Quail chicks dying a few days after hatching

Old Clunker

10 Years
Oct 5, 2009
Edinburg, Virginia
I have raised Cortunix Quail before on a very small scale. I recently obtained a dozen eggs and incubated them successfully in my Brower Incubator.

I raised them and now they are producing eggs regularly.

I collected the eggs over several days and set about 50 eggs.

I use a calibrated digital thermometer exaactly like the one I use in my lab at work. The water pan under the eggs is always filled with warm water for humitity.

The chicks hatched perfectly but a few days after hatching they started laying on their back and couldn't get their legs under them.

I switched brooders and I use is a heated plastic Rubbermade tub with soft toweling for them to secure footing. I have even left a few in a spare incubator to see if the grated bottom would help, but the same thing happens.

Again, they are healthy and running around eating and drinking for a few days and then their legs get stiff and they cannot get up off their backs.

Any suggestions?
I purchased the feed for my Bobwhite quail and ring necks. It is Dumore 24% protein feed. I feed this to all my game birds from chicks on up and have not had any problems.

I checked the feed for any mold, but found none. It is kept in a dry container and purchased weekly.
What type of bedding are you using? Could they have eaten anything poisonous? (Not trying to sound like you don't know what you're doing, just trying to narrow it down)
My cousin raised bob whites this yr, from some of the info she shared, she used a Red heat bulb, she fed hers scrambled eggs on a daily basis, reg food and water, sure footing is a necessity, and they need lots of room.

Hers were doing the same thing, you may look up some of her posts: Hobbychick I know lots of people gave her great advise and all but I think 4 died, before she started doing what the post said.

good luck!

in the old brooder what was the temp? i have found that the coturnex likes it a little hotter. under my lamp it stays at 102 and at the other end its about 98 the tops open so it dont get to hot
I know you said they are eating but how much are they eating? How course is the feed ground? We usually use Southern States feed because it's ground finer. If they don't have it we use TSC Dumore brand and I have noticed that the crumbles are bigger. When we use that I run the feed thru a blender for the first week or so.

If the temp was to low you would be losing them right from the start, to high I don't know? are they on the outer sides of the brooder? Ours are always pretty much everywhere in the brooder. If they are dieing after a couple days i'm thinking starve out.

Steve in NC
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Put antibiotics in the water... before that sanitise the brooder GOOD! I use lysol . keep out of drafts & very warm -remember they are babys. use paper at first on floor then PINE SHAVINGS. NOT CEDER shavings, BUT PINE. clean bedding, clean water, clean food. I use nutrina game bird crumbles 28% that dumas brand is way lower %
Thanks for the posts.

I do keep the temp around 98 to 100 F. I have used soft bath towel ( faded ones) and/ or paper towel for bedding.

I cleaned the brooder with a mild soap/water/ rinse then a weak water/chlorox solution. I then placed it in the dish washer as the instructions stated and rinsed with a heated water scald rinse. I let it set for a couple of days and set the heat for 98-100F and monitored it carefully.

I did the same things with my other quail and pheasants and never had a problem, but now they are dying off like flies.

I'll look up the posts for the one submitters cousin. This is getting me and I don't know what to do to correct it. All I can say is I am glad it was with my 50 eggs and chicks and not thousands in production.

Thanks all and I will check back tomorrow for any further posts.

I appreciate the help.


I forgot to reply about how much they were eating.

I have a small pan in there with plenty of very small crumbles and fine feed, which I change twice a day. The chicks were in the pan all the time it seemed. I even switched to a new bag of feed.

I just cannot understand the stiff legs they are experiencing and laying on their backs when just a few hours before they were scurrying around like normal.

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