Part 3: Nursing the Quail Chicks
This part of my raising Coturnix quails talks about the how I nurse the young quail chicks once they hatched from the eggs the first day of their life. Nursing the quail chicks with care and attention is critical the first week once they are taken out of the incubator after they are dry and fluffy. This documentary covers the first ten days of my quail chicks’ life.
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- 25-gallon plastic nursery pot or large cardboard box
- Brooder Lamp with Bulb Guard
- yellow ceramic heat lamp
- Digital Heat Mat Thermastat
- shredded pine wood
- chick waterer set
- quail chick feeding set
- Gamebird or quail food from Tractor Supply
- marble mortar with pestle set
- glass pebbles
- 24+ inch hand pointer or rod lay to lay on top of brooding box or container
Setting up the Brooding Box:
Day 1: 1/22/23: I really don’t need any fancy brooding box for the quail chicks. I use a 25-gallon plastic nursery pot and covered the holes at the bottom of the pots with wide tape. Then I lay a layer of fine pine shreds on the bottom of the pot to make the quails bedding. I insert the brooder lamp though a 24-inch pointer I had handy in the house, but I would recommend finding a rod with a flat side and at least 30 inches long. I place the rod on top of the plastic pot and turn on the heating lamp setting the temperature to 99.5F. I covered the brooding box with cardboard and placed a towel on top. It’s important to wait for the temperature inside the brooding box to reach 99.5F before transferring the quail chicks out of the incubator and into the brooding box.
Once the quail chicks are dry and fluffy after hatching in the incubator and the brooder box is warm and heated up to 99.5F, it is now time to carefully and gently pick up the quail chicks and transfer them into the brooder box. Remember to cover up the brooder box with the cardboard and try not to open up the top too often since the temperature will drop every time the top is uncovered. It’s dark without any light filtering through so I found something that is clear to cover the top partially.
Caution: Be careful not to let the rod slip and fall into the brooder box since the lamp will fall into the brooder box and may squish the quail chicks. This is also why having a long enough rod will help. My 24-inch hand pointer slipped twice when the kids moved the cover off and on. Lesson learned.
Food: I grind up the quail food using a small granite mortar that I bought from Marshalls for five bucks. I lay a piece of paper towel down in the brooder box and pour the grinded quail food on top. I replaced the paper at least once a day and refill with food for the first three days. I don’t use the food container for the first three days because the chicks are just still too little. I put their food in a half-inch tall plastic food container afterward.
Water: I filled the chick waterer with room temperature water. The chicks are still small and can drown easily so I placed glass pebbles from my flower vase around the waterer to prevent the chicks from drowning or from the quails making the water splatter all over their pine wood bedding.
Reminder: Remember to cover up the brooder box with the cardboard and try not to open up the top too often since the temperature will drop every time the top is uncovered.
Weaklings: The first four days would be the most critical time during the nursing period. A few weakling chicks may be injured or die or sometimes lay on their side like they are playing dead. Make sure to remove the dead chicks and give them a burial or put the dead chicks in the compost bin or at the bottom of a flowering pot. Please don’t toss the dead chicks into the trash. One weakling chick died from this batch of 31/44 eggs that hatched. So now I have 30 chicks that made it this far.
Day 2: 1/23/23: insert photos
Day 3: 1/24/23: insert photos
Periodically check at least twice a day to see if waterer needs to be refilled or more food need to be added.
Day 4: 1/25/23 insert photos 99.5F
Day 5: 1/26/23 insert photos 95F
The weather has warmed up, so I relocated the chicks and the brooder box out into the garage. Remember to clean the chicks’ shaved pine bedding. It gets dampen by the waterer. I wore gloves to just scoop out the old wet pine shavings and pour in the new ones before I go to sleep at night.
Day 6: 1/27/23 insert photos
Start lowering the setting temperature of the thermostat gradually. I set it to 90F.
Day 7: 1/28/23 insert photos – 85F
Day 8: 1/29/23 80F
Day 9: 1/30/23 Take out the heating lamp
Day 10: 1/31/23
Day 11: 2/1/23
Day 12: 2/2/23
Day 13: 2/3/23 I clipped the quail chick’s first layer of wings. (Attach link to YouTube video)
End of Part 3 documentary
Start Part 4: Raising Coturnix Quails Week 2-8