Button quail walking backwards - is something wrong?

ButtonBag

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
139
271
83
London, UK
A couple of my 4 week old button/chinese painted quail chicks have started doing a short backwards scoot every so often (not pooping) — one does it much more often. Is it a fear/stress response, or could they be injured or sick? As far as I can tell they're all still eating and drinking normally, and I'm going to move them to a much bigger enclosure tomorrow so they have more space to run and hide (will eventually only be keeping a pair).

I've got a recording of the one on the far left doing it a couple of times here, any insight would be appreciated as I'm worrying a bit:

 

ButtonBag

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
139
271
83
London, UK
Thanks for the reply, I really hope she's just been itchy for a few days then! I've been getting bogged down reading about brain injuries and other scary things…
 

FloorCandy

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
906
1,527
140
Mine all do this from time to time, the first time I brought them outside, my Big Bird did this all afternoon, I think she just liked how grass felt rubbing into her feathers.
 

ButtonBag

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
139
271
83
London, UK
I hope mine are doing something similar, although it doesn't look like they're actually touching their fronts to the ground at all
 

ButtonBag

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
139
271
83
London, UK
Still lots of sporadic backwards walking from this one particular quail today. He’s been doing it for about 5 days now, but no other problems as far as I can see.

I keep getting paranoid about impacted crops as they’ve been eating little bits of pine shaving and looking quite chunky around the neck, but they are still all eating their normal food too.
 

ButtonBag

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
139
271
83
London, UK
Watching today, I don't think it's feather rearranging, they don't touch the bedding at all and they're doing it even on smoother surfaces; sometimes falling backwards off the edge of objects. The one that does it a lot also paces up and down franticly often (in the brooder and also now in the larger enclosure with more enrichment and hiding spots). We've checked all their vents and everyone looks healthy. I'm stumped!
 

GreedySeedFeedy

Songster
7 Years
Jun 23, 2013
103
126
144
My coturnix quail do this while lowering and sometimes shaking their heads when they taste or smell something bad, or think they're going to get grabbed.

One of the more fussy ones, Popcorn, does it to the extreme and it' pretty funny to watch her run backwards across the room with her head a blur because I reached for her and she didn't want to be held. She does it to the rooster too, if he grabs for her head and she's not in the mood. She also hates having her face and head touched more than the others.

It's probably not pathological, your bird could just be annoyed or head-shy, especially if she seems otherwise healthy! They're so cute, you have such cute ones!
 

ButtonBag

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
139
271
83
London, UK
Thanks for the anecdote, that’s so cute! I can imagine how funny it must be to watch. Mine don’t seem to do it when I reach in, but it could very well be that they have smelled something they don’t like 😅 They do seem otherwise healthy so I’ll chalk it up as one of their funny quirks.
 

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