First time raising Coturnix quail - question about eating and drinking!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by 3potatoes, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. 3potatoes

    3potatoes In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2017
    Brought home eight Coturnix chicks today (so exciting!!) - they're 5 days old. We turned a cardboard box into a brooder - lined with a couple inches of pine shavings. Have a quail waterer with jar from Tractor Supply, a chick feeder with 28% protein turkey/gamebird starter, and a Brinsea Ecoglow 20 brooder that's keeping the area right under the unit nice and toasty warm [​IMG]

    That's where our question is though - will they ever come out to eat - or at least to drink??? [​IMG]

    The chicks have been here for about 3 hours now. When we put them in the brooder, we put them up near the food and water, so they'd know where those were - and they ran around peeping a bit and pecking at things before they found their way under the Ecoglow, at which point that was that - that's where they've stayed. We moved it once after they'd been under there for quite a while, and gently brought them over to the food and water - one chick took a sip, a couple ran around the food (but didn't eat) and then they went back and snuggled into the heat.

    If we peek under there (using phone camera to see them since the heater thing isn't see-through), we can see that they're in a couple piles, snuggling together. Sometimes they peep quietly under there, sometimes we can see from the side that they're rearranging themselves as a head or rear-end will be visible for a second - the rest of the time they're quiet and seem to be napping.

    Will they come out and eat and drink when they're ready, or do we need to bring them out to encourage them?

    Probably just being paranoid first time quail-parents, but just in case not, wanted to ask. Thanks in advance for any help - and for any hints anyone'd like to share!

    Photo of one of the little ones just before we first popped him/her into the brooder - because we're dying of the cute!!!! [​IMG]


  2. BobDBirdDog

    BobDBirdDog Songster

    Jun 8, 2014
    I cant say for sure but it sounds like they are still a little cold, but if they are not trampling on each other then they should be fine in that prospective. Really I think the whole brooder should be warm to the temp and if you place it near the food and water they will move to it. Then a week from now you can relocate it.

    Remember Cardboard, wood shavings and heat lamps = "can cause fires", no sense burning the house down over a few birds, less you have good insurance. So be safe.

    You may need to train a few to where the food is by placing them in the food and scratching around with your finger or some pointed object that makes a scratching sound while they are in the food as to get their attentions. I have seen chick going for the shavings as they did not know their food source.

    Water, they may have been started on nipple waters, so you may need to train them to drink by quickly bobbing one or two of their beaks in the water (dont drown them though). Be careful and add some marbles or rock to the water so they do not get in there and drown.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  3. rita2paul

    rita2paul Songster

    Aug 31, 2011
    hi good luck with your little quails. they are really sweet little birds.
    i agree with above, they could be cold. mine are always running around in their brooder and snuggle down under the heat lamp at night.
    do you have a temp gauge so you can tell what the temp is under the heat lamp. hope all goes well for you.
    1 person likes this.
  4. 3potatoes

    3potatoes In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2017
    Thanks for the replies!

    Happy to report that when we came downstairs this morning, they were peeking out from under the brooder, and once one ran out, so did all of them. We added a lid with marbles for the water, and they took to that right away - couldn't resist the shiny things in there, I think [​IMG] Then I put some crumbles in another lid, and scratched on it - they ran right over and haven't stopped eating and drinking since, except to run back under the brooder for a quick nap. Now they're using both the original feeder and waterer we had in there, plus the lids (which I've left there for them) - so it seems they just needed some time to get settled.

    So all seems good - we have one little guy who we're a little concerned about - he's slower and smaller than the rest, and seems to be more clumsy when he tries to walk - but we'll keep an eye and see how he does. Fingers crossed he makes it and they all continue to do well!

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