missing feathers

Discussion in 'Quail' started by cornishchicks, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. cornishchicks

    cornishchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2014
    I am fairly new to keeping quails. I just added 4 5 week old quails which i reared myself into enclosure with 2 1year old ones.
    I kept them in the same enclosure but two separate large rabbit hatches . My husband let them all out and it was good for 2 days but today i noticed 3 young ones in the corner of enclosure not looking too happy and on close inspection they all appear to have bold patches on their heads! Quite noticeable. No hurts, no blood just patches of ripped out feathers.
    Is this likely to be down to big ones bullying them?
    Both adults are fine, no feathers missing on them at all.
    I now put all 4 youngsters back into the hatch with some comforting food and water and lot of bedding to mess with.
    Will they always need to be separated?
    On top of it i am getting some new females from a local man, all 5 weeks old like mine. Shall i put them with my young ones or separated?
    Many thanks for any replies!
     
  2. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quail are very territorial animals and you really can't interfere with their social structure so much without special care. They aren't smart enough to realize that they will not run out of food and water. In an animals mind territory is life and death. They believe they need all the space they get and all the feed in it to survive, because that's the way it works out in the wild. Basically no quail will tolerate interlopers in their space. If they were raised together it's different.

    The best way to introduce coturnix to each other is to place them side by side in full view for at least a week. Then at night when the quail are more insecure because they can't see well, take them all and place them in a cage none of them have ever been in. This will make it so none of them are trying to defend their 'territory'. You will always see some minor squabbles when you mix birds. They will usually figure these out on their own, but whenever they are feather picking a bird too bad you need to separate them. If a bird bleeds even it's flock mates will kill it. It goes back to their instinct regarding territory. in the wild an injured bird may not live, the flock won't waste the feed to find out they'll just kill it so it can be a drain on their resources.

    You can mix them all together but wait until all the birds are past 8 weeks old so they are all confident adult birds of the same size.
     
  3. cornishchicks

    cornishchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    0
    24
    Jul 22, 2014
    Quail are very territorial animals and you really can't interfere with their social structure so much without special care. They aren't smart enough to realize that they will not run out of food and water. In an animals mind territory is life and death. They believe they need all the space they get and all the feed in it to survive, because that's the way it works out in the wild. Basically no quail will tolerate interlopers in their space. If they were raised together it's different. 

    The best way to introduce coturnix to each other is to place them side by side in full view for at least a week. Then at night when the quail are more insecure because they can't see well, take them all and place them in a cage none of them have ever been in. This will make it so none of them are trying to defend their 'territory'. You will always see some minor squabbles when you mix birds. They will usually figure these out on their own, but whenever they are feather picking a bird too bad you need to separate them. If a bird bleeds even it's flock mates will kill it. It goes back to their instinct regarding territory. in the wild an injured bird may not live, the flock won't waste the feed to find out they'll just kill it so it can be a drain
     
  4. cornishchicks

    cornishchicks Out Of The Brooder

    18
    0
    24
    Jul 22, 2014
     
  5. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2013
    Tempe, AZ
    You did not mention the sexes of your quail. I don't know what your male to female ratio is, but if one or both your older birds are male they could be over breeding the younger birds. Coturnix roosters will go through all the motions of mating with other roosters btw. Missing head feathers is typical result of over breeding. Also, if one or both older birds are roosters and so are any of the young birds they will eventually figure it out and kill the young rooster. It is only OK to keep roosters together that have been raised together since they were chicks, and usually not even then very well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014

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