Limping Coturnix: Backwards Nail/Claw/Toe?

Shmegel

Chirping
Oct 8, 2018
42
28
64
My sweet Coturnix quail is suddenly limping on one foot. I examined it and found nothing abnormal except that one of the nails on her unused foot is backwards. It’s just the claw part, not the foot. I’m not sure if it was like that before, but she’s really pitiful right now and I’m not sure how to help her. I moved her to a separate cage with a heating pad and her own personal food, plus water with Rooster Booster in it. I have poultry ointment but I’m not sure if that’s useful for undamaged skin, especially since it’s the nail that’s backwards. What can I do? What can cause this? She’s a healthy mature girl- laying eggs every day (chalky light brown with white and dark brown speckles). She’s in a large cage with 4 other birds (1 male 3 females). Thank you!
 

Shmegel

Chirping
Oct 8, 2018
42
28
64
Also, if it’s not the toe, what could it be? She’s on wire as well as sheet metal so she can walk wherever she wants. None of the birds she’s been with are aggressive, though she’s definitely the runt and gets pecked once in a while, more than the other birds. I’ve actually had one lady removed for several days because she was pecking at her, so she’s been separated from the runt for a while and couldn’t touch her. The male mates with her most, so I’m concerned it could be a mating injury, though I don’t see anything else abnormal about her legs/feet.

What could make a quail stop using one of her legs without visible wounds?
Once she relaxes for a while I can take a picture of her feet if that would help.
 

Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
2,345
4,966
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Central Texas
We need photos to clearly understand the problem.
You have the right idea for now. Make sure she can still see the others and interact with them through the cage so they don't forget who she is.
Could she have caught her claw under the sheet metal?
How many quail do you have, and what size cage?
 

Shmegel

Chirping
Oct 8, 2018
42
28
64
We need photos to clearly understand the problem.
You have the right idea for now. Make sure she can still see the others and interact with them through the cage so they don't forget who she is.
Could she have caught her claw under the sheet metal?
How many quail do you have, and what size cage?
Sure, I’ll post some in a few. It’s not really sheet metal, I’m not sure how to describe it. They live in a modified chicken coop with two floors, top has a metal floor and bottom has wire. 5 birds total. I think the cage is about 6x2 on the bottom and 3x2 on top floor. Plenty of room and lots of hides.
 

Shmegel

Chirping
Oct 8, 2018
42
28
64
The limp foot is her right foot- should be closest in all the pics I’m posting. Her foot coloration has always been that way (pink and brown mottled, including the nails), and her back toes have always been like this too (ie- nailless and stumped- she was in a bad living situation before we got her and had been attacked by many other birds. Took forever to get her to trust the others but she adores them now. Also, I checked and her back toes aren’t built up dirt/poop, they appear to have been hurt a while back and healed that way). The foot with the backwards toe is the hurt one.
 

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Shmegel

Chirping
Oct 8, 2018
42
28
64
Here’s their setup from pretty far away, and a closeup of my girl standing on her one good leg. I can post old pics of her if you want to see that her foot coloration and back toes haven’t changed. Her mate is standing close to her recovery cage and watching her. :)
 

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Shmegel

Chirping
Oct 8, 2018
42
28
64
Aw, she’s very sweet - I love her!:love I do hope she gets better, the poor little thing! I will pray for her speedy recovery.
Whoopi is a darling! She came to us with PTSD- picked her up at a Farmer’s market from someone who kept her in a tiny cage with a ton of mature male quail, while she was only a few weeks old and not even close to maturing. She was missing most of the feathers on her head and her back, plus the weird feet stuff and a scuffed up beak- I’ve attached a picture of Whoopi from the day we brought her home. She always made herself small- squeezing herself into this little ball of feathers, just kinda stayed in one spot despite having her own large cage. Sweet little thing was terrified of everything except people- she’d let me take her out and would just cuddle up and sit in my lap- she even got off of me and jumped onto newspaper when she had to poop! Then she’d return. <3 So we healed her up and made sure she was happy and healthy. Since she was so nice to people, we thought introducing her to our other two (raised from chicks) would be easy, since she stared at them all day and called to them from the other cage. We put her in and she just PANICKED. Bit the birds every time they came near her! She was so terrified, and now they were too! So I separated her and spent a long time training her to trust the other birds (I’m thinking of starting a thread to explain how I did that because it’s really cool) and now she’s been with them for a month or two and never attacks anybody- mostly just cuddles up with the other birds and follows them around like a lost puppy. She’s laying beautiful eggs now- they’re getting bigger, I think it’s the feed or maybe her maturing. It’s very sad to see such a darling little bird who used to be the “mean” one (tbh I’m positive it was PTSD stuff, the bites were very defensive even though the others meant no harm) and who has made such a recovery suddenly acting hurt! I want to make sure she’s healthy and happy, but birds pick on injured/sick birds, so she’s gonna be lonely for a while :( Her mate has been crowing since I separated her with these mournful tired-sounding pitiful crows! It’s bizarre. But the other ladies don’t get that she needs to heal and he doesn’t get that mating could hurt her right now. I really hope I can figure out what’s wrong because Whoopi is sitting there making these sad little peeps and she’s so trusting while I’m examining her and trying to help her. I do know she’s a fighter because she healed from such a bad place, so I really hope she gets better soon!
 

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Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
2,345
4,966
286
Central Texas
Poor little girl!
For future reference, it's never accurate to say that an animal has PTSD. PTSD is a very specific set of disorders primarily diagnosed by the presence of flashbacks and hallucinations. Since we can't ask an animal if it's having flashbacks, we can't say that it has PTSD, just that it has some form of trauma. That's not to say that it's impossible for an animal to have PTSD, we just can't tell.

I'd say that nail is upside down rather than backwards. It's probably just growing in that way, and shouldn't cause any trouble, though I'd work on getting her used to handling so you can trim it if it starts getting too long.
Probably she got her foot caught on/under something and strained it. Without an X-ray there isn't really any way to be sure, but whatever's wrong ought to heal up all right.
 

Shmegel

Chirping
Oct 8, 2018
42
28
64
I know, I’m actually about to start grad school in Psychology and my parents are both neuropsychologists, two of my grandparents are behavioral psychologists as well! I’ve just found that to be the best way to explain her behavior to people, since everyone tends to assume it’s aggression, but from what I could see with her shaking and generally looking terrified, plus knowledge of her trauma, it was definitely a fear thing. Sorry for throwing the label around like a diagnosis lol

Anyway, looking at old pictures and I think her nail has been backwards for a while, but this limp definitely started yesterday. Luckily she’s used to handling so if I need to cut it I can.

Does anything in the foot pictures look abnormal to you, other than the nail? I don’t see anything myself, but I haven’t spent a lot of time studying quail feet. She’s still limping today and kinda wobbling because she’s trying to stand on only one foot. Should I check any other part of her? And would using any poultry ointment on her foot help? I have plenty. Thank you for your help!!! :)
 

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