Raising quail chicks (Bobwhites) for the first time; brooder help?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by grouse, May 16, 2010.

  1. grouse

    grouse Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm going to be receiving 24 Bobwhite chicks in a week or two and it will be my first time raising or dealing with quail so I'm looking for a bit of advice, specifically about the brooder. How much space would they need? Also, how long do they usually stay in the brooder before they're moved outdoors? What I have in mind right now is something like an old playpen, a refrigerator box or a plastic storage tub with screen over the top of it and a heat lamp hanging above the screen.

    I've raised batches of chicken chicks in various homemade brooders several times in the past few years and have never had any deaths or major problems but from what I hear it's more of a challenge with quail. Is there anything specific I should know to do (or not do) with quail chicks that I wouldn't necessarily already know from raising chicken chicks?

    Finally, I'm wondering about what the best material would be to use as flooring for them, both in the brooder and in their flight pen (I'm going to cover the ground in the flight pen with a tarp or sheet of wood first). Would pine shavings, cedar chips, straw/hay or something else work best?

    Thanks
     
  2. jbowen9

    jbowen9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First thing you need to do is buy a quail waterer that will save you alot of trouble or put marbles in a regular chick waterer. As far as a brooder just remember quails are small and fast so keep the holes to very small and becareful when watering them and feeding them.
     
  3. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

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    Bobs And All Quail Babies Are Especially Cold Sensitive. I Use The Rubbermaid Totes Where They Stay Until Feathered Out. I Have Cut The Middle Out Of The Lids And Stretched Chicken Wire Across The Opening, Fastened It With Zip Ties And Just Set The Heat Lamp Directly On The Wire(not Touching Any Of The Plastic On The Lid..)

    I Make It A Point To Set The Water Font As Far Away From The Heat Source As Possible As These Guys Are Little Heat Seekers And Invariably Find Their Way To The Water To Drink--- The Problem Is That They Are Clumbsy And Not The Brightest Crayons In The Box... If They Fall Into The Water They Are Almost As Good As Dead! Even If They Do Not Actually Drown In The Water Itself, They Will Get Wet And Die From Hypothermia Dispite Your Heat Lamp( Its Just The Nature Of The Little Beasts...)

    So Having Said That--- Quail Fonts Are A Major Plus, No Quail Font? Fill The Tray On A Regular Font Full Of Marles As Stated--- I Mean Full! Make Them Have To Reach Down Inbetween The Marbles To Get A Drink--- Makes It Hard To Get Wet If You Cant Get To The Water... Keep The Water As Far From The Heat As Possible So They Will Not Loiter Around The Danger Zone (water) They Will Leave The Toasty Warm Area For A Drink And Immediately Return To The Hot Zone...

    Place Your Food Tray/pan Directly Under The Light--- Remember That Heat Seeking Behavior? This Will Help Them Find The Food. Also A Nice Shiney Dime Or Nickle On Top Of The Food Helps To Peaque CurioUs Lil Fuzzy Minds And Also Helps Them Find Food And Learn To Eat. (YEP LEARN TO EAT--- HEY I TOLD YOU THEY'RE NOT THE BRIGHTEST CRAYONS IN THE BOX...)

    Heat 1 1/2 Of The Brooder=== If They Get Too Hot They Will Move Away From The Heat Until Comfortable, If They Are Too Cold They Will Huddle Under The Heat Source. For Too Hot I Really Dont Worry Because They Can Get Away From The Hot Zone And Cool Down, For Too Cold They Will Squish Each Other--- Increase The Heat In Your Hot Zone.


    They Are Quail, Not Chickens! There Are Very Different Behaviors In The Quail World. Bobs Will Be Mean Lil Suckerz!!! They Will Abuse Each Other Like Nothing You Have Ever Seen Before. If They Get Too Rowdy Cool Them Down (reduce The Brooder Temp)-- But Not To The Point Where They Huddle! Also A Red Heat Light Helps Calm Their Agression Whereas A White Light Will Magnify It. They Need Gamebird Starter--- Not Chick Starter. Around 30% Protien As Well As All The Stuff A Baby Quail Needs To Get Big [​IMG] Medicated Vs Non-medicated Is Personal Preference. Oh Yeah, Cedar And Some Pine Are Toxic To Quail--- Do Not Use As Bedding In Your Brooder.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  4. grouse

    grouse Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2010
    I did order a special "drown-proof" quail waterer with an extra small base so hopefully drowning won't be an issue.

    I'll be going into town tomorrow to pick up the rest of what I need, like the feed as well as a storage container to serve as the brooder. For the food, are there any specific brands or names I should keep an eye out for? If it helps, the feed/supply store around here is Agway.

    Also, what size should I look for in a storage container considering there will be 24 chicks inside it? Like roughly how many inches long, tall and across? I'll probably be going to Walmart or Home Depot for one of those but I'm not really sure how big (or small) a container I should be looking for.

    Lastly, if cedar chips and pine shavings are out as bedding for the brooder, what would work best instead? Leaving it as just the plastic floor seems iffy and I've heard bad things about newspapers/magazines as well.

    Thanks again [​IMG]
     
  5. huntercf

    huntercf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,
    I started raising and hatching quail last year and built 2 brooders (1 small [1'x1'] and 1 large [2.5'x2.5']). In the small brooder I use paper towels and change them daily, it soaks up the droppings and allows them to have a foothold (very important to prevent splayed leg). I cut a large circle in the large brooder and rest a brooder lamp with a red heat lamp on a dimmer switch (I got everything from a local home improvement store). The small brooder I just use an old table lamp and hang the bulb through the top. In the small brooder I just spread feed on the floor in a pile (buy a coffee grinder to grind their food into a powder, it works fast and great). Good Luck.[​IMG]
     
  6. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:
     
  7. Woofless

    Woofless Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi! Not to butt in on another person's thread, but I have questions along the same lines!

    I am getting anywhere from 60-100 baby Bobwhite quail this Saturday, plus 15 adults. First time. Have spoken with the breeder, am prepared with red lights, thermometer, I know they're more temp. sensitive than chickens. I plan to ask more questions before I go home w/ birds of course, but want to get the right setup ready. I appreciate your input so far as it has been helpful to me as well as the OP. [​IMG]

    So, how big of a container do I need for up to 100 babies? Do I need to go all out & buy a big stock tank? Can a smaller container suffice for a few weeks and then I can move them to a different area (see below)?

    I should also mention the property I rent has a former pheasant breeding facility on it....3 acres, 2 brooding houses, growout pens, outside pens with overhead flight netting over the whole thing (needs repair in places). The brooding houses have 3 seperate runs each, are concrete floored, with drains, and 4-bulb heat lamps hanging from the ceiling. They have little "doggy doors" at the end so you can open the hatch and let them into the growout pens when they're ready. Haven't been used in probably 5 years for pheasant. I did put my chickens in one of the "runs" once they were 3-4 weeks old...they were just fine with a heat lamp and some bedding and they just recently graduated to the growout pen full time.

    CAN I use a concrete-floored brooding house pen for quail (cleaned & disinfected, and I'd use a different one than my chicks were in just to be safe), starting at a couple weeks old? I'm assuming if it works for pheasant it should work for quail, but then again I have NO clue. I could put up a barrier to keep them near the lamp at the beginning if need be.

    And if this would work, can I get away with a smaller container to last them the first 2 weeks? I'm not sure how small baby quail are but I'm assuming pretty small. I'll buy a big tank if need be but honestly it'd be nice to avoid the price tag on the big tank, especially when I have no other use for it! [​IMG]

    Thanks in advance!
     
  8. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:
     
  9. grouse

    grouse Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:OP here again; two questions about this bit. First, I just bought a tote from Wal-Mart to put them in and it hasn't been near any chickens or anything else, it's brand new. Do I still need to sterilize it in 10% bleach before putting the quail chicks inside? Same question goes for the waterer and feed dish (also new).
    Second, how often do I need to clean the brooder and waterer/feed dish once they're inside it? And how do I go about doing this if they're inside it? I imagine I could find something else to put them in temporarily while I'm cleaning the brooder but moving them from one place to another by hand seems like it would be fairly difficult if they run/fly around as much as I've been told they do.
     
  10. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:OP here again; two questions about this bit. First, I just bought a tote from Wal-Mart to put them in and it hasn't been near any chickens or anything else, it's brand new. Do I still need to sterilize it in 10% bleach before putting the quail chicks inside? Same question goes for the waterer and feed dish (also new).
    Second, how often do I need to clean the brooder and waterer/feed dish once they're inside it? And how do I go about doing this if they're inside it? I imagine I could find something else to put them in temporarily while I'm cleaning the brooder but moving them from one place to another by hand seems like it would be fairly difficult if they run/fly around as much as I've been told they do.

    AH YOU FOUND THE HOOK! LOL

    I HAVE STACKS OF TOTE BINS AND EXTRA FEEDERS/ WATER FONTS IN VARIOUS SIZES. I AM A SINGLE FATHER AND HAVE NO ONE TO HELP ME. I WORK M-F FULL TIME TO PAY THE BILLS AND GAMEBIRD FARM ON THE SIDE. I WORK 16-20 HRS DAYS REGULARLY BETWEEN THE 2 AND A DAY OFF IS AN UNKNOWN THING TO ME [​IMG] THUS I HAVE A SYSTEM--- I HAVE MORE BROODERS AND IMPLEMENTS THAN I NEED... I KEEP THE TOTES STACKED UP IN A CLEAN SHED --- CLEANED AND READY TO GO. SAME WITH THE FOOD/ WATER DISHES--- WHEN I HAVE A BROODER THAT NEEDS CLEANED I SIMPLY GRAB CLEAN TOTE, FEEDER, WATER FONT--- TAKE THEM TO THE LOCATION OF USE AND SET THEM UP FOR THE LIL FUZZBALLZ--- TRANSFER EVERYBODY OVER FROM DIRTY TO CLEAN AND THE LIGHT/ HEAT SOURCE IF STILL IN USE AND I'M DONE [​IMG] ALL I HAVE TO DO IS TAKE THE SOILED TOTE AND IMPLEMENTS OUT TO THE CLEANING AREA I USE IN THE BACK YARD--- EMPTY ALL WASTE OUT, SPRAY EVERYTHING DOWN VIGOROUSLY TO REMOVE ANY WASTE AND FILL THE TOTE WITH WATER AND ADD BLEACH + SOILED IMPLEMENTS AND ALLOW TO SOAK.... WHEN CLEANED AND SANITIZED EVERYTHING GETS RINSED OFF AND ALLOWED TO AIR DRY. ONCE DRY THEY ALL GET RELOCATED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE CLEAN PILE FOR RE-USE LATER ON WITH THE NEXT BATCH!

    AS YOU MAY HAVE SEEN MY POSTS ON OTHER STRINGS I WILL TELL YOU #1 BOBS FLY VERY WELL AT A VERY EARLY AGE.... #2 THEY ARE WICKED FAST ON THE GROUND IF THEY GET LOOSE!( PS ON THIS 1--- THEY BITE HARD TOO WHICH IF NOT CAREFUL CAN HELP THEM GET LOOSE...) #3 THEY ARE LIL POOP MACHINES #4 BABY DUCKS ARE ABOUT THE MESSIEST CRITTERS I HAVE EVER SEEN( EVERYTIME I WALK BY THE BROODER IT LOOKS LIKE A GALLAGHER CONCERT IN PROGRESS! )---- IF RAISING WATERFOWL GET ALOT OF TOTES--- I DO MEAN ALOT! YOU'RE GONNA NEED THEM [​IMG] TAKING THOSE STATEMENTS INTO CONSIDERATION YOU CAN SEE WHY I HAVE EXCESS TOTES AND HOW THEY GREATLY HELP--- NECESSITY DIDNT MOTHER ANY INVENTIONS BUT IT DOES HELP YOU FIND A SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOU [​IMG]
     

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