Strange female behaviour?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by oxymoron71, May 20, 2019.

  1. oxymoron71

    oxymoron71 In the Brooder

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    wondering if anyone can help with this- we have 2 female Coturnix that we hatched, about 3/4 months old now. They have lived together peacefully until now in a 7x2 foot run. Yesterday Coco started chasing Oey & not letting her in one end of the run, pecking her & not leaving her alone unless she was right up the other end. I separated them within the run overnight as there was a lot of sawdust flying about & I didn’t want any injuries. She (Coco) is generally acting a bit strange, running up & down the back wall, a bit agitated. I am sat with them now and have let them both out into the room (they’re indoors) for a peck about & they’ve settled down a bit but Coco’s still being a bit of a twat & being pushy & dominant, poor Oey can’t do anything without Coco sticking her beak in. She was also making aggressive clicking noises at me when I came in but she’s stopped now. They’ve always been lovely birds, fine to be picked up & have a cuddle. If necessary I can separate them for ever as it’s a nice long run, but it seems a shame when there’s only 2 of them & they have been so good together so far.... Just wondering if anyone has any advice?


    * just an extra observation as I’ve been sat with them for over an hour now- when they are both out in the room they are absolutely fine together. Coco has just wandered back in the (open) cage, not been shut in or anything, I’m just sat here quietly, & whenever she’s in there she’s agitated, pacing up & down, pecking the wire. When she wanders out again she’s fine!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  2. le_bwah

    le_bwah Crowing

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    Hmm. You'd expect hens to be laying by a few months old, too. My thoughts:
    • There might not be enough cover in their cage. If they can't hide from and get away from each other, the whole space might feel unsafe to the chased one.
    • The aggressive hen might be acting territorially—changing out the cover in their cage or removing the aggressor for a while can "break" that behavior.
     
  3. Tycine1

    Tycine1 Crowing

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    David, Chiriquí, Panama
    A tree limb, leaves and all, might provide all the entertainment needed (until the leaves fall off), and provide cover for the submissive hen. Have you considered a boyfriend for them? Coturnix quail are extremely social animals that don't usually 'pair off', preferring a larger covey. Some won't lay without a mate, some will. You didn't say if they were laying yet, but if not, a boyfriend might be the solution. You specified that both are hens, are you sure? Mating often looks like fighting as the male grabs the female by the feathers on the back of her head, chases her while hanging onto those feathers, often causing a loss of scalp or back feathers over time. This is totally normal, but would be cruel to a single hen, as coturnix quail usually need at least three hens per cock, I personally use one cock for eight hens and my fertility rate is still well over 90%. Another thought is that in the CHICKEN world, without a mate, some hens will 'step up' and take on the roll of rooster, some going as far as to crow and mount hens; is it possible that this has occurred, and if so, a cock will sort that problem out quickly enough. 7x2' area for your birds... 14 square feet, minus 3 square feet for sand box, water & feed... your area could comfortably house 11 birds without overcrowding. Hope something in this missive helps.
     
  4. oxymoron71

    oxymoron71 In the Brooder

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    Thanks so much for replying. I didn’t say but they are laying- interestingly since they have been separated (just over 24h) Coco has laid twice but Oey not at all. I will definitely look into getting some cover. I am out at the mo but will post a pic of the run later in case anyone has any more suggestions.
    Also, we had a cock before (hatched at the same time) but he was TOTALLY obsessed with Coco & stressed her out completely. We gave him away about 6 weeks ago. Thank you
     
  5. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I know it sounds stupid and I know it's probably not politically correct and I know others may respond with 'well my girls are fine without one', but a rooster is what your girls need.
    Behavior such as you describe is often the more dominant hen taking on the role of a rooster.
    Please don't separate them, they only have each other no matter what you may think of their relationship. Patch up any wounds and let them get on with it.
     
    sourland likes this.
  6. Tycine1

    Tycine1 Crowing

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    David, Chiriquí, Panama
    So, Coco is definitely female and from where I sit, the jury is still out on Oey. I strongly suspect Oey is a he, and not a she. Suppose that Oey is male (just suppose), it would explain why they seem to be fighting; would explain why your old cock that you gave away was only interested in Coco, as overmating by TWO cocks would definitely stress her out. I'd like a picture of Oey please, particularly interested in seeing the plumage on his neck and chest, but if you can get that with his cheek (head) too, that'd be great. I've heard story told that sometimes male coturnix quail have 'puffy' cheeks. Coco laying twice since being separated doesn't surprise me either, since she's no longer being chased all over God's little green acre by Oey. Looking forward to photos and helping figure out this problem.
     
    oxymoron71 likes this.
  7. oxymoron71

    oxymoron71 In the Brooder

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    Wondering now then about

    Oey is definitely a girl- she has laid an egg since they have been separated! Pics attached anyway.....also of their run. I do think it’s a bit bare.
    Am sat with them out again this morning *stops me doing the housework * & they are fine pecking about together outside the cage, just a bit skitty in it.
     

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  8. DK newbie

    DK newbie Songster

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    I love the cage :)
    Are they using the top level? I'm asking because I find that shelves in the cage help reduce aggression with my buttons - they don't use them much in general, but if one is being aggressive the other will jump onto the shelf and 'wait it out'. The aggressive one rarely follows. If your cots are not using the top level I guess you could try to lure them up there with treats. If they are using it, just not when Coco is aggressive, shelves might work better than an actual second level - not sure about that..
    But other than this, I agree with the previous answers that cover in the cage is likely to help. A couple of large piles of branches or something like that.
    Getting more girls would also mean it's less likely to be Oey that gets chased all the time, but you risk that some of the girls are even worse than Coco.
     
  9. oxymoron71

    oxymoron71 In the Brooder

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    Thank you! My son made the cage with his grandad. Yes they do use the top level sometimes but mostly underneath. In fact that end of the cage is Coco’s, she’s a bit possessive about it & doesn’t like Oey going in there . In fact they never used to use the other far end at all but recently Oey’s been using it as a bit of a retreat. Shelves are a good idea- I’ll get on to it. I have taken away the barrier this morning so they are back together- not best friends but not too bad either...
     
  10. Tycine1

    Tycine1 Crowing

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    David, Chiriquí, Panama
    Love the cage except for the 'upstair' area... actually, the upstairs area is fine... but I would remove the ladder. My quail will not use a ramp or ladder, preferring instead to hop up. On some of my higher shelves, I have strategically placed a big rock beneath to give them something to hop up off of, to get to the shelves. Makes an aggressor work harder *teehee* Another quality cubby-hole that won't take much room would be an upside down plastic bowl with an 'entrance' cut into it. Big enough to squeeze two or three into, but easy enough for one to defend, if the need arises. Being as they're definitely both girls, I'm leaning towards boredom as a cause. Thanks for the pictures, impossible to sex them with the first photo, but the second photo with just the one bird, she's all girl.
     

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