Help needed. My Quail are dying.


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jul 11, 2010
South Africa
You probably know that a few weeks ago I put some quail eggs in the incubator, they hatched about two weeks ago, but they were late.
Out of 88 eggs, about 15 hatched. They all hatched between day 20 and 27 (world record I think:lau). I now have 10 left. The first few had stradle legs and did not survive. But now there seem to be chicks dying off every day one by one. The chicks that are dying looked perfectly healthy, but recently have not been able to stand on their legs, they kind of kneel.

What problems do quail get that would cause the leg problems and cause them to die? Any deficiencies or incubation problems etc.?

My brooder is a wooden box. It has roller towel on the floor. Ground up chick starter feed. A dish of water with electrolytes in it. And a 200W light bulb providing 35 degrees Celsius heat. They are not huddling or trying to get away from the light.

Any help would be great, is there a post of common quail chick illnesses and problems?




9 Years
Aug 5, 2010
my house in maryland
i am soooooo sorry to hear about the troubles you are having with your babies!
i don't know if this will be any help or not but a friend who has been raising Coturnix for several years says that alot of times if they suddenly start dying like that they need higher protein in their food and to give them ground up kitten chow or fish meal....


10 Years
Aug 25, 2009
Chick starter is lower in protein than gamebird starter. Could be an issue there. Probably need to raise their protein level. What kind of quail?

Buttercup Chillin

11 Years
Oct 27, 2008
SouthEast TX
Do you have access to Teff seeds, if so I would offer it. Another high protein seed is Amaranth. I have used Quinoa to make a milk for a new born abandoned kitten as that is also high protein and did get it back on its feet. Try giving them some Teff as it is natural to Ethiopia and would be a good start. If they go nuts for it. They probably need more protein.

Hope it is nothing worse than that they need more protein.

Have you tried giving Poly-Vi-Sol Enfamil vitamins without Iron - No Iron (baby Vitamins). .5cm to 1 qt water. That is what I have my babies on when they first hatch. If it is a vitamin deficiency that should provide a little and help.

If you can't get Sulmet - can you get Apple Cidar Vinegar - ACV 1 teaspoon per quart water may help, but if you are loosing birds everyday, then it may be to late for a natural remedy.

Are these the j. Coturnix?
Did you say you had the singing Coturnix or Rain coturnix? I understand they are more tender than the j. Coturnix.
Have you checked with whoever you got the eggs from? They may have some local knowledge of local problems that can come up.

That's all I can think of right now, Good Luck.


Positively Ducky
11 Years
Oct 2, 2008
Of the 3 my broody coturnix hatched, 2 died. They had trouble walking. Protein percent wasn't an issue (28% protein gamebird crumbles and I even ground them up a bit to make sure they could eat them), and the minute I saw leg issues I used poly vi sol. Didn't appear to be disease (no nasal discharge, no goopy eyes), but I am not sure. It could have been developmental. Old eggs maybe? Humidity during hatching? Not sure. No worms in the stool. I should have dusted off my microscope and checked out the droppings for other things but I didn't think of it.

I know with ducks leg issues are usually a sign of niacin deficiency.

What are typical culprits when quail have leg issues???

P.S. My remaining baby from that clutch is perfectly fine. Spunky little turd. And yeah, as some predicted, he's a boy
Named him Zombie because of his return from the dead after escaping from the hutch and almost freezing.
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Buttercup Chillin

11 Years
Oct 27, 2008
SouthEast TX
I know, but he is in South Africa, what he can get might be very limited.

It is probably a medicated Chick Starter Feed. If not than its something else.
Unfortunately he is mostly offline when we are on line.

So I'm trying to think of everything I can to throw at him, to see if he's thought about it.

Teff seeds are like flour they are soooo verrrrry small. They aren't even ground to use in making breads. We have nothing like them, well maybe Amaranth but that is way bigger than Teff- think dust instead of seed.

Actually could those symptoms be from old feed?

Wasn't there someone that got ahold of old clumpy starter and her chicks all died? And she was trying to figure out why.
If that is a possibility then what can he feed his chicks, if he can't get some other feed? Besides cornmeal, Teff (even smaller) ground split peas or some other pea.

They weren't fed commercial feed even a 100 years ago.

Maybe he should tell what he can get.


the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
Adair Co., KY
There were a couple of us that had problems with this a month or so ago, me being one of them. I had quail and a baby turkey both doing this at about 2 weeks old. I got the gamebird starter and the ones that didn't die straightened out after a few days. I'd suggest it is something with the feed, maybe not getting the right vitamins?

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