Help! I'm New to Raising Quail

Discussion in 'Quail' started by szynszyla, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. szynszyla

    szynszyla In the Brooder

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    Jul 24, 2014
    Hi everyone!
    I bought 7 quails a few days ago in a market. I have done some research on them before but I wanted to get some expert advice on some questions I have. When I bought them the guy said they were leftover hens from the ones he sold early that day. They also were missing feathers on their heads and backs which he said was because they were with a male, and I know they do that when they breed. That is not one of my main concerns, what i am afraid of is if he cheated me or not. You see when I bought them they were all together in a crate and with the market closing down soon everyone was trying to sell their last animals. He said he had 7 hens left that were a little over 6 weeks and were just starting to lay. But now that I look at them they look kind of big for 6 weeks, I am afraid he sold them to me for a low price because they were old and now stopping laying. So far I only got one egg the day I bought them. I know they are probably under a lot of stress with a new environment and because of me trying to handle them to clean their cage and give thema health check. Any ideas if they will start laying soon?
    Another concern I have is that since I couldn't get a good look at them before buying (I know I was stupid) I didn't realize one was sick. She had all the symptoms of quail disease, but the others seemed healthy. I removed her from the group and she died the next day. Then I saw that another one was showing the same symptoms so I removed her too, she died the next day. I now have 5 left and they all seem healthy. But I have the feeling the seller knew that one was sick because after putting them in a transport cage I had the seller charged me for only 6 instead of 7. What I don't understand is why he didn't tell me, or why he even took that one to sell. Because of that another one that appear healthy the first day died a day after the first one. It makes me so mad. Any way is their any thing i can do to help prevent quail disease, like giving them vitamins? I did clean the cage each time.
    My last question/concern I have is that even though the seller did say they were all hens, today I noticed that one of the quail has been mounting and pulling out the feathers of the other quail. Is it possible it is a male? Or can females also do that in a way of showing dominance? The quail that I believe is a male also has feathers missing on its back which still makes me think it is a female. So I don't know what to think anymore. I someone could clear this up for me I would be forever thankful.

    Thanks
     
  2. szynszyla

    szynszyla In the Brooder

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    Jul 24, 2014
    [​IMG]

    ^
    This is the quail I believe is male. (Sorry the pick isn't that good I don't want to stress them out more by picking them up)

    [​IMG]

    ^
    As you can see they are pretty beat up by the male. This is how they looked when I first bought them, the other quail didn't start plucking and mounting them until today. Also can anyone tell how old they look?
     
  3. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    There is no way to tell exactly who old they are once they fill out. Don't worry about them not laying eggs right now, stress makes them stop. Between being feather picked like they are and going to a new home after being jostled around to farmers market by someone who obviously shouldn't be raising them, it's no surprise. It can take as much as two weeks for them to get started again.

    It's hard to see in the picture if that bird is actually a male or not. Males will have rusty red breast with no black spots. The females will have their breasts covered with little black speckles.

    If you give them some more space they may chill out and stop beating on each other. You'll need to make sure you're feeding them gamebird food (or any poutry food with 20-28% protein ie turkey starter) and oyster shell because at this point we can't be sure they were feather picked from overcrowding or if he was feeding them improperly and they were eating feathers for protein and calcium.

    That many hens with one rooster should not be feather beaten at all. I run my birds 1:6 or 1:7 (male:female) and there isn't a missing feather in my flock. What I would suggest is to remove the rooster (or whoever is featherpicking) and let everyone's feathers heal, then reintegrate the rooster after that. If it is a rooster it's going to crow pretty constant (including the middle of the night) so be prepared for that. It's important to keep in mind that feather picking is a habit they can develop and some birds cannot be broken of it without a trip to freezer camp.

    ETA: You should also read through the links in my signature as well as reading through the stickies.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  4. szynszyla

    szynszyla In the Brooder

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    Jul 24, 2014
    Thank you for replying @dc3085 I read through the stickies and links. Very helpful :) I have gotten 1 egg from them yesterday and today. So I guess they are settling in. As for the quail that I was wondering about he is a male, I was cleaning out their cage, and all of them were easy to catch except him, he was the last one, in the end I just gave up and changed the cage with him in there. Which is when he told me he could crow. Ugh so either the person who sold me them has no idea about quail and has no intentions on learning the basics if they are male or female, or he simply knew and ripped me off, the funny thing is that his breast is only a little rusty in color and he does have some speckles on his breast. But he has to be a male since he was the one mounting the girls and crowing. But they all seem to be getting along much better now, no more feather picking, and even the rooster stopped picking at the girls. I have started giving them crushed chicken egg shells since I read that would help with the calcium. I am looking to go to the store soon to buy oysters. But with the rooster I now have a ratio of 1:4 is that ok or should I look into buying more females? Also the first egg I ever got from them was speckled the second and third one was a brownish color that turns blue when it was first layed and in the frige. Can the same quail lay different colored eggs at the same time?
     
  5. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    I saw the chest on that roo, I don't let those breed in my flock although there is nothing wrong with them physically (I suggest you keep this one since he gets on ok with your hens). It a watering down of the wild type color pattern because of the random breeding of these birds for so many years. The reason I don't mess with those is because they take longer to autosex and that is part of what makes the wild type coturnix so attractive as a backyard bird.

    If you have enough quail for you then I wouldn't buy more hens. It only leads to headaches trying to integrate them. Quail are really territorial and don't like new quail.

    They lay the same general color pattern of egg every time. The blue you are seeing happens now and then it's nothing to worry about.
     

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