Sqawking and pecking female quail

Discussion in 'Quail' started by KateRJacks, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. KateRJacks

    KateRJacks Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 13, 2014
    Hi,

    I'm new to raising quail, and had acquired two 4 week old Japanese quail two weeks ago as pets. They were initially laying well, and enjoying their new house - it's a roomy outside coop and they have plenty of light and shelter. I have put wind breaker/mesh over the wire at the bottom to keep out predators, and a dirt box to scratch in. They love meal worm, so have been feeding lots to them, as well as grits, veges and grains.

    However, one has kind of gone a bit loopy, and she pecked the other quail - a white one - so badly that she died. She then started to squawk incessantly, and I put it down to her being lonely, so, (probably stupidly), we were given another 4 quail, 2 brown, one mottled black and white, and another white one.

    She has now pecked the new white one on her head again so severely, and she may not survive ( I may have to end her humanely :( ). She has stopped laying completely now.

    I have separated the her from the rest of the girls, the others seem oblivious, but I am fearful of 'cannibalism'.

    She is now constantly squawking again, and seems really traumatised. I am not sure what has caused this? Can some one help me? I feel awful and really want her to be happy, but don't want to lose any more of the girls.

    What should I do?

    Thanks!

    Kate
     
  2. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can you show a picture of the bird? What you are describing would suggest to me that one of your original "hens" may have been a rooster. Coturnix need to breed in groups of 1:3-1:7 roosters:hens, and a rooster will breed a single hen to death pretty easily.

    Otherwise there are things that can make them go crazy (literally). The sound of running water if there is no other noise can cause them a lot of stress, the sound of flapping plastic tarps or sheeting can also drive them insane. They see much differently than us so things they can see can be the cause too.
     
  3. KateRJacks

    KateRJacks Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 13, 2014
    Here's some very poorly taken photos of her (she's pretty quick!). I tired to upload a video of her call but it won't upload. Will try later.

    I noticed this morning that another of the new quail had a wee peck on her head and removed her immediately. It's not bad, and I think happened yesterday, and I missed it. I have popped the injured quail in with the original one, separating the hutch with a divider ( it's quite big so they have a bit of room ). The original quail now isn't squawking every 5 minutes or running up and down the side of her inclosure.

    When we initially got her she did have a tarp over the top of the hutch, and it rain quite heavily. Perhaps she has been traumatised by this?

    I've tried to see if she is actually a rooster, but I can't tell - her breast is very speckled and her beak isn't that dark....

    With injured birds is it best to keep them separated until they heal entirely? I read that if one gets a 'taste' for blood they will all keep pecking.

    If she is 'insane' what is the best thing to do for her?

    Thanks heaps, your info is much appreciated.

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  4. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tempe, AZ
    As Don says you must have at least 3-7 hens per rooster or he can over breed and kill the hens. Do you know the sexes of the birds you have? You for sure want to identify all the roosters you have. Do not house them together especially if they have not been raised with each other.

    With white birds unless they were raised with the others or the others had been raised with white birds they will see the bright white birds as foreign. Add to this the dark eyes and brown spots on the white birds just invite pecking, and once any blood has been drawn all bets are off and the white bird must be removed for it's own safety.

    The big issue you have right now is you threw strangers into the mix and the original quail will see them as intruders into their territory, and yes another white bird to pick at since the other one is gone. Do you know the sexes of all these quail? Yikes! Are you sure the squawking isn't a rooster crowing? They sound like this - the crow is about 53 seconds in.

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    To introduce new quail to each other cage them next to each other, separately, so they can see and hear each other without injury for two weeks or more. This is important so they see each other as part of the covey. When you feel they might all get along but them all into a new roomy cage, not one that any of them have been in and preferably have lots of hiding places where they can get out of each other's line of sight if they feel the need. Use boxes, baskets, potted plants, branches or anything else you can think of. After a week you can put them back in the "old" cage, it will then be new territory. It helps if the old cage has been rearranged. Put the items in the enclosure in different places, used new dishes and drinkers etc. and again add hiding places so the more submissive quail will feel safer.
     
  5. KateRJacks

    KateRJacks Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 13, 2014
    Thank you so much for this. Does sound like I've been given a male not female. I will definitely keep him (the original) apart from the others. The others are girls for sure, I saw the breeder check the sexes, and they were all raised together. I will take your advice on the housing and separation process. Glad he's not insane and I haven't ruined them entirely!

    Your advice has been so helpful - thanks again

    Kate [​IMG]
     

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