rearing CTX quail with bantam mother hen?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by romea, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. romea

    romea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 4, 2014
    dear quail enthusiasts... i need your expertise!

    i have some coturnix eggs in the incubator and i am debating whether i or 1 of my bantam hens (an orpington who is an absolutely AMAZING mother hen and who happens to be broody but sitting on ‘duds’) should be raising the chicks.

    does anybody have any experience regarding the 'longterm' outcome re: bantam hen/CTX compatibility?

    some background:
    i know from past experience - where i had a mixed group (half bantam/half quail chicks) - that this can be done BUT there comes a time of disconnect: namely when the bantam hen ventures out into the pasture, calling the chicks to follow her around. while the chicken chicks will come running and walk around with her, the quail chicks will mostly be staying put, crouching underneath bushes and/or larger plants and issue distress calls.
    so this is not a good fit... however, this now is different since it will not be a mixed group.
    sadly i can not find any information on how this works out in the long run.

    also, i am habitually raising chicks (with the hen) for the first week or 2 in our living room - and, since i work from home, i can monitor them and prevent (most) accidents (such as the hen stepping on a chick) from happening...
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  2. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    My bantam hatched out two quail chicks a week apart (she was a star - she knew there was still a chick in there and she wasn't moving until it popped out). I kept them indoors in a small corner cage and the week old one coped fine once the mother was up and about, but the newly hatched one we had to grab every time she got up to scratch about as otherwise it would've got squished, or kicked, or it just peeped sadly and was ignored by the overly enthusiastic hen as she scratched about. Quail seem to need a lot more cuddling in that first week than chicken chicks do. By 3 weeks the quail didn't need her anymore. Other bantams I've tried wouldn't stay in the nest long enough for the quail to gain their strength.

    It takes a lot of work on your part to ensure the quail chicks safety. Here's a website about a lady who uses bantams to raise her chicks:
    https://holistic-hen.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/hatching-and-raising-quail-organically.html#.Wfzs0bpuKUl

    I do keep our quail in with our bantams chickens though and I introduced them as adults, keeping them caged for a week before letting them out. At first it was just my spare males but now it's my layers and their boys. I've had the occasional aggressive male try to have a chicken on, and one plucked my silkie's top knot, but other than that they just go about their business and pretty much ignore each other.
     
  3. romea

    romea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hello jae, thank you so very much for the insightful answer - much appreciated!
    your bantam must have been 1 awesome hen! i am amazed about her dedication.

    i have come across the holistic-hen blog before but had lost the link. so reading through her posts again was very helpful. she mentions that chicks get get entangled in the fluffier bantam breeds and i remember having that happen. in my case, i was able to intervene but it was a good reminder. plus neither the orpington nor the silkie (i currently have 2 broodies ;-) are particularly graceful. their extra toes (orpington) and feathered feet (silkie) have been a problem in the past as well.

    on top of all that, i also have 1 bobwhite egg in the incubator that seems to be developing nicely so there is a chance that i might have 1 chick hatching days later - and as highly as i think of the mothering skills of my orpington, that might be pushing it...

    so i think i am going to be a quail mom for the next 6 weeks...

    as far as introducing them to bantams: we have a converted (closed) porch. inside it are 2 connected dog kennels that have a partition. 1 part is for the quails with a walk-through (than can be closed) to a small outdoor rabbit hutch that i plan to 'upgrade' in the spring.
    the other opens up to a large 'garden'. so the bantams basically 'free-range' while the quails do not. they see each other but due to the quails being as flighty as they are, they are fully enclosed at all times.

    this has not prevented them from being snatched by - i am guessing - a feral cat - who actually managed to pull a more slender male quail through the tight bars of the outside rabbit hutch and wound 2 of my 4 females. except for the male :(, all have recovered thanks to polysporin and some TLC... and i have learned not to leave the walk-trough open past dusk...

    this is what the quail pen looks like:

    IMG_7541.jpg

    below is my 'second batch' that a quail from my first quail-group hatched. (when her hormones turned her into a franken-mom, i moved her back to the porch-enclosure but kept the chicks in our living room. :D)

    IMG_7465.jpg

    i wish i could let them free-range like my standard chickens - or somewhat free-range like by bantams - but, as you know, that is not a good idea. alternatively a greenhouse like the holistic-hen (whose name is sue cross, i believe) is using would, of course, be a great environment but we have never been able to successfully control the temperature inside ours and eventually gave up on it (and are now thinking of dismantling it altogether).

    as for my upcoming mothering: i have been using a heating blanket (without automatic shut-off) for chicks (sometimes in addition to the hen) but unlike others, i don't try to emulate a hen but arching it but simply lay it on the ground, covered with a blanket or a "training pad" for dogs add an additional 'arched' blanket (held up with some soft toys) under which they can seek shelter.
    any other thoughts on how to be a successful quail mom? (where's that nail-biting emoji when you need it?!? ;-)
     

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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  4. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    Could you convert your greenhouse into more of an aviary perhaps? It's pretty temperate where we are so I don't know what weather conditions you have to contend with. I'd love to give ours more space though they have more than they used to - but having something I could stand up in would be great as finding eggs at the moment is a bit of a pain.

    I did have one escape on me once. It sailed over the fence into the neighbours and it was late, I was busy, it was one of our many boys, so I figured "Oh well". A few days later I found him standing in our backyard. He was hungry but unhurt. They are a bit too tempting for cats and rats though. I've had rats try to grab mine and pull them through the 1/2 inch square mesh, and I've had them chew through wire to get to the birds. Horrid things!

    Quail chicks are pretty easy. I use a heat lamp but I put a fuzzy cloth under the heat lamp so they can crawl under it. I find this is important especially for my Button quail as it helps to strengthen their little legs as they snuggle up into it. I've raised coturnix on straw once they figure out where the food bowl is (I just put bird cage grit sheets down until they know where the food's at).

    Try giving them a mirror - my Button quail chicks loved theirs. I had one hatch early so gave it a mirror to keep it company. Once a few more hatched I tried to take it away - you should've heard the complaining! They sit in front of it admiring their reflections. It's very cute. I've never tried it with coturnix though.

    Lucky you having a broody quail. Another person on here has a quail who has twice hatched her own eggs, but after a few days she would start to pace and ignore the chicks.

    My broody that I used was an Old English Game Bantam. They are great as they have the hard feathering and they are small. But she did get carried away with her enthusiastic scratching about!

    Good luck with your quail mothering - just handle them lots and enjoy them because they are so adorably cute.
     
  5. romea

    romea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i am writing from NB, canada (-> above maine slightly to the right). we are located in a bay on the atlantic which makes our climate always noticeably cooler than 'inlands' and, of course, also quite windy. (although this year has been surprisingly calm in comparison - with unbelievably warm temperatures through the past 2 months => steadily way above normal, making this an aberration [?] my 90 year old neighbour never experienced in her lifetime).

    in the winter, temperatures are 'normally' around -5 (23 F) but can go down to -20 (-4 F) and lower during spikes. summer highs hover around 28-32 on average (82-90 F). as you can imagine, the thin plastic cover of a greenhouse can not mitigate these temperatures. besides: the fluctuations are unbelievable. it could easily spike on a sunny day but then drop during the night below freezing. so sadly, this won't work...

    you are making a good point with the strengthening of the legs by giving them something to not just snuggle into but also climb around on...

    as for the mirror: i can see this being an interesting device - particularly for a lone bird or a very small group. as for birds being able to identify themselves... well... most likely not. ;) however, many do enjoy the perceived companionship: http://www.slate.com/blogs/wild_thi...lf_recognition_and_social_behavior_video.html

    i might be getting broody quails every once in a while. only 1 has mothered chicks so far (which i then interrupted when she became too upset and distracted/defensive). the second hen was sitting on 'duds' since my current group are all females due to the male having become cat-food. :(
    her broodiness sparked my incubation of some fertilized eggs for her but i might have noticed her sitting too late... she abandoned the nest a few days ago. *sigh*

    in any event: 4 have hatched yesterday afternoon (on day 17) and appear to be the proverbial "early birds"... :D

    ... only 1 day old and already hanging around the water-cooler... ;-)

    IMG_8035.JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
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  6. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    They are so adorable!
     
  7. romea

    romea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they are and your suggestion to add a mirror to their 'playpen' was absolutely brilliant - thank you!
    i tried this before with chicken chicks but don't recall getting that level of enthusiasm... ;-))
     
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