butt. Its when the chicks get a build up of poop on their butt which they can't get rid of, which in the end causes constipation, and then death.

    This is normally caused by the brooder not being warm enough or they're not being fed the right feed. I think temperatures the issue here.

    For the first week or so after the chicks hatch, the brooder should be at 37.5 (99.5) degrees to match the temperature of the incubator, and gradually be lowered each week until they're fully feathered.
    You can maintain heat by putting a towel over the top but also allowing ventilation.
  3. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Songster

    May 28, 2012
    Let me try to help.

    Do not use paper towel the chicks need something they can grip or you might wind up with splay legs. I use the non slip shelf liner and cut several to fit the bottom of the brooder so you can remove one to wash and place another right in. Sprinkle the food on the bottom and after they are eating from the dish, at a couple days old, you can stop sprinkling it. Be sure you change the water several times a day so it is cool and clean, I used a chicken chick waterer with shiny rocks placed around the edge so the buttons would not fall in. If they get wet they could chill and die.
    Now remove the red light bulb (red is hard on button eyes) and replace it with a standard 40-60 watt light bulb, adjust its height so it is 90-95F (32.2-35C) the first week lowering the temp by 5 degrees each week until they are at room temp at 5 -6 weeks old. If you are finding them in a pile and dead they might be too cold.

    Do NOT feed them egg at this early age wait until week 2-3 before supplementing them to be sure they are getting enough protein. The sticky poo could be caused by the egg. Be sure to grind the feed a bit too. And you don't say what you are giving as regular feed but it should be game bird crumbles of 28% protein, sometimes sold as turkey or pheasant fed. Do give then ground oyster shell in the food and also a bit of grit in the bottom of the brooder would be good, or in another dish.
    Hope this helps and with that hatch rate you should be overrun by these cute as a "button" quail!
  4. James the Bald

    James the Bald Songster

    Jan 6, 2013
    What's "egg food"? That isn't a supplement for laying hens, is it?
  5. buttonquailtx

    buttonquailtx Chirping

    Jun 19, 2013
    I don't know if this will help, but I have always had better luck keeping my chicks at 100 degrees F for the first week. I keep a good temperature graduation of 85 degrees on the cool side and 100 degrees directly under the heat lamp. This way the chicks can move out of the heat if they get too warm and back under the heat if they get too cold.
  6. thehighandlow

    thehighandlow In the Brooder

    May 9, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for all the input guys!!! I really appreciate it. I have raised the temp in the brooder box and it seems to be keeping the chicks more stable and healthy. No poop sticking to their butts! Fingers crossed!

    Also, the egg food I mentioned is something I actually feed my finches when they are feeding their young. It's a high protein mix of insect bits and egg.

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