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 Post subject: Jap Quail feet problem
PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:41 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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I hope someone can help me here..I've been dabbling in Jap quail for meat and eggs for around 6 months now and have had an endless supply of said products from pretty much the first week we purchased 4 pairs. I've since learned a lot about them and am still learning. My pens are set up so that the droppings drop through the wire floor to the ground where hubby collects it for our gardens. The problem I am having is that the quail in the laying pens on the wire are developing very hard calluses on their feet. I'm now getting worried that this is the wrong thing to be doing but all the pens i've researched are up off the ground with the wire bottom for the same purpose we have and that is for the droppings as fertiliser. The quail are still laying and are healthy and i'm still hatching healthy babies so is this a big problem or am I just worrying about nothing? I am considering turning the large shed that their breeding cages are in into just a large aviary but this will reduce my chances of having breeding lots as you can't keep too many males in with them.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:53 pm 
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Deluxe Drake
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Don't keep them on wire; it hurts their feet. It is what the commercial operators do, but then commercial operators also cage laying birds at 5 in a small cage. It's efficient but unkind.

Rather than have one big pen we have several smaller ones, each with one cock and six hens. This seems to be a happy number and each hen lays an egg a day. We have good fertility. They have about 1.5m squared floor space, and the pens are in banks, three pens high, so about 50cm headroom which is heaps for a quail.

We have a plywood floor covered in wood shavings which keeps things dry and absorbs any moisture from the poo. Periodically I put the quail in a box, sweep out the shavings into the wheelbarrow and then replace the used shavings with fresh. The quail love playing in the fresh shavings. The used ones go into our veggie garden, along with the used hay from the chook pens, and our garden has exploded with food. I can't keep up with the tomatoes!

Also, quail love a small oven dish full of play-pit sand to bath in. You can get it in Bunnings for $5 per 20kg bag.

I hope that helps! I try to take some photos of our set up.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:20 am 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Darrssy wrote:
... all the pens i've researched are up off the ground with the wire bottom ...

For research there are some good threads on the forum over the last few years on quail management. Most (not all) byp people seem to share the feeling that running quail on wire is slightly barbaric at best. Shairlyn's analogy of battery hens is fair - people keep them like this "because they can" - it does slightly put the dollar or whatever benefit above comfort let alone quality of life. Guinea pigs and rabbits are often run on wire for the manure collection benefit - they suffer horrific damage to their feet.

Agree that it is difficult to do colour specialty etc in one large pen, and the males do fight and kill one another, so the trick is to find a way to separate groups to give you control of age/breeding/colour groups without compromising fair conditions for the birds - bit of a matrix but do-able.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:25 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Thank you, I thought it was a bad thing to do right from the start considering I have free range chooks and ducks but quail are another matter where they can't free range. I shall be rethinking my whole setup now. I originally started out with putting newspaper in the cage and then shavings and straw..this turned out to be a huge chore every two or three days cleaning them out. I'll have to do a mass cull now as I have over 30 quail with a ratio of one cock to three hens. Thank you again.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:29 am 
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Deluxe Drake
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Glad we could help! Life is a learning experience. :)

I still owe you photos of my pens.

Quail can't free range as they have no 'go home' instinct but they can be given space and things to play with. Their lives can be much more pleasant than in the commercial set-ups, and I think they reward you for the care. Mine are largely hand-reared and stay calm and occaisionally pat-able well into adulthood.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:05 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Yes mine I can pick up and carry them around from pen to pen, one got out one day and she just came over to me to be picked up again. Very quiet little birds much like the chooks can be.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:50 am 
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Gallant Game
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If it's not too much to ask, I'd love to see the photos of your pens too shairlyn. I want to start building some extra pens so keen on seeing what others have. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:47 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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I must ask too does anyone else's quail lay up to three eggs a day? I collect eggs every day and out of two trio pens I get six sometime 8 or 9 a day out of EACH trio pen. I feed them the game bird food.

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