introducing new Quail, HELP

malkered

Chirping
May 16, 2015
216
6
51
Brighton, United Kingdom
A couple of months ago we rescued 3 Quail from complete squalor who were packed in with 37 others just for their eggs.

We housed them in a converted, two level rabbit hutch with approximately 7 square feet of space although they never really ventured upstairs.

The 3 quail are 2 males and 1 female and seemed to live quite happily together.

The female lays an egg almost every day averaging five eggs a week.

I read that there should be more female than male quail in a group and as the eggs are so nice we decided to add another two females.

On first introduction the two new females were bullied so much that we separated them in the top floor of the hutch so that they at least got used to each other's presence if not used to sharing, they have been like this for a couple of weeks.

We read that, as the Quail are territorial that the problem may stop if we introduce them all into a new environment together.

This we have done but the female and one male immediately started to attack the two new birds whereas the second male didn't.

Initially the male was the worst aggressor so we removed him into a 'time out cage', the female then attacked the others and seemed to be calling for the isolated male. The female is now with the male and all is calm.

Also, over the last couple of days the aggressive male has started to crow quite loudly.

Have these two birds paired up?

Should we persevere with integrating all 5 together or is the aggression likely to continue.

Please help!
 

TwoCrows

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You need to introduce new birds slowly into a flock. You can't just mix new birds in without chaos, blood and sometimes even death.

Keep the new birds in a sectioned off space or cage within the area your birds are in. Everybody sees, nobody touches. They will get to know each other from the other side of wire. Keep them right next to each other like this for 3 to 4 weeks. After this time you can mix them all together. Always add more feed and water stations as the old birds can guard these areas and starve out the new birds. And definitely give them all more room than the required room for this species, which you have already done.

It also helps to add cut branches or fake foliage to the hutch. Quail love to lurk and hide among brush in the wild and these new birds can seek shelter and feel safe under the leaves.

You will find that some birds never get along. They just do not like each other. So always be prepared to permanently remove bullies or any other bird that just does not fit in. You can mix and match until you find birds that do get along and keep them together.

And always keep the ratio of male to female correct for the species of birds you are working with.

Good luck!
 

malkered

Chirping
May 16, 2015
216
6
51
Brighton, United Kingdom
Thank you for your advice, you clearly are more knowledgeable than the guy who handed me the new quail who said they should be ok to go straight in!!

Fortunately, as we are novices to keeping Quail we spend a lot of time observing them otherwise there may have been more bloodshed!

Do you think the non aggressive male is ok to stay in with the new females or should we put them back as they were before we try to reintroduce them?

As we have moved them all into one new space , and the bullies back out into a new temporary space, would it work to re-introduce the two bullies in the manner you suggested?

What is the correct ratio of male to female in your opinion?

Thanks again!
 

TwoCrows

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If any older is already getting along with any of the new birds, then I would go ahead and leave them in with the old birds. The separation period is only to allow for the pecking order to be somewhat organized for birds that generally don't get along before introductions. Separation also works as a quarantine period in case one or all of the new birds are sick. This way you don't jeopardize your flock with illness. So if you have birds getting along, I would just leave well enough alone. If you are unsure that these new birds are sick, then you might go ahead and separate. Use your judgement here.

Sometimes moving everybody to a brand new space allows for mixing in new birds. They are all in unfamiliar territory and they sometimes all get along. But the fact that you are a good observer will help you learn much more than those that don't observe their birds. You will need to watch your group carefully for a while and separate at y our discretion.

The thing about keeping quail or any poultry is that each person's set up and birds are completely different from everybody else's. So what works for me, may not work for you and so on. So the best advice I can give you in this case is just remember, there is a strict pecking order within your flock at all times. And you as the keeper need to keep everybody safe since they are so confined. Do your best with mixing and keeping birds together. Things do not work themselves out. If a bird is aggressive, which they can be, it usually ends in blood shed. Rarely do birds work these things out. So always be prepared for more places to keep your quail. If you have large spaces, usually the arguing fizzles out. Small spaces can end in death. All poultry can be cannibalistic. So if they see blood, they can attack and kill the one with the blood. Sounds gruesome, but this is the flocks way of removing any bird that might attract the attention of a predator. The birds will also attack any sick flock mates in hopes of running them off. The flock will always try to protect itself.

If these are Coturnix or Japanese Quail, the correct ratio is 1 male to 4 to 7 females. You can keep all females together or all males together as long as they can't see each other or fighting can ensue. And usually birds that were hatched and raised together get along fairly well much of their lives, for the most part.

Any of the New World species of quail such as Bobwhites, Gambels, California's, etc... are kept in pairs only. One male to one female. These birds mate for life.
 

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