Quail are hiding, not eating much

OhSusanna

Golden Chicken
Messages
122
I took the flock that my neighbor no longer wanted. They are still in a cage, but it's much larger with more space to exercise and a larger coop. They aren't adapting well though. They hide a lot and aren't eating as much as they should. Nothing else has changed. They can't see my other farm animals and I haven't added to their flock. What I can do to help them?
 

Birdie

Golden Chicken
Messages
112
Hiding is common behavior, but it's worrisome if they're behaving differently than they did when they lived at your neighbors. Definitely ask about that. They could be cold too. It's a good idea to try to keep the wind off of them. Do you know what variety of quail they are? What are you feeding them? Make sure it's small enough for them to eat. Ask your neighbor for some of their food if the neighbor didn't already send it over.

@RichZ, do you think it's too big? I don't know. The OP said the cage is bigger than the one they had and that she hasn't added more birds to it, so maybe you're onto something. I never thought a cage could be too big, but maybe so. Maybe the OP should try their old cage in the new surrounding to see if that helps. It would be more of a gradual transition.
 

RichZ

Bean Stalker
Messages
389
If the cage is so big that the quail don't feel secure, it could be a problem. Also if it's in a location where the quail can see other animals or people, they may be scared. Also, if they hear a lot of unusual sounds, it could freak them out. Quail are prey animals, and they need to feel secure in their enivornment.
 

OhSusanna

Golden Chicken
Messages
122
@RichZ, the neighbor brought their old cage and that seems to have helped. I don't understand it though. I was trying to enrich their lives by giving them more space to roam.

@Birdie, I have a covey of Japanese quail. They've been relocated to the garage. I can't live like this forever. I raise animals for meat, milk, and eggs, but they have a darn good life during the process. Well, these birds are set up to stick their little heads out of the pen to eat from a trough. The light is controlled to keep them docile. In other words, I'm essentially factory farming them. How can I get them outside? I know they can't be free-ranged, but how can I give them a more natural life? My husband wants to make them an aviary. We have the material to do it.
 

RichZ

Bean Stalker
Messages
389
An aviary would be really nice for them. After you build it, put their cage in it with the door open. Let them get used to it on their own terms. It's really nice that you want to make them a home.
 

The Big Cowhuna

Farm Hand
Messages
102
Susanna, I've never raised these birds, but I believe quail are still considered more wild than tame. They aren't long-lived birds. They're game birds and rather jumpy. They're unlikely to befriend you like a goat, chicken, or pig might, so don't take it personally. They're ground birds, but letting them on the ground means they're more likely to get worms and diseases, hence the cages. They're popular birds to raise in closets and basements. Like rabbits, they don't take up much space. Are you breeding them? From birth, these birds will be ready to process in 6 to 12 weeks or so. They grow fast and I think that's why many people don't invest in them while they're alive.
 

Birdie

Golden Chicken
Messages
112
@OhSusanna, I figured that's what you had. Most people keep them in wire cages instead of the on the ground because deworming them ruins the meat (for some people). Even in the wild, a quail like yours will have a short life. I've taken in quail before that needed a home and I sure didn't keep them in tiny cages. Your idea of setting up an aviary sounds nice. RichZ gave some sound advice for getting them used to it. Just make sure you have a way to collect the eggs and figure out how you'll deal with worms. It's also important to keep them warm. Look at it this way too, if you don't cull the birds and they're mating, you'll wind up in over your head with too many birds and not enough space. If your covey is unhappy you'll know it.
 

RichZ

Bean Stalker
Messages
389
Quails are interesting birds and much more complex than you might imagine. If you want to see what quail are capable of, read the very short book, That Quail Robert.
 

OhSusanna

Golden Chicken
Messages
122
Quails are interesting birds and much more complex than you might imagine. If you want to see what quail are capable of, read the very short book, That Quail Robert.
Is it sad? If it's sad at all, count me out. I still tear up when someone talks about Old Yeller. My husband has started on the aviary. These quail have always walked on wire, but the vet came out and he thinks they'll do okay in an aviary. I appreciate all the help you've shared!

@Birdie, I have all females right now. I want to make sure I know what I'm doing before adding a male. Thanks for your help, Birdie.

Thanks for the info, @The Big Cowhuna. You shared a lot of great stuff that I wasn't aware of. I made the mistake of expecting them to be like chickens.
 
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