Quail Chick Learning Journey at the Ruskin Roost!

Ruskin_Roost

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
105
250
73
Mission, BC, Canada
Hello BYC Quail Community!

Today is day four since hatch and the covey is energetic and racing around! It is so nice to see the individual chicks' personalities emerging.

Please read-on below for my experiences so far with...
- Receiving the Eggs, to Incubation and Hatch
- Egg and Chick Correlations & Names
- Water
- Feed
- Housing
- Questions

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Receiving the Eggs, to Incubation and Hatch

I received the eggs from a farmer in the town of Langley, near where I live in Mission, BC, Canada. Out of a dozen I received seven Coturnix "Pansy", three Coturnix "Silver" and two Coturnix "Jumbo". I had initially wanted all Pansy but there were only seven ready that morning, so he gave me some others in the mix. I receieved them in a plastic egg container, which I carefully transported in bubblewrap and a cardboard box, back to my home. I read that letting them rest 24 hours is a good idea to let the insides sort themselves out from any disruption during the move, so that's what I did. Once 24 hours was up (11am the next day) I put them in the Styrofoam forced-air incubator I have used in the classroom for hatching chicken. The humidity is high here (today it is 65%) and the quail were at 45% humidity and 101.1F until lockdown. At lockdown, I added 1/2 cup of water, and the humidity went to 80%. In the end, I have eight quirky quail!

(1 dented Jumbo egg did not develop. 1 Silver egg externally pipped and did not unzip, I did not save in time, left in incubator just *incase*, 1 Silver "Pete" assisted unzip, then hatched, died first day, had a clicking sound in chest, which makes me wonder if the humidity was detrimental in his case :( 1 Pansy Egg seems normal, still in incubator *just incase* and I plan on doing the float test tomorrow if there is no success).

Peep! Pip! Chip! Unzip! Hatch! Hooraaay!

All of my successful quail chicks hatched on day 18 "Hatch Day"! I marked that day as "Day One" even though Tux wasn't freed from his shell until 10:30pm. I had two externally pip without internally pipping their air sac (Rambo and Pete), so I unzipped them and then let them hatch on their own. Tux Pipped and unzipped on his own, but one leg was stuck inside the egg and after I moistened it to let him try and free it himself, my partner finally had enough after a few hours and helped him free. By now, I have named each quail chick and talk about them to my partner as if they are people. I know they aren't sexed yet, but I have attributed genders to them regardless (for now)... it is just impossible to call them "it" when they are so full of quirks!

Egg and Chick Correlations & Name

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I think it is so fascinating how the colours and sizes of the eggs seem to have no relation to the colours and sizes of my chicks!
Here is a breakdown...
  • "Rambo" our Jumbo, is the biggest and is true to colour.
  • "Ace" the first-hatched, is close behind in size. If he is not calling for me (a dead give-away who he is), I have to look closely at the markings near their beaks to tell him and Rambo apart. Ace was born from a lightly-speckled and almost white in coloured egg, as was...
  • "The Dude" who is also similar in size to Ace, and is aaalways stretched out on the ground when he sleeps, both legs straight out the back.
  • "Carmello" and "The Loner Guy" are typically coloured and sized Pansy Coturnix chicks, who came from nearly identical eggs. They look very similar, except Carmello's streaks between the deep brown are a rich caramel colour, while Loner Guy's colouring is not.
  • "Loner Guy", as you can probably tell by the name, almost always chooses to sleep a little ways apart from the group's cuddle puddle or sleep-train.
  • "Speed Racer" is a light tan with thin brown streaking, and she hatched from a "Silver" egg. Her stripes must make her run really fast, this girl can go!
  • "Blondie" has silver colouring with almost no discernible markings or stripes- she came from the darkest "Pansy" egg!
  • "Tux" came out of the tiniest pale Pansy egg with large spots. He is the smallest in the bunch, and has been from the start. He is SO SO CUTE! His colouring is yellow on the sides with an almost tortoise-shell thick strip down his back on on to his head. So far, Tux is struggling with constipation, pasty butt and a swollen vent, and swollen oil gland. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this community, which has helped me immensely in making adjustments for Tux's benefit.
The_Covey.jpg

They are alive! YAY! Now what...
Keeping these chickies dry, healthy and happy is my number one concern!

Water

I read on BYC and other sources that adding Apple Cider Vinegar to the water can help fight against bacteria.
To ready my water, I boil it in a stainless steel pot for 3 minutes. I cool it, covered, in the fridge. I add 1 1/2 TSP Apple Cider Vinegar for every 2 cups of water. I serve it room temperature because I want to avoid chilling the chicks.

Today I am excited to try out their new water dish! I feel more confident they won't be laying their heads down in it for a snooze now they are a little older...
I have kept the old dish for Tux because he cannot reach into the tall red one yet.
- In the round waterer's trough, I put small, non-porus naturally polished, sanitized stones (I picked the non-metalic ones incase they leech into the water) from my rock collection. I read online that adding pebbles or marbles will help deter chicks from plunging their heads to the bottom. No drowning on my watch! *Please*
- I showed Blondie where the new water dish was and how to use it, and she quickly showed three other quail. She is the most "tame" of the bunch and always comes to my hand. Tux is too short to reach into the new water dish so I left the old one aswell, and continue to make sure he is getting fluids (pineapple juice twice to try and get things moving inside, and to help energize him, and water from a pipette).
- They had adjusted to drinking out of the new container quickly and I am so happy they won't be pooping in their water anymore (for the time being), because it can lead to serious health complications (for me and the chicks! I stressed majorly about them drinking poopy water while I was asleep).

Feed

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I was unable to procure a game-bird starter feed from my local feed stores, and online stores are back-ordered or not delivering due to these crazy times,
so I am using a 23% Protein Poultry Pre-Starter Crumble: it was the only food that was recommended to me by the three people I asked, before getting quail (1)The farmer where I got the quail (2)The local feed store "Mr.Pet" (3)The Langley Feed Store "Milner Feed and Pet Supply". I am also a wild bird-fanatic, so I happen to have Mealworms already (I add them to my home-made suet), to be used as treats.

Online, I found various protein percentages of what I "should" have for quail chicks: 30%, 28% and 24%. I understand having a higher protein is what the chicks need in this high-growth time. I also have read not to add anything extra to diets because everything is perfectly balanced... But! I don't have "quail food". Therefore, I decided to do the math (I am a grade two teacher so this took some extra head-scratching as numbers have always been difficult for me) and added some crumbled mealworms (50% protein) to the mix, to make my "Ruskin Recipe". I took 2 cups of 23% Poultry Pre-Starter Crumble, and 1/4 cup of 50% Protein Mealworms and blended them in my grinder to create a fine crumble. I believe this puts the percentage of protein they are getting from the Ruskin Recipe at 27.4% or something silly.

Right now, because of the differences in sizes in the chicks (and my own curiosity of what they will be drawn to) I have offered three forms of feed:
1) The 23% Protein Poultry Pre-Starter Crumble in a galvanized steel feeder.
2) Slurry: Mix the "Ruskin Recipe" with water (also called a mash).
3) "Ruskin Recipe" in a fine crumble on paper towel to scratch and peck at.

If you have any advice or concerns about the feed PLEASE let me know A.S.A.P. I am a first-timer, trying to do my best here!

Housing

The chicks are brooding in my bunny's old indoor cage. It was completely scrubbed and sanitized and dried well before the chicks hatched. I also did my first clean of the bedding today and wiped down the cage. Under the heat lamp it is 100F, the blanketed end is 90F and the end where the feed is, is 85F.

Brooder_Ruskin_Roost.jpg


In the photo you will notice some "extras"
1) A blanket: Their brooder does not hold heat as some other brooders I have seen. I know putting a blanket on can trap heat and block some air-flow, so I put it on the far end near our door and refrigerator. We are in a very small area, so we are doing what we can with the space we have while the chicks are so young.
2) A wooden hidey-hole: In the darker, blanketed end I have put a flattened wooden tunnel to make a "safe zone" for the chicks. They use it randomly for napping or playing, or to control their body-heat, I suppose!
3) A mirror: The mirror is a HILARIOUS addition, as I can see the front and back of the chick standing in front of it. None have tried to run at it, I believe they can see themselves. Loner Guy especially likes to hang out with himself while the others are cuddle puddled, so maybe he is a bit confused and thinks there is another lonely chick who needs comforting.
4) A rock: Tux would NOT lay down until about 15 minutes ago. He always tries to sleep standing up, against another chick, or on top of Blondie. He uses the rock to prop himself up and have a snooze when others are moving around too much or wide awake. He is in recovery, so I think he appreciates a solid sleeping companion.

I intend to raise my Coturnix Quail as Layers for eggs! And for fun backyard companions. My plan is for the current brooder to become a cage for the "extra males" we will separate to feed as Broilers when the time is right.
*Fingers Crossed* We have a 3:1 Female:Male ratio and end up with six females and two males and no one will have to become a Broiler!
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The Quail Coop will be outside our front door (the only door) on the opposite wall of our kitchen. The Quail Coop is currently being converted from Murphy's old Rabbit Hutch. My partner has added a base to get it off the ground and allow for trays to be placed under the mesh, and for storage bins for their oyster shells, rat-proof feed-bins, cedar shavings, etc. We are waiting on 1/2 inch hardware mesh to be delivered for the "floor" in the middle. We will also use the hardware mesh to all openings, as the current spacing is too wide and could let in rats and cats' paws.

I live at the base of Iron Mountain. We have cougars, wolves, black bears, skunk, coyote, owls, you name it! I am hoping that having the quail right next to a highly trafficked area, our front door, will help deter these predators. It is on the second floor, against the house, between two windows and under a wide veranda roof overhang. They will be dry here and comfortable!

I plan on having a pop-bottle watering system with three pop bottles.
I need to improve my plans on their feed situation, as I want to deter rats as much as possible, and would love any input!

Questions

If you can please add your two-cents in the comments below, I would greatly appreciate it!

I have some general questions. Online and BYC has a lot of information, but some of it can be contradictory or confusing, and I prefer to hear it straight from the horse's mouth!

Food- Online, it says it is okay to give chicks bugs and greens. Is this the BYC Consensus? What are your quail's favourite treats and when did you start?

Water- Do you add anything to your water to help your chicks stay healthy?

Constipation- I have read that giving a chick who is constipated molasses mixed with water, sugar water, pineapple juice, prune juice, etc. I really don't feel like experimenting with Tux's health and would really appreciate any input on this topic. How do I avoid constipation?

Heating- I use a red heat lamp and I have to monitor it all the time, because we are indoors and the house heats up in the sun. I am constantly adjusting how far away it is from the ground, which disturbs the chicks. In the future, would you recommend a different type of heating for raising quail?

Crowing?- Ace will call for me when I leave the room, and if i do not answer him with my voice, the others soon start calling too. I was in the shower and came out to... crowing!? I didn't get to the brooder in time to see who it was but it was a call that ended all garbled up, fast and, I don't really know how to.

:D If you have gotten this far...
Thank you for reading and I hope we can become connected through BYC.
I appreciate this community so much and am hopeful to become a contributing member soon!

Sincerely,
Michelle at Ruskin Roost <3
 
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Fenrisulfr

Crowing
Mar 30, 2020
972
2,146
286
Germany
I don't give my quail chicks greens and bugs till week 4

I also don't add anything to the water till week 4.
Later, I add vitamines 2 times a Week.

I add blue poppy seed (2 tea spoons per kg ... First 10 days) and dried Oregano (4 tea spoons per kg ... till they get mature feed) to the starter crumbles.

I use heatplates, but for decades heatlamps were used and they are working. If your enviroment does change so much, you have to adjust any heat source constantly.

Small chicks don't crow... they calling for her mom, which is obvious you 😉

Puh ... very nice, but long post... just vertical read it. I have to repeat this straight through 🙈😉
 

Ruskin_Roost

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
105
250
73
Mission, BC, Canada
I don't give my quail chicks greens and bugs till week 4

I also don't add anything to the water till week 4.
Later, I add vitamines 2 times a Week.

I add blue poppy seed (2 tea spoons per kg ... First 10 days) and dried Oregano (4 tea spoons per kg ... till they get mature feed) to the starter crumbles.

I use heatplates, but for decades heatlamps were used and they are working. If your enviroment does change so much, you have to adjust any heat source constantly.

Small chicks don't crow... they calling for her mom, which is obvious you 😉

Puh ... very nice, but long post... just vertical read it. I have to repeat this straight through 🙈😉
Good to know about the bugs, thank you!
Interesting! What do the blue poppy seed and dried oregano do to benefit the chicks?
I have used a heat-plate for a gecko in the past, I will do some more research about heat-plates and using them with quail.
Thank you for responding! I am sorry my post was so long!
Your feedback is appreciated!
:) Michelle
 

Fenrisulfr

Crowing
Mar 30, 2020
972
2,146
286
Germany
You don't have to be sorry ... I love your post. But as a non native englisch speaker, it takes a while for me 🙈

Still reading it. Just wanted to give some quick answers.

Blue poppy seeds avoids diarrhea and oregano is a mild natural antibiotic. Also the chicks love it.

I like the heatplate, just personal choice... I also have a heatlamp as backup.
 

Fenrisulfr

Crowing
Mar 30, 2020
972
2,146
286
Germany
Edit2: be carefull with dried mealworms. Yes, they are high protein, but also high fat. Can cause diarrhea and they get too fast heavy, too fast for their legs. Beside, too much fat isn't healthy for any living (beside a polar bear, maybe 🤣)
 

Fenrisulfr

Crowing
Mar 30, 2020
972
2,146
286
Germany
Edit3: I started with a similar rabbit hutch... still use it for my virgin ladies... which do not accept other quails.

20200326_154520.jpg


But this is located in my balkony... no 4 feeted predators.
On my new lot at the breeders club farm, this would be impossible.

We have a fox running around, which is a real safe cracker... just stole a duck tonight from the neighbours lot.

And I am living in the city. Only rats, martens and this fox is our problem here

In Canada... Puh. Aren't there black bears roaming through villages quite often?

I quess every predator I know love quails for dinner... humans inclusive 🙈
 

Ruskin_Roost

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
105
250
73
Mission, BC, Canada
You don't have to be sorry ... I love your post. But as a non native englisch speaker, it takes a while for me 🙈

Still reading it. Just wanted to give some quick answers.

Blue poppy seeds avoids diarrhea and oregano is a mild natural antibiotic. Also the chicks love it.

I like the heatplate, just personal choice... I also have a heatlamp as backup.

Nice! It looks like you have really happy layers. They are so beautiful! Using natural herbs as a antibiotic is fantastic. I will look more into it. So far, no one has diarrhea, just constipation!

I realised that the mealworms are high in fat and that did worry me, especially for their young growing bodies. I will offer the mealworm slurry now only once a day for a while as a treat and also to encourage Tux to eat.

Yes, we have blackbear and many more quail-hungry critters! My partner is looking forward to his first quail dinner. I would be happy to have layers only, but it takes a while to get to that level as far as I understand.

I will take a look at your profile and other posts to learn more from you!
Thank you again!

Michelle :woot
 
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