My coturnix is acting weird, first quail, need help!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by BigDaddy'sGurl, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    I was given two coturnix quail eggs a few months back, incubated, both hatched: one boy one girl. They are now around 9 weeks old. Male is crowing, female started laying on Nov. 8! : )

    They have plenty of food, fresh water, both are fat and healthy. Female laid daily Nov. 8-12 with no problem. Then, on the 13th, I noticed blood on bottom of cage. They have hay and leaves to nest in/hide, and when I picked female up she had pulled most of the feathers from under one wing/breast (left side) and had actually made herself bleed when the feathers were plucked. Kept hanging out in nest box, etc. No egg that day. Next day she had plucked all feathers from other under wing and breast...again, no egg. Male is not pestering her at all...when I check them he is never interested in her. She has not laid an egg since Nov. the 12th. She seems to be spending the majority of her time just laying on her chest in the nest box. Very lively if I reach in though or pick her up. No weight loss I can tell. I am very new to raising quail...the only thing that makes sense to me is that she may be stressed because I keep light on all the time? But I only do this because they are outside (can't bring them in long story) and it is the only way to maintain heat to keep them warm. She does seem to shiver on occasion...

    Please give me some advice! Her last egg did seem to have a little blood on the outside of the shell...and another weird thing: her very first egg was an off white color...no spots or speckles at all...but all the others since were speckled and more brown than white?
     
  2. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Adair Co., KY
    It sounds like she might be broody, does she growl at you when you try to pick her up?
     
  3. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Quote:No, in fact, she hops out of the box and avoids me if possible but that isn't unusual: I never handled them much...they were raised by a broody silkie hen. Honestly, I left them with the hen until two days after the quail started laying eggs. Once I had them separated and by themselves, she only laid three more times, so three days, before this odd behavior started. She seems to be moving much less than usual...could the removal from her "mother" have instigated the problem? I know I left them with her for probably too long, but the hen just loved them and she broods anything small and chirpy...she has two cochin chicks for now and I have several more in a brooder preparing to give her.

    So far as the quail being broody, that crossed my mind but she will move if I reach in...and she is not at all aggressive...also, she has only laid 5 times so I thought broodiness would be a little early considering coturnix quail are supposedly rarely broody...but you have obviously been doing this longer than me!

    Thanks for the response...should I just chalk it up to stress? I have just never had hen of any species pick themselves bloody...the poor male just kind of looks confused...
     
  4. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I'm not sure what to think about her plucking herself, are you sure it's not the male doing it? Moving them would surely make the females stop laying for a while, but the other behavior seems odd. It sounds like she is broody and plucking her feathers like some chicken hens do. I'd give her a couple eggs and see if she sits on them, that'd be one way to check. Also pick her up and feel between her pelvic bone to see if you can feel an egg, she could be egg bound, but I doubt that.
     
  5. Stellar

    Stellar The Quail Lady

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    Feb 6, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    Seems broody to me.

    Like chicken hens, Quail hens will pluck their breast feathers so they can put as much body heat on the eggs as possible. That way they can incubate the eggs at the correct temp.
    She should look grumpy, and fluff up when you put your hand near by.
     
  6. Lelu

    Lelu Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2010
    Monterey, Ca
    Is there something she can spray on the feathers to prevent the self mutilation?
     
  7. Stellar

    Stellar The Quail Lady

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    All hens do it, it is natural instinct. It isn't self mutilation, just nature doing it's thing: Body heat to egg.
     
  8. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 2, 2009
    BROOKSVILLE FL
    Does She Keep Her Feathers Fluffed Up With Interaction From You?
    What I Mean If You Casually Look In On Her Without Her Knowing You're There Is She Still Fluffed Up?
     
  9. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Thanks for all the replies!

    First, she STILL hasn't laid. She does not seem to "fluff up" upon my arrival...she runs for cover! Got home this afternoon and she had pulled feathers again until she had made blood honestly run down her own leg. The male leaves her alone...I have them where I can look out a window and watch closely but they cannot see me. The broody thing just doesn't seem to fit! She has made no nest and doesn't stay in one spot for long.

    Could she just honestly be neurotic? My sister used to work in a vets' office and they had a parrot that would pull his own feathers for no reason. He eventually got to be basically bald. Luckily I did end up with one egg left from her (laid before this started) that I plan to incubate...but what are the odds that it 1)makes it and 2) is a female lol? May as well try though...what else am I going to do with ONE quail egg lol?
     
  10. Rozzie

    Rozzie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    I would cover her bloody areas in Blue Kote.

    I'd also change up her environment a little - if she's staying in one area, block it off.
     

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