I have a couple of quail questions!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Silkiehen, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Silkiehen

    Silkiehen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a couple of questions for y'all. So today I bought some quail eggs because my broody hen was sitting on nothing. Will the quail be ok for her to raise or are they too "fraigle"? I will add that she's a pretty small Serama. I don't know if this matters but I got a couple of different types of quail. Mostly Jumbos, there's some Tibetans and a couple others I can't remember.
    Another question I have is about their housing. I see everyone keeping them in wire cages above the ground. Why is this? Does the wire not hurt their feet after awhile?
    That leads me to my next question, I want to build my own cages. What kind of wire and what size do I need for the sides and the bottom?
    Thank you so much, I really appreciate it!
     
  2. Silkiehen

    Silkiehen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also what size do I need the cages to be?
     
  3. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    Your broody 'may' be ok to raise the chicks but it will take a lot of work on your part to keep her quiet and nesting for that first week after they hatch as they are so dependent, cuddly and needy at that age. I've had one Old English Game Bantam raise two quail chicks but that was because one hatched a full week after the first and she kept sitting until the second hatched, so the first chick had time to grow enough to be more independent and not get stepped on by a busy mother hen. The second chick I had to hold each time she got up to scratch about and it was a lot of work to ensure he wasn't injured or squashed. Since then I've just used the broodies as incubators and raised the chicks myself.

    In the brooder use something with traction under their feet and sprinkle ground up game bird feed everywhere initially until they can recognise what food looks like and find it in a dish - usually after 3 days they can find it. Water initially needs to be in a very shallow dish with marbles to prevent them getting too wet. By 5 days old to a week old you can switch to a chick waterer.

    Some people keep them on wire but you have to be scrupulous about keeping wire clean as hardened poop can cut the quail's feet and cause bumblefoot. I prefer to have solid bottomed cages and use litter like straw which is quick and super easy to change. They are happiest up off the ground and people give them half to one square foot of space per bird. They do seem to prefer to live in close quarters, one male to a cage with at least 3-4 females. Some males need more (and can be quite aggressive) so choose your sweetest, calmest boys to keep the girls company as calm, happy girls lay many yummy eggs.
     
  4. Silkiehen

    Silkiehen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much! I put about 8 eggs under her and have close to 90 in the incubator.
    Brooder wise, I have one that I use for chicks. It can hold 100 day old chicks easy. Is that gonna be too big for the quail?
     
  5. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm not sure brooder size wise - the most I've hatched is 11 at once. Could you put up a temporary divider so they only have half the space perhaps as they are tiny. They grow very quickly though so they will need more space in no time.

    You could use the whole space but I'd put in two heat lamps (or more if necessary) so they are never far from a heat source as they can get tired before they make it back to the lamp if it's too far away. Do encourage them to eat by tapping the ground, though as long as there is food everywhere initially they should instinctively find it, and also tap your fingers in the water bowl to encourage them to drink - this is probably more important and they will be attracted to the movement.

    They are very sweet during the first week as they will get under your hand and try and push upwards until they are on tippy toes trying to snuggle into you.

    They start to jump straight up very well very quickly (usually just in play at the chick stage) and can hit their heads on the roof of the brooder. If it's too high they can do some damage so you can make the roof low or put some soft padding at the top/make the top out of soft mesh to prevent injuries. I've been brooding mine in an indoor guinea pig cage. The height is 35cm (just under 14 inches) and I've never had a problem, though the bars are widely spaced which probably helps as they are less likely to directly hit a bar.
     
  6. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would not use wire for several reasons, first it's unnatural and can't imagine them feeling as safe and comfortable as a full floor of bedding.

    Second, the poo has to be mashed with their feet through the wire to hit the bottom. Mine average nickel sized turds xD

    Third, it coats the wire and gets sharp as the other poster mentioned and will start cutting up their feet.

    Lastly, to clean it, you would have some scrubbing on your hands as quail poop is like cement when it's dry. Oh and you would also have to clean where the poop lands and since there's no bedding it will smell more because it will take longer to dry.

    I like to use newspaper with wood shavings and the quail actually like bathing in the shavings as well, although they still much prefer a sand box - the holy grail of quail ;) when it's time to clean them, I take the quail to a temp cage with a fresh sand box to keep them busy and simply roll up the newspaper with the dirty shavings on top and put it in a yard bag or you can compost it. Then I use a dustpan to get the rogue shavings and put the fresh newspaper down in the way it can be rolled up next time :)

    I would partition the too large brooder VERY SECURELY so no chicks get past it and die without the heat/water/food. Absolutely no gaps on the edges and make it a few feet high - trust me.

    Quail chicks do not last as long as chicken chicks after they hatch without food and water - most people will recommended taking them out when they're mostly dry once a day whereas chicken chicks are commonly left for three days.

    They drown easily in water even shallow water so yes marbles or rocks :)

    You have to teach them how to eat and drink, eating is the easy part but drinking may take more time, I sprinkle some crushed dry grass so it floats on the water so when I touch the water it moves around on top of the water which will encourage them to peck it and they will realize their water source :)

    I use bird netting used to protect fruit trees for the top of the brooder as they will be flapping around in no time practicing their new wings and they harmlessly bounce off of it as long as you don't have anything hard in the brooder for them to land on.

    I use paper towels for my brooder until they're old enough to not thing wood shavings are food ;) about a week or so!

    Good luck with your baby quail - some tame up very nicely (usually when hatched in smaller groups of about a dozen or so in my experience) and love to be pet and snuggled... I even have some that love to get in my sleeve and hood hehehe.

    [​IMG]

    That's one of my pet group who slipped her face into my wide sleeve and just stayed there straining every so often to get in further [​IMG] She tidbits for me like a chicken rooster does for a chicken hen when I give them certain treats hehehe [​IMG]
     
  7. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And also jumbo/tibetan/tuxedo/Italian etc. quail are all the same type - coturnix quail - just different colors :)
     
  8. Silkiehen

    Silkiehen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much. I was kinda confused on that part!
     
  9. Silkiehen

    Silkiehen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I might have to find another way to brood them. My border is probably about 3 feet tall maybe taller, it's pretty long too. I got it for free so I never got exact measurements. I usually use the pellet type shavings in my brooder because it's to big to use paper towels. I think I'll downsize and use something else to start them off in. Then I'll probably move them to big brooder once they grow a little.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  10. Silkiehen

    Silkiehen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    See, I don't really want to use wire either. I imagine it must hurt their feet. But I was told they do best like that. I planned on eating the extra males(we'll see how that goes lol) and I read that they can get worms and it'll mess up the meat. Back to bedding lol. Maybe I could use straw, like JaeG mentioned. That seems easier on the feet.
     

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