Confusing health issues with my quail - revised HELP

Discussion in 'Quail' started by redshoulderfox, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. redshoulderfox

    redshoulderfox Chirping

    Apr 19, 2014
    I am seeing some health problems and I am concerned that there could be an underlying issue I need to deal with.

    I have had birds develop difficulties walking or standing and one bird I observed this in actually died. I will try to describe the circumstances here:

    Starting with the most recent issue and going backwards from there -
    1. The hocks on one of my birds have started to turn inward. This bird is now having some difficulties walking.
    2. In the last month one of my birds sustained an injury which resulted in her not being able to even stand. I isolated her, built a support for her, and did some “physical therapy” with her so she might be able to recover. Over the next 3 weeks she did seem to mostly recover, but a few days after returning her to the flock (12 birds total) I found her hunched over and very weak. Unfortunately she then died in my hands when I picked her up to inspect and help her.
    3. Over the past two years I have had occasion to have birds develop difficulties walking and sometimes even standing. In each of these cases I have been able to nurse them back to health but they do not always get all of their mobility back.

    My questions are:
    - is this anything you have heard of?
    - is it likely that my flock has a problem or illness?
    - is there anything I should do differently?

    For some background - I am raising my quail flock (12 birds) in my backyard and they are sort of as much pets to me as they are egg layers. I mention this because I am willing to go to some lengths to help even individual birds.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    What are you feeding them?
  3. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    Unless you're feeding them chicken feed or something else inadequate it probably isn't diet. What are you feeding them? How high is the roof of your cage? What it's made out of? Any runny feces? Respiratory issues (listen to the chest of the sick hen)? Swelling or discharge anywhere around the bird? Are you running lights to promote egg laying? Has she layed recently? Does she have any wounds around the top of her head or neck?

    Please answer all of those questions to get the best help possible.

    Vitamin deficiency, they're hitting their heads, or nerve damage from being bullied off the water or let be out of water, are the 3 most common causes of birds not being able to walk correctly. There are some diseases that can cause leg issues though. Nerve damage they usually don't recover from, but most other causes can be solved.
  4. redshoulderfox

    redshoulderfox Chirping

    Apr 19, 2014
    I feed them 20% chick starter crumble and oyster shells
  5. redshoulderfox

    redshoulderfox Chirping

    Apr 19, 2014
    My hutch has two levels each one is about 12 to 14 inches high.
    This is a link to see what my hutch looks like
    I have been seeing some runny feces.
    I use a LED light to promote egg production in the spring and most of the fall. I use a heat light during the rest of the year to keep them warm and also to promote egg production.
    no respiratory problems that I could hear.
    No swellings or discharges.
    No wounds near the top of her head.
    She has been laying but egg production has gone down because they started their molt at around the beginning of this month.
  6. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    Ok at this point we can't be sure she doesn't have head wound but it's unlikely that ceiling is pretty low. I've had birds in my battery cage hit their head on a 9" ceiling and cause brain damage, there aren't always visible wounds, but it's really rare. Does she walk in a circle ever, or walk backwards, shake her head, or do any other kind of "nerve damage" related movement?

    Is it spreading or is it only one affected bird? I'm going to link you to a thread on paralysis based diseases (most of the same ones can cause instability or coordination problems) and you'll have skim through a bunch of them but try to line her symptoms up with one disease and see if that's possible. If you're really motivated you can skim through the entire database. It is searchable so you can try searching symptom by symptom as well, it's possible in searching you'll find that she has another symptom you werent' aware of.
  7. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    RE the use of a heat lamp. Birds won't grow down feathers if they are provided heat, if they aren't they will grow down sufficient to survive whatever temps they're placed in. I understand the desire to spoil birds you keep as pets but if your power were to go out on a cold day you would lose all the birds you keep under heat lamps. Coturnix are native to Japan, Northern China, Southern Russia, and Europe. It gets very very cold in many of these places so coturnix are well adapted to tolerate temps all the way down to 0* F and bleow. Unless you are going for weeks at a time with temps being substantially below 0 They don't need a heat lamp. It's too late to take them off of it now probably but when the weather is warm I'd axe the heat lamp and don't put it back. All they really need is plastic sheeting to block out the wind, beyond that you are actually endangering them by keeping them warm unless you have their lights set up on a battery backup or an auxiliary generator. You will see them shiver occasionally but that is a natural response to cold and most animals are designed to shiver to warm themselves, so it's to be expected.
  8. James the Bald

    James the Bald Songster

    Jan 6, 2013
    How often are you cleaning the cage? A set up like that will need to be cleaned often. Some health issues come from quail eating their own feces.
  9. Tony K T

    Tony K T Crowing

    Jul 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Is this chick starter for chickens?Or gamebird chick starter?Sounds like a chick starter for chicks as the protien % is too low.They need a gamebird crumble.Is their water supply close to the heat?
    In N.H.,Tony.
  10. redshoulderfox

    redshoulderfox Chirping

    Apr 19, 2014
    I clean the hutch once a week. I do sometimes see them eating their own poop.

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