"Sick" Quail? - Feather loss since October

Discussion in 'Quail' started by SeptemberQuail, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

    385
    20
    103
    Oct 10, 2012
    Australia
    Hey,

    I've made a post about this back in October about her but no one replied to it, and since then my little hen Willow hasn't gotten any better.
    Long story short:

    Willow started to lose a few feathers on her wings, and chest in October, but she wasn't scalped by the male, as the other hens are healthy, and I've checked for any lice or mites and she has none. Her flight feathers are broken and she's missing feathers in various parts of her body such as her chest, head and backside.
    From back then to now, she's had two prolapses and her feathers are still not growing back. Her prolapses were fixed very quickly and she made a speedy recovery and now lays eggs normally.

    If its from a deficiency, what type would it be and how would I help her recover? If its something else, please let me know.
    She eats 22% gamebird finisher and boiled eggshells.

    I'll try and get photo's tomorrow.
    ...

    Thanks!
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,400
    6,088
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hi September Quail. Sorry to hear that Willow is not doing well. I was gone during October due to some family issues and did not catch your posting here.

    First off, a few things can cause bids to break feathers easily, lose them and look raged. You say you checked her for mites and didn't see any. There are several other things that can cause broken damaged feathers in birds as well. Of course a vitamin deficiency will definitely do it. Vitamin A to be specific. If Willow is an older bird, older than 2 or 3, she could very well be having a hard time processing vitamins and minerals. So you might get her on supplements. Do a google search for supplements in Australia that are of good quality that you might add to her diet. I would try to get something to add to her water instead of food. Anything liquid goes to work much faster than being processed by the GI tract. And you might see improvements quick. I would shoot for a supplement with Vit's A, B, E, and D. These are the most essential of the vitamins for life in birds.

    Next, make sure she gets a dust bath every day. Dust bathing helps keep the feathers thick. If you have to get some dirt from outside and dampen it with water. Quail love damp dirt to bathe in. This will help her if she bathes daily.

    Next, make sure her environment is not stressful in any way to her...too much human traffic, dog or kid traffic. If she is for some reason feeling stressed, she can drop feathers and over preen them as well. Put some fake foliage in her pen so she feels secure. Stress can do awful things to birds.

    You say she prolapsed a few times. Make sure she has access to clean water every day and crushed oystershell. The lack of both of these will cause prolapse.

    If she is an older bird she may be having a hard time processes all supplements. So make sure she has extra.

    There are also bacteria's that can get in the feathers and cause breakage. This is one of the reasons that birds do molt, to rid themselves of this bacteria. There is also a thing called feather mites or "Plume Mites" as they are called that burrow into the feathers and destroy them. You can't see them either. So you might dust her anyway just in case.

    Other than these things, it might be just her age. Old birds, if she is old, get really shabby. Make sure she is warm. I know it is summer down there now. But come your winter, make sure she doesn't chill.

    Look these suggestions over and try some of them. See if they don't make a difference. Keep us posted as well! I would be very interested to know if anything worked. :)
     
  3. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

    385
    20
    103
    Oct 10, 2012
    Australia
    Thank you very much TwoCrows!
    As always, your advice has always been very helpful.

    She's only a year and around 3 months so she isn't too old.
    We have some vitamin D tablets, would they work for now if I crush it up and sprinkle it on her food temporarily? I don't know what'll happen if I put it in her water...
    I'll try the damp dirt baths later this afternoon; I just dig up the dirt from their cage, so dampening it might make them happier.

    The quail cage is in my backyard, and I live in a quiet suburb so there barely is any traffic from anything. The only things that may walk past the cage would be family members (younger brother doesn't spend too much time outside), and my chicken when she free-ranges, but she only walks past and doesn't take notice of the quails. Occasionally big birds like cockatoos, crows and magpies may fly past which causes all the quail to stand up like meerkats, but other then that I'm hoping stress isn't a big factor.

    Could I try shell grit, rather than oyster shell? And could you explain on how one would dust her? ^.^"
    Thanks again!


    1: She was puffing herself up for preening. It's humid in the mornings because we're having some sort of heatwave here. I'm trying my best to keep them cool through water trays, dust baths, shade and misting...
    [​IMG]

    2: You can see the missing feathers. The yellow bucket thing is just a tray of water for them to stand in (they drink from it as well...).
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,400
    6,088
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    She does look a bit disheveled. But not too bad. I think she would be better off with the Vit A. If you have any carrots, pair them up. Thin slices and feed those to her daily. Carrots are high in Vit A. Cabbage shredded as well might help her too. Also, try adding some Apple Cider Vinegar in her water for one week and then every other day for about a month or two. 1 teaspoon per quart of water changed daily. This will help boost her immune system.

    If you have an DE, you can powder her up a bit. Blow the feathers away from the skin and powder her feathers. Depluming mites burrow into the feathers and there is really no sign of them. But they destroy the feathers. You might try a couple of dustings on her. However until she molts again, you won't see any improvement in the feathers. She will need to molt these out and grow new ones. Apple Cider Vinegar really glosses up my quails feathers, so try that.

    But when you can, find some good supplements for her. I think they might really make a difference at her next molt.

    Keep us posted!
     
  5. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

    385
    20
    103
    Oct 10, 2012
    Australia
    Awesome, I'll start the carrots and the cabbage today, although last time I tried giving them raw carrots (in small pieces) they didn't seem interested... Do they need boiled carrots? I'm already giving them lettuce leafs, I think mum won't mind if I steal some cabbage leafs as well. I might be going to the store later this week, so I'll see if I can find any ACV.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by