Ugh… I am pulling my hair out over these quail! I am about two seconds away from just eating them all. No kidding. Although, now I know how the one quail hen was wounded a few days ago… cannibalism. Awesome guys.
I always count the quail in the morning during feeding time. I do the same with the chickens and rabbits; a sort of roll-call if you will. This morning I counted 11 outside and 1 inside (the wounded quail), totaling 12. Correct. Just two hours later, I look inside the pen and spot a little brown wing. Huh?! I count again. Now there is only 10 outside and 1 inside. Wrong.
Upon further inspection, I find a quail head and two little feet inside the coop. **Sigh…** I cleaned up everything I could find, but I am still a little dismayed. I mean, really?! In two hours the covey managed to kill and pick another quail absolutely clean? Ugh!
I am unsure of the cause, but I have read that it can be a mixture of various things: confinement (they have twice as much space as is recommended), extreme heat (we’ve had extreme heat for three weeks now), and/or not enough protein (perhaps, but I don’t think so). I have been supplementing the quail’s 18% barley fodder with mealworms, which are reportedly high in protein.
Whether insufficient protein is the problem or just the heat, I have decided to put the quail on commercial “game bird crumbles” to see if that helps any. Quail are kind of a mysterious and fairly uncommon homestead livestock so it will take some trial and error to figure out what type of food works best. Apparently natural-feed is not fully meeting their needs, so I am just having to ditch my no-commercial feed approach –as far as the quail are concerned– for the time being. Ugh again.