Interesting Hen Death... What to do?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by RichardandTresa, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. RichardandTresa

    RichardandTresa Out Of The Brooder

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    We found a dead hen in one of our breeder pens this morning. There was a wound on it's chest that was distinctly a quail's beak bite (Two triangular wounds, close together.... about 1/2" apart) with no other marks.

    Details:
    The Hen was part of a breeding quad (Top cage), that came from the same hatch of 24 Jumbo Coturnix and were together in their breeder cage for over 3 weeks. The two breeder quads (The other actually has 5 hens), have been the calmest of all our birds, getting along great, laying eggs with occasional witnessing of the males mounting the hens, but not overly aggressive (I chose the roos based on size, having some aggression but being the calmest of the roos in the grow out cages). The roos were doing their thing, but not overly aggressive with no marks on any of the hen's necks, backs or heads and no missing feathers. There has been no pecking between any of the birds, including between the hens.

    (In the photos, the breeder cages are to the left, grow out to the right, space below is for two more levels of breeder and grow out cages...Photos were taken before moving the batch from their brooders to their cages). The grow out cages In the photos contain all males and they have been more and more aggressive to the point that we set up a "Quail Jail" (Photo with individual slant front cages) to separate them all until they depart to "Freezer Camp". Feed and water are all automatic. Their feed is 28% and their water is always fresh. All cages have sand boxes (with the exception of the isolation (quail jail) cages, and we regularly clamp greens from our garden for them to snack on.The existing breeder and grow out cages are up at the top of the battery frame in our breezeway with no predators (closed up at night).

    Our Quail Jail holds the aggressors AND those that have been wounded. a couple with bleeding head wounds and one other roo that had a much more extensive chest wound very similar to our dead hen and, in the exact same spot as the hen we found dead this morning.`(All wounded birds are healing nicely!) I have no idea if the culprit was another hen or the roo. Again... We have not seen ANY (and still see no), aggression at all between any of our two breeding quads.I truly believe this was not the act of a predator as the bite marks were two singular, triangular wounds that match the bite of a bird perfectly.

    The pen that lost their hen now has 3 hens, while the pen below has 5... I would like to transfer one of the hens from the lower (5 hen), pen to the upper pen that now has 3 hens giving both breeder pens a ratio of 4:1.

    I've read (but don't remember the details) about issues arising from transferring a new bird to an existing cage. I'm concerned about territorial and dominance disputes between the hens and/or aggression from the roo should I introduce the "new" hen to the upper cage. I could leave all as it is, but the transfer of a hen would give the quail below more room and provide the normally suggested 4:1 ratio...

    Any thoughts? Advice?

    Thank you!

    Richard
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  2. Chicken-Farmer

    Chicken-Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All I can say is that things like this happen. You may have an aggressive quail on your hands, but probably not. Sometimes you will just find a bird dead for no apparent reason. I would just keep an eye on the other birds in that cage. Look for any signs of further fighting.

    Chicken-Farmer
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  3. sniper338

    sniper338 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes that usually causes fights moving birds around.... sometimes it works out... never know till you try... just check em every hour and see how they take it... or best of all move them all into a new cage together... once all the birds are in a cage together the dominance role starts over between hens... trial and error in the end... if all else fails... eat em..
     
  4. sniper338

    sniper338 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice cages tho... i want some..
     
  5. sniper338

    sniper338 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas
    What is that sand bath dish?
     
  6. RichardandTresa

    RichardandTresa Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2014
    Thanks for the replies...

    It's sad, but I am in tune with the "rhythm" of nature... Easier to loose a bird than our rabbit kits. (Our young Doe gave birth to 11 bunnies a little over a week ago. One born on the wire died, another (runt) gave up the fight. Tresa and I just finished hand feeding some of the others that are a little small... good time and we know all we can do is the best we can do.)

    Tresa's a teaching master gardener and we've got a lot of raised beds in the back yard, this year is our first time with Chickens, Rabbits and Quail. I researched like crazy before I even began building their habitats let alone acquired our "start up" stock...

    I'm a motion picture special effects artist and prototype developer for more companies than I can count. I have a studio and a shop, capable of producing just about anything anyone can think of in just about any material(s). When it came to some of the "special features" for all our animals, I read everything I could, learning from other people's mistakes and being inspired by other people's great successes. Combined all if it into the final projects. The battery cages started out like the Quail Jail cages. I tore them apart (got them used for $15... The pans alone are worth double that and they came with super heavy gauge floor wire. I rebuilt them into what you see in the photos and then built the battery frame so that everything can slide out.

    When it came to feeders and watering system, I created molds and vacuum-formed them. (The clear plastic is food grade PETG... Same plastic you find in deli take out containers that are clear, only I use a much thicker version.I chose clear so that we could see any eggs laid in them and/or behind them. The angles were inspired by another BYC member to help keep the sand inside. I added the top two additional angles to help further. The bottoms have four "keys" that match the 1/2" X 1" wire floor. They can be placed in either direction and they stay put. (Our first sand boxes were disposable aluminum roasting pans but they kept getting shuffled around and usually ended up in front of the feeding troughs. I wanted to maximize floor space so everything was built outside the cages.The waterers can be gravity or pressure fed without any additional fittings or regulators and they sit in between the grow out and breeder cages accessible from both sides. When the Roos in the grow out cages started going nuts, I built an opaque plastic divider so they couldn't see from one cage to another.

    Everybody seems to be at peace... Today we got 8 eggs from 8 remaining hens so I guess we're doing good. I'll still keep an eye on them but I will hold off on moving anyone around. We're getting another batch of chicks next week, timing them to go into the grow out cages when it's time to send the older ones to Freezer camp. I think we'll hold onto two of the quail jail roos "just in case". If everything goes well when the young ones are old enough to breed, They'll get a trip to freezer camp as well. By then I hope to collect some of our larger breeder eggs and try out our incubator so that we are creating our own...

    Thanks for the support! It's comforting to know I'm not the only one (again, this is my first time with quail... and chickens and rabbits! LOL! I LOVE it! Never thought I'd be doing this and it has changed my life forever!)... and, most importantly, that there is a place like this to come to for help, support and to inspire others.

    Thanks!

    Richard



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    OK then. It's time for dinner. No Quail to eat tonight... Not yet anyway! LOL!

    I'm planning to double the quail battery (total of 8 breeder cages and 8 grow out cages and possibly, 4 more grow out cages... Turning the entire breezeway into a quail world... And I haven't even started incubating out own eggs yet! Yes,I've gotten hooked on quail... BIG TIME! LOL! =D

    Good night all!

    Richard
     
  7. HowieNZ

    HowieNZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2013
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    Hi Richard,
    I move my birds around all the time however I keep an eye out as sometimes some birds just don't get on and need to be shifted. I agree if you shift into a new cage they all have to work it out again and this gives the new bird the best chance to settle in.
     
  8. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2 or 3 times over the years I've been outside and had birds start flapping and flailing only to find them dead by the time I reach the cage. These things because they have been bred to isolate so many traits over the years seem to be pretty prone to the normal health problem humans experience such as heart attacks.
     

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