When we first brought the quail home we had not yet decided on how we were going to permanently house them. The logical choice seemed to be the three divided rabbit carriers that were not being used. Two of the cages have two chambers each and one has four. The space was small, but it allowed for separation of quail by color and gender. While they did fill the need, they were not the most ideal living arrangement for the quail. Cramped quarters lead to fussy birds and we can now say that we understand the origin of the word “henpecking”.
Another disadvantage of using the rabbit carriers is that there is not much room between the floor of the cage and the removable tray underneath. This makes for little room for the bird poop to drop away from the birds. We discovered that the odors were greatly reduced with the installation of a liner. Puppy pads did the trick as long as they were changed frequently. We were excited to finally receive permanent housing for the quail because it meant that cleaning would be easier, the birds would have more room, and the eggs could roll out of the living area for a simpler and cleaner collection.
The birds’ time in their temporary housing was not without accident. One of the larger hens experienced a rather unusual injury when she broke off a large portion of her upper beak. There was a significant amount of blood loss which stopped before I had time to get a coagulant. It did, however, leave quite a mess all over the cage. She was quickly isolated to keep the other birds from pecking at her. We were also concerned that she may have problems eating and drinking since there was such a large difference in length between the upper and lower parts of her beak. Fingernail clippers were used to shorten the lower beak slightly. We are happy to report that she has made it through the ordeal and is now living a normal and productive life.
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