quail advise please

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dye29
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quail advise please

Post by dye29 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:10 pm

hi all just purchased 3 hens and one cock Japanese quail they are 7 weeks old the guy told me theyll start laying very soon in a week or so but after reading up on the net ive read several things they start laying at 6 . 8 10 or 12 weeks which is it ,
i keep these in a 8ft long by 3ft wide ferret hutch with shavings and some straw for bedding area im feeding them quail pellets at the moment is there any thing else i need to do for these
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Marigold
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Re: quail advise please

Post by Marigold » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:04 pm

hi Dye, that's interesting, good luck with them.
Where have you placed the ferret hutch? It sounds very suitable, but if it's out of doors you must make sure it's dry and waterproof, well insulated, and that they're totally protected from wind and rain blowing in. As I said in your last post, they're very sensitive to cold and damp conditions, and as you live in N. Yorkshire, your winters are probably going to be quite long and cold.
I would advise using Aubiose rather than straw, as straw is very difficult to keep clean but Aubiose is much more absorbent and comes in little bits, not long strands like straw. Also they can burrow down in it better. Has the ferret cage got two levels? Quails don't roost like chickens, so they may not actually use the top floor, if it has one. Give them some small disposable cardboard boxes with the front cut away, so they can hide and shelter in there if they want. I used those plastic dome-shaped shelters you can get for guinea pigs, and they were good. This sort of thing;
http://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/ ... -pig-igloo
They also need a large deep bowl and some dry sand as a dustbath, they will love this. A handful of greens every day as well as their quail pellets - any mixed salad leaves, or lettuce. Get some chick grit and provide this in a small pot hung on the wire. Chicken grit is too big for them but grit for chicks or cage birds will be OK. They poo everywhere, as you'll have found out, so you need a special drinker which has a water reservoir outside the wire of the cage and a small lip inside for them to drink from. Position it about chest height for them and the water will stay clean. I used to put a brick under it as a little platform, then they hopped up on the brick and it kept the water cleaner because it was higher off the bedding. Drinkers are like this;
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CAGE-BIRD-DR ... G5EZ9nQUSw
At 7 weeks old they would have probably be at point of lay if you'd bought them in Spring or when the days were longer up until about the end of August, but unless you can fix up a little LED light in their cage on a timer to give them at least 14 hours light a day, they may not lay until the days lengthen in the Spring. (I did warn you about this when you posted before!) In any case, even if they had already been in lay, they would stop when the daylight became insufficient, unless given extra light.
Presumably you know the cock bird is a male, because he's crowing and mating the hens? I wouldn't be totally surprised if one of the hens turns out to be a cock in the long run - when I bred them, I found that sometimes a cock bird would behave like a hen until, one day, his hormones kicked in overnight and by morning he was very obviously male and enjoying the female company! You'll need to watch out carefully for injuries caused by their rough mating - I found the cock bird would grip the hen's head in his beak, and when she threw him off, he wouldn't let go, he would tear out hunks of feathers and flesh and could make some really nasty injuries. Make sure you have some of that Septiclens I recommended for your poultry first aid kit, and also get a spare small secondhand hamster cage that you can set up as a hospital in case one is injured in this way. i got mine for £2.50 at the recycling centre! It may not happen until the New Year if you aren't able to give them extra light, as the male hormones won't kick in over the winter without it. If you have an injured hen, put her in the small hospital cage and put the cage inside the ferret hutch, so the others can still see her, otherwise they will bully her when you try to reintroduce her.
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Re: quail advise please

Post by dye29 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:43 pm

great thanks marigold your like a sponge with all this information . few othere questions how do i tell whats male and female also has anyone rigged up a timer and led lights from 12v battery
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Re: quail advise please

Post by Marigold » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:12 pm

Just hard-won experience, Dye!
Some colours of quails, the brown ones mainly, can be sexed by looking at the pattern of speckles on their breast, but this doesn't work with birds who have white or other coloured breasts, and you really need an experienced person to help you decide what's what. The main difference once they're nearly mature is that the males let out a blob of foam from their vent when gently squeezed in the hand in the right way. The foam isn't sperm, it's a kind of mating lubricant. Of course the absence of this doesn't necessarily mean the bird is a hen, it could be that it isn't mature enough yet to be coming into breeding condition. When the boys do get going, it's usually very sudden, overnight they become teenage rapists and will try to mate anything that moves, male or female it doesn't matter. And of course the girls do lay eggs, but you probably won't see them doing this so you just have to guess who is a girl by eliminating the obviously male ones. If you go on to YouTube and put Sexing Coturnix quails into the Search box, there are several videos that may help.
Before I got mains power to my quail shed I used an LED rechargeable torch to give them the extra light they needed. Its ran for about 8-9 hours before running out of power, so I put it in at about 3-30 pm and it gave them the extra light until around 11.30, which did the trick. As it didn't get hot, being LED, I could leave it facing downwards through the mesh at the top of the cage. If yours hasn't got mesh you'd need to fix it to the front with somehow. Or your idea of using a battery would do OK.
What sort of feeder are you using? I found they were terribly untidy and wasteful when i gave them an open dish of pellets, but I solved it by using this type of feeder, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2-x-ETON-Chi ... OSwGotWo9E~ and placing it in a shallow plastic bowl. They did flick out some of the food but not so much, and I could often collect it up and re-use it and it didn't make such a mess on the cage floor. Actually I've still got a spare one, and if you'd like to pm me with your address and real name I will send it to you for free if you like.
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rick
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Re: quail advise please

Post by rick » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:24 pm

Lights and timers are much easier on the mains. It's quite possible to arrange things with a 12V car battery but it would require some electronics knowledge to get right. (if the idea of combining a voltage regulator with a timer IC or module leaves you cold then don't go there unless you want a new hobby in its own right.)
It is possible to buy a 12V timer unit (like the 230V mains units you would get from the supermarket/homebase etc.) but only by importing from China( on Amazon then wait months for it to arrive on the slow boat.) They are not generally available in the UK market (I suspect they are a restricted trade item for security reasons.) There would still be the problem of stepping down from 12V to 3V to supply your white LED. You could try 4 white LEDs in series directly onto the 12V (measuring the current and calculating a limiting resistor would be the proper way, or using a fixed voltage regulator.)
By far the easiest way is to just get a small LED torch, as Marigold says, and manually turn it on and off but that would rely on being there.
The last 'simple' option is a mains inverter. They are available quite cheaply these days from Halfords and I've even seen them in Asda - usually made to plug into a car cigarette lighter. That would run on your 12V car battery and provide you with a standard 230V AC socket to plug in your mains timer which, in turn has your 3V power supply pluged into it. The 3V supply should happily run several white LEDs in parallel - probably without a current limit resistor as the white LEDs tend to be designed to run on 2 AAA batteries or button cells (3V) with no further components.)
The only trouble with an inverter is that it will drain your car battery at least within a couple of days and need a recharge!
One thing to watch out for with LED light - particularly extended battery life and solar powered lights - is that they are often strobed to make them run longer on a charge. It is an effect that you will have seen on some modern car side lights or with bike lights. If you get a strobe effect waving your fingers around in front of the light then it isn't suitable for birds who have a much higher 'frame rate' of vision than we do. Imagine spending all day under an office strip light that was on the blink - stressful!
A LED by itself, on smooth DC, is fine.
Also, by the way, it is the red component of the light that keeps them in lay. Red LEDs will have the same effect on the hypothalamus even if they go to roost at the normal time. If you are not trying to stimulate egg laying in the winter months then they don't need any extra light, just natural daylight. Green LEDs can be used to illuminate the run for poop picking after nightfall with no effect on egg laying.
As young birds they will be probably laying anyway or at least soon after X mas when the days start to lengthen. Do you really need extra lights Dye?
P.S. Are you trying to keep the quail in your allotment shed, without power or heating through the winter? I haven't kept quail but it strikes me that if I did it would be in the house (or annex) where they could benefit from the warmth (and be on the mains if lighting was necessary)
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Re: quail advise please

Post by Marigold » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:38 am

Well, it sounds as if trying to use the battery option is going to be rather complicated and possibly more expensive than is justified for a few early eggs, Dye. The LED rechargeable torch I used was this sort of thing http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LED-COB-Inspe ... LBPpTsHPdA I turned it on in the late afternoon when I inspected them and collected the eggs (they always seemed to lay late in the day, not in the morning like chickens do) and then just left it to discharge itself. I collected it in the morning and recharged it. I had two torches so one was always recharged and ready. But once I'd got mains power to the shed, the tiny LED disc lights on a timer were much better.
Or you could does Rick suggests and just let them mature at their own rate over the winter and come into lay naturally when the days get longer. Rick's query about where you are keeping them is sensible, I think - if they face winter in an unheated outdoor cage on the allotment, they may need all their strength to survive the cold damp conditions, without the added burden of laying eggs, so adding extra light would be unnecessary and even unfair, I think. Of course, if you have them in more sheltered conditions, if the cage is in a dry shed for instance, they will have a better chance. Mine were a lot happier in the cold days when I was able to connect up an infrared chick brooder to the mains in their cage, and they spent a lot of time snuggled under it, so they must have liked it. I used this one, which I had when I hatched them
https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Brinsea-EcoGlo ... 0005.m2219
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Re: quail advise please

Post by Marigold » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:03 pm

I suppose actually you could try a solar powered LED shed light, like this one https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Solar-Powere ... lAg5jQ1BQQ
which might give you about 6 hours from dusk until it went off, so long as the day gave enough sunlight for it to recharge in the very shortest days.
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Re: quail advise please

Post by dye29 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:10 pm

great guys thanks for all advise , marigold im using a small chick feeder very simular seems to work and for the light after thinking it seems pointless for extra eggs as i only have 3 hens so wont make much difference think ill let nature do its own thing . after playing with quail today i got a little hidy hole like you said and a bate box filed with dry sand and earth powder stuff any other tricks i need in there . one chicken question my allotment is very boggy and hens are filthy any ideas how to prevent i was thinking of putting few pallets down
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Re: quail advise please

Post by Marigold » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:48 pm

I think you're sensible about not giving them extra light and letting them mature naturally.
The only way to prevent mud in the chicken run is to get a roof on it, cover the earth with weedproofing membrane, and cover this with bedding such as Aubiose. The hens hate wet and won't do well in a muddy run. What sort of a run have you got, and how big? Does it have a mesh roof, or no roof at all? If it has a solid timber framework you could fit corrugated plastic sheets, and a gutter on the lower side to take away the rain which otherwise would blow in sideways in windy conditions. Also shelter the run on the windward side by fixing willow screening to the mesh, which will let light and air through but be an effective windbreak. If you can get it dry underfoot, the birds would be so much happier. Can you fix any long perches for them to sit on during the day? mine spend quite a lot of time just perching and looking out to see what's going on.
If you can't fix a roof over at least part of the run, and want to use pallets, that would be better than nothing but it would still be best to cover the earth with wide weed proof membrane underneath, to help keep the mud at bay down below the fabric. Maybe they would like to sit up on the pallets but the slats would not be very comfortable and possibly might give them splinters in their feet. Perhaps you could cover the top side with something to make a solid surface? Maybe nail some tarpaulin over it?
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Re: quail advise please

Post by dye29 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:08 pm

its a huge huge run it would cost me the earth to put roof on maybe i could put a tarp over so much but id be scared incase this would be like a kite and take the lot away .
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