Coturnix quail getting bold

Discussion in 'Quail' started by dimi, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. dimi

    dimi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2014
    NJ
    Hi, All,
    I've asked this before but still having this problem: my quail are bold. Mostly the batch that hatched last June but the newer ones that hatched this May have bold backs now as well.
    At first I thought it was overmating, so I split them up in hopes they would grow feathers back. Didn't help.
    Then I thought it was because I was feeding them low protein food. At some (almost a year ago) I started feeding them Dumor Layer feed that had 16% crude protein. On a last thread I got a response that its not enough. I started feeding them 20% Purina Gamebird Chow - Growth and Plummage feed. They still do not grow their feathers back. Bold spots on the back, neck, back of the head, even on top and under wings. They lay eggs just fine.

    I would not complain but 1. winter is coming will get cold and 2. aesthetically they don't look good like this and if they don't look good, they are probably not too healthy either.

    Any suggestions? How do I get them to grow their feathers back?

    Thank you
     
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2015
    Usually 25-30% protein is recommended, so I'd try getting feed with even more protein than you have now.
    And to rule out feather picking as cause, I'd separate at least one of them so it's completely alone - though it would probably be very unhappy about this, so perhaps just separate it by a single layer of wire so it can still interact a bit with the others.
     
  3. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Theyre feather picking. How many roosters and how many hens in the same cage?
     
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  4. dimi

    dimi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2014
    NJ
    I have one roo and 8 hens in that cage.
     
  5. dimi

    dimi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2014
    NJ
    Where do you get such a high protein feed?
     
  6. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in Denmark, so I doubt it's going to help much telling you where I get it.. But I'm using a pheasant starter(starter feed has more protein) with 25% protein, which I get from the local feed store. I think some people buy their feed online, because there are no stores near them that has what they need. For grown quail, I supplement with crushed oyster shell for calcium, as that is the main thing the starter feed lacks. And a bit of millet seed spread around on the floor(they are not on wire) to entertain them (and me) - they really love millet. Mine are buttons though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
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  7. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Any feed store should carry high protein pheasant crumble, gamebird food, or turkey starter. Any of those three are fine, you just want 24-30% protein. Even 20% is better than nothing

    Its possible theyre consuming feathers due to low protein content but Id lean more toward there is a nuerotic bird in you flock picking feathers.
     
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  8. dimi

    dimi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    Yeah, so I have 3 separate cages: 2 with roos and 1 without. In cages with roos hens are bolder AND in one the roo is bald too. I am thinking this might be a combination problem. Will try to see if they have pheasant feeds at TSC.

    Thanks!
     
  9. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The higher protein feed will help, but feather picking can be a learned behavior. A habit sort of like a human chewing their fingernails extremely short. It can be from boredom, over crowding, who knows what can trigger it. It's boring sitting in a cage all day, but picking feathers can sure break the boredom. Try giving them more to do. Do they have something to dust bathe in? Places to hide? Plants to shred? Straw to burrow in? Novel food items to try? A place to lay eggs? Things to jump on or crawl under? Think of things to give them ways to fight boredom and quit picking feathers. If nothing else put some places to snuggle into when the cold weather hits so they can fight the cold that will seep into their bald patches.
     
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  10. dimi

    dimi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2014
    NJ
    Thanks for the suggestions, Sill. I will try to think of something. Right now there is nothing in the cage except for waterer and feeder. And they are on the wire. I do give them sand in a pan once a month or so.

    I just noticed an egg that was broken and partially eaten in the cage with bold hens. Out of 8 hens 1 is not bold at all and the roo is full feathered too. I think they are picking on everyone else. I will try to mingle them with others that are from different cage and less bold as well. Maybe that will help prevent the picking while I feed the bold ones high protein feed.
     

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