Newbie Quail owner, Questions on Coturnix Quails!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Basilisk, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Basilisk

    Basilisk Just Hatched

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    Feb 3, 2012
    Hey everyone! I realize you guys probably get a ton of posts likes this so I'm sorry to add to the menagerie, but I had a few questions and you all seemed like the best group to approach about them!

    I'm personally a reptile keeper (don't worry these guys aren't food haha) but I've done a lot of research and after a good while of searching, I've gotten myself two gorgeous Texas A&M Coturnix. We got them about two weeks ago, and they are currently about 5 weeks of age. From all behaviour and appearances, it appears we have a boy and a girl (The boy likes to remind us by crowing about once a day). We think they are already quite attached to each other because if we remove one from the others sight, they both start calling for each other (the male quite louder haha). We are keeping them as indoor pets as we live in the bay area and it's quite cold here! And besides, we don't have a backyard anyways haha.

    Anywho, our first question is What would you all suggest getting them for dustbaths?? They've started dustbathing in their feed and we realized we don't have an alternative for them to use so they aren't throwing all their food away in attempt to have a good bath. We didn't want to just go to Home Depo and buy sand because being a reptile keeper, I know it can have harmful things in it if eaten.


    Second question is that we're hoping to Hand Tame them. How does one go about Hand Taming a Coturnix? The male is already incredibly tolerant of contact and being held, and even is just content in perching on our hands and sometimes being pet. Although he's fairly adverse to the process of having a hand reach in and pick him up, understandably. The female used to be like that, but over the last week has seemingly become more and more flighty when it comes to the big bad hand coming near her, and she absolutely detests being held. We take them out every day to run around our kitchen though, and try to have a little physical contact with them, while also trying to avoid stressing them out. Any tips or notes you have about hand taming and raising indoor coturnix would be greatly appreciated!

    Lastly, while my roommate is fairly familiar with birds, he's primarily a parrot keeper, so these birds are new for both of us. What are signs of a healthy and happy Coturnix? What are good treats for them? What are signs of an unhealthy/stressed out Coturnix? Any health or Red Flags we should look out for as we care for and raise them?

    This basically sums up my questions at current, thanks in advanced to any help and answers!
     
  2. groundpecker

    groundpecker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2011
    Rison, Arkansas
    For dust bath, you can put a pan full of sand in the cage with them. Be sure the pan is at least tall as the quail, to prevent spillage.

    For taming i have little experience. I suggest petting them during feeding/watering time so they get used to human contact.

    Quail treats: live worms

    Signs of happy quail: Calm, docile and no visible fighting damage or actions. They also make a distinct low-volume fast noise when you add something to the pen that they like.

    Unhappy quail: Fighting, restlessness, crazy running and flying around the pen, and feather picking.

    Stress tirggers: Adding new quail to same pen, predator attack or presence, no food or water, dirty pens, too much human contact, overcrowding of pens and too many males per female ratio. I find that 1 male to 2 female ratio works well for me. Others claim one male per 3-4 females works for them.

    A happy quail is usually a healthy quail. I do not have any experience with unhealthy quail, but quail should die quickly if there is a problem.

    Quail also love to dig through grass and hay added to their pen.
     
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  3. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    Great answers Groundpecker

    I do most of what Groundpecker said, I did have a bit to add, even if you give them sandboxes they will still dig in their feed, your best bet is to get a spill free quail feeder that they cant get their dirty lil feet into. I will post a pic of what I started with, my setup is different now but these type of feeders can be had for a few bucks

    [​IMG]

    As for the male to female ratio, I started out with 1 male to 2 females and it quickly became obvious that the male didnt have enough "friends" because he was pulling all the feathers out of the females and in some cases messing their heads all up by nearly scalping them. Now I run one male to 3 females in the breeder pens and a 4 female to 1 male ration in the colony type pen that I have, I believe right now its 4 males to 16-20 females, keeps everyone happy.

    I also throw bedding and small hay in with my quail and they LOVE to dig, they make themselves little piles of hay and lay in it lol
     
  4. Basilisk

    Basilisk Just Hatched

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    Feb 3, 2012
    Thanks to both of you for all the helpful information! By all accounts it seems our quails are pretty happy then!

    Just a couple clarification things. I don't have access to sand as I'm living in an apartment, is the sand they sell at Home Depo/Lowes safe for my quails? If so I'll be sure to pick some up for them!

    The second is that you mention a feeding time for the Quails. We've just been keeping food available to them 24/7, should we change that? If so how much should we be feeding two growing Coturnix qails and how many times a day? Or if I get a Quail Feeder should I only leave it in their pen part time? Or leave it in all the time?

    Also still to anyone else, any more tips hand taming and the like would be greatly appreciated! Something I've been doing lately is just trying to have one of my hands in their cage for a while, not chasing them, not grabbing them, but just having it there for them to climb over and eat around to hopefully see it as something less threatening.
     
  5. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    You are on the right track

    Sand from Home Depot or any other store is just fine, I choose to use the "river sand" at Home Depot, its about 3.50 a bag so its cheap enough and it has small and bigger sand in there but it is silica free, says it on the bag anyway which makes me feel better even though I am not 100% sure what silica would even do to a bird lol

    The feed: I keep my feed 24 hours a day available too unless they run out of food in which case it could be a couple hours or more before they have food again, either way if you only choose to feed them in the morning they would either eat it all or eat it througout the day, either way they are fine.

    As for taming I am not the best at, but my birds are easily caught and will sometimes walk right into my hand, I will mess around in there cage alot getting them food and water and I feed them bird see out of my hand, that is the best way I know as it works on chickens too. Get some bird seed and drop little bits in every now and then, they will learn to associate your hand with food time, then you can start feeding them out of your hand, before you know it you will have them begging to be around you lol, food is a good bait for every species lol
     
  6. Basilisk

    Basilisk Just Hatched

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    Feb 3, 2012
    Yeah the Silica was what I was worried about, but I'll go see about picking some of this sand up!

    As for the food, I might want to try just feeding in the morning for a bit as to start trying to offer food from hand. How much would you suggest feeding to Coturnix Daily?
     
  7. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    What I did when I only fed daily was start off with a cup or two, if they eat all that in an hour I would feed them another cup, if there was anything left over then I knew 3 cups would get over the initial pig out stage and then a little over the rest of the day.

    I will tell ya though its frustrating trying to keep up with feeding them every day even, especially if you dont have to, I guess you probably use more feed if you make it constantly available but if you are growing birds for food that is what you want, nice fat birds that grow fast. If you are keeping them for pets then you can control their feed by giving them a set amount each day
     
  8. TTeddy

    TTeddy Out Of The Brooder

    Hi,
    I'm trying to find out anything I can on [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Coturnix, as i plan to get some in the near future.

    Reading this has been helpful.

    I don't know a lot about training quail to tame them up, but I would imagine that they would be similar to any other bird. I have tamed a lot of birds in my time. Mochicken's advice above is great. I guess the secret here I think is food, hand feeding and general interaction with you. Once they get used to noises etc, they will become more tolerant.
    Letting them roam around the kitchen is good. This is what my birds can do 24/7 as they don't live in cages. Just being close to them will do it.
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]What do they eat? Can they eat fruit and vege as well as their processed food? Do they eat grass, as in wild oats, things like that?
    What are some food that they can't be fed, if any?
    [/FONT]


    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Cheers[/FONT]
     

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