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Starting with button quail chicks?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Kitei, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. Kitei

    Kitei Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 9, 2012
    I ended up buying 10 of them yesterday. They're 2 weeks old currently, and as it's my first time having quail chicks of any age, I was hoping people could give me some advice on how to care for them.

    They're currently in a spacious cage in a -larrge- cupboard with a heat lamp - door can be kept open or closed if it's cold, and they have room to move away from the lamp if they get hot, so that's alright. (They're also in my room, like the rest of my birds XD).

    What I'd really like advice on is feeding - they're currently on chicken starter, until the mill delivers our game bird starter (Shouldn't be more than a few days) so what can I do to improve the protein amount in their diet until it arrives? As a note, they do have crushed eggshell mixed in at the moment, too.

    Also, at what age should I be looking to split up depending on sex, and can males be kept in same-sex pairs away from the hens until they're old enough to sell on or pair up, depending on what I choose to do with them? I could, if need be, put males in cages in the shed, which is where the Japanese are, but it'd be a lot easier if they didn't have to be single birds, for space reasons.

    What age should I be swapping their food over to the normal mix? My adult birds eat a mixture of layers pellets, aviary bird food, sometimes the smaller bits of corn and occasional treats of cucumber and mealworms, as well as grit, oyster shell and crushed eggshell.

    Should I be looking to handle the chicks? I understand that some cpq can become fairly tame, though I don't expect them to be like our Japanese, but was concerned about the right age/size for handling them.

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Australia
    I'm kind of in the same boat as you are, I have week old coturnix chicks running around in the brooder made out of an old bookshelf. ^.^

    "what can I do to improve the protein amount in their diet until it arrives?"

    Crushed eggshell is good for calcium, but you should also feed them mashed up boiled egg. My chicks absolutely love it!
    They were curious at first of what I was holding in my hand, but willingly pecked at it and couldn't stop.
    I left it in their food dish for the night, and woke up in the morning to see no trace of it whatsoever! Great source of protein. I wouldn't give too much, but it'll last them until your game bird starter arrives.

    "Also, at what age should I be looking to split up depending on sex, and can males be kept in same-sex pairs away from the hens until they're old enough to sell on or pair up"

    At 6 - 8 weeks is when they mature, and the hens should be laying at around that time. So that's when you should split them up, or pair them up, as males will fight if females are present. Males can be kept in same-sex pairs as long as they've known each other long enough. But keep an eye on them just in case.

    "What age should I be swapping their food over to the normal mix?"

    Preferably when they mature. As said before 6 - 8 weeks you can swap them to a normal mix. I feed my quail gamebird finisher, and on the back it says to feed it to birds at around 3 - 8 weeks (it confused me).

    "Should I be looking to handle the chicks?"

    Yes! Handle them whilst their young so they get used to you. Then handling them as adults will be much easier.
    Of course, they'll be scared and possibly boink, but take your time. Let them come up to you, and so on. Some just can't be tamed though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  3. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2012
    Colorado
    I agree with SeptemberQuail but would like to add that crushed dry cat food is another source of protein for the chicks. I feed my adults egg about every other day or so and then dark greens on the other days. I did the same for the chicks after age 4 weeks. I think the egg will be fine at an earlier age but I would not feed them greens or other treats until they are 6-8 weeks old so they will get the protein they need to grow from their food. i use a 30% protein gamebird food and up to 4 weeks crushed it pretty finely but after that slowly leave the bits larger and by 6 weeks you should not have to crush it at all. Always be sure they have oyster shell and grit. At 8-10 weeks youcan add the finch seed mix at a 50-50% ratio.
    As for caging them I would separate them at 8-10 weeks unless you notice fighting among the males. Sometimes it is best to place a couple males in a cage and just leave one with the females to see who pairs up with him. then try with the remaining ones one male at a time removing when you see they have picked a partner. I do think they do better in pairs.

    As for handling them, they are flighty little birds so be careful they can and will fly away. Mine will come eat from my hand but I never take them out of the cage.

    enjoy your birds
     

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