Here's a puzzle for experienced coturnix breeders...

Discussion in 'Quail' started by sphanges, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    I have 13 quail chicks, almost 2 weeks old. All doing fine until yesterday.

    I found one chick lying down. Thought it was dead and it turned out to have lost control of either its legs or its balance. Note it is NOT paralysed. It can move its feet and legs. It seems to have them constantly outstretched, like when they stand up on their legs and have a little flap, and it can't draw its feet in to its body, so it is always toppling over and can't move around the cage. I've been trying to puzzle it out with the following info:

    - all the other chicks are fine
    - until yesterday it looked exactly like the others, same size, no physical abnormalities.
    - it has no wounds anywhere on its body
    - it is eating and drinking with positioning assistance (ie I have to prop it up or hold it to food and water and it will eat and drink by itself).
    - it's very eager to eat and drink, definitely not off its food.
    - poop is normal, looks like the other chicks
    - heat is fine, it has never felt cold, it has not improved with extra warmth, all the other chicks are moving happily around the brooder
    - they are all fed a high protein crumble (formulated by a quail breeder who knows the protein requirement), boiled egg and occasionally powdered kitten kibble, with fresh water. They've had a little grass/hay to scratch in.
    - it cheeps loudly when separated from the other quail so it has some sense of what is going on
    - it does not have splayed legs/spraddle or any deformity with its feet.
    - It has not improved in the last 24hrs but apart from not growing as fast as the others (because it can't get around to get food, even though I leave it next to the dish) it has not gotten worse.

    The *only* thing I can think of is that it's headbumped hard enough to injure itself internally, and has lost all sense of balance or deliberate control of its legs as a result - quail concussion perhaps? The roof of the brooder is wide-ish wire with a slight overhang of rigid plastic from the sides, and a towel covering half the cage.

    Has anyone got any insight? Remembering that all 12 other quail are super healthy and happy so I can't see it being the food or environment. There are two chicks in the brooder that are 2 days behind the others so smaller and even they are absolutely fine and growing well.

    Thanks to anyone who tries to untangle the puzzle!

    Cheers
    B
     
  2. robopetz

    robopetz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 11, 2012
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    I was thinking the same, boink'ed to hard and hurt his head. Have you tried stretching his leg in and out for him?
     
  3. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    Yes, I've moved his legs gently around in different positions which doesn't appear to hurt him, but he extends them again as soon as I let go. Right now I have him inside a slightly flattened toilet paper tube which keeps him upright and his legs in a normal sitting position. His head pokes out the end to eat and drink, and it protects him from being trampled by the others. I recently fixed a curled-under chick's foot with a cardboard "shoe" and first aid tape, so going on the same sort of premise - if I can get this chick sitting with his legs in nomal position, maybe that will help get things aligned a bit better.
     
  4. robopetz

    robopetz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 11, 2012
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    Only thing I can suggest now is to isolate the lil guy and keep him warm. Good luck with him. Pls keep us posted.
     
  5. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    Well sadly I've decided to cull him. He hasn't improved and now his feet and toes have started to curl up a bit like he is losing strength/control in them. He's eating and drinking with assistance but is growing much more slowly than the others. When not in a device to physically hold him upright he still lies on his side and can't maintain his balance even for a few seconds. His vent is looking sore and red, and he scrabbles about so pathetically when not restrained, and closes his eyes and pants when lying still. I think it's probably the kindest thing. I still feel terrible about making that decision though :(


    Now I just have to get the guts to do it!

    B
     

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