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Wounded Bobwhites getting attacked after re-introducing them to the colony, what can I do?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by legbandproblem, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. legbandproblem

    legbandproblem Hatching

    Mar 6, 2012
    I have a colony of 25 Bobwhites that I keep as "pets" in an aviary-style pen that's about 102 square feet and about 7 feet tall. Around a month ago I noticed that one of the males wasn't moving very much and was limping badly whenever he walked. I caught him and saw that it was because the spiral leg band on him had become deeply embedded in his leg and his foot was swollen up and blackened around it. I posted a thread about it at the time here with pics. I couldn't remove the leg band myself since the leg was so swollen so I took him to a vet who surgically removed the band and I then spent the next 3 weeks caring for him in a dog crate inside a spare bedroom and applying fresh ointment and gauze on the wound every day. He ended up losing the tip of one of his toes and still walks with a limp but other than that his leg and foot have healed nicely and he won't lose the entire foot like the vet originally thought he might. Also, about a week after finding the first bird, I went in and caught the rest of the birds and removed all their leg bands to make sure it didn't happen to them as well but I found one other Bobwhite who had the same problem, although his was a bit less swollen and severe. The flesh had grown over the leg band though, so it required another trip to the vet to get it removed. I cared for him in a second dog crate for about 2 weeks, also applying ointment and gauze daily.

    Both birds had mostly healed by about 10 days ago so after putting their dog crates inside the larger pen for a day (so they could get used to the other birds again) I let them out to re-introduce them. It hasn't gone well. The rest of the quail just will not leave the two injured ones alone and every time I go out to check on them those two will be never be out and walking around and will instead always be cowered in a corner, laying on the ground looking like they're dead. If I get the rest of the Bobwhites closed out of the area with the food and water then those two will get up and start to eat and drink but as soon as I let the others back in they'll cower down again and the others will try to attack them. The one with the less severe injury that was out for 2 weeks has some bald spots around his neck from missing feathers but the one with the missing toe that was out for 3 weeks is now completely bald and has no feathers left on the back or sides of his head or neck whatsoever. The skin isn't bloody, just bare (although there is some blood between his eyes/on his beak). I tried removing them both for a day to let them recover and then put them back in at night but that didn't seem to do much and now they're both missing more feathers and still look as miserable as ever. Just yesterday I "painted" the bald one's head and neck with blu kote but I'm not sure how much that will do. All the birds are getting more active now that their breeding season is beginning so I'm afraid they're only going to get worse.

    Any tips on what I should do? If I leave those two in there, will they eventually rejoin the group or will they just keep being picked on by the others until they're killed? I'd hate to have them get killed by the others after I spent the better part of a month recuperating them but I'm not sure what else to do with them :(

  2. jbobs

    jbobs Songster

    I would say the new birds will have to be in a separate enclosure within the main enclosure for a long time before they can be introduced again - get then in an actual cage that is open-grate on all sides so the other birds can see them easily. Put the food dishes a little closer to the cage every day or so until they are eating next to one another on opposite sides of the "fence". I would do this for a minimum of two weeks before letting them loose again. If the new birds have a permanent limp they might not every be able to be re-introduced because the other birds will see the limp and attack them because they are weak looking. But I would try the slow introduction first and see what happens.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    I have found that if you keep the newer quail or ones that have been away from the flock for a while, in a separate cage within the same area for a month or so, the fighting is kept down to a minimum. If everybody can see everybody for a while, and work out their aggressions thru cage wires, they eventually tame down and on the big day of release, there is less argueing about who is top bird.

    However as said in the above post, the weaker ones, the ones with the limps etc.., they may never fit in. So they may need to be kept separate for the rest of their days. You might be able to find a few in your group that tolerate these weaker ones so that they have companionship. Even a female to keep the wounded males company.

    Good luck!

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