Female aggression during molt

Discussion in 'Quail' started by beautifulchaos, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. beautifulchaos

    beautifulchaos Just Hatched

    19
    0
    12
    Nov 6, 2016
    We lost one of our girls last week-no obvious signs of pecking (we have one who is very dominant over the other two) or other injury but I'm now wondering if she may have been bullied away from food and water (she didn't look like she'd lost weight or seem sickly but we are new to this.
    This morning I was watching them and the dominant one was continuously rushing and pecking the other. I went out to remove her and they are both molting. Can molting cause an increase in aggression? Will it pass? What should I do? I can't keep her in a box in the bathroom forever.
     
  2. TwoCrows

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

    31,936
    4,449
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I am so sorry you lost a bird. [​IMG] It is never easy to lose them.

    Yes, molting can cause aggression although quail can become aggressive on their own. What breed are you keeping? If they feel crowded, bored, are missing something in their diet, and even some birds become more aggressive as they age. This aggression may or may not disappear.

    Keeping others away from food and water certainly will cause death to the one not getting sustenance. You might give them all more room, add more food and water stations, give them hidy places like branches in the pen to hide from one another and feel safe, give them goodies in their diet not found in their feed like greens, fruits, veggies, add an outdoor space for them to exercise and burn off aggression and calories. Too much energy and not enough to do will lead to aggression.
     
  3. beautifulchaos

    beautifulchaos Just Hatched

    19
    0
    12
    Nov 6, 2016
    Before we lost the one we had three of them in a large rabbit hutch. I can't remember the measurements but I know they have at least 2sq ft per quail. They have a sandbox, branches to hide behind, proper food, mealworms and produce scraps for treats, a calcium supplement and we put a probiotic/electrolyte supplement in their water.
    Outside area isn't an option yet but we are hoping to have a well fortified enclosure by summer-we have everything from the neighbors cat to bears and bobcats to contend with so for now they're up on the back porch where I can see them throughout the day.
     
  4. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

    942
    138
    151
    Jul 9, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    I had a girl do a late molt and she did get ornery chasing two of the three girls she was with and I had to seperate them. That was weeks ago, the molt is finished but she still wants nothing to do with them. She's always been a bit spun lol.
     
  5. beautifulchaos

    beautifulchaos Just Hatched

    19
    0
    12
    Nov 6, 2016
    Well the aggressive one died today. This is the second one we have lost-both from the same enclosure but several weeks apart. What are the chances we are dealing with illness?
     
  6. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

    942
    138
    151
    Jul 9, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Awww sorry to hear that.... What roofing do they have and how high is it? Could possibly be bonked heads they didn't recover from :/

    I don't have experience with coturnix illness but from what I understand it would usually show symptoms and spread through the group fairly quickly, so the timing and lack of symptoms seems off for an illness, for me anyways :O
     
  7. Faraday40

    Faraday40 Overrun With Chickens

    4,988
    2,262
    341
    Aug 1, 2013
    Illinois
    I'm very new to quail. DD just hatched some corturnix quail on Thanksgiving for a sci fair project. We gave away most of her "results" but kept 6 (3 brown & 3 A&M) We had problems with the browns attacking the whites when they were about 5 weeks old, so they got separated. The biggest bully was actually one of the brown females. In fact, there were times when the 2 brown females bullied the little brown male. We ended up with 1 male/2 female browns, and 1 female/2 male whites. The white female had a head scab from the initial fighting & when we realized that there were actually 2 white males with her, we processed both of the extra males. (They didn't seem to be attacking her, but we would prefer to only keep one male- the brown male- who happens to be DD's fav quail.)

    So, thankful to have the number down to 3 females & only 1 male, we put the white female back in with the 3 browns. Of course the male tried to mate her right away, but the females then started bullying. In under 2 min, the females attacked & bloodied the white female. She is now in the house in a plastic tub & her injury is improving. We feel bad because she is lonely & keeps calling out for her former companions. Although injured & lonely, she's the only female laying eggs. The browns were laying when inside the house, but stopped when they got moved outside.

    The goal is to have all 4 quail in one cage. I can understand the male's mating, but how do I prevent the brown females from attacking the white female? Should I wait until not only the skin heals, but all the feathers grow back? Is there a way to dye the feathers brown? Or Are they like chickens & must be gradually introduced? Did they forget that this quail was their hatchmate?

    Any suggestions or advice? Keeping these 4 quail is kind of a test to see if we like quail.

    Fun pics:

    Christmas card pic had to include DDs little buddy
    [​IMG]
    Quail enjoying some lap time while DS watches TV
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

    942
    138
    151
    Jul 9, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Hello! :) I would start by making sure she's fully healed/feathered, quail, like chickens, love pecking at scabs and red things like blood. Your best bet would be to partition her within the cage so they get used to each other. It's likely the bully girls are just telling her to go away rather than trying to kill her, and maybe she can't "go away" because there's not enough places to hide/things to break line of sight and also she was seen as a sudden intruder, which is why the partition is a great method. Keep them partitioned with their own food and water for a few weeks and if they appear used to each other and you have hiding spots add the white one in. Monitor closely for several days and keep checking for signs of bullying. First sign of bullying put her back in the partition. This usually works and sometimes only takes a few days but your white quail will be fearful which will make her a target so wait until she feels secure in the partition. By the way, LOVED the pics of your kids and the quail hehe!! Wowwww those A&M's look massive [​IMG]
     
  9. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

    2,237
    1,822
    271
    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    Quail can be racist! I've had girls bully our only dark tibetan girl. I split them into two groups so she wasn't with the girls that didn't seem to like her. Your best bet is to try what Binki said.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by