Coturnix quail bullies...

Discussion in 'Quail' started by quail1999, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. quail1999

    quail1999 Out Of The Brooder

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    So i have 10 coturnix quail as my pets ( what cool little birds. ) but i have had lots of problems with them bullying each other. I have 2 males and 8 females. One of the males started being cruel to the others, and he scalped the other male and a female, so i removed him, so now i have 1 male and 8 females.

    All has seemed well since then, but recently the other male has begun to attack the females and the back of their heads are bloody and plucked. Is this mating behavior, because it seems awefully graphic and bloody. Are these birds simply mean to each other no matter what? And finally, should i remove the other male? Are all male coturnix like this?

    Thank you so much for any answers.
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC and the quail forums!

    You did well in separating the males from each other and giving each male a harem of females. Males are never going to get along and are highly territorial with their females.

    Birds have personalities just as any other creature does, and some birds just don't like other birds. And with quail, some are just down right crazy. Especially males...they will attack the females, injure them and even attack you. In other words, they have a screw loose. And there is no way to fix them.

    This is common with quail. So if a male or female has gone off the deep end, all you can do is separate them out permanently, sell them or eat them.

    Just remember to always keep the proper ratio of females and one male, generally 1:6 or 1:7 works well.

    Good luck!
     
  3. quail1999

    quail1999 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you very much! I am going to separate both males from the females until i need fertile eggs :)
     
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Generally when quail attack each other, as with other fowl, it's because they're stressed. Separating the males from each other is a really good idea (not necessary to separate them from the females unless they continue to attack after being separated from each other). Here are other factors to look at:

    How old are the quail? If you have juvenile birds, even if they look like adults, the adults will brutalize them. So if you've got 5-week-olds in with 8-month-olds, then you're going to have attacks. I learned this the hard way.

    How much space do they have? One square foot per bird is considered minimum, but for truly unstressed birds, look at four or five feet per bird. I have three birds in a 100-sq-ft aviary and there are never problems. Obviously, this is unrealistic for most people, but for PET birds it's viable. I plan to add about six more in the spring, which will still be over 10 sq ft per bird.

    What conditions are they in? The standard wire-bottomed, low cage is stressful for quail, especially if they are surrounded by wire. They are ground birds who enjoy cover, and like to hide, so a wire cage is really really hard on them. A sandbox or two goes a long way to helping with this problem. It gives them a place to retreat that doesn't feel like it's up high (because of the solid bottom), and high sides that feels like cover. Also, they enjoy digging in the sand, and it's comfortable to them. They'll also lay their eggs in there which keeps the eggs cleaner & easier to collect.

    The won't generally go into an enclosed box, so hide boxes are wasted on them. They like to see but not BE seen, so give them opportunities to get into a hiding place that is open on at least two sides to see out. This is true for the sandboxes too--give them two high sides (to prevent excessive waste of sand) and two low sides--for ease getting in and out, and for visibility.

    Finally, for extra happy quail, give them things to do. They like to dig in sandboxes, dig in dirt, and peck through weeds. I used to grab several handfuls of weeds and toss in their cage when I had quail on wire (mine are on dirt at ground level now), and they loved it. They'd come to the doors waiting for me every day.

    Toss bird seed in the sandboxes to peck for. They'll adore it!

    Primarily, though, look at the amount of space and whether they feel secure (i.e., have opportunities to not feel like they're in a tree and exposed to all the world), and I think that will help a lot with the aggression.

    Of course, as has already been said, sometimes males just can't get along with each other and/or the girls, and you may have to cull. But give them an opportunity via environment and management before you jump to those measures. :)

    Hope that helps!
     
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  5. quail1999

    quail1999 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for all the answers. I just got my quail about 2 weeks ago, and they are around 9 weeks old. I am assuming they were raised together because i purchased them from the same cage....

    They each have about a square foot, and they have a dust bathing box, a little coop area and some branches to hide in... It is wire floor, but they have plenty of stuff to play on! It isn't very much space but i hope it is enough! I try to give them fruit and seeds as treats!

    And yes, this one male has 8 females all to himself and he is still hurting them! I am really surprised by that.

    I am just curious, if you breed quails, and keep males and females, do you expect the cocks to beat up the hens, or is this abnormal.

    Thanks so much for your answers! They are very helpful :)

    Happy holidays :)
     
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    While breeding with females can be rough on them, the males should not be bullying them. No, it is not normal nor is it expected. If you have a bird that is a true bully, again, you aren't going to change his personality. If offering up more space for this group of birds does not solve the problem, then the bully needs to be removed.

    I would not breed bullies or hatch their eggs. You are only continuing the line of anxious, bad personality birds. Only breed and hatch from calm, healthy, good natured birds.
     
  7. quail1999

    quail1999 Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, i will see if he can live happily with his hens. But if that does not work, he can go live in the garden with my other male...
     
  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agree with twocrowsranch--not normal. Is he beating up on all of them, or just a few? Just because they came from the same cage doesn't mean they're all the same age. A lot of quail breeders breed en masse for the hunting hobby, and don't pay much attention to their health or comfort. They'll throw any old birds together and consider any losses to be a minor inconvenience. Just saying that if he's only beating up a few, it may be that they are younger birds, in which case it is normal behavior.

    If he's bullying everyone, then you probably have a bad rooster & I agree it's a bad idea to breed him. What happens if you put the other male in with the females and put the bully male out?
     
  9. quail1999

    quail1999 Out Of The Brooder

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    He is beating up about half of them... or atleast half of them have bloody heads [​IMG] That is possible that they are a different age i suppose... So should i just let him hurt the younger birds?! And also, another one of my quail, a female, has started to pick at the others a little.... Will this whole pecking order dispute pass, or will these birds of different ages simply never get along....?
     
  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I think you need to separate all these birds and put them in larger cages. Make sure they have places to hide from each other as well. Do not let them pick on each other. Do not let the bully pick on the younter ones. And this is not pecking order stuff. These quail are either very stressed from being too confined in a small space and have turned aggressive, they are bored or they have bad personalities.
     

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