What is wrong with my quail chick?

GretasFlock

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
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Well, I had a terrible hatch, only 5 out of 24, and only four actually made it. One of my four is almost three weeks old, and I am planning on keeping it due to its problems. And the poor thing has a lot of problems. 1. Stargazes so that is is often tilting its head sideways. 2. Has mini-seziures if you pick it up without supporting its legs(falling over, laying still then thrashing and throwing up). 3. It sometimes walks backward. 4. Last, but not least, it has an undershot beak. I had to assist it zipping and breaking out at hatch because its neck was twisted around in the shell. Oh, and it is pretty much mute as it can't get its neck up straight to crow/cluck.

Any ideas as to what's up with this little guy/girl? It's growing normally, the chicks are coturnix. I am thinking some kind of equalibrium disorder?
 

TwoCrows

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Mar 21, 2011
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It is never advised to help chicks out of the egg, no matter how much you want to. If they are stuck in the egg, this is natures way of weeding out the weak ones. And many times they end up like your little chick.

You mentioned his neck was twisted in the shell. This malpositioning of the chick and neck will cause "Stargazing". The blood supply was cut off the to brain and caused some cerebral damage. However sometimes these things iron themselves out over time and do heal. If this is being caused by something genetic, then sometimes they don't heal. This sort of thing can also remain the same or even get worse and they can die of thirst or starve to death when they can't figure out where the water or feed is. So only time will tell.

However you can strengthen the nervous system and circulation by adding some vitamins to the water, especially vitamin B12. Occasionally dip his beak in the water so he gets more hydration and make sure he eats. If he seems to wolf down hard boiled eggs, then keep him eating what ever he will eat. The more he eats and drinks vitamin water, the better chance he has.

Good luck!
 
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GretasFlock

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6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
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Thanks! The only reason I helped it was because it was quite strong, just positioned badly. After it was hatched and to this day it is easily the strongest chick in the batch. Also, to clarify, I didn't take it out of the shell, just repositioned its neck. Then it pushed out on its own. It's doing fine so far, I'll try the vitamins. It is better that it was a week ago.
 

Zrcalo

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May 13, 2012
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"It is never advised to help chicks out of the egg, no matter how much you want to. If they are stuck in the egg, this is natures way of weeding out the weak ones. And many times they end up like your little chick."

:/ I'm sorry, but I cant advise that at all. I've had to help countless chicks out of their shells and 100% made it to be fully grown adult birds. Oftentimes, the reasons for them dying in the shell are human related.. not warm enough, not enough humidity, etc. So I see no reason not to correct the mistakes made by helping the chicks out of the shell. Nature was not involved in the making of these birds, so she really has no say in their deaths. It has nothing to do with the weakest on that level. If a bird is unhealthy it will die regardless if it hatches or not.

Yes, helping a bird hatch is tedious and you should google it a whole lot before attempting it, but helping a bird hatch is the exact same thing as giving medicine to an ill bird. Should we not medicate sick birds because nature decided to cull it?
 

TwoCrows

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"It is never advised to help chicks out of the egg, no matter how much you want to. If they are stuck in the egg, this is natures way of weeding out the weak ones. And many times they end up like your little chick."

:/ I'm sorry, but I cant advise that at all. I've had to help countless chicks out of their shells and 100% made it to be fully grown adult birds. Oftentimes, the reasons for them dying in the shell are human related.. not warm enough, not enough humidity, etc. So I see no reason not to correct the mistakes made by helping the chicks out of the shell. Nature was not involved in the making of these birds, so she really has no say in their deaths. It has nothing to do with the weakest on that level. If a bird is unhealthy it will die regardless if it hatches or not.

Yes, helping a bird hatch is tedious and you should google it a whole lot before attempting it, but helping a bird hatch is the exact same thing as giving medicine to an ill bird. Should we not medicate sick birds because nature decided to cull it?
Do a search thru the archives of all of BYC on how folks helped chicks out of the egg and now they are posting in the emergency sections or in the individual species forums, on what is wrong with my chick...."I helped it out of the egg and now it is ailing"....etc... Thousands of them. You take your chances when helping them out.

Again, It is never advised to help a chick out of the egg. This is natures way of weeding out the weak ones. :)
 
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SavageChick

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 3, 2013
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Savage, MN
Greta, I'm sorry about your chick. I don't know the statistics on how many chicks actually thrive after helping them, but I have to agree with TwoCrows. In my first hatch, I "helped" a chick by removing the outer shell, re-wetting the membrane, and basically dumping it upside down to have it slide out of the shell. It was my first button quail hatch, and I so wanted all of them to hatch after the first one hatched on its own. I regret having done that now. Like your chick, this one that I helped had multiple issues, and died on day 3. It was a painful lesson learned for me -- I'm not going there again.

Having said all that, your question is what can you do now? You can try vitamins to supplement any possible deficiencies. Yet, with an undershot beak, the problems of eating adequately are going to be an ongoing issue regardless of how much you continue to help it. It's heartbreaking to see a chick like this after helping it hatch, so I feel for you.
 
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DoubletakeFarm

Songster
6 Years
Feb 23, 2013
271
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136
NE Ohio
I recently hatched my first chicks in the bator (chickens, not quail) and I had to help the last two out. Both partially zipped but couldn't finish. Both had health issues and one died at day 5. They were the only ones out of the batch that had problems. I kept telling myself I shouldn't have helped them, but what do you do, let them lay there and die after they're already partially hatched? Tough decision.
 

sphanges

In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 16, 2013
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4
41
I have helped 2 or 3 hatch because humidity issues had caused the membrane to stick to them and make it really hard for them to push through. I figured it was an issue with incubation not with the chick. All of them had zipped by themselves. I wet the membrane, loosened the zip a little, and let them get themselves out. All were fine and grew up normal. However, having had a brain damaged chick to nurse (who hatched normally but I think he headbumped too hard at a week old), I don't think I'd help one that couldn't push out of the shell by itself because it was hard to watch the chick struggle over the next few weeks and debate if I should put him down or not (I decided not to as he seemed to show improvement but he did die at about 4 weeks old).

B
 

GretasFlock

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
45
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34
Yeah, she/he was fine until today, it suddenly developed what looked like major constipation and died later in the day. :( I am blaming the hatchery, I got the eggs off Amazon and that was probably stupid, as I had a terrible hatch and two out of five died from genetic problems. As I want three hens and I am now left with a hen and two roos, I am going to try again with a different hatchery.

On the helping issue, I agree that it often doesn't work out, but I have had success in the past and I am way too soft hearted to let them die.
 

SavageChick

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 3, 2013
206
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Savage, MN
I'm really sorry that you experienced all of that in one hatch. The more I've been reading, I keep running across a repeated warning about the importance of mixing blood-lines and providing optimal nutrition to the hen weeks prior to collecting eggs for incubation. It's hard to know the history and breeding conditions behind the eggs that are purchased from elsewhere. I wonder if the producers of the eggs you received may have been inbred, and/or fed a diet lacking in nutrition adequate enough for healthy offspring. This is just a thought, but maybe there is a local breeder in your area who might be willing to do a trade with you. That way, the breeder would get an outside blood-line added to their population, and you could get a hen.
 

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