Button Quail Hatchling -- Please Help!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by warmfuzzyfeeling, May 24, 2010.

  1. warmfuzzyfeeling

    warmfuzzyfeeling Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    Indiana
    Hello,

    I found a baby in our incubator today and, despite my earlier research, I'm panicking. We would very much appreciate any advice because we want the little guy to survive and be healthy. Here's the whole story:

    We bought a mated pair of button quail at our local pet shop about three weeks ago. The male was missing most of his feathers on his backside. The owner told us they had been housed with another male prior and this other male had pecked him. We set them up in a big aquarium (about 4 feet long) with a mesh laundry bag taped over the top, corncob litter, and the special feed that the pet shop owner mixes. The terrarium is on my husband's dresser in our bedroom where is can get plenty of natural light. The female laid an egg the first day and every day thereafter, for the first eight days. We bought a Little Giant still air incubator and read the instructions. I did my best to keep the temperature at 102 degrees, turn the eggs 3 to 6 times per day, and keep the water reservoir filled.

    Everything went great for the first few days. The male quail took care of the female, feeding her crickets and courting her. Besides the feed mix and insects, I also fed them boiled egg, fruit, and table scraps on occasion. After a week, I started wondering why the male looked more bald than ever. I wondered if he was feather plucking. By the time I figured out that the female was cannibalizing him, he was too far gone. When I separated them with a cardboard partition in the tank, he was miserable. He became so depressed he stopped eating, so I put them back together. I tried Vick's vapor rub as a repellent, but the female just pecked at parts that were not dabbed with the repellent. I separated them again and slathered his wounds with antibiotic ointment, keeping him in the heated bathroom where we are raising five Golden Comet pullets. He developed "pasty butt" and I cleaned him up, but he ultimately died.

    The pet shop owner replaced the male with the extra male that she had previously housed with our pair. He is a juvenile and quite feral and flighty. The female tried to peck him for the first week, but he was terrified of her though and kept well away. They have actually bonded by now though and cuddle together, grooming each other lovingly. So, I think it is going to work out.

    Meanwhile...

    An egg hatched! The still wet chick had managed to get under the hardware cloth flooring in the incubator, so I took it out. We have in in a plastic storage bin with nonskid liner, a heat lamp, a rice-filled sock (warmed in microwave for chick to sit on while drying), a miniature 'My Little Pony' for company, half of a toilet paper roll to hide under, a thermometer, a mason jar lid with food, and a pill box lid with water and pea gravel. The food is 1/2 quail feed mix and 1/2 chick starter mash--unmedicated--which I tried to crush into smaller crumbles. I also have medicated chick mach if that is better, but I thought it might not be safe for quail. I have bird vitamins/electrolytes available if needed.

    So, there are a few problems. I keep switching bulbs in the heat lamp because I can't get the temperature to 95. The heat bulb we purchased was 125 watts, but the thermostat was showing 118 degrees under the light. We put an ordinary, 100 watt light bulb in the lamp, which brought the temperature down to 115 on the warm side of the container. I tried a 60 watt bulb, which heated only the patch directly under the bulb to 95 degrees. I think this was too cold because the chick was sleeping directly under the light instead of wandering around. I got the chick to drink a little and it pecked ineffectually at the feed (I'm worried that the crumble is still too coarse for its itty bitty beak). It wants to follow my hand around, and it still looks a bit wet from hatching. Here's the big problem: It is peeping, regularly, at 1.5 second intervals. The peeps sound like "Whew!" "Whew!" and I'm worried that the chick is in distress. Can anyone help figure out whether the chick is healthy or in trouble? Is there anything else I should be doing for it? While I had "been around" various birds throughout childhood, my experience doesn't extend beyond feeding and watering them. I wish another egg would hatch for company, but I understand that still air incubators are not the best and we only had eight eggs. I think the one that hatched was the 3rd or 4th egg, and I've no idea whether the others have living embryos (I gave up on candling them because the shells are too thick or dark to see through). I'll try to attach pictures below.

    Thank you very much!
    Jennifer...and husband Derek, children Lazarus (4), Livonia (17 months)
    Pets: Toy Australian Shepherd, 5 Golden Comet pullets, 2 Button quail, a Syrian hamster, a cave salamander

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  2. suzyq53511

    suzyq53511 Drowning in Chickens!

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    Apr 30, 2010
    Beloit
    I have no idea about quail! but your baby is too cute!
     
  3. warmfuzzyfeeling

    warmfuzzyfeeling Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    Indiana
    Thanks! I'm hoping that the chick is OK. We figured out that the mournful "WHEW" "WHEW" peeping is because it is lonely. Whenever I put my hand in the box, it scampers over to me and peeps happily, then follows my hand around the box. The instant I remove my hand, it cries again. It was the size of a honey bee when it hatched, but it has fluffed up to the size of a bumble bee. I hope we are doing everything right with its care and I keep hoping to find it some company in the incubator...

    Jennifer
     
  4. suzyq53511

    suzyq53511 Drowning in Chickens!

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    Apr 30, 2010
    Beloit
    tiny lil thing maybe you should get a bantam for it?
     
  5. jbowen9

    jbowen9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2009
    southwest Virginia
    put a small feather duster in there stand the duster up to where the chick can get in it and it will be quiet maybe. Sorry didnt see the feed post i grind mine in a blender or a food processor for the little fellows i make it about the size of coffee grounds
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010

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