help why are my baby quails dying


Mar 23, 2018
hi I live in Ontario Canada we recently had around 60 quails hatch and put them in the preheated brooder (a medium size storage container) the brooder is inside the house and we are using chippings as a base and have a red light on the top of the mesh of the cage. we put water with marbles and ground turkey crumble in and they seemed to be ok but when I came home from work they were all in a pile in the corner looking soaking wet frantically crawling up on top of each other. a number of them dead. I was mortified. I quickly removed the water container they were piled up behind and they started to spread out a bit ... well some dried out and recovered but we lost a bunch of them. the temperature seemed ok and when I checked with the thermometer it was up at around 100 and I figured if they were hot they could of gone to the oher side where it wasn't as warm.. when I read up on line I found we might of had way to many in one brooder so we split them up. it seems that they still go to that corner and pile up and we are still losing some... I am terrified to go home tonight and find out how many more have passed. does anyone have suggestions??? this is our first try on quail and it has been a very sad attempt so far
Is the corner they are piled in towards the heat, or away from it? You should just follow their lead about their heat needs. If they are crowding away from the heat, you need to lower the heat. If they are crowding towards the heat, you need more heat. I know what I am saying sounds obvious, but a lot of people stick to choosing a temperature based on a number like 100 degrees or 95 degrees, or "reduce it 5 degrees per week" and stick with that know.....paying attention to what the chicks tell you and doing what they ask you to do. :confused:

I wonder if your thermometer is not accurate? "Around 100" could be bad if that really means "it was 105 in the brooder".

Ohh, other tip. They need an area that is significantly cooler as well. So if it is 100 under the light and 95 farthest away from the light, you got some problems.
"Storage container" does not give much detail as to it size and your set up, perhaps you could offer a photo to evaluate.

From what I imigine (by your discription) you have a plastic container full of chicks and an open water container for them to drown in or trample through to get wet.

Chicks cannot retain heat as the fluffy down does little to keep them warm. Wattered down chicks will get cold quick.

A red light? Is it a heat lamp bulb or just a red colored light bulb? Red light only serves to reduce them pecking at each other. Red heat lamp bulbs do the same but also radiate heat. So there is a big differance. The chicks need heat, but not so intense that it cooks them alive. By the same token, they need enough room to move far way from the heat if it gets too hot. So two simple rules to remember.......
If its too hot they will try to get away from the heat and may group in a corner!
If its too cold they will group up in a corner or closet to the heat source as to try to stay warm.

Either way they can pile on top of the others and trample the others to death.

Your thermometer reads 100, is that at the chicks level or up near the top. the themometer should be at the chicks levle as heat rises and it shold never be right below the heat source as that will give a false positive.
Thank you both for the info. The container is plastic (storage container type) and the light is a heat lamp. The corner they went to seems to be what I would think as the warmer corner but they were wet like sweaty or maybe just set from the water but I thought if they were too warm they would or gone to the other side of the brooder? The water container we have is store bought tower type (small with a red base that we put marbles in so they didn’t drown. I’d send pics but I’m at work right now. We separated the ones that were left into two containers this morning to give them more space. I’ve Gerard that each chick should have around half a square foot of space? I guess mostly I’m still unsure weather they are too warm or cold - all a learning process for us. I think I like the idea of simple thought as you pointed out... are they running from the heat or to the heat- I just have to figure that answer out.
Sounds like they were cold. Put the thermomemeter at the levle where the chicks are and half way away from the heat source/light and get a reading. @paneubert pointed out some ideas not to be overlooked either (or perhaps you were responding to both of us lol). Either way, temps are much like the house with an attic, It can be cool down stairs, but go into the attic and you break a sweat.
If the chicks are piling up in the corner (right below the heat) Bingo! their cold!
so you would need to lower the heat sourch so they get more heat.
60 quail in a single container is a lot--some quail chicks might be pushed around, others might drown if the container is open enough for them to go in simply because the other chicks aren't letting them come out. I would switch the watering system to either several hamster bottles or a chicken nipple water system. They catch on fast. Any chicks that seem to not be thriving should be moved to another container so they can catch up on weight and not be edged out of food. I had to do this with two out of this batch because they couldn't compete but once they were big enough, I put them back in with the rest.
Try having a larger container or multiple because they are probably overcrowded in one container if they are on the edges of the container there probably hot if huddled up cold if they are running around then it’s just right or they are spread out.

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