Care and Behaviour – Japanese Quails Chicks

The best guide for adjusting the temperature is chick behaviour. Chicks that crowd near the heat source and seem cold indicate the temperature is too low. When the chicks tend to settle a just outside the hottest area, the temperature is about right. Failure to provide adequate heat during the early days of the brooding period invariably results in increased mortality. Chicks should be protected from draughts of cold air, especially at night.

Care must be taken with small quail to prevent drowning in water troughs. A canning jar with a glass or plastic base, or automatic chick mini-drinkers, work well provided the drinking trough is filled with pebbles or marbles to stop the baby quail getting into the water.

When the chicks reach 1 week, the pebbles can be removed with safety. It is important to provide clean water at all times; water containers or troughs should be cleaned daily.

Litter is used to dilute the droppings and absorb moisture. Wood shavings, sawdust and sand are good litter materials. Litter should be 5–10 cm deep on the floor and covered with paper for the first week for chicks. Use soft, rough types of paper, as chicks tend to spraddle on hard, smooth paper. Old newspapers are satisfactory but not ideal. Paper towelling is better. Food should be sprinkled on the paper to encourage young chicks to eat. If chicks are raised in wire cages or on a wire floor, the floor surface must be covered with coarse paper for the first week or so to prevent leg injuries.

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