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Do you heat your Coturnix pens?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by mochicken, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    I put the Coturnix outside finally a couple days ago after keeping them inside for a week or so, they are supposed to be right around 4-5 months old. After I put them in the new setup in the small metal shed 6ftx 4ftI put a thermometer in there and with the 25mph winds we have had for two days it was a chilly 30 degrees in the shed. I felt sorry for them so I put a 100 watt heat light above them, the top 3 cages get the most warmth but I guess the bottom 3 will get the residual warmth. I kept the 100 watt "spot" bulb ( its all I had ) on overnight and it must have been pretty warm because their water didnt freeze and all my outdoor pens of chickens and pigeons had frozen water. I checked this morning and the temp in there was about 40 degrees.

    This morning I went ahead and picked up a 250 watt heat bulb and put it in the socket, I left that on a couple hours and rechecked it and it was up to 50 or so and the birds are up and moving around more, I also picked up a bunch of dead grass and made little nests in the back of each cage for them and they seem to be cuddling up in that pretty well.

    I know I read on here that most people just protect them from drafts and no heat, I just felt sorry for them after keeping them in my 70+ degree house for a week them putting them out when a cold snap is hitting.
     
  2. TwoCrows

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

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    If quail have not been acclimated to the outdoor temps and have been kept in doors ect...than it is a good idea to add heat to them until the do get used to the cold. Do just as you would babies and lower the temp gradually until you reach about 60 degrees in their enclosure. Then I would keep the heat lamp at a good distance away so they can use some heat or get out from under it and then eventually take it away.

    Quail are very good survivors of the cold and can take quite a bit. I never add heat to my quail unless it gets below zero. Even when you feel cold they probably don't if given the chance to acclimate to the cold. But they do need an enclosure that is draft, rain, wind and snow proof for the winter. Wind will kill them so make sure they can get out of it and use a solid floor so that the cold does not suck the heat out of them thru their feet. [​IMG]
     
  3. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    yeah they are in an enclosed small shed, it has a dirt floor but they are in raised cages about 32" off the ground

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. TwoCrows

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

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    I don't know how cold you all get in Missouri there, but there is no reason they can not get acclimated to the cold in the shed they are in. However once they have adapted to the current temps without heat, you might want to add a small box in the corner where they can go into to get out of the wind, elements or cold. When several quail huddle up together, they can raise the temp in their little box quite a bit. It is important during the cold that their feet don't get cold. They lose body temp thru their feet. So add some bedding to the little box on the floor of the box.

    I live up in the mountains at 7,000 feet with plenty of winter, snow, cold temps and frigid wind chills. But everybody lives thru it. My quail are in an open aviary, however they do have access to a coop that takes them out of the weather completely. Still cold, but no wind chill, snow or dampness. Rarely do I ever add heat.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  5. kahlertm

    kahlertm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2010
    Durango, Colorado
    Thanks for continuing to educate on this subject my girl TwoCrows. I also live at 7K feet in Colo. I feel sorry for my little Coturnix queens and put a sweeter heater over ones outside on the side of a box in an aviary. Going good. Bedding to snuggle in that has dual purpose (alfalfa bale) is good. They can nibble at the dried leaves (fines) for protein, vitamins while getting warm and chitter chattering. They just love new pecking stuff! Busy little bees. If you live in a part of the country where there are alfalfa growers, this is a boon of a bedding, environmental enrichment and feed all mixed in one.

    I am trying to steele myself to your words of wisdom TwoCrows. After a visit to a ranch which has a mantra of "beyond organic" I saw no heat addition, mostly windbreaks in the barns in the form of stacked bales of straw and the alfalfa bale was out in the main chicken yard for them to dig in and get a vitamin boost. But we were talking about chickens on this ranch. Quail as you have said before, come from regions of the world where the climate was cold like where you and I live. Japan, Eastern Europe, living in the underbrush and grasses.

    I am such a sap for those faces though!!! My little Queens. But I will do it. It is ultimately what the creature needs, not what I think they should have. I am constantly coaching people on that with their cat and dog issues, and here I am, spoiling my girls because of what I think they "need".

    Joe125 has said it as well that more have been lost due to heat than to the cold...it is their original ecology/ethology...the life in underbrush.

    I do love an outstretched Coturnix under the light, as if she were awaiting a fruity drink with an umbrella in it and needed heart shaped sunglasses. But nature gives them breaks and changes in their body that may be quite beneficial and extend their life. I learned a lot about that this year what with the hard molt!!! Wow. Everyone no matter what age molted hard on me. Nature speaking.
    I am looking into that a little further. Interesting.... what makes a bird molt harder from one year to the next no matter the age? La Nina, El Nino? Wonder if the almanac has anything on this....I digress... But it is all something to think on. The cold and what it actually "offers" the birds... hmmm.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  6. TwoCrows

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

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    Tonya, you are also a book of wisdom here and I value all of what you say and do. [​IMG] But I do understand everyones anxiety over quail getting cold. And they do. But if properly housed, they CAN take bitter cold temps. I too used to feel sorry for them when the temp was a big 10 degrees outside, the wind was whipping at 40 mph and the snow was blowing in the aviary. That IS darn right cold. But nature allows them to survive.

    However they do need certain conditions to survive such cold. They need windbreaks. Whether they are in cages or aviaries, you need to block the winds from coming directly on them. The wind can blow over top of them, but not on them. Wind is a killer. And wet cold quail WILL die. So they need to stay dry. If you use an aviary, keep a roof over the top. Use tarps on the side the snow or rain is blowing in. If they are in cages, keep tarps on the top and sides. Next they will need a shelter of some sort. It must have 4 walls, or 3 with a small hole to come and go, a solid floor and ceiling. They lose heat thru their feet and will need a solid floor with bedding to snuggle into to keep warm. Also, keep as many birds together that will get along so they can keep warm. But never keep only one all alone. They may not survive alone. When it gets down into the single digits, make them go into their shelter. I send mine in at 15 degrees, although usually they go in by themselves at this temp.

    Joe is completely right. You will lose more birds to the heat in the winter than you will the cold. A warm bird acclimates to his warm heat lamp and when asked or forced to go out into the cold, they can die. If you lose power during the depths of winter while your birds are under heat lamps, that can kill them.

    The best thing you can do is allow them to acclimate to the cold. Only the youngest, oldest or sick birds may not make it. And for them you can use a heat lamp. But full grown adult quail do not need heat unless it gets below zero for long periods of time.

    I have kept quail now for 5 winters. And don't let the name of state fool you, New Mexico. We get brutally cold temps well below zero, tons of snow and winter seems to never end. However I have NEVER lost a quail due to the cold. Ever. Actually I have yet to lose any quail for that matter, but when I do, it won't be due to the cold as they have proper shelter and have acclimated to the coldest of temps.

    Tonya, quail know how many new feathers to add to their bodies at molting time. Your flock worked hard for you this summer making all those eggs, and if you take good care of them this winter, they will be back at it for you come next spring. Good luck with your egg business and I will be thinking of you this winter. We can get thru this brutally cold winter together. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  7. TwoCrows

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

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    Also, for those of you that keep your birds on wire, metal gets very cold. So I would advise you add places inside the cage that they can get off the cold wire to keep their feet warm...lots of sand boxes, wooden boxes, any place they can get off the wire when it is really cold. [​IMG]
     
  8. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anderson, Texas
    Animals & humans don't like standing out in 30 mile an hour cold wind. I position all my coops to block off the north winds. But also position the coops to take advantage of the prevailing winds to keep the birds cooler in the heat of the long hot summers we have here in Texas. Its definitely a struggle to keep the birds cool in the summer. Winter is much easier to deal with. You can easily wrap the coops with a tarp in the winter & remove the tarp when the weather changes. Always leave some ventilation though.
     
  9. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    Yeah I have this little shed on the south side of my house with the door facing south, most of our winter snow and wind comes from the southwest so they shouldnt get any wind or snow because I keep the door shut unless its nice outside
     

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