Quail questions

Discussion in 'Quail' started by quailmekiwi, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. quailmekiwi

    quailmekiwi Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 2, 2011
    hi everyone! im new to quail(got 2 female coturnixes 3 weeks ago) and im new to this forum too [​IMG]
    one of my quail has started laying for a week now but the other hasn't and I've just been wondering if it will start soon?
    My quail are housed outside in this wire pen and can I put a small garden solar light next to them in the night? they can go to sleep with the light on right? i just want to ensure they lay eggs.
    also, my quails used to be really tame but one of them started to get head injuries so i placed towels on the top of their pen. now, the one with the head injuries is really scared of me and its really jumpy(literally, it hops around and runs). the other is not scared of me and is quite happy to let me stroke it. well now one week later, the one with head injuires isnt so scared of me but the other tamer one is scared of me. whenever they see me coming, they walk back into their shelter place. [​IMG]
    is there anything i can do so they wont be scared?
    how often do i have to trim their flight feathers? is it better to trim on one side only so they have an unbalanced flight?
    what type of treats do quails like to eat(besides mealworms)?
    do quails like toys? what types of toys?
    what types of weeds to quails eat? dandelion?
    can you over feed quail? (becus mine eat heaps a day and i dont want them to be fat!)

    um.. also the one with head injuries is noticebly skinnier than the other. and the fatter one is the one that has already started laying eggs. is there anything i can do to help it gain weight? :L

    well, thanks for your time reading this. I appreciate any help [​IMG]
  2. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Hi there, and welcome!

    Since you have only two quail that you're keeping as pets, you may be interested in providing them with a more natural environment, which will help reduce (possibly eliminate) the problems you've been seeing.

    I keep seven quail in a 10 foot by 10 foot enclosure that is on the ground, so they eat worms and bugs and grit and greens all day long. I throw bird seed in for treats (they LOVE bird seed), and they can't get head injuries because there's nothing to hit when they jump up. Plus, they are not stressed out so they don't jump much anyway, and they stay pretty tame. Happy, stress-free birds are healthy, calm birds!

    What kind of head injuries are you seeing? It's possible that one is attacking the other--they will usually go for the head when they fight and it can be gruesome. If there are open wounds, be sure to treat her with Blucoat or a similar fly repellant to prevent maggots from entering the wounds. Do you know if the girls were raised together, and what their ages are? If one is a juvenile (even if she's full-size) and one is an adult, you can have problems with integration. If there's a chance the injuries are caused by one picking on the other, you may need to separate them until the one heals completely. Separating for a couple of weeks also ensures that she is fully adult when you re-integrate.

    If you decide to continue keeping them in a wire brooder setting, you can do some things to help them feel more comfortable. Coturnix ADORE a sandbox to lay in. This can be a simple cardboard shoebox (though they will wear holes in it, so you'll have to change it periodically) filled with dirt and weeds from outside, or it can be a cat litter box filled with sand, or whatever you can think up. I like a wooden sandbox with three high sides and one low side--the high sides ensure more of the sand stays in the box, while the low side gives them access. A litter box like that would work too. You will find that they will spend most of their time in the sandbox.

    They love birdseed mixed in the sandbox or feed. They love weeds (pulled from the yard) to pick through. They love mealworms and other insect yummies.

    Now that mine are living a luxurious more-natural life, I've discovered that they really don't like to be inside enclosures, which makes me wonder just how stressful it must be for brooder quail who live inside an enclosure all the time. Mine have access to two doghouses which they almost never use, except to eat because that's where their food is. They do, however, appreciate open shelters that protect them from rain while still providing good all-around visibility. I have a lean-to formed from a piece of plywood set up against one of the doghouses, and they use that, but their favorite "shelter" is either under the eaves of the doghouse (only one has eaves) where they have almost 360 degree visibility, or in little hollows they've dug under the hay bale in their enclosure.

    Yeah, I know, time for pictures--I'll get to that eventually. There are some somewhere on here, but I've done more with their enclosure since then.

    If you're wanting to make something similar for yours, I bought a scratch and dent chain link dog pen for $135 and modified it by covering the bottom with wire (to prevent digging predators) then bedding (which I then kept ducks on for a season, so it's now composted to thick, rich earth full of bugs--you could approximate the same result by covering the wire with wood chips, dirt, or other mulch, then adding fresh straw or other bedding once a week or so until it all composts), then covering the top with more wire, and the sides with 1/2" HWC (hardware cloth, which is not really cloth at all but a strong, small-gauge wire mesh available in hardware stores--the employees will know what you mean when you ask for hardware cloth). The HWC is not cheap, but I picked mine up from a warehouse that was going out of business, and got it relatively inexpensively.

    For two girls, or even three or four, you could build something much smaller and cheaper--even a small chicken run that is adequately covered with small-opening wire and protected from being overturned by a predator, could work--and give them a really great life.

    Good luck with your girls. Coturnix quail are really fun and wonderful pets, but as with all things, there's a bit of a learning curve and right now, there is not a lot of information out there about keeping them as happy pets. I think if you can find a way to reduce their stress and provide them a healthier environment, you will see them improve quickly.

    I hope something here helps!
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    P.S. It's almost certain that your one girl is not laying for the same reason that is making her unhealthy. Stressed, unhappy birds won't lay. If you can get her more comfortable, she will probably start to lay, although supplemental light won't hurt--at that point. I wouldn't mess with the supplemental light until she is healthy and happy though. Good luck!
  4. quailmekiwi

    quailmekiwi Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 2, 2011
    thank you so much for the help.
    dont worry though, my quails are already in a really big enclosure on the ground(before they lived in a smaller lower enclosure on the ground and thats when it kept bumping its head), i meant to say the sides are wire mesh but the bottom is placed on the grass and they are definetly not indoors in a metal tight fitting brooder.
    the enclosure has a towel top to prevent it from bumping its head now and a small plastic shelter with wood sides for when it rains and also a umbrella above the towel.
    and ive already got a big sandbox full of pebbles/dirt/sand/bird food and other grit for them.
    today i went to check on them and i saw an egg in the sandbox and it was completely brown with no speckles. is this normal??
    is there anything i can put on the head wound(apart from the fly repellent) that can help heal the wound because i think the other quail is pecking it :|
    both quails are around the same age.
    the quails seem happy and healthy but they are a little scared of me, only when they want more food they follow me and crowd around my feet.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  5. joe125

    joe125 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    It sounds to me like you have one hen and one roo. Is the bird you described with the head injuries the one that is laying the eggs?
    What does the "Head injury" look like?

    Do you have any pics of your birds, and pen setup? That would help. Also, supplemental lighting is fine for most coturnix. They will sleep when they are sleepy, no matter the lighting.

    Weeds, seeds, and bugs.....always use in moderation, if at all.
  6. quailmekiwi

    quailmekiwi Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 2, 2011
    the quail's head looks bald and there's parts with no feathers and im sure its from boinking its head on the top, not from pecking because i once saw it trying to fly and jumping up. but it wont happen again because the top of the enclosure is towel but im looking for advice and information to help heal the wound. the wound used to be just bald but i think the other quail is pecking it and now there's a small amount of dried blood on the wound. the head injury isn't really really bad or anything, it's head just had bald patches and hasn't grown new feathers for a while and i thought it would have healed by now. but now its worst because it had blood on the wound.
    I'm sure that I have 2 hens, i bought specifically two females from the breeder, not any males( i hope he didn't make a mistake) and both have spots on their chest.
    the bird with the head injuries is the one not laying. it hasn't started though the other bird has.
    i will put some pictures on but i'm not sure how...
    do i upload them and that's all? or do i have to link it to this post? i'm not sure how to... :L
  7. greymane

    greymane Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2011
    Snyder County, PA
    I have found BlueKote to be a wonder for wounds. The problem with a head wound is that you ONLY want it on the wound. You could create a "template" to put over the wound so you only spray on the area you want.

    This link will help you with posting pics.


  8. Stellar

    Stellar The Quail Lady

    Feb 6, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    Can you post photos of your birds? Just so we can get a glimpse of them better [​IMG] I am a neosporin fan to head injuries. I clean the blood off and then dab some neosporin on. The quail should get used to you as you feed them.
  9. The Critter Place

    The Critter Place Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2011
    Tucson, Az.
    I was thinking the same as Joe125.

    It sounds to me like there may be a pair.

    The way I post pics is I upload to a free hosting site, like Photobucket, then copy and past the img. link into your post here.
  10. Chinchilla2

    Chinchilla2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2011
    Red Rock
    If all else fails, you can spray BlueKote on a cotton ball and the dab the spot. Neo works great too but you have to make sure it isn't the Neo with a pain killer in it, birds to NOT react well to the pain-killing 'caines used in medication for people.

    Sounds more like a pair than two girls. Is there any particular call either of them make? If you can't get pictures posted, that may help us identify them as well.

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