Quail Foot Problems on Wire Cage

Discussion in 'Quail' started by domore, May 25, 2016.

  1. domore

    domore New Egg

    May 25, 2016
    First post. Searched forums but haven't seen a direct match to the problems I'm having

    I have Jumbos on 1/2 x 1, 16g, galvanized, high-quality wire. At present I have 6 of 30-odd quail with bandaged feet. The larger of the birds seem to have this problem, average weight around 13 oz. Quail smaller than this aren't having as many problems.

    Damage to the feet occurs mainly on the pad, the point where all toes meet in the middle. I first notice the onset of a new issue with significant blood tracks over the cage floor. The pads are swollen and bleeding, often torn, but can be similar to a cracked dry lake bed on a micro-scale... numerous fractures in the foot pad. Antiseptic wash and antibiotic ointment abates the issue somewhat, but after 2-3 weeks, no foot pad looks sufficiently healed to remove the wrap.

    I don't believe this is bumblefoot. I've had that issue with chicks, doctored it and I think I know the symptoms. This is not a infection pocket with the circular scab most often referred to a bumblefoot. There never has been pus.

    I have been over the cage floor many times looking for sharp corners and have removed all that I find with a hone and diamond pad. All crimps which hold the cages together have been likewise inspected and addressed. However, even with all this work, this issue still keep coming. I would say a new bleeding foot is popping up about every 3-4 days.

    I had cardboard boxes in the cages for dirt baths but first suspected the frayed edges of the cardboard for paper cuts and removed them. No change. The quail do not have the ability to leave the cages for ground contact.

    I suspect the wire causes pressure points on the pads and eventually the tissue just erupts. I haven't been able to see a progression of decay to support this hypothesis. I only note when a new bird has a bleeding foot. I appears to erupt in just a day or so.

    All commercial cages and most DIY's that I have looked up use this same size of wire. These cages are DIY.

    Has anyone survived this natural disaster and if so, how?
  2. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wire isn't good for any animals feet. I don't know your exact situation, but if you can afford it, it would be better to keep them on bedding, or outside on the ground. I haven't kept quail, but I know hamsters and mice have this issue.
  3. Tabasco Jack

    Tabasco Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2013
    Draketown, GA
    I cut up some rubbermaid totes and put some flat pieces in my cages so they can get off the wire when they want.
  4. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm not a fan of wire at all, but from what I've read, you should have about 1/3 of the floor area as a solid surface so they can rest off of the wire - perhaps for this very reason :eek:

    Hope your quail get better soon and the full floor is helping :)
  5. LocalYokel

    LocalYokel Overrun With Chickens

    Is there a dustbowl in there?

    They love those.

    Also consider covering part of the "floor".

    They have to be able to get off the wire at some point.

    It could be 1/4" scrap of ply wood, a rubber scrap etc.

    I have seen Welded Wire/Hardware Cloth that had "points" on one side of the cloth.

    I dont know if this is part of the galvanization process, where the "sheets" of wire are laid horizontal to dry or WHAT!

    I would ensure the HW Cloth was "facing" the "right" way.

    I want to find the rubber coated HW Cloth , or coat mine. [​IMG]

    I dont usually have the feet problems though.

  6. domore

    domore New Egg

    May 25, 2016
    Latest observations indicate that the wire is an abrasive agent, similar to sandpaper. This could be from the droppings dried on the wire or just an inherent property of the wire. The bandages on the quail with the bandaged feet had areas shaved away on them just as if a sandpaper or an emery board had been applied. I will restate here that I have been over every inch of that wire with a hone and carefully felt for protrusions but there are none left. However, the damage still occurs.

    I did have dust bins in the cages from day one, but my first guess at the cause of the problem was the frayed cardboard after the quail had used them for a few weeks. They have been removed.

    I concur that wire is not ideal, but had I other options, I would have taken them. I researched carefully and many people were using wire floors. I purchased the highest quality wire I could find. Still, it appears that quail and wire do not mix well.

    Some quail have been moved to a temporary shelter with shavings on a wooden floor and I do notice them being calmer and more relaxed. I think that the cages, because of many factors, causes them to pace continually. This pacing aggravates an already marginal situation with the wire floor.

    I am employing a possible fix to the situation until I can come up with wireless housing. I will monitor this for a few weeks and, if successful, will report back.
  7. flygaffmen

    flygaffmen New Egg

    May 27, 2016
    North East Ohio 440
    Domore, I just got quail myself. I wanted a low cost coop for now until I had a better idea that would suite me. Drove around on trash day and made 2 temporary quail tractors. One out of a old kitchen cabinet that has an open backside on the ground, when I open the doors I just put wire netting over it. The other out of a book self and a crate that I cut and screwed together and hardware clothed. Just trying to help with a temporary solution until you figure out the wire issues.
  8. LocalYokel

    LocalYokel Overrun With Chickens

    Mine will pace if there is no dirt/earth in the dustbowl.

    If you see them looking through the "floor", they are most likely trying to get at the ground.

    They crave it, They want to dustbathe, they even eat dirt.

    Maybe they feel uneasy being in "midair."

    Pacing sounds like they need something to do! Like they are bored.

    Fresh greens/grass clippings/vegetation should help.

    Wish I could help more.

    I haven't had any feet issues with my birds.
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  9. jimbo1989

    jimbo1989 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2012
    springfield ma
    I think that those cages are more so for birds that are going to be culled in a short period of time
  10. Monkau

    Monkau Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 17, 2015
    Perth, Western Australia
    My cages do the same for the larger birds. I rotate them through to the ground cage to let their feet heal.
    Most of their weight is on the pad on wire not dispersed through the toes. When they run around they are rubbing their feet all over the wire. It is not bumblefoot, I agree. It heals if you remove them from the cage.

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