Quail chicks

LB81

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Hi everyone I'm new to quail I had 12 eggs but only managed to hatch 2 of them they will be 2 weeks old on Wednesday. I need advice on when I should put them on adult food and what food to use as a lot of websites tell you different things some say Turkey feed and others say poultry feed so which is best because I know they need a lot of protein. Thanks
 

Marigold

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Hi LB81 and welcome to the forum. I found my baby quails did best on chick crumb until they were about 6 weeks and nearly adult, and then I moved them on to special quail food which, as you say, needs to be high protein. Also it needs to have quite small pellets or seeds. There are several brands made specifically for quails, Marriages, Garvo or Heygates, which will come up if you put Quail Layers Food into your search engine.
 

Marigold

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If they are girls they’re unlikely to lay before the Spring unless you give them 14+ hours of light per day, so keeping them on chick crumb will be fine until you’ve used up the bag. As with chickens, the proper quail food will have extra calcium in it to support eggshells, which isn’t needed if they’re not laying or if they are boys. Are they coturnix or are they Chinese painted quails (CPQs)?
 

LB81

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Thanks for advice. They are coturnix I know one is female but my other quail is pure white and I don't have a clue what it is. 🙄
 

Marigold

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It’s not reliably possible to tell the sex until they’re older than 2 weeks, even the ones with the natural colouring. I found that some I had thought were girls turned into boys overnight, started crowing, and began raping the others, injuring them in some cases by the way they cling on with their beaks to the hen’s back or face. It does take some hours of daily sunlight before they get to puberty, though, and I expect that yours won’t become mature before March. Let’s hope they both turn out to be girls as then they’ll be much more likely to live peacefully together and lay an egg every day.
Are you thinking of having another go? I wonder what went wrong with your hatch? A common cause of failure hatching quails is too much humidity. Many experienced keepers incubate dry, no water at all in the incubator, until day 16 when they start to pip. With such small eggs, and with thin shells, a lot of humidity can cause the chick to drown in the shell when too much water vapour gets in through the porous shell. Also quails have evolved to live wild in hot dry places so they’re adapted to low humidity. In the UK there’s nearly always at least 40% humidity just in the air being circulated round the incubator so no need to add more. What sort of incubator did you use?

And of course you need a supply of fresh eggs, all fertile, all laid within a week at most of when you are going to start incubating them, and these aren’t always easily available if you get them on eBay or similar. The eggs also need to be naturally clean, not washed, so no bacteria are introduced into the incubator to multiply and cause damage to the embryos through the pores of the shells. If the eggs have been washed their protective antibacterial coating will have been removed, making the embryo more vulnerable to bacteria.
 

LB81

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Ok I have to be patient for the sex of the quails. I don't know how I'm going to tell if my white one is Male or female. I'm definitely going to incubate again it's been an amazing experience and I'm very attached to them because I've watched them grow my Border Collie likes looking at them too which is so cute. They are in a rabbit cage indoors just now with there heatlamp one of them had flew out of the brooding box so thought it was time to move them to a safer environment. I did open all the other eggs when they didn't work out two of them had started to pip but unfortunately didn't make it. I will try what you said about the incubator without water until day 16. How do you put pics on here? The incubator I used was a SEAAN automatic along with a separate themometer/humidity probe. :)
 

Marigold

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You’ll know eventually about your white bird - either it will crow or lay an egg! From a Soring hatch this would usually happen at 6-9 weeks old.
 

Marigold

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I’ve moved your lovely photos into your own thread, LB81, to keep them with your own comments. For some reason I can’t seem to move the one of them both together - could you add this, please? They are so sweet when they’re tiny, aren’t they? Thank you for posting them.
I’m going to lock the thread with the instructions, just to keep things simple.




51B42F92-8629-434F-BF8E-FF878FA1DC0A.jpeg

4D752144-CD6B-4631-860B-2A37BB657EC9.jpeg
 

LB81

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I Love them they are beautiful and have a relaxing little call. I have been giving them a pinch of dried mealworms they love them. :)
 

LB81

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Hi Marigold is there any boredom breakers I can get for the quails and where can I buy them? Thanks
 

Marigold

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So long as they have enough space to run around in they don’t need toys if they have each other for company. I found mine did like little boxes on the floor of the cage or run, with an open front, that they could hide in sometimes, as they would in the wild under hedges and bushes etc. Cardboard boxes are good as they're disposable when they get messy. Or you could make little ‘trees’ from evergreen clippings to provide some scenery to hide behind.
How big a cage are you keeping them in? Indoors or outside? Are they off heat yet?
 

LB81

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I have them indoors just now in a 46x95x57cm cage so its pretty big. I still have them under heatlamp should I keep them under heatlamp until they a 3 weeks old? Could I put some plants in and what kind? They have small rock in the cage.
 

Marigold

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That sounds nice big cage, but as you’ll have found, I expect, even with only two the problem is keeping the cage clean and dry. Young chicks are at high risk of coccidiosis whilst still under a heat lamp, which is usually fatal, so cleanliness and dry conditions are essential. You’ll have discovered how strongly their poo smells, since unlike chicken chicks the blobs are so small and soft that poo picking isn’t really possible, so they tend to walk in it and spread it around. If it comes into contact with damp litter in the warm conditions it can easily cause bacterial problems. Thry peck around in the bedding and could ingest the coccidiosis oocytes. If you put in too much by way of decoration it becomes harder to clean up and change the bedding when needed. What sort of drinker do you use? The best kind is the ones with a reservoir that clips on to the cage mesh and has a lip that comes through into the cage at chest height for the birds, so they don’t paddle in it or pollute it by pooing in it, as they would do with an open shallow dish.
Reduce the heat gradually if possible, ie if you have a lamp suspended over the cage you can raise it a bit each day. They will tell you what they need - if they huddle together under the lamp and are reluctant to come out to run around and feed they’re too cold, but they do need to be able to get away from the heat source if they’re too hot. Temperature may drop at night, even indoors, so use a cage thermometer to keep an eye on what it’s getting down to. They should be well enough feathered by 6 weeks to be off heat, but might like a bit of warmth overnight if the winter is very cold. With more birds they could huddle together to keep warm.
There’s a sort of lamp called a dull emitter which is good for chicks as it only emits heat, not light, so when left on overnight they do experience ‘night’ as well as day abd have a proper natural rest in the darkness. Or there are chick warmers like the Ecoglow which are basically infra-red heated plates that the chicks can get under, like if they had a real Mum.
 

Marigold

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See https://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/bobwhite-quail-production-4 for more info about cocci.

And this was how I managed my quail cages. http://poultrykeeperforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=7348

And this was my summer setup. The 5th photo down reminded me that they like a bowl of dry silver sand to dust bathe in.
http://poultrykeeperforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=6796
 

LB81

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Yeah they are messy I use newspaper, paper towel and wood shavings. I'm using a small chicken drinker and feeder seems to be ok. I have been putting in some chinchilla dust for them as they really enjoy a dust bath since the big feathers have come in I have heard play sand is ok for them too. Your quails look gorgeous I just hope I'm doing the right thing with them trying to get a good pic of cage but having trouble cutting it to size I will keep trying to get a pic of their cage. I will try the dry silver sand. My brown quail flew out my hand today straight back into it's cage 🤣 at least it went to it's home. The brown one is called Kiwi and the white one is Kiko Japanese for hope my 2 daughters named them the white one was really small when it hatched and that's why they called it Kiko 😁 every day they look different more and more feathers are coming in.
 
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