Help!! Are my quail sick??


May 14, 2015
I have been keeping quail for about 9 months and finally hatched out my first batch of babies. They are about 2 weeks old now and I noticed a lot of feather loss, which I attributed to my feed store giving me a bag of "Flock Raiser" which contained only 20% protein (they said it would be alright temporarily). I just started feeding 30% protein Purina Game bird starter this evening, but now I've noticed that in addition to the massive feather loss, the quail have giant swollen chests full of clear liquid! I need to know if this could be related to the protein deficiency or if it is a bacterial/viral infection?? In my research the only thing I found was PBFD, but I don't know where they could have caught that from?

Any help would be appreciated, I really don't want to lose them, or contaminate my other quail.

Thank you!
Sounds like they have crops full of water! Where are you located? Where I'm at in summer it's common for them to fill up on water to help them stay cool. They can get down right sloshy! If you recently changed food they could be drinking more from that.

Massive feather loss on two week old chicks is usually from over crowding. How many chicks do you have in what size brooder? You may need to double, triple or more the floor space for the chicks so they quit picking on each other.
At 2 weeks of age, feather loss is normal as they are busy molting into their adult feathers. Chicks molt 6 or 7 times before they become mature. However food, health of the bird and environmental stresses can effect how hard they molt. A feed change or big temp change can have them molting harder. 20% protein is low for quail babies however how ever it won't trigger molting. It may cause them to grow the feathers in slower since feathers are made up of 85% protein. And if anything might slow a molt down since their bodies wouldn't want to molt bald and grow feathers in so slowly.

As for the crops, did you change the feed really quickly? Usually it is recommended to switch feed over slowly as fast changes can cause indigestion and crop troubles. Feeding a 50/50 mix for the first week. 75/25 the second week and by the 3rd week you can feed the new feed straight. You can never judge a crop during the day as the bird is eating and drinking and they can feel funky all day long. However a crop should be completely empty first thing in the morning. Never should it be full first thing. Crops take about 4 to 8 hours to empty and by morning they should be empty. So if they are full first thing in the morning before eating or drinking, there is a problem.

So check your birds crops first thing in the morning. If they are empty, the birds are fine. If they are full, let us know and we can go from here.

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