Male quail crowing in the middle of the night

Discussion in 'Quail' started by fiddleblue, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. fiddleblue

    fiddleblue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a male quail who started crowing a lot, both early in the morning (before the sun rose, when it was still dark, around 6am) and now, also in the middle of the night! Today I woke and heard him crowing at 3am. I was wondering if he was trying to find other females -- I have 3 quail cages and 3 different males, (each cage has one male - I found I couldn't put any males together or they would fight) and have done some shuffling around of the females from one cage to another, after I got some new females. I was wondering if maybe his crowing was an effort to find some of the females which he "lost" when I moved them to another cage...?

    I live in an urban area with neighbors very close, and though quail crowing is quiet compared to that of a regular rooster, it is still too loud for the middle of the night or early in the morning before the sun rises.

    Any ideas why he is crowing in the dark, and in the middle of the night? Or what I could do about this,to try to stop it? I had to go out at 3am and put him in a pet carrier and stick him in my car, to try to keep the noise down today.
     
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  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    You shifting the females could have disturbed him but crowing in the middle of the night is utterly unnatural for a diurnal bird that cannot see in the dark. If he was nocturnal it'd be different. He may be crowing to express fear, some males do that, for example maybe something bumped into the cage in the dark and frightened him.

    I don't know that much about quail but do know with roosters that crow in the middle of the night, it's often a learned behavior which is notoriously hard to 'un-learn' them from, lol, and also has a genetic component, and can be very heritable. One night crower often begets many.

    If he can hear some other male quail crowing at night perhaps even miles away from you, even if the crowing is so faint you can't hear it, then this can prompt him to answer. Only my smartest roosters remained silent when night-crowers started up, but many males will simply answer automatically. Someone keeping a night-crower in rural areas within earshot of suburban areas can cause suburban males to be killed for replying. I've lived in a few places where one male who crowed at night thereby brought about the demise of others that lived miles in the distance; sometimes it was even a male I had that started off other people's males. I always tried to eliminate those males as quickly as possible, but sometimes all it takes is one crow in the middle of the night and that's it, the pattern has been established and will be repeated.

    It's clearly not a good trait, it not only draws predators (and annoys neighbors, and if not them, you) but also distresses the females, because it's announcing what's supposed to be a safe roosting position to the world at large when they're at their most vulnerable, unable to see and flee.

    You can try the 'rooster-box' style treatment, sounds like you already are, but really the only sure and permanent method I found was culling, sorry.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    He's crowing because you took his ladies. Rooster can be kept together as long as they are completely out of sight of hens. My bachelor cage is right next to all of my others but has plywood sides so they don't make any noise because they've don't see any women.
     
  4. fiddleblue

    fiddleblue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    THis particular male, call him Phil, was for over a year in a cage side by side with that of another male, call him Greg. During this first year I didn't notice this habit of Phil crowing at night.
    Phil and Greg each had their harem of 1-4 females. So Phil was always able to see Greg and Greg's harem. Some of Phil's females died, and I moved one out because he had mated with her too much and pulled out all the feathers on her head. Finally he had just one female. He wasn't crowing at night then, that I noticed. THen recently I bought more females and gave Phil 3 more females. Greg also got 2 more females. THis is when I noticed Phil crowing in the morning, at 6am, as well as crowing during the day quite a lot, to the point it was getting annoying for me to be in the backyard and listen to him continually. So I moved him to another cage, where he could not see Greg, and where he had only one female. That is when he started crowing at night, at 3am.

    I'd hate to cull him since I have had him over a year, and nursed him back to health after he had an eye problem. But I will keep him separate for a while and see if that stops his crowing.
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    I completely understand, culling is a last-ditch option for many, I've tried so many things over the years... Including getting up in the wee hours to put a stop to it, night after night, trying to retrain them... Obviously I don't have much hope to offer you.

    I bet it'd work for at least some males to have a rigged box, with perch and/or floor able to tilt back and forth, controlled by a mechanism that responds to a certain degree of decibels, so as soon as he lets rip it shifts back and forth and he has to scramble for balance for a few seconds. Most males don't seem to be able to make a ruckus while moving easily, and even if they do continue it's often quieter while moving because when they crow they've gotten into ideal physical stance to get the greatest output of noise to carry as far as possible. After a while it might retrain him.

    Another thought is that you could check out rooster anti-crow collars; there is a small risk of him dying from it, though. But you could possibly make one or buy one for a tiny bantam (don't know if they make them in sizes suitable for quail) and try that. It won't work on the most determined though, absolutely nothing works on the most determined except killing, desexing, or... I don't know, can't think of anything else.

    Some people have special soundproof boxes their males sleep in overnight. Others use a basement or equivalent. If he's not very loud you could possibly make your own sound-muting box; I doubt you could cheaply make a truly soundproof box, but you should be able to make something that at least cuts his output by half.

    Best wishes.
     
  6. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you cover the cage? maybe by blocking out all light he would remain quiet.
     
  7. Jacey R

    Jacey R Out Of The Brooder

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    My male did this for a few weeks (much to my dismay) and then suddenly stopped. I can't think of any reason for the sudden start/stop of this behaviour, except possibly the amount of light he was getting during the day. My work schedule changed and the lights are now on in the house much later at night than they were before. Maybe he gets more tired out and sleeps better? It's a long shot, but maybe you could make sure he gets more hours of light and see what happens?
     
  8. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As long as all my roos have enough hens there is no night crowing. If I raise a batch of youngsters the extra males will eventually start crowing at all hours, and the resident roos will too. Once the young roos have been either set up with their own covey or are in the freezer everyone is happy again and there is no night crowing. Right now I have nine roos set up with their hens and most days I might hear 2 crows total...all day! Happy quail roos don't crow all night. Set that boy up with some more hens to keep him busy and the crowing will stop. Make sure your other roos have enough hens too. They can keep as many as 7 hens fertile. Because of my cage size I only do 6 hens max with each roo.
     
  9. fiddleblue

    fiddleblue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I spent a week moving him every night into a pet carrier in the back of my truck. There he wouldn't crow, or not very much. THen I would put him back during the daytime in a larger cage in the backyard, but by himself. I could get more hens, so that he has some, but it doesn't look like I will be able to get any soon as my local suppliers ran out of hens and have only males --- a couple live poultry places seem to have ONLY males, which is too bad. I would like to get him at least 3 hens as soon as I can find some locally.
     
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    That's an interesting theory, I'll try testing it sometime maybe. I've tried most other things. ;) My standard response now is culling since nothing else worked.

    Best wishes.
     

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