Quail chicks

Marigold

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They are simply lovely, aren’t they? Well done for taming them, not many people manage this with coturnix as they’re naturally such flighty birds. For their own protection, being birds that normally live most of the time on the ground, their instinct is to fly up vertically when alarmed. I wouldn’t advise playing with them out of a cage out of doors as you might well not be able to recapture them when they flew off.
 

LB81

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They are lovely I love all the little sounds they make it's such a relaxing sound. We let them run about the living room every day but I would never do this outdoors without a run so that they are safe. :)
 

LB81

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My white quail was cooing what does this mean and the male was mating with it he was very gentle the white one didn't fight at all. 🤔
 

LB81

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I have more eggs coming can't wait 🥰 new wee chicks. My white one definitely a female so I need more females for my male. 😊
 

Marigold

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Well done! What sort of incubator do you have? Does it have the ability to turn small quail eggs? Have you completely disinfected it after the last batch?
Does it have a humidity indicator?
(It needs to be 45% humidity or preferably below which may well mean there’s no need to add any water in the UK in winter. Maybe top it up a bit on Day 16 to make sure it’s humid enough to help them hatch but don’t overdo it. Quail eggs are so tiny that moisture easily soaks through the shell and the chicks can drown in the egg.
How accurate is the temperature control? It’s good to have a second, good-quality thermometer that you place inside the incubator to see if it agrees with the one in the inci itself.
Get the incubator up and running ASAP, ie now, so that it gets thoroughly warm before the eggs arrive and gives you a chance to check humidity and temperature.
Prepare a clean cotton cloth, cut to size and shape, before you put the eggs in, for the chicks to hatch on when you remove the turning tray on Day 16. They need a soft but grippy surface for their little legs because at first their legs are too weak to support them properly and on a slippery hard surface they may shoot out sideways and then get a condition called ‘spraddle leg’ and never walk properly. Get this ready beforehand do you don’t have to open the inci for any longer than you can help when removing the egg tray and inserting the cloth.
When the eggs arrive, let them rest for a couple of days in an egg box to let them settle after going through the post. They should be clean. If any are very dirty I would reject them as they will shed harmful bacteria in the incubator which may transfer to the eggs or to the chicks when they hatch and are drying off. It’s best not to wash them as this removes the natural protective coating on the shell and lets bacteria in through its porous surface.
How many eggs have you ordered? Fertility may not be great at this time of year as the health and vitality of the parent birds is greatly affected by whether there’s enough natural sunlight, so some may not hatch whatever you do. But if you’re careful with all the other aspects you should get at least a few more chicks.
 

LB81

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SEAAN automatic incubator it turns the eggs automatically. I have got 6 eggs coming if I get a few more females I will be happy as my male is calling all the time. I will give the incubator a good clean again and get it set up thank you for good advice 🤞🏻:)
 

Marigold

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Where are the eggs coming from? If from a small private breeder with only a few birds, they may be of different ages as it might take a day or two to collect enough. This wouldn’t affect hatching times but might affect viability as the fresher the better. The post isn’t great at the moment either, which might add a day or two. Let us know when they come.
Maybe your incubator already has a textured surface for them to hatch on? It doesn’t have to have a cotton lining but if you do use one, you can throw it away afterwards which helps with biosecurity.
 

LB81

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They are coming from down south they are proper breeders they have about 100 quail. They have a 75% hatching rate. My incubator has a hatching floor on it.
 

LB81

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HELP!!!!! My male quail is pecking my females head and tried to attack my daughter trying to buy female quails today and hopefully it will calm him down. 😥😥😥
 

Marigold

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You must separate him at once, I’m afraid! I did warn you this might happen! I’m sorry to say that if you introduce more females they will all be attacked in the same way, it’s just what male coturnix quails do. You will have to deal with him ......
Is the female’s head bleeding? If so, treat it with antiseptic spray FOR BIRDS, on a cotton bud so it doesn’t get in her eyes. Keep her away from the male or he will just have another go at her and make it worse. I found it seemed to happen overnight as well as in the day time.
How are the eggs coming on? If you can separate the male you might be able to wait to see what you’ve got in the batch you’re hatching, rather than introducing new ones ATM.
 

LB81

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She's not bleeding as we managed to intervene separated them with some cardboard in the cage. The new eggs are doing ok. Just more concerned about they two at the moment.
 

Marigold

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You’ll have to face up to the fact that any you hatch will contain yet more boys, and they will probably be in the majority, so you’ll need to decide what to do about them when they start to crow.
You’ll need to keep the chicks separate from any adults until they’re at least six weeks old, so maybe it might be best to hold off on getting more females ATM as you don’t know how many you’ll finish up with, and you could end up with more birds than you have room for, especially indoors in winter. With an all-female flock you wouldn’t have any trouble, they’ll live happily together and lay well without any males.
Culling the males is not a nice thing to have to do, but I kept on finding yet another injured girl and blood all over the cage, and was at my wits end about what to do next. So I hardened my heart, did the job, and I must say I felt great relief afterwards.
 

LB81

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Hopefully we will get mostly girls. He's being a little devil both of them are trying to get to each other. But I know I can't risk putting them back together. Will having them separated eventually calm him down?
 

Marigold

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No, it’s in his nature as a male coturnix quail. Being a hormonal teenager at present doesn’t help, but if anything it will get worse when the days lengthen, Spring comes, and birds enter their breeding season.
 

Marigold

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Oh dear. Not a subject for Christmas Day, is it?

I used to line a bucket with a plastic bag, then hold the quail over the bucket in my left hand with fingers two each side, over his wings and either side of his neck, facing towards his head. Then I positioned a pair of secateurs on his neck, holding the sides, and with contact at the back of the neck, just behind his skull. Then you pull firmly downwards whilst twisting the neck sideways. The aim is to dislocate the neck at the joint just behind the skull, rather than to cut off the head, although this may happen. I found the secateurs made it possible to grip the tiny neck precisely and firmly in the right place and hold on firmly when you push down and twist. There may be some blood, (hence holding him over a bucket) and it’s possible the head may come off, but the main thing is to do it quickly and be decisive, so he dies as fast and painlessly as possible. As with a chicken, the quail may flap his wings for a while after his neck is broken or after his head comes off, but this is just a nerve reflex that shows he has actually died. The head will flop to one side if it’s broken at the neck.

I did this the first time to a quail hen who had been so badly injured by a male that he had torn away an eye and most of her face, bleeding badly, so there was no hope of recovery and I felt it was best to put her out of her pain. Of course you could take him to the vet for a whiff of gas if you can’t face the job of putting him down, but I’ve always felt that as a keeper, I needed to know how to cull a bird, chicken or quail, in an emergency, and then once I had done it a few times it seemed good usually to do it quietly and efficiently myself. I couldn’t have left that injured girl to wait for a vet’s appointment. But it is a horrible job, whether it’s a hen or a quail I always feel bad afterwards even if I know I’ve done a proper job, and if you feel you would rather take him to the vet to be pts, that is a perfectly sensible choice to make. You can’t even keep the males together in a separate run as they do it to each other!

I hatched two consecutive batches of chicks before I found out that the adult males were such a problem. Out of the 17 chicks hatched in total, there were ten males and seven females. I had to cull one injured female and then all the boys. After that, the six remaining girls lived happily and peacefully together for some years and laid hundreds of lovely little eggs. But by that time I had decided not to hatch any more, because the boys caused such grief, to the girls as well as to me!
 

LB81

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I suppose it should be something I get used to as I don't want any injuries or too many males. Should I also register the quail it says you should but you never know what to believe on websites that's why I joined a forum.
 

Marigold

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Do you mean registering your flock on the DEFRA website? This is mandatory for commercial keepers of large flocks of any kind of poultry, and voluntary for keepers of small flocks of domestic poultry. It’s mainly to help DEFRA monitor bird flu outbreaks and other legal aspects. I don’t think you need to worry about registering your tiny flock of quails as they’re kept under cover in any case, with absolutely no access to wild birds.
 
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