Pet Coturnix Quail plucking feathers

Discussion in 'Quail' started by shawnknight, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. shawnknight

    shawnknight Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2015
    I'm a long time parrot owner and got a farm a few years ago. Lots of geese and ducks and chickens and a peacock.

    We have a coturnix quail and in the past months he has been pucking and chewing his feathers.

    He is a full blown pet and his favorite thing to do is sit on a human's lap. He lives indoors on the floor of our family room in the basement and has full access to the entire basement. He even comes and finds me when I'm doing my duties in the bathroom or am working in my office.

    My problem is, for the past month he has plucked out all his tail feathers, chewed off most of his wing feathers, removed all the small feathers under his wings all the way down to his tail.

    I got him a cone of shame so he can't bend back and chew, but it's not working out at all. He can still get to his tail feathers and the device hinders his movements. I can tell he is very upset with this.

    Any advice would be great to get him to stop plucking.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  2. TwoCrows

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

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Sorry about your bird. If he doesn't have mites and you can tell by looking at the skin, it will have tiny black dots all over it especially around the vent, it could be a personality trait. I have a couple of chickens right now that are feather mutilating. I have tried everything. Even tried the Bach Flower remedies in hopes of calming the down. But nothing. I have seen feather mutilation in Parrots as well.

    Feather chewing becomes a habit and it is hard to break. Many factors can cause them to do this, stress being the number one cause.

    Does he have a place to dust bathe each day? Quail love to dust bathe in sand or dirt. Not that this will stop his feather chewing, but it might help somewhat.

    I have tried all kinds of no pic sprays, however you might give one of these a try. I have used Hot Pic from Thomas Labs for Parrots....http://www.entirelypets.com/thomas-labs-hot-pick-spray-4-oz.html

    Good luck with this! Maybe someone else will chime in here and offer you more help! :)
     
  3. ChrisandraO

    ChrisandraO Out Of The Brooder

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    If he doesn't already give him access to a dust bath once a day and I had a cockatoo that we rescued to this and eventually he ended up in clothes 90% of the time. Im sure they make the coats for quail too :) (I've seen them for chickens so.....)

    feather mutilation typically is from stress, boredom, or illness (mental of physical) It might be time for a vet check up to see whats going on with the little guy and to make sure there is no mites or other issues.
     
  4. shawnknight

    shawnknight Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2015
    He has a sand bath in children's play sand twice a day and loves it. We started giving him sand baths when he started plucking, suggested by an avian pet. Makes him happy but he's plucking more than ever.

    Avian vet wasn't really very knowledgeable and suggested we switch him to "quail food", asked her where to get it, she had no idea (me neither). No blood tests done.

    Here's some pics of him... (I call him Mr Quail, my wife and kids call him Mr Male)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. ChrisandraO

    ChrisandraO Out Of The Brooder

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    'quail food' is basically wild game or turkey bird crumbles. I would give him a jacket though, basically it is cloth that loosely covers his feathers/skin so he cant get to his feathers anymore so they can have time to heal, Im sure you should be able to find one on etsy or if you googled it they might come up.
     
  6. TwoCrows

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

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    Feathers are made up of 85% protein. Many times they will pluck and eat their feathers to get the protein. However feathers do not break down to give them any usable protein.

    I would say either this is the case of not enough protein or this his feather plucking is some sort of stress manifesting.

    He sure is a cutie pie!! [​IMG]
     
  7. TwoCrows

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

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    Oh and quail need to eat something with about 26% protein. Either food formulated for quail or turkeys will do.
     
  8. shawnknight

    shawnknight Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2015
    Thank you everyone!

    In the parrot world sexual frustration can cause plucking. I know he is sexually active and his favorite "sex toy" is a human hand :) Maybe he needs a lover?

    Can someone point me to a pattern or pictures of a full body suit? I'm trying to imagine something to stop him from chewing is tail feathers (or lack of any) as they have dry blood all the time. Something that can protect but leave his vent open? Poor thing loves to call out standing up straight with his neck stretched an wings flapping, guess he wouldn't be able to do that.

    I can get turkey food from our local TSC store (I'm in Canada). I'll have to break the pellets down. I'll start feeding him scrambled eggs too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  9. shawnknight

    shawnknight Out Of The Brooder

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  10. TwoCrows

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

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    LOL....yes I had a Lovebird that needed to satisfy himself too. LOL I have never seen this in any of my lone quail males, so I am not sure quail are feather pluckers because of this.

    No, this finisher is not enough protein. Do you have a Tractor Supply Company nearby you? They usually carry 5 pound bags of gamebird food. You might order on line as well. A 5 pound bag is going to last quite a while for one quail. You will need to work his feed in slowly by mixing it 50/50 for a week, then 75/25 and then after a month try a 100% quail feed.

    Here is a link to something you might try...http://www.amazon.com/Manna-Pro-0046203236-Game-5-Pound/dp/B000QFP5UY

    It is 24% protein. I believe Tractor Supply carries it. I think TSC also carries a "Du Mor" gamebird food as well.
     

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