Pecked eyes! And I've only had them a week!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by sphanges, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    Hi all,

    I got my first quail (coturnix) last week, 5 females and a male (who isn't very male-ish to be honest.. doesn't crow but have seen him mating a few times so I guess he has the goods :) ). Came home today to find one of the females pecked badly in both eyes and a little on her face :(

    I have her isolated with food and water, and have used an animal antibiotic eye cream (both eyes still there but scabby and I don't think she can see well at the moment). She's pretty limp when held though she has a bit of fight in her when I try to put the cream on. She's sitting still in her cage, mostly sleeping. I've gotten a few drops of salty/sugar water into her but haven't seen her eating or drinking since I found her.

    Anything else I should do?

    How about for the attackers? They're in a 4 x 3ft cage, with the end of it closed off with hay for nesting (this is where they've been laying). They're directly on grass so they can forage and dustbathe, and I sprinke stuff like grit and eggshell and soakseed and occasionally millet and insects on the grass so they can forage for that too. I've added in a box and a tunnel to provide more hiding spaces.

    They may be a bit stressed cause they've only been here a week. A few of the females run up and down pecking at the mesh on the sides of the cage so I have placed boards against them today so they can't see out, and that seems to have stopped the mesh pecking. From what I've read they should have enough space for just 6 of them. Only one is laying right now though three were when I got them, figured it was the stress of the change.

    Any insights appreciated! I don't really want this happening again if I can prevent it.

    B
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Sounds like they have enough room. Try adding hidey places for them which will also calm them down. Maybe some cut branches from a tree outside, propped up in the corner to give the place a more natural feeling. If they are still really hyper, you might want to cover their pen with something to darken it a bit for a few days. A blanket or something. This will keep the anxiety down in the pen and hopefully help them adjust better.

    As for the injured quail. Put a brooder heat lamp on her for a day or two. Temp up around 75 or 80 degrees. Injuries can cause shock, which makes them cold. The warmth will heal her faster. Get her to eat what ever she will eat, even if it is human food. Don't put her back in until she is fully healed. It also might help if you keep her in sight of the others so that when you do reintroduce her, she is not considered a new bird.

    When you do introduce her back in, watch who is the aggressor. If it starts back up, remove the bully bird and keep them separated for two or three weeks. This will adjust this birds attitude and when you put this bully back in, she should be tamed down greatly. If not, you may need to keep her out of this pen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  3. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    Thank you so much, that is really helpful! She made it through the night and took some sugar water off a spoon this morning. Do you have any suggestions for what to feed her? She is not eating her regular crumble or anything else I have put in with her. I was thinking maybe soup or watery baby food?

    Her eyes have scabbed over a bit and I'm still applying the cream. Apart from keeping them clean and medicated, should I do anything else to them? Do the scabs need to be removed to access the eyes with the cream or should I leave them alone to heal?

    Thanks!
    B
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    You can feed her hard boiled eggs, warm oatmeal, warm grits, slices of fruit, warmed baby food as you suggested, things of this nature. If she is not eating, just keep trying different foods on her to see what she will eat. Even bird seed if that is what she wants. Many times an injury will cause the appetite to really decline. So you have to use your imagination.

    You can use neosporin on the wound or any antibiotic type cream. Blu-kote for poultry and horses will work. Nearly any thing that will combat infection. Try to avoid anything with the pain killers in it, like the "cane" products.

    I would leave it alone for the most part as they have terrific healing powers themselves. Once the wound stops oozing, it should heal just fine.
     
  5. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    Thank you, that's great info. I'll do as you have suggested :)

    B
     
  6. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    An update, she's recovered well, can still see out of both eyes and I've put her back outside in her own pen near the main group. Unfortunately I had another pecked, only one eye and not so bad. My white roo attacked the second one after I bought a new white pair and had them in a nearby cage, he's been going nuts trying to get to the new white roo and he started chasing her instead. I'm wondering if he just doesn't like white girls as he is fine with all the others!
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Are you keeping males together? You might need to separate this entire group up, keeping the ones together that do get along and the others in another pen. Make sure to keep the ratio of 1 male to 5 to 7 females correct.

    Oh, and I am glad to hear your little one's eyes have healed. :)
     
  8. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    Hi there,

    When the first eye pecking happened I had only one male to 5 females. After the first pecking, I took the injured one out so he was left with 4 females. He pecked the second hen after I bought a new pair and put them in a nearby cage where they could see/hear each other. He is still "fence running" to try to get to the new roo after 3 days but not as much now, and the new roo has also stopped. I have bigger cages in the works so maybe they will help.

    The two injured hens who were living together happily have just started scrapping too, argh I think both me and the birds are very stressed out at the moment :( I might cover all cages completely for a few days. I suspect a cat has been upsetting them by sitting close by.

    Cheers
    B
     
  9. sphanges

    sphanges Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2013
    Well, he pecked again hard enough to draw blood, so that was it for him. He's just too aggressive to breed from.I took him back to the shop and swapped him for a lovely range boy who seems very quiet. The two new roos have been peering at each other from their separate cages and neither has been showing the faintest sign of aggression. Relieved to be rid of him. Everyone is much happier now he is gone, the hens are quieter and there's been no cage pecking or squabbling since he left.

    B
     
  10. Chikaby Pond

    Chikaby Pond New Egg

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    It is not unusual to have a very aggressive anti-social bird in a colony. They can be either sex, from my experience. It is best, as you did, to remove them altogether. As to introducing new birds to an established colony. That is a very tricky thing. Quail are very territorial and will not happily welcome "outsiders". The best way to go around that is to take all of the established colony OUT of their pen(s), clean and sanitize every inch of it then put ALL the birds (including the newcomers) in at the same time. This usually works and if you have PLENTY of females to keep one or two, even three males busy you shouldn't have a problem.

    5-6 females to a male should be plenty. There's never a guarantee, however, that aggression will not occur.

    The other thing I have learned with regard to birds attacking other birds: somehow these critters know when a bird is either sick, not fertile, blind, or in some way "not quite right". I have rescued many a bird that had its eyes pecked, etc. put it in ICU and brought it back around. But never have I been able to reintroduce that particular bird to its colony! It's a weird thing. So I usually just put them in a small pen of their own. A few times, I've been lucky and been able to put a male and female or two females together who were rejected by their colonies and had successful pairings including the hens laying!

    So much to learn! :) Glad you had a happy ending!
     

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