Male coturnix eats oyster shell

Discussion in 'Quail' started by TerraLinda, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. TerraLinda

    TerraLinda In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2014

    I am a new quail owner, and new to the forum.

    I just gave oyster shell to my 8- and 9-week old quails (the females started laying small "practice" eggs a few days ago.). They all eat it and bath in it, but the most enthusiastic consumer of the oyster shell is the male! He actually eats it, a lot. Does this mean that the commercial 22% protein game bird feed that I get from the local feed store is seriously short on calcium, or is my male just an idiot?
  2. ryferre

    ryferre In the Brooder

    Jul 14, 2014
    I don't know if this would help you out--- but I actually just mix in a little oyster shell in the food--- Never really had a problem. I do get a random "rubbery" egg about once a month....
  3. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    Your male, if male he is, is just an idiot. His organs won't tolerate him doing that forever. Roosters can't process away the extra calcium and it manifests in their kidneys.

    I suppose it is possible he has a calcium deficiency, since birds tend to know what minerals they need. I'm not sure what you would even go about doing. It isn't your food, gamebird food should contain 1% calcium or less because of the roosters.
  4. TerraLinda

    TerraLinda In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2014
    He is a male for sure: he has male colors, mounts everyone else, crows, and he doesn't lay. He is just the type who would eat anything, out of curiosity. I hope he will stop before it does him serious harm.

    The feed package says Calcium 0.9% Max, so I guess it's standard.
  5. sniper338

    sniper338 Songster

    Dec 15, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas
    the males will eat oyster shell too, thats normal... It's just not good to feed them. Like stated above it isnt good for a male and can end up harming him or killing him if he eats too much of it. On the other hand birds are easy to replace. I have found that coturnix hens if they are less than a year old they dont really NEED oyster shell all the time all the time... I take my males out of the cage for a week and feed the females oyster shell ground up about once a month.... then replace the male in the cage..
  6. Sill

    Sill Songster

    Dec 30, 2013
    Tempe, AZ
    He may need grit for his gizzard but is trying to get if from the oyster shell. Do your quail have something to dust bathe in besides the oyster shell? If you give them sand to bathe in (not silica sand, use play sand) they can eat that for grit and he may leave the oyster shell alone. Anytime I give them fresh sand they do eat some of it.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  7. TerraLinda

    TerraLinda In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2014
    They get grit, and they sit on aspen wood shavings that they bath in constantly. He is still eating the oyster shell out of a small ramekin in the corner...

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