Quail Beginner - Damp quail run question

Discussion in 'Quail' started by spearquit, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. spearquit

    spearquit New Egg

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    Evening everyone,

    First time quail carer here!

    I heard about some quails that were living in the bottom of an aviary 2 weeks ago. They were in a sad state (one has a broken leg). The owner has just had a child and couldn’t take care of them anymore.

    At that point, I knew I had to make them a new home. I spent a week researching, and bought a rabbit hutch, and built them a containing pen to house them at the bottom of my garden. It’s a pretty standard hutch, slanted roof over it, with an ‘open’ area and a boxed area for them to run in to.

    It’s raised from the ground, with a solid waterproofed floor, and then some astro turf on top of it for comfort. I took ownership of the 4 quails that we’re left yesterday, and popped them in there.

    The problem I’m having is how damp the floor is getting from side rain. Whilst it’s roofed, the floor is getting pretty damp through out. It’s not soaking, but it’s not a dry environment for them. How damp can the floor get before they begin to suffer? Am I over reacting?

    I’ll be drilling small drainage holes this weekend, however I can’t imagine this will not completely solve the problem. Should I put them in temporary shelter in the mean time? How do those of you who keep your quail outside keep it dry? I’d cover it with tarp, but I’m at work 8-6 every day, and worry they wont get enough light and ventilation.

    Finally, I’ve noticed slugs entering the run to feed on lettuce treats… Do they pose any problem for quail?

    Any help is much appreciated

    Rich
     
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As long as they have a dry area - which they actually use - they should be fine. If the entire floor gets damp, I'd move the cage to a shed, greenhouse, garage, porch or whatever to prevent water from getting in. If it gets too dark like that, I'd give them an artificial light for ~12 hours a day. You could use tarp if it can be done without preventing proper ventilation.
    I have button quail in the garden in a ~3x9 ft aviary. It's placed against a wall and one end is covered by wood which extends about 3 ft along the front of the aviary. Even when it rains in through the front, the area behind the wood stays dry and the buttons are doing good. I made a raised box in the enclosed end, to make sure moisture doesn't get in under the aviary and make their bedding wet.
    For the exposed part of the aviary, I used gravel as 'bedding' in the area that was directly rained on, to provide drainage in the attempt to keep my wood chips dry. I wouldn't say that was completely successful, but the buttons are alive and well. Now, for the winter, I've covered the open end and another 3 ft. on the front of the aviay with transparent plastic sheets, leaving just 3 ft. open and exposed to the elements, so I expect the aviary to stay a lot more dry - the exposed part has no bedding (the aviary stands on slabs), to avoid having the bedding drag the moisture into the dry part.

    Now, onto a few questions about your quail - what species are they? What sexes? If there is more than one male they probably need to be separated. How is the one with the broken leg doing? If it's more than a little affected by the leg, it should probably not be kept with the others until fully healed. Quail can turn on weak individuals and kill them very quickly.
     
  3. JaeG

    JaeG Flock Master Premium Member

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    Slugs are a horrid problem - they like the high protein food too! You can place the food in a tray of wood ash or diatomaceous earth if you have the room as those things are too drying for slugs and they won't cross it. The quail will also dustbathe in it so it gets a bit messy but worth it to keep the slugs out of their food! I suppose salt could be an alternative too - one I haven't tried but it might be worth a go. Mine are in a similar set up and sometimes get damp but as long as they have their enclosed house to go into it's more of a pain than something that could seriously affect them. I use straw as bedding and change it out whenever I need to. Straw is reasonably absorbant, water also drains through it, and it's quick and easy to change when needed. Put a dustbath in the enclosed part as they will spend a lot of time bathing in it rather than standing where it's wet.

    Good on you for saving them from a less than ideal situation. Just ask away if you have any more questions. There are lots of helpful people here.
     
  4. spearquit

    spearquit New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2016
    Hey guys,

    First off, thanks very much for the replies. It's hugely appreciated!

    After I posted, I got nervous and started bulding in the dark... I ended up adding a double layer of those rubber anti slip matts (with all the holes in) below the artificial turf, and drilled small drainage holes in the bottom of the enclosure. They're always and inch or so above any pooling water, which should help solve that now. It seems to be working, but I'll keep you posted if anything changes!

    Thanks for your advice on cover the front of the enclosure with some perspex, i'll do this today - I was worried about ventilation, but the open side is about half a meter squared so hopefully this should suffice?

    I'll make sure to do some preventative measures for the slugs this weekend - They're loving the green treats i'm putting down for the quails... It's raised, so i've heard that adding copper tape on the legs can help - Probably a myth, but i'll find out.

    Again, thanks for your replies. But now for the sad news. Unfortunately, my quail with the broken leg has had to be put down. I feel awful, I didn't think you could get attached to them in a matter of days. Maybe it was the shock of the move, but I know I tried my best with her. She was in real pain. I'm telling myself that she at least had a good last week of life. At least I can focus on the remaining one and make sure they get the best new home possible!

    I now have the problem of having a single Coturnix, and 2 buttons inside. Should I look into getting a companion for the remaining Coturnix?

    Unfortunately I have no idea about the sex of the remaining quails. If I took some photos soon, could anyone help me identify them?

    Thanks again
     
  5. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry about your loss :/ At least it's not suffering anymore.
    For the buttons, unless they are white or tuxedo they can be sexed by the color in the vent area - males have rust colored feathers there. Snap a good picture of the vent area if you are in doubt, and I'll help. For the coturnix, only wild colored birds and a few other colors can be sexed by appearance. In their case it's the chest you need to look at. Females have spots, males have an orange-rusty hue and no spots. I'm not as good at sexing them though. Some males have a few spots, some females don't have many and have a slightly orange hue.. But others can help you sex it from a good picture of its chest.
    The coturnix would most likely do best with a friend, yes - and if you only want one more quail, the friend should be of the same sex, as you can't keep coturnix in pairs unless you have a very large enclosure (aviary). Are you keeping the buttons with the coturnix? If so, be very careful. It works for some, but in general it's not a good idea to attempt. The coturnix can very quickly hurt the buttons badly.
     
  6. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's good that you're taking care of them now :)

    If the coturnix is a girl, she will cricket chirp for a friend - you should get her at least one other hen :)

    If it's a boy, do not get any more males or they will fight - he will need about 4 girls so he can mate with them without hopefully overmating one in particular.

    Have you tried giving them a sand bath (sand in a container they can hop into)? It's like the holy grail for quail [​IMG]
     
  7. spearquit

    spearquit New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2016
    Hi all,

    Thanks again for the replies!

    Managed to snap a photo of them - they're a mix, but look like they've been brought up together and are quite happy I think! Sand bath is in, they're loving it.

    I'll take some photos of my set up soon, I'd love it if you guys could offer any advice In it?

    In the mean time, here's a couple of the quails of which I have no idea what sex or breed they are.

    Thanks again

    Rich

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  8. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They certainly are mixed! The one in front is a male harlequin quail - they are relatively rare, if I were you I'd try to get a girl for him. The black-and-white one is a button, probably also male - looks like it has a few rust colored feathers on its tail. The last one is a coturnix, but I'm not sure that color can be feather sexed.
    Looks like a really nice setup and if the birds are happy together you could just let them live like that - but I'd definitely keep an eye out for the chance to get a female harlequin and if you get one, get the two harlequins a cage on their own.
     
  9. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Beautiful setup!! Come mating season though I'm not sure anybody will be happy - a coturnix male needs at least three females to mate with or he could overmate/injure them.
     

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