What are we doing wrong with our chicks?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by chickapooo, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. chickapooo

    chickapooo Hatching

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    Nov 19, 2019
    Hey everyone! Am new to this forum and made an account in the hopes that someone might be able to help with these issues we've been having with our Japanese quail babies.

    We're still pretty new to quailing in general and hatched the first chick on Nov 10. The first 2 chicks we got died (hatched, then died, then the 2nd was born and died) a few days after hatching. I think we didn't give the first one enough heat, but with the second, we didn't want to make any more mistakes so we gave him a styrofoam box brooder with a heat lamp, shelter, and of course food and water. With both chicks, at the very last day they both appeared much more lethargic than before and would lie belly down, head on the floor/sleep a lot. They would be a lot less active and react less to be gently nudged. The second chick would also go to a corner and stick his head in the corner (possibly stargazing) and seemed to be unable to keep his head up. They would peck at food and water now and then but mainly just stay in one spot that last day. It was so sad, the second chick seemed to go into the shelter to find a quiet place to die.

    We read up on everything that might be the cause of this weakness/lethargy that they displayed before death. Now we have 2 more that hatched 2 days ago and are terrified of taking them out of the incubator because it was in the brooder box that the 1st 2 later displayed these behaviours. These two new chicks seem to have some trouble standing properly/walking well - they can stand, but after a few seconds they'll fall back/"sit down". Or they'll be walking for a few seconds and then stumble backwards. Specifically, it looks like their joints between the toes and lower legs isn't strong enough to keep like a standing angle so it'll flatten out, the front of their toes will lift off the floor and they'll sit down. Other than this they seem to be active and curious, but then again so were the 2 before while in the incubator.

    We really don't want to lose any more chickies. We were told there is a high mortality rate for chicks in general, but it sucks to hatch so few and lose them. Is this issue with these 2 the same as the one with the 2 that died? Is it just weakness that they'll get over with time as they strengthen their legs? Or is it some genetic thing that this batch of eggs has?
    Thought it might be wry neck because of the head in corner and sitting down, but they don't twist their necks around or try to look up, they just put their heads down a lot. They also don't run backwards at all. They just sit backwards, as if their bottoms are too heavy for their legs.

    Other info: we live in a equatorial, humid country, but everyone's indoors. The chicks are all almost fully pale yellow.
     
    shayann likes this.
  2. Quailobsessed

    Quailobsessed Songster

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    Oct 12, 2019
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    Hi and welcome to BYC! It's so sad you keep losing your chickies :hugs

    How long were the chicks that died in the incubator for? I had a chick once, my first I hatched from my incubator, I must've rushed to get her in the brooder and she kept wandering away from the heat and sadly died the same day. Soon after she passed, the second one hatched. I, like you, was too nervous to take her out that I left her in there for 48 hours before putting her in the brooder. She is an adult now and doing fine.

    When chicks first hatch, they are kept under their mother until she lets them wander to eat and drink. Chicks can last in an incubator without food or water for a couple of days but your ones may need some soon if they are two days old. When you do take them out, make sure the temperature is right for them (37.5 degrees celcius, 99.5 fahrenheit) and the brooder isn't too large for them to wander from heat. There is a possibility however that your chicks have poor genetics.

    We are happy to help you with whatever we can. Hope your chicks do well.
     
    shayann likes this.
  3. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

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    What is your temperature in your brooder? What percentage feed are you feeding them? I've never heard of using a styrofoam brooder before.
     
    mixedUPturk likes this.
  4. Quailobsessed

    Quailobsessed Songster

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    Just thought of this, having a styrofoam brooder would trap heat. If the chicks are going to the corners, they could be getting to hot.
     
    mixedUPturk likes this.
  5. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

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    Yes, that is what I'm thinking!
    OP, what is the temperature in the brooder? Do you have a thermometer in there?
     
  6. chickapooo

    chickapooo Hatching

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    Nov 19, 2019
    Thank you for your replies!

    Yup, I don't want to keep them in there for more than 48 hours, but regardless I put some food and a shallow water dish inside their box within the incubator.

    Hmm, that also makes sense. I've read of other people using styrofoam boxes and the relative that we got the original adult quails from raised his chicks in this same box. My temps are around 37 deg celsius. It's very hard to find quail chick starter feed where I am because no one farms where I live, so we've been mixing the crushed regular quail feed with crushed mealworms to make up for protein.
     
    mixedUPturk likes this.
  7. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

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    I would make it so your brooder has a warm side and a cooler side, so chicks can escape the heat if they need to.
    Maybe try something else besides styrofoam if you can.
    Curious, what kind of quail are they?
     
  8. 2 many chickens

    2 many chickens Songster

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    Maybe I'm getting confused here, your brooder is a box within an incubator? Or am I reading that wrong?
     
  9. Quailobsessed

    Quailobsessed Songster

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    Also, how large is the brooder? If it's too large, the chicks may wander from the heat and chill.
     
  10. Quailobsessed

    Quailobsessed Songster

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    She said they were Japanese.
     

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