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Chinese Painted Quails Advice please

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:46 am
by Sandrine

Could anyone help with 2 issues please?

I have 2 Chinese Painted Quails Charley and Martha, one male and one female. On the photos, Martha is the larger bird and looks like her mascara is smudged under her eyes,... They are around 1 and a half years old now.
They live in the same (huge) cage as Bernard our canary. They all are happy enough together which is great because I was hoping they would be good company for my canary. And yes sure enough, they all cohabitate quite happily.

The first issue is that Charley has a bare back. He's only got his breast / belly feathers and his wings feathers (well and his head feathers), but nothing left on his back and bottom or tail. Hopefully you can see on the photos the difference between then and now. To start off he'd only lost the brown feathers, but now even his red feathers which were such a great colour have gone. They all start to grow again, but quick enough before he's lost them all again.
Martha has been pecking him, and when they walk around the cage, Martha tends to walk over rather than around him. I have tried and separate them but this didn't make much difference other than the fact that Martha didn't seem too happy to not have her mate anymore... Charley was a little lost too.
Charley seems just as healthy and happy as when he had feathers. He calls Martha, still does the little courting dance, behaves like a right gentleman with her, picking and offering her mealworms or pea shoots etc when there are some available in the cage for them... Basically just generally behaves like Charley lol... At night they sleep next to each other, morphing into one quail with two heads!! He doesn't show any signs of bleeding or anything like that.
I am just concerned that to not have any feathers on his back is not "natural"... I wondered whether anyone knew what I could do for him so his feathers come back.

The second issue is that Martha doesn't seem to get broody at all and despite laying an egg almost every day now (or least 4 to 5 eggs per 7 days) and also despite the fact that most must be fertile, since Charley seems quite "efficient" let's say... Is there anything that can be done about this or is it a case of incubating the eggs ourselves in an incubator if we wnated some chicks?

Thank you all!

Re: Chinese Painted Quails Advice please

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:42 pm
by Marigold
hi Sandrine, lovely to hear about your devoted pair of quails. I've only kept coturnix, where the males are only interested in one thing, and it's not courtly love!
Could Charlie have some kind of mite problem? - though this isn't very likely if they live so close together and Martha isn't affected. It's usually the hen who gets a bare back from over-mating, so it's odd to hear about a male. I agree that there's little point in separating them if no aggression is involved. So long as its only his appearance that's affected, and he's not obviously irritated or infected by the baldness, it's hard to see what could be done.
Sometimes CPQs do make a nest and incubate successfully, but this isn't very common. It's even more rare with coturnix, who have had broodiness bred out of them over hundreds of years of commercial cultivation for eggs, like hybrid chickens. So yes, if you want babies, try incubating the eggs - but do it dry, no added moisture in the incubator until they are due to pip. Quails hatch much better in dry conditions and can easily drown in shell if humidity is too high for them. I suppose that compared with chickens, the ratio of shell to contents is higher in a small, thin quail egg, especially a tiny one like CPQs. What sort of incubator do you have? I used a Brinsea Advance, with a quail insert that successfully turned coturnix eggs. I'm not sure how easy it would be to set up turning for tiny CPQ eggs - or how long you'd have to wait to collect a reasonable number for hatching. Maybe it would be best to buy in some, to add to the home-grown eggs, whilst you were about it.

Re: Chinese Painted Quails Advice please

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:37 pm
by Sandrine
Hi Marigold,

Thank you for this reply which enlightens me somewhat :-) I have already typed a reply earlier,.. but it seems to have disappeared :-(

Will have to do it again tomorrow,... Grrr I love technology, I really do!.... Not!

Re: Chinese Painted Quails Advice please

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:44 am
by Marigold
Hi Sandrine. it's maddening when a reply disappears - we've all done it. When you've finished writing a post, it's important to click on Submit under the message, and NOT on Post Reply at the side, as this deletes it. Maddening!
How are Charlie and Martha getting on?

Re: Chinese Painted Quails Advice please

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:45 pm
by Sandrine
Hi Marigold. Yes maddening is about the way I would put it,... Knowing me I probably clicked on the wrong button without paying attention,.... ;-)
As for Charley and Martha, well I have come back off 2 weeks holiday to two quails with a bald patch now,... :roll:

I still don't think it's anything like mites though because Bernard the Canary who lives in the same cage is not affected. Martha's feathers were growing again but her "lower" back has gone bald again. I'm guessing this time this Charley's courting and rough manners, that's creating the bald patch.
Just in case, I have cleared the whole cage out this afternoon, washed everything out properly and thoroughly, sprayed everything I could with anti-mite spray, put a little tonic in their drinking water too. I've even put a little fresh nature back in thier cage, as I thought they might appreciate it and put some freshly cut small branches of pine tree. Besides it masks the smell of the spray a little. It's not too bad actually, as it's a natural product and mainly smells lemony... Charley and Martha got sprayed too before going back in.
So if it's parasite / mite related at least that problem is now solved...

Martha is still laying most days and doesn't look otherwise affected by the loss of feathers... However she has changed a little as she seems a little tamer. She comes and pick mealworm out of our hand now, whereas she wouldn't dare normally and steer clear...

As for the eggs, I've put the idea of hatching them on hold for now, until I can work out what is happening to them both. But I have looked into the incubators and there are a couple that I have seen which are reasonably priced and seem just right for the size eggs.. I could also try and build my own actually, which appeals to me perhaps a little more. ;) I'll try and do a little more research to see if I should be more worried or if it is normal...

Thanks for your help so far!

Re: Chinese Painted Quails Advice please

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:39 pm
by Sandrine
Not quite managed to get pictures worth posting on here yet (Charley and Martha move too much! lol) but I am very happy to let you know that they are now back to normal and looking even happier than before.... Charley has all his red feathers back and looks so handsome now again :-) I was getting really worried about it. I've noticed that he doesn't cry (if that's the right way to put it) as much as he used to when he was bare back... So now when I thought he was calling for a bit of romance with Martha, he might have been complaining that he was cold or something?
Martha is actually a little more tamed now as well, and if you're patient enough she comes and peck mealworms off your hand. She lays an egg every day now as well, whereas it used to be closer to 5 a week.
They both are still very much in love with each other and get on very well with each other, always cuddling up when they're having a nap, sand-bathing together, eating together... etc...

I have done a little more reading about quails and their food etc,... and I wasn't exactly well advised at the shop where I bought them from. The food I was giving them wasn't rich enough in protein - only about 16 or 17% in I recall compared to Quails Pellets at 20%. I didn't know there was such a thing as quails pellets to be fair,... I have also changed the sand in their sand bath from the fine sand that you can buy for caged birds to some sharp sand, like the one you would use for making up cement.... They much prefer it, and that's very obvious with the way they just roll in it together like nobody's business...

Re: Chinese Painted Quails Advice please

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:47 am
by Marigold
I'm very glad to hear you've got to the bottom of the problem, Sandrine, and that both quails are now recovered. I'm sure you're right about this being a diet issue - I had forgotten that quails need such a high protein diet as it's a few years since I kept them. 16-17% is about what they'd get in layers pellets but not enough for a tiny active bird that would eat a diet largely made up of bugs and insects in the wild. They would probably enjoy mealworms and mashed, cooked egg as well, for a treat.
Charlie and Martha sound delightful. I expect Chinese quails are more domestic in their habits than coturnix - I had some really nasty experiences with the mating damage done to my females by male coturnix, although once I'd got an all-female group they lived very happy lives together and laid well for some years.