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Quail gasping for air

Discussion in 'Quail' started by PoptartTheQuail, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. PoptartTheQuail

    PoptartTheQuail In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2014
    Recently my female button quail seems to be gasping for air. She's opening and closing her beak but no sound is coming out. Could she be too hot? My male button doesn't do this, but they are in a 20 gallon aquarium that sometimes sits in direct sunlight. Or could she be egg bound? I just got her 2 weeks ago and she hasn't laid an egg yet. I think I stressed her out a lot today because I took her out of the tank and tried feeling her vent for an egg, but I can't tell. Right now she's huddled with her mate and breathing with an opening and closing beak. Also, she was eating and drinking earlier today. I would appreciate any help thanks!
  2. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Songster

    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    Sometimes, birds will stretch their necks and "yawn" to adjust food in their crops. This usually happens shortly after eating and once the adjustment is made, the behavior stops (for the most part).

    If she's doing it over and over again with a "rhythm," you might look into gape worm. This is rather unusual, but if your bird has access to outdoor grubs, worms, snails, etc., it's possible to contract the parasite.


    Here is a video of a chicken with gapeworm exhibiting the "yawn" and stretch:

    I certainly hope it isn't gape worm... But if it is, I believe you can worm your quail and successfully treat it with some TLC. :)

    I look forward to seeing what some of the wiser members have to say... Here's to hoping it's stress related!!!

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
  3. PoptartTheQuail

    PoptartTheQuail In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2014
    It's not exactly like that, it's more of this:
    However, she actually opens and slightly closes her beak with each "pant." It is sort of intermittent as well, and the other quail doesn't seem to do it, so I don't know if it's because she's hot or for some other reason. Thanks for you help!
  4. yallapilko

    yallapilko Songster

    Nov 13, 2012
    Does she have access to any grit? She may be having problems disgesting her food.
  5. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    What do you feed her? They get seeds stuck in their throat sometimes.

    Quail do pant when they are hot but they'd both be doing it.

    Unless she's lived on a chicken farm or eaten a lot of earth worms it's most likely not gape worm.

    Listen to her breathing as close as possible and see if you can hear any rattling or nastiness in her respiratory system. Look closely for nasal swelling or discharge.

    If she is egg bound you will be able to feel the egg just to the fore of the vent. There is nothing hard in that area so if you feel a hard object in front of the vent it is an egg.
  6. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Songster

    May 28, 2012
    Sounds like she is too hot or having trouble getting her food down. Did you smell her breath when you had her out? If here crop is full it can spoil if left too long. Is she getting lots of fresh cool water? Lots of grit and calcium? Not too many seeds but good high protein crumbles? I would try getting them into a bared cage for air circulation just be sure the bars are not too far apart. If you do try to use a small animal cage be sure the bars are not more then 1/2 inch apart or covered with netting. If the head can fit out so can the rest of them. So back to your female, just watch her for a day or so she might be nervous with you around, if you can sit quietly by and watch, it shouldnt take long for them to get up and eat or drink. Then you can tell more about the breathing/gaping. Good luck and keep us posted.
  7. elinore

    elinore In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2013
    One of my female buttons started doing something similar a few weeks ago. The "yawning" isn't constant, but it is extremely frequent. She also frequently opens her beak as she breathes, and occasionally (perhaps once per day or sometimes only every few days) makes wheezing sounds, that resemble a sneeze but coming from her chest. These sounds can happen once or go on for 10 minutes.

    I took my button to a bird specialist (I happen to live near my state university's veterinary hospital, so the quality of care is phenomenal), who checked out everything he could think of, but in the end he had no idea what was causing the behavior. His best guess was that something internal is deformed due to bad genetics (my birds were rescues and their lives before I got them were not good to say the least). The vet didn't know what could have triggered it, but said it could be anything. It could also be a foreign object lodged somewhere, but he could find no evidence. Because of her size, x-rays would be extremely risky so I elected not to try. So far, she's doing just fine in spite of this. I watch her carefully, but her behavior has otherwise not changed. I'm still hopeful that somehow it will stop as suddenly as it started.

    Good luck to you with your little bird. Maybe your scenario is different from mine, and something can be done. In my case, I had thought at first it was a crop issue, which the vet later disproved. Taking her to the vet was expensive, but it gave me peace of mind that I was doing everything I could and not letting her suffer over something I could fix. Looking into whether your case might be a crop problem would be a very good idea. I'm far from an expert, but I did a lot of research before taking mine to the vet, and what you describe sounds very similar to what I read about crop issues.
  8. dc3085

    dc3085 Crowing

    Here is at least a partial list of ailments that can cause birds to gasp or exhibit similar symptoms since this is a pretty common question on the forum and there are so many possible causes. Obviously there are pretty nasty diseases listed here. It's highly unlikely most of us will encounter some of these but it's best to know whats out there.

    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/82/infectious-coryza<---unlikely but a common disease and good for everyone to know about.

    The other causes that Have been mentioned are impacted crop and egg binding. Impacted crop is described above. Here is a bit about egg binding but you can find a lot of people right here on BYC who have a lot of experience with it too and going through their threads will teach a good deal more than is included here.

    Lastly and this is probably one of the more common causes of continued gasping or gaping their beaks. Not sure why I didn't think of it earlier. When quail boink their heads on the ceiling they very often will gasp or open and close their mouths repetitively, sometimes for a few days.
  9. PoptartTheQuail

    PoptartTheQuail In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2014
    I was watching her earlier and I did hear her cough/sneeze a few times. But she seems to be eating and drinking. She has access to grit and water 24/7.
  10. PoptartTheQuail

    PoptartTheQuail In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2014
    Here's a video of her:
    She seems to have gotten worse. Now that I thought about it, I don't think I've seen her eat or drink today.
    Here's another video after i took her out to check her crop. I don't know what a healthy crop is supposed to feel like, but hers is soft and squishy. I stressed her out a lot and know she's worse. I'm afraid she won't make it.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014

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