House Quail (Northern Bobwhite) limping, could I be doing something wrong?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Quail lady, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Quail lady

    Quail lady In the Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2013
    Adelaide
    Hi all,
    I have a 6month old very tame Bobwhite female (rules the house) and we have just come back from a short trip (she came along in the car too). She is in good spirits, eating well, tending to her feathers, stretching etc but standing on only one leg and limping around on the other. I've had a good feel of her leg and it doesn't appear broken and I don't believe it is possible for her to have hurt it in the few hours while I was out at dinner... I put her in her rabbit hutch and turned out the light. She was fine when I left but when I came home and woke her up because I caught a moth on my way in she was lame... Her diet consists of raw oats mainly, bird seed mix and fresh kale, broccoli and rocket and garden bugs (caterpillars, aphids and moths). It's Winter here in Australia and I know birds should sleep more than 8 hours a night but is it possible that I'm not feeding her correctly and or 8 hours of sleep a night is insufficient? Or that an average of 15 to 20 mins a day of outside time (proper sunlight) is not enough?
    Should I just sit tight and see if it's just a sprain from stumbling around in the dark or can anyone see where I'm going gravely wrong?
    I know I might sound silly but she's a special little bird to us.
    Thanks a bunch
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC and the quail forums!

    The lameness could stem from being injured in some way. They are very delicate birds and can hurt their hips and legs very easily. I also keep Bobs and I know that when I pick one up, if I don't hold them the right way, with feet away from my body, they can injure their legs or hips quite easily if they are trying to push off of me. So it is very possible that she did hurt her self in some way and sprained something.

    Old quail are subject to leg scale, rickets and arthritis, although these are usually pretty apparent by looking at the legs and feet...(swelling, raised scales, swollen leg joints, etc...)

    As for the diet this bird is on...She is probably lacking in protein from the sounds of her diet. Oats are not that high in protein and are mainly for energy. You would have to be catching a LOT of bugs to satisfy her protein needs each day. The veggies are great for her diet as well. Be careful with raw oats and they can get lodged in the throat easily. If you are adding bird seed, make sure it contains chipped sunflower seeds for the fat and protein content. My suggestion would be to see if you can get some gamebird food. If you can find 5 pound bags of it, that would be a much better diet and you can always include the veggies and bugs on the side for her health and enjoyment. Offer her up more calcium during laying season.

    I am thinking she probably sprained it. Do you have a brooding lamp you might offer her up some heat? Injured birds get cold and being that it is winter in your area, she may be cold enough to slow the healing down. So you might put up a heat lamp, not too close, but enough that she can warm up her body temp a bit. If she is already used to the colder outdoor temps, (is she an outdoor or indoor bird?) she will use it if she needs it and wont' if she doesn't. If she is an indoor bird, then you might move her to a warmer place in the house. Try not to mess with her for a week or so. Nothing that will make her reinjure herself and if it is only a sprain, she should heal.

    If you do see anything strange about her legs or feet, keep us posted so that we can get down to the bottom of things. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Oh and also....

    Check the bottom of her feet and look at the pads. Make sure she does not have a poke to which has become a bumblefoot infection. You can also feel the joints and the legs for any heat. That will usually tell you that she did sprain something.
     
  4. Quail lady

    Quail lady In the Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2013
    Adelaide
    Wow, thanks.
    I bought some higher protein food for her today from the local fodder store and it hasn't gotten any worse. She is still using the leg and seems to have full function, just limping on it and keeping it raised. Tending to it like the rest of her feathers. I asked about brooding lamps at the store but they said best to get one from the net. We raised her under a desk lamp with an old school light bulb from day old so she still loves to hang out on the desk. She hangs out with us in front of the heater, movies in bed and free ranges indoors (only when we're out, in a rabbit hutch). I think we're her covey, she's pretty snuggly. Our Winters are pretty mild here too.
    I suppose I'm just very cautious after I sourced a bobwhite for a friend that developed what we called "quail MS" (from reading the forums i think it was Marek's). It was pretty horrible :( So, I suppose I'm a bit worried our bird could pick it up from wild birds when around the garden sand bathing etc. I don't remember this other bird losing its appetite straight away either.

    I realised she wasn't properly digesting her seed about a month ago and changed her flooring to shell grit, should that do for calcium for laying season?

    Well I'll cross my fingers that you're right and just a sprain from stumbling around in the dark! I'll keep you posted, but thanks so very much for your answer. I've read a few of your posts over the last day, you seem sensibly in the know :) and so having a response from you is really appreciated. Thank you for taking the time.
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Be very careful letting her out in the garden where wild birds have been. Wild birds carry all sorts of nasty things that can kill your quail. I have had several issues over the years with wild birds getting into the quail aviaries and chicken yards. I have seen quail bronchitis's, quail enteritis, MS in my entire chicken yard, and a host of other illness that I was not able to identify. Took me a few years to healthy the quail and chickens back up after being able to stop the birds from accessing the poultry. So do your best to keep your quail out of wild bird territory even if that means no ranging outside.

    As for the shell grit...is that a calcium oyster shell type grit? That is not to be used for grit and she may consume it as grit. If it is some sort of calcium, you need to put that on the side in a small dish and as for grit, you can use parakeet grit or something you get from the pet stores in the bird section. You can also dig up dirt from your backyard if it has tiny stones and gritty things in it. They don't need much.

    Sounds like she is very loved with you and your family. Take good care of her, keep her on a good diet, keep her safe from predators, wild birds and other issues and she should live a long life. Good luck with your baby. :)
     
  6. Quail lady

    Quail lady In the Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2013
    Adelaide
    Cheers, good advice.
    There is a local hawk that is always trying to eat her!
    I'll have to check about the grit from the shop. My partner bought it. Cheers though.
    Have you any idea how long Bobwhites can live if they manage to escape illness, being tripped on and predators?
    Also, she is walking again, phew! Still favouring one leg, but only slightly! Must have just been a minor sprain :)
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    For her own safety, you should never let her outside unless she is confined in a completely fenced, top, bottom and sides, area. You will be heart broken should something startle her, she flies away, something eats her, bites her, etc....So please keep her in a confined area when she is outside. :)

    Captive Bobwhites generally have a lifespan of 2-5 years, although if taken care of properly, eat a good well balanced diet and stay out of trouble, they can live much longer. I have some Bobs that are 7 years old. They are looking really old this year, but still going.
     
  8. Quail lady

    Quail lady In the Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2013
    Adelaide
    Just to let you know she's all good now. Must have just been a sprain after all :)
     

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