Chicks dying

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Jrose, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2013
    I read through half a dozen other BYC threads on fading baby quail, but all seemed inconclusive.

    I picked up some half-grown quail locally and was gifted some eggs to hatch as well. The (now) adults are outdoors. I had some losses, mostly due to learning curve in containing them, but I did lose one to aggression (also a learning curve in male:female ratio).

    I hatched 6 fertile eggs. I lost 1 that ended up under the incubator grate (yet another learning curve). The 5 were put into the brooder within 24 hours. They took to food and water very well. All was fine for a week... One day 1 was struggling, laying strangely . I picked it up and water poured out of its crop. It had some death throws and keeled over.

    Another began acting funny. It would put its wings up, almost backward over its head, and shuffle backwards, head bent forward, like it was in pain. This one is still alive and today showing this symptom less.

    1 of the remaining 4 never grew. At all. At 2 weeks, the others were 3x its size and feathering, but it hadn't grown in size or produced a single feather. It was eating and drinking well. One morning I woke up to find that one dead, plus another one that was soaking wet. The water dish is 1" deep and filled with pebbles. No chance of outright drowning, but chicks get dramatic when startled, maybe it flopped around in the dish too much? The wet dead one was one of the biggest, strongest chicks.

    So I have 2 left. After the last 2 died these 2 started crying from being alone and they desperately wanted to be held. I haven't held them much at all so far. So I ended up putting a day old chicken chick in with them and they took to that very well, quieted down and cuddled. But it was getting too rowdy today so I removed it.
    There's the one that likes to back up as though in pain, and another, who as of 1 hour ago looked like it was dying. It wants to cross its legs, which results in stumbling and falling, then dramatic flailing about.

    They're eating powdered feed. Water is changed 2-3 times a day. They go through feed well. They are under an infrared lamp, which I just read can be a problem. They aren't panting, nor are they 'sprawling out' like they're trying to cool down. Actually they habitually hide on the hot side of the brooder and huddle against the warm plastic. It's probably a good 85 degrees in the room, 90-95 or so in the hottest part of brooder. I don't feel right making it warmer. The cool end is covered with a towel for extra temp difference. They don't move around much like they used to. I've tried moving them away from the heat and they start crying and screaming.

    No idea how clean the genetics are. The 4 adults I have seem healthy and happy. Thoughts?
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2015
    Well.. I've never had quail in a brooder, my buttons raise their own chicks, but I've read several threads about quail that fail to thrive as well, and the first thing that comes to mind is that you mention nothing about what this "powdered feed" contains. Chicks need more protein than adults, so even if your grown quail get by on whatever it is you feed them, it might be what causes the chicks to die. 25-30% protein is a must - game bird or turkey starter is what most use, as far as I have read. Those usually also contain the vitamins and minerals they need.
    You can try feeding the remaining two chopped-up hard boiled eggs. They contain everything they need, so if the feed is the problem, that might help them.
    I'm not quite sure whether the protein-theory explains why they have a tendency to drown, though. But in order to prevent them from getting wet, you might want to put even more pebbles in the water dish - there is no need of large areas of clear water, they just need small puddles that are just large enough to fit their beaks, the majority of the water can be covered by pebbles. Also, I have found that using a water dish with as small a surface area as possible tends to keep them out of the water. My button chicks would walk right through a shallow dish with a diameter of 6-8 cm., where as they walked around a slightly higher but still shallow dish with a diameter of 4 cm.
  3. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps


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