Button Quails Mysteriously Dying

Discussion in 'Quail' started by tothefifth powe, Jun 1, 2018.

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  1. tothefifth powe

    tothefifth powe In the Brooder

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    Hello!
    I hatched around 9 button quails a few months ago (Mid February).
    Around two months ago, they started laying eggs, including the two quails I am about to talk about.

    About a month and a half ago, we had a problem. One of the quails ended up being sick. She had her feathers puffed up and she was sitting in the corner not interacting with any of her other quail mates.
    We isolated her and put her in her own cage with a heating pad and water. She did not want to eat at all and didn't even open her mouth when we put water on it. Eventually, she pooped this clear mucus egg-white like substance. This mucus would dry pale yellow on paper towel. We took her to an overpriced emergency vet who agreed immediatedly with our suspicion that our quail's egg cracked inside her and she had egg peritonitis. He offered us antibiotics and pain relief/anti-inflamitory drugs to be orally administered. He also injected the quail with a "hydrating water patch" in her thigh (or so I remember). 30 minutes after the vet visit, the quail passed away. Later that night, we came back to the cage and realized that she had layed an egg that same day. Is it possible to have an egg crack inside of her the same day she layed an egg?

    A month later, we had another lady with the exact same symptoms. Using the same medication we were given by the vet, we treated the girl. After the antibiotics were administered, nothing happened. However, after the pain relief/anti-inflamitory drugs, she lost all of her energy and passeda away.

    I've been scouring the internet looking for an alternative sickness to egg cracking inside the chicken because one of our guys is begining to show the same symptoms. I found that it could be coccidiosis. The sick birds show every symptom except blood in their poo. However, the vet pointed out this tiny black dot in their poo and mentioned that the egg shell could be causing tears in their egg passage. I thought this might have been a scare tactic to convince me to drop $400 to leave the bird overnight.

    I bought corid. Could I treat my birds with Corid "just in case"? What is the dosage? Is it just normal chicken dosage? Or do I do less because the birds are so tiny.

    Also, do you guys have any idea what other sickness it could be?
     
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  2. ButtonquailGirl14

    ButtonquailGirl14 Free Ranging

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    Are they supplemented with oyster shell? how many in each cage??
     
  3. DK newbie

    DK newbie Songster

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    If quail are egg bound, you should be able to feel the egg inside them to verify the diagnosis. I don't think the eggs usually break inside them unless they have been handled roughly, but I can't say I know for sure.
    It's not impossible for a quail to lay two eggs in a day, though not too likely either. But I do agree that the symptoms sound like egg binding.
    The pain medications might have been to strong for quail (even if they would have been fine for other birds of the same size), or maybe they were so weak the stress from being handled killed them. But if they really were egg bound, they would likely have died anyway, so dying from an over dose of pain meds probably wasn't the worst that could happen..

    Apart from egg binding, boinking is also one of the common issues in quail, and it can actually cause very similar symptoms. So seeing as your boy probably isn't egg bound, it's probably worth considering if he could have boinked. Exactly what symptoms does he show? Does he poop the same clear substance as the first girl?

    I'm not saying the don't have coccidiosis, but I have never had such issues in my buttons and I'm not exactly keeping their cages very clean, so if they were very succeptible to cocci I would think I'd seen some kind of indication after 3 years of breeding them. But I could of cause have been lucky.
    With regards to dosing the corid, I'm not sure. It's something about mixing it in water, right? So you would think as a quail is smaller than a chicken it would also drink comparatively less and as such it might be perfect to use the same dose. But they might also drink more, compared to their size, or they might be sensitive to the drug, and so the same dose could be too high. But the dose set for chickens is probably just what is needed to kill the cocci, so if you lower the dose it might not work at all.. Hope someone else will have an answer on that.

    Now, on to determining how likely egg binding/boinking might be. Let's start with the same questions buttonquailgirl had - do you feed them a calcium supplement, if so, what and how much? And do you keep the entire flock together or do you have them paired up or in groups in separate cages?
    If you keep them all together, and the roof of the enclosure isn't padded somehow, I would consider it likely that your roo has boinked in the attempt to escape aggression from another roo. Sometimes they get over it, sometimes the damage is so bad they starve to death before they regain their coordination enough to eat.

    If you are not feeding you hens an ad-lib calcium supplement, egg binding is also pretty likely. If you do feed them ad-lib calcuim, what else do you feed them? Mine are on a gamebird starter. The protein content varies according to what I can get, right now it's 25%, sometimes it's only 19% and I've never had an issue with either.
     
  4. tothefifth powe

    tothefifth powe In the Brooder

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    Yes, I supplement their diet with oyster shell. I just mix it in with their food. Is this okay? Should I have a separate bowl?

    There are currently 6 in the cage and they seem to be getting along well. It's a large cage and the female to male ratio was pretty large.
     
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  5. tothefifth powe

    tothefifth powe In the Brooder

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    Thank you for such a long reply! This is very helpful.
    He did have a boinking incident! He had a little hole in his head after we transferred him to an outdoor coup during the day. A large bird came down and must have spooked them. I regret forgetting to insulate the top of their outdoor cage. Currently, he seems to be back to normal. We treated his wound with antibiotic ointment.

    I decided to test the Corid with just one of the quails this night. I gave him a few minutes to drink the chicken water-dose of corid in order to see if he reacts well with it by tomorrow. If so, I'll start treating the flock after I get a dosage confirmation.

    I do keep the quails all together in a glass aquarium. The female to male ratio was initially pretty large (3:6) and fighting was quite rare. I might need to separate them if I see them getting more aggressive now that it's 1:1. The top has this soft net, so boinking won't hurt them inside their indoor cage.

    I feed them oyster shells mixed in with their food. I'm having a sudden concern that I give them too much oyster shell. I feel like I read somewhere that too much calcium for the dudes is not healthy. Can you let me know how/how much calcium you give them?

    I feed them 24% protein game bird starter. I also occasionally provided boiled egg whites. With their food, I mix in a little bit of grit (some website told me to do so). The grit is store bought and meant for chickens.

    I also have this new thing that I bought: Vita-sol. I haven't given it to them yet because you never really know if its okay to feed them something unless other people have done so or it's specifically marketed towards them. Do you think it would be beneficial to add the vitamin to their water?

    I've been slightly traumatized after the first quail died. I feel like I'm doing a lot of things right, but I still panic that I'll wake up to dead friends :(

    Also, I would like to add that their egg production slowed down suddenly. Is this normal? We normally have 2-3 eggs per day, but today and yesterday, we only had 1. They receive the same about of sunlight as ever.
     
  6. DK newbie

    DK newbie Songster

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    It's great that the roo is doing better! They are pretty resilient little things.

    With regards to oyster shells, make sure they are small enough for them to eat (not chicken sized). I give it to them in a separate bowl. Usually they will take what they need and nothing more. Grit is not necessary unless you feed them seeds, but it won't do any harm either.

    I wouldn't use vitamin supplements for the birds as long as they are eating their game bird feed - it should give them everything they need and adding more could over dose them in certain vitamins.

    I'd definitely get some more enclosures for the birds. Even if you don't see them fighting or chasing each other, it's very likely that they do, and the older they get the worse it becomes. This might also be why egg production slowed down - it's not only the roos that fight, the hens often start chasing each other as well and in any case the stress of other birds fighting around her might cause a hen to lay irregularly.
    I've tried keeping 2 hens with a roo on several occations and I've never managed to get it to work long-term unless in an aviary. Cages just don't provide them with enough personal space to tolerate each other - even though one of the cages I tried it in was 2x5 ft.
    Moving them around from indoor to outdoor enclosure could also stress them enough to stop laying - in general they do best if they just have one, permanent, spacious enclosure and you only keep a pair in each. If the outdoor cage is predator proof and well sheltered from the elements, it should be possible to house one of the pairs out there most of the time - buttons handle both hot and cold weather better than most people think.
     
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  7. ButtonquailGirl14

    ButtonquailGirl14 Free Ranging

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    yes!!! they are in pairs in the wild and will not be happy any way else. I would recommend large cages because they love to run around. even if they seem to get a long they will never be very happy. they will also be very stressed which can cause many medical problems. even egg-bound.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    I know nothing about quail, but I think @TwoCrows might have some info.
     

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