Button quail laying soft shell eggs

Discussion in 'Quail' started by gorabbitgo, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2012
    My littlest button, a gold pearl tuxedo called Buzz, was the second of my five hens to start laying at just six weeks, and so far she's been pretty troublesome.
    Last week i thought she might have been egg bound, only to have the problem seem to vanish overnight with no egg. A day or so later i found an empty egg membrane with no shell in her cage. She didn't lay for a few days and then laid two normal eggs two days in a row, though one was striped with blue/green striations like maybe there were some problems in the egg works.
    Now she's laid three soft shells in a row and i'm at my wit's end. She's got a whole dish of oyster shell and i put extra oyster shell in the sand bath just so she'd have constant access to it. I have been giving them live feeder cockroaches, which are supposedly high in calcium and 30% protein, as well as weekly mealworms, and i've been giving her hand-feeding baby bird formula in a dish to supplement her diet of organic pellets mixed 60/40 with quail seed and another dish of freeze-dried bugs mixed with commercial egg food plus daily kale or spring mix greens.

    She's living with three other females in a 15" x 32" pen and they're all extremely close. They snuggle and preen together with no fights, but they have multiple hides where they can get away from each other. Buzz has been laying her soft eggs in a two-story fort (five inches high) made from cardboard and then pushing them out of the window to break them so that her sisters can eat the insides.
    They're indoors so the temperature is pretty constant and she gets 14-16 hours of indirect light per day. What else can i do to either get her to lay normal eggs or stop laying?
    None of my other single ladies are laying, and my one paired-off female who lives with her mate gets the same light and the same diet and lays a perfect beautiful egg every day and then flock calls to let me know to come get it.

    Dang it, Little Buzz! Why are you making trouble?
     
  2. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    6 weeks is young but I looks to me like the diet maybe too fat for them. They should be getting game bird crumbles, you may need to smash it a bit, with a protein of a least 20% plus a good finch seed mix mixed in at a ratio of 50-50%. treats 2-3 time per week is enough and I would skip the roaches altogether, because of the hard shells. Greens, especially dark ones like spinach and broccoli, apple and orange or other fruit are good choices. And always have lots of fresh water and oyster shell. You can mix some super fine oyster shell into the food and then you know she is getting enough. I really think that 6 weeks is just young and that she will get better as she ages a bit. good luck!

    edited to add: Do not kill them with kindness by feeding them too much junk food....lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  3. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2012
    Too much fat, you think?

    I'll sit down and do some math with the nutritional analyses of the foods i've been offering. I was so concerned about getting enough protein that i wasn't considering fat content! Thank you for the suggestion!

    The pellets are an organic game bird food. It's just small batch, meant for pets and show birds rather than commercial farming. I only have six button quail and we live in an urban area where ordering, shipping, and storing 20-50 lbs of feed would be impractical. I'll compare it to the nutritional content of higher-volume crumbles and see how it compares in the fat and mineral content. I may have to adjust the diet i offer accordingly.
    The roaches should be okay. They're a feeder species specifically chosen because they're higher in protein and lower in fat than mealworms, and they're softer and higher in calcium than crickets. I offer about five or six small roaches (bird bite-size) per bird once or twice a week, and mealworms once a week or every other week.

    Hopefully as Buzz matures she'll get better at laying normally. It's odd that she's the youngest and the smallest and yet she's my only non-mated female to start laying.
     
  4. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The trouble is not too much "fat' but that they will get too fat, overweight. They will eat more of the treat foods and not the crumbles and seed that they should have. It is really hard to tell if a bird is overweight because they store the fat in the liver, which is why it is so bad for them. It does not sound like what you are doing now is hurting them just be aware if they do not eat the crumbles to remove some of the treats from their diet, and do add finch seed mix to the diet as they normally eat seed in the wild, if it is not in the game bird food you are serving. These little buggers are hard to resist. enjoy!
     

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