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HELP!!! What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by shortpeeps, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. shortpeeps

    shortpeeps New Egg

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    Aug 9, 2013
    I have 3 breeds of quail .... Bob White, Blue Scale and Gambel's.
    The first batch of bobs that I hatched did very well. They reached adulthood and have been laying all summer. I collected their eggs, incubated them and had a decent hatch rate -- 50%. Before they were 2 weeks old, most had died - all but 5. Over the next 2 weeks, the last 5 had died. They seemed to be eating each other, starting with the legs.
    I then incubated Gambel eggs --- 66% hatch. They were 2 months old when they started dying for no apparent reason. Have been losing 2 quail about every other day.
    Now have more bobs that have hatched. They started eating each other, this time pecking the beaks off.
    What am I doing wrong and how do I get my quail to live to adulthood?
     
  2. James the Bald

    James the Bald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Only because you didn't specify, are the chicks kept with the adults? What is the temperature in the brooder? Sometimes, if it is too hot, the chicks will start to canibalize the other chicks. Also, you didn't say how many chicks hatched, as overcrowding will also make them canibalize.
     
  3. Woofless

    Woofless Out Of The Brooder

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    Definitely need a little more info to determine what might be happening. James' questions were good. Also, what is the protein level on the feed you're giving the chicks? Should be at least 27-28%, until 8-10 weeks. too little protein can be a cause of pecking/cannibalism.

    Heat lamps- are you using red or white bulbs? Red bulbs help keep picking to a minimum, also keeping their enclosure dimly lit as possible, if you can, is helpful.

    Birds dying at 2 months for no apparent reason- what is their body condition when they die? Are they eating/drinking/appearing healthy up until you start finding them dead, or do they start looking depressed & die with no meat on their bones? If you're seeing symptoms of illness that's probably what it is, could be enteritis. Healthy-looking birds dying at that age is more likely to be something environmental (temperature, nutrition, etc).

    Let us know more about your setup and hopefully someone can give you an idea what might be going on :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. shortpeeps

    shortpeeps New Egg

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    These are quail.
    The ones that are cannibalizing are Bob White. I had 12 in a brooder that is 3'Wx3'Lx2'H. I have a white bulb in it and the temp was at 87-91 degrees. I give them water with electrolyte (Save-A-Chick) in it. They are fed medicated wild game chick start (18% protein). I also supplement with boiled egg yoke once a week.
    The ones suddenly dying are Gambels Quail. They are eating and drinking the same as the Bob White. Appear healthy in the morning - flying, eating, drinking, full of energy. When I go to tend them in the evening, there has been 1-2 dead every 2-3 days. There were 12 in an outdoor run that is that is 6'Wx12'Lx4'H with an enclosed hutch that is 2'W x 3 1/2'L x 2' H. I thought this should have been ample space for 15-2month old quail.
    I appreciate any advice on keeping these birds alive as I have another 15 Bob eggs in the bator now and will have 24 Gambles eggs to go in next week.
     
  5. chrishw

    chrishw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    IMHO 18% is way too low for most young quail (bobs at least- don't know about Gamble but I'd guess its near if not the same), I'd like to move to 28-30 myself for the first 8 weeks, been using 24 and that's as low as I would go. Many people never feed under 22-24% even as adults, I won't comment on that other than it works for them.

    I've been told that this was the researched scientific best (perhaps by the Guru himself from James Marie Farms)- http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2383.htm

    So 23-24% for first 6-8 weeks then 18-19 for rest.

    Purina says 30% then 19-20 except during winter maintenance- http://wildlife.purinamills.com/nutritionmanagement/ecmd2-0017430.aspx
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  6. deserthotwings

    deserthotwings Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I certainly don't claim to be an expert on quail but I do hatch and raise around 200 chicks each year and have around 25 breeding pairs. I raise mainly pheasants but started with gambels 4 years ago. As far as diet goes, I start out with Puriena Startina crushed very fine for the first couple of weeks and stay with the starter for all my game birds regarless of age or time of year. This year I had a 84% survival rate on all my gambel chicks. This may not work for everyone but sure does for me. I think the bottom line is to stay with as high a protein as you can, regardless of age. These birds are used to eating bugs and worms in the wild and you don't get much higher protein than that. Good luck amigo.
     
  7. shortpeeps

    shortpeeps New Egg

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    Aug 9, 2013
    Thank you for the advice. This has been very helpful. I will definitely increase their protein.... a lot. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  8. chrishw

    chrishw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been thinking about getting some crickets myself. Mealworms just seems too gross for my DW and I doubt I could get permission. I'd probably have to kill um first before I feed or they would hop out of the cage but they are cheap and if you've got an old kids aquarium and some old egg cardboard egg crates that's all you need besides some way to water (sponge, that gel stuff, or?) and a bit of bird food. Either way this is more a treat like eggs rather than a countable source of protein IMHO.
     

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