Why do I have such a hard time raising quail...

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Cara, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    It seems that whenever I hatch any I can count on losing at least half. I don't want to try anymore because I feel dreadful when they die.

    I hatched about 120 this weekend. Whenever i'd check on them i'd lost a couple or so. Then I had an accident spilling their waterer and killed 26 of them outright. Luckily the rest did better after I put them back in the incubator to dry off. I lost 15 yesterday though for no apparent reason, and another 6 when I checked on them this morning. I'm scared to go look, I hatched them for the man that gave me my incubator and called him yesterday to let him know I had some for him. Knowing my luck they'll all be dead before they get that far. I had the same problem last year.

    They have a heat lamp in a draft free workshop, I used a thick layer of gamebird starter for bedding for the first few days, now they are on pine shavings. They have a waterer with marbles in it. What on earth am I doing wrong? [​IMG]

  2. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

    Jul 18, 2008
    Indiana, Pennsylvania
    hunny, other than the waterer accident I can't *see* anything you're doing wrong. Are you sure theres no cold drafts hitting them AT ALL? The only thing i do differently than you that i can tell is I don't put feed as their flooring. Their feed is in a specific area as is their water... feed is right off set from where hte heatlamp beems down on so they can eat while warm, and their water stays off to the side away from the heat. No real reason i do that other than to keep the water away from the feed.

    I barely ever loose coturnix chicks I'm not saying that to toot my own horn im saying that because I thikn it's very odd that you're losing them like flies. Everytime have you gotten these hatching eggs from the same source? Or maybe your incubator isn't doing something correctly for htem, they are hatching but arent thriving? I'm really unsure this is baffling.

    OH are these bobwhite quails? I've heard that bobwhite chicks will kill eachother ruthlessly. I cannot say from experience though.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2009
  3. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    The first batch were Coturnix, these are Bobwhites. What really sucks is that we have a snowstorm today (in NM!) so i'll have to hold onto them until Saturday afternoon. I'm worried i'll have about 4 chicks for the guy by then!
  4. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    Is your brooder possibly too small for so many chicks? I agree with Monarc23 that it seems like you're doing everything right. I lost one last hatch because it got trampled and I didn't have near as many as you do. Just a thought - don't give up!
  5. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    I learned to keep them HOT and give them lots of space. Mine kept trying to all fit under one heat lamp even though I had 2. Since the brooder was plenty long but only 12" wide every day 1 or 2 would be crushed. If your finding them dead where the quail gather for heat make it warmer. I finally stopped having losses when I moved them to a brooder in a small room and with their 2 heat lamps and one running on a set of chicks in the same room it maintained 80F not even under a lamp.

    Another problem that contributed was the silly things would run right into the water container, slip on the marbles, and get half their body wet which resulted in them all smashing under the heat lamp again to get warm. Less of that when the room was warmer but I also went to putting grit in the waterer instead of marbles. That way the gaps between rocks was no bigger than their beaks and they nearly couldn't get wet at all.

    Once they were partially feathered I moved them to a much bigger stock tank in the basement. Cooler there (60-65F) but they did better with the space increase and two 250w bulbs over them. Only time I have used 250w in the house.

    I had better luck with tiny buttons than these coturnix at first.
  6. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I agree with Akane, you didn't mention what the brooder temp was? Mine have always seemed to do better when they are kept at 98 degrees in the brooder for the first week.
  7. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    I think it was a combination of them walking water everywhere, a little too cold and a brooder that was too small. It seems that they need to be a lot hotter than chicks. I lost 6 overnight once i'd made these changes, but perhaps that's still from the drowning episode. Fingers crossed things will improve.

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