Toe problem, Point of Lay?, and Slaughter Age?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by EllyHood, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. EllyHood

    EllyHood In the Brooder

    58
    3
    48
    Sep 13, 2013
    I have a cage hung under my deck with 12 hens and 3 roos. They're 8 weeks, 2 days old, and I have yet to get a single egg from them. My dachshund was OBSESSED with them and the first couple days they were out there she spent all her time barking at them. She has since calmed down and leaves them alone now, but about a week ago, I heard the dog barking at around 1 am and went out to find her circling under the cage and jumping trying to get them. She can BARELY reach the bottom of the cage. Several quail had a couple toenails missing and I'm not sure if the dog is the reason or if there had been a raccoon or other predator, but the night that she was freaking out, there was more than a few drops of blood under the cage and 1 hen was missing an entire toe. All toes and toenails have since healed but I still haven't gotten any eggs from them. I'm assuming this is due to stress from being barked at and loosing toenails?

    So all that to say,
    Should I be doing anything to encourage them to lay or just wait it out? It's in the 80s here so could the heat be the reason for lack of eggs?

    The hen with the missing toe has about 1/16th-1/8th inch of bone where the toe used to be but it's all healed up. She gets around perfectly fine and doesn't seem to be in any pain whatsoever (runs to food and dusts bathes with enthusiasm). Should I cull her even though she seems fine? I have some younger hens I could replace her with, but I don't want to cull her if I don't have to; she's one of my larger birds.

    I have 30 roos that are from the same hatch (8 weeks 2 days) and I'm really itching to slaughter them. Is it really worth it to wait until ~10-12 weeks? I want those birds in the freezer and on the table sooner than later but I would hat to feel like I wasted my time raising them buy harvesting too early. I'd like to leave the skin on if possible and I've been told butchering around 12 weeks makes that easier.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. dc3085

    dc3085 Songster

    I wouldn't worry that they aren't laying. Nature doesn't have a digital clock, I don't worry about cots not laying until after 12 weeks.

    As for stress, they'll get used to dog, they'll even get used to the predators but be aware that a raccoon and pull a coturnix entire leg through half inch wire if they can get under the pen.

    The one stress they probably will not get used to is having two too many roosters in one cage. In hobby sized cages you can't really get away with that. Works ok if you are giving them 250 square feet, but not a lot of people are anywhere near that. I'd split them up into 1/7-1/7 groups or 1/5-1/5-1/4 (male:female)
     
  3. EllyHood

    EllyHood In the Brooder

    58
    3
    48
    Sep 13, 2013
    They're in a 30"x36" (18" high) cage and that worked great for the breeding groups I had (before DH decided he didn't want quail so we sold them and ended up keeping the some of the chicks I hatched for eggs). It's the same size cage as the guy I got the breeders form had them in. The 3 roos leave each other alone for the most part and I have yet to see a single feather pulled even though they are crowing and mating. The only time there is a scuffle is when I put in a fresh pan of dirt every day for bathing. :) I could section the cage off into two sections and have a 1:6 ratio if they start getting aggressive with each other.

    I have 2 dachshunds and the one doesn't give 2 figs about the quail because he's very old, blind, and deaf. He keeps the raccoons away though.

    Think the hen with the bone sticking out a little will be fine with her nub or should I cull her?
     
  4. quail325

    quail325 In the Brooder

    40
    1
    24
    Apr 29, 2014
    I cull my jumbo brown Roo's at 8 weeks when I have around 20 or so to do. The method I use to keep the skin on is scalding the bird in 160 degree water for 30 seconds and the feathers will rub right off. There is no plucking!!!!
     
  5. EllyHood

    EllyHood In the Brooder

    58
    3
    48
    Sep 13, 2013
    Awesome! Thanks! I have 30 roos to do so I think tonight will be harvest time. ;)
     
  6. quail325

    quail325 In the Brooder

    40
    1
    24
    Apr 29, 2014
    I forgot to mention to cut the wings off before you dip them in the water. It is very important that the water is 160 degrees!!! Oh and one more thing you might want to try, take six of your cleaned birds and put them in a big zip lock bag and add 1 envelope of taco seasoning and shake it up.Put them on the grill at medium heat for 5 minutes each side. YUM !!! Enjoy!!
     
  7. EllyHood

    EllyHood In the Brooder

    58
    3
    48
    Sep 13, 2013
    That sounds delicious! Thanks! We're getting set up right now. :)
     
  8. dc3085

    dc3085 Songster

    Put some neosporin on that toe and isolate her and she should be fine.

    The general recommendation is to keep coturnix in at 1 sq ft per bird. You can get by with less but space with game birds is directly related to happiness. As those birds mature you will see what I mean if you keep all 15 in 7.5 sq ft cage.
     
  9. EllyHood

    EllyHood In the Brooder

    58
    3
    48
    Sep 13, 2013
    I was told they need a minimum of 1/2 sq ft per cage. I have no problem with giving them extra room; it's convincing the hubby to let us get another cage that's the issue. :/

    We butchered 16 birds tonight. 4 were a little smaller than I would have liked and some were monsters. The feathers came right off after a quick dip in 160 degree water. Thank you so much for that tip! We kept the rest to grow out some more and I discovered 9 or so that I thought were roos are actually hens (1 I'm not sure about... Has spots but also pretty rust colored. We'll see!). Yay! That definitely means I need another cage, right? ;)

    The 12 hens and 3 roos I put into the cage are the ones that were sexually distinguishable and the largest of the roos. What is everyone else breeding for when keeping hens for breeders? Fast growth and largest size?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by