Please Help -- Quail Seizure or Illness?

alee61

Hatching
Oct 19, 2020
5
4
5
Hi,

My 7 week old coturnix quail suddenly began acting strange yesterday. It seems after he gets excited, whether it be from treats or a sand bath, he sometimes starts running backwards with his head/neck scrunched closer to his body -- lasting for around 10 seconds to about a minute with pauses. He did sustain a neck/head injury last week with no noticeable damage but seemed to recover (if this information helps). I was wondering if anyone has any insight to what issue is going on and possible solutions? Could this be some form of encephalitis or effects from the injury? Thank you so much in advance!
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
Premium Feather Member
May 15, 2019
5,939
38,207
716
Sonoma County, CA
This sounds like a head injury to me. I've seen this type of behaviour in birds that have either hit their heads or who have gotten pecked a lot.

All of the birds that I've had this happen to have recovered. Keep an eye on it, and if it doesn't improve in a few days, you may want to give him a thorough examination and post pictures for us.
 

alee61

Hatching
Oct 19, 2020
5
4
5
Thank you so much for your response! I will definitely keep an eye out and post a video of this when I get the chance. He is eating and drinking fine so hopefully he will heal soon!
 

shrimpsilkies

Chirping
Feb 1, 2020
134
244
91
Quail also just run backwards like that when they bump into something they don’t like or feel uncomfortable for a moment, sort of like when you’ve got to sneeze or have an itch. Some are more prone to it than others, but I’ve seen every single one of my very healthy quail do it at least a few times. If it’s extremely common he might’ve bumped his head or has itchy pin feathers somewhere in which case it ought to go away soon.
 

alee61

Hatching
Oct 19, 2020
5
4
5
Quail also just run backwards like that when they bump into something they don’t like or feel uncomfortable for a moment, sort of like when you’ve got to sneeze or have an itch. Some are more prone to it than others, but I’ve seen every single one of my very healthy quail do it at least a few times. If it’s extremely common he might’ve bumped his head or has itchy pin feathers somewhere in which case it ought to go away soon.
Thanks for your insight! He does have some feather loss on his lower back and preens quite a bit. Could this itchiness be sign of ticks as well? I am very new to quails.
 

LJHC

Chirping
Premium Feather Member
Aug 29, 2020
84
246
76
Thank you for this thread. I have one quail that does this everytime she takes a sand bath. I was really beginning to get concerned.
 

ButtonBag

Songster
Jun 23, 2020
214
431
146
London, UK
One of my button hens does this, a quick backwards scoot then springs off in another direction kind of like a pull-back toy car!

But OP said their's lasts from 10 seconds to a minute I'd definitely guess it's from the head injury and will hopefully clear up as he recovers fully :fl
 

shrimpsilkies

Chirping
Feb 1, 2020
134
244
91
Thanks for your insight! He does have some feather loss on his lower back and preens quite a bit. Could this itchiness be sign of ticks as well? I am very new to quails.
If you’re in the northern hemisphere like me in the US it’s molting season here. Natural for them to be a bit itchy and temperamental at this time. My poor girl Peanut had a really fast molt with 3/4 of her body in pinfeathers and every time someone else walked in front of her she’d scrunch up and shuffle backwards all around the coop.
Unless they’re super crowded or in poor conditions I don’t think quail are as susceptible to mites or ticks as certain large, fluffy chickens are. Much more likely for it to be molt, or potentially feather picking. A picture would help if you’re seriously concerned about parasites.
 

Quailobsessed

Crowing
Oct 12, 2019
1,781
2,709
251
Australia
Welcome to BYC!

It could be from some kind of head injury, otherwise it could just be one of his weird quirks (I have some males who run around backwards sometimes).

Keep an eye on him and let us know if anything changes :)
 

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