View Full Version : Blind chick - any ideas ???

17-Jun-09, 22:22
I have hatched out a small batch of quail chicks which I bought on ebay. Unfortunately the seller must be inbreeding as I had 50% of them with some kind of problem, so I had to open a "hospital wing".

I bought them for freshening up my own bloodlines... that's onviously not going to happen.

Several were so bad that they were rolling about on their backs and despite helping them to stand on their feet they just couldn't do it, so I had to kill them after 24 hours. I suspect they had some kind of brain damage.

Some had curled toes, which were mostly fine after wearing "shoes" for 24 hours.
I still have some with badly curled feet, which are wearing shoes for another few days and I hope they will learn to walk. One with a deformed leg I had to kill, birds can't walk on one leg...

Finally I have two blind chicks. One has eyes and can make out the difference between dark and light. It has learned to stick it's beak into mashed up food and suck. Looks strange but I hope it will eventually start pecking and learn to feed itself.

The other one, however, has empty eye sockets. I never even noticed it as they all hatched during the night and I was so tired from moving them all from the hatcher to the brooder that I only made sure they had two healthy legs and the navel was closed.

The next day I noticed one chick moving it's head left to tight all the time and only then did I noticed that the poor thing had no eyes at all. I grabbed it to kill it and my daughter looked at me and said "what's wrong with that one? It seems all healthy and it's my favourite, it has a special colour...." Oh dear. I gave it 24 hours to learn to drink... it does, but only from my finger. It doesn't peck or put the beak to the ground.

Any ideas how to teach this poor thing to feed? I would hate having to tell my daughter that the chick is in the freezer....

18-Jun-09, 00:06
What a dilema Stefan not to mention the poor inbred chicks......curly toes though can appear in birds that have not been inbred and with patience can learn to walk. I had a rooster for years with curled feet, who as a chick stumbled over a lot and being put upright time and time again till he got the knack....he ended up being called Stumbles and patient handling saw him able to doddle around quite happily for a lot of years.
The chick with no eyes will need to be taught to follow sound and lower his head into food.
A little container and you dabbing your finger into food hopefully will see it begin to put head down to sound and if you can mimic quail mother sounds might also help. Failing that........................?:~(

18-Jun-09, 08:57
Thanks teenybash,
unfortunately quails are independant when they hatch, apart from going under the hen to keep warm. They don't follow their mum.
I had a chicken hatch out 2 quail eggs once (no idea how she managed to nick them and hatch them without any damage, but she was frustrated and stressed because the two chicks ran everywhere pecking for food and didn't listen to anything she was trying to teach them. Poor thing just gave up in the end and sat around waiting for them to come back and get warm....

I hope I find a way as he is now starting to be hungry and runs around wildly but still doesn't peck at anything...

The woman I bought the egss from replied last night and said she crosses her quails with her friends quails, so no inbreeding. God knows for how many years they have been doing that...
She blamed Royal Mail for the curly toes...

The second chick seems fine now, pecking around and looking for food. It's hit and miss, but will hopefully get used to a set environment and know where everything is. Won't be going into a colony though, but my daughter wants it as a pet...

If only they weren't so tiny.... A normal chick I could handfeed for a while, but these are so tiny...

Any ideas how I could make nutritious liquid food until he calms down a little ?

18-Jun-09, 16:55
Good news about the chick.
I decided to give him food instead of bedding and whilst I was out he taught himself to eat, pecking wildly at the ground whilst running backwards in a circle.
Lets hope he gets enough food to grow properly and I can teach him to drink by himself somehow.

18-Jun-09, 17:23
If you have a liquidizer you can pulp whatever the chicky needs. A simple moist food like sweet corn with smaller flaked barley or small grains added.....you could even chuck in the odd pulverized worm for protein......He should steady on his legs as walking backwards means he is looking for his balance point and with time he will find it.....lucky little chick now to be loved as a pet....your daughter, I am sure can help him a lot by putting her hand behind him to help him steady.

What will be the chicks pet name......you could get the orgers to choose.;)

19-Jun-09, 21:24
I keep quail, bobwhites, Italian and Mexican spotted. I have about 12 bobwhite and 60 Chinese painted quail eggs in an incubator just now. The chicks can be prone to splayed legs if they are kept on a smooth surface -- in the bottom of the brooder I lay a piece of anti slip mat, the type used on the dash of a car to stop things falling off -- you can buy this on E-bay or Google as anti slip mat or router mat -- the router mat is a better quality as it is thicker. Fine shavings can be spread over this if you want but is not essential. I also use a cavity closer brick, which is a hollow brisk about 200mm x 140mm outside dimensions and wall thickness of about 15mm, the height/length is about 200mm, on its end and hang a ceramic bulb inside but clear of the shavings, etc. -- this heats up the brick and the other advantage there is no light from this type of bulb -- cover the top of the brick with a piece of wire mesh to prevent the chicks, once they are bigger from jumping inside as this type of bulb gets very hot -- handle with care when switched on. I have had eggs off E-bay and had reasonable success with them, unfortunately you are always going to have some problems, runts or deaths etc. I have kept birds for over 30 years and have incubated many different species. My main incubator is an AB cabinet model with automatic turning and humidity control. I also have a Brinsea Octagon 20 with automatic turning. I have just ordered an R-com usb model which has automatic turning and humidity control. Hopefully the R-com will be used for the smaller eggs although it can accommodate geese sized eggs whilst the AB model will be used for the more valuable eggs.

19-Jun-09, 21:51
I have had quails for many years, and yes, you are right, there is always the odd chick with a problem, just not that many in one batch.
I use anti slip mats in my hatcher, so the chicks are on it as soon as they hatch, then in the nursery, where I watch them the first hours. They move to a brooder with a slip mat and shavings on top as soon as they can stand and walk properly and have no obvious health problems.

The blind chick is doing ok. Today I have cleaned him out, he is with another blind chick (can see dark and light) and a very small chick which had an open navel and stuff hanging out of it... (before you ask: i didn't help, the hick hatched itself).

I take care to not change anything around and have tried to teach him to walk into the drinker with his beak, then lower his head for the water. I am sure he has started to notice his feet as he puts his toes on the drinker... it's still hit and miss, but getting better. I still remind him where it is every few hours. Underneath the drinker (which looks like a dish with an upside down bottle) I have added another larger dish with food. So he has a ring of food, then the water.

I hope he will work it all out soon. He gets fed up now as I have not put food all over the floor, as the other two chicks got their eyes glued shut because of the dust.

Luckily for him I couldn't come up to Caithness this weekend, so he has another week to learn before he is on his own with finding food and water all day whilst everybody is at work/school.

I must have a soft spot for him as I usually keep 200+ quails and not bother with ill chicks. To be fair, I only keep the other two for company for him... otherwise they would be in the freezer by now.:eek:

19-Jun-09, 23:07
You know, what you are describing sounds an aweful lot like Mareks disease in chickens, but I have'nt been able to find out about prevalence in quails ( http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/90/mareks-disease ). I am trying to find something on it......

19-Jun-09, 23:09
Looks like quails can get it: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1647066

21-Jun-09, 21:48
Update: The chick has been named Lionel. He is making progress in looking after himself, feeding himself ok and started to get a drink but can't always find the drinker.
He is now on his own, as the tiny chick that had some of his guts hanging out passed away. I also had to kill the other blind chick as it wasn't making any attempts to drink and was rather unsteady, falling on it's back all the time.

Being on his own seems to help him as he doesn't get knocked about and he has started to walk around and smell and touch his environment with his beak.
He is growing slightly slower than the other chicks but it's all so much harder for him, using a lot of energy on trying to work things out.

I agree with Ju that it does sound like Mareks Disease, however, the other 76 chicks are symptom free, so fingers crossed it was just a stupid woman who inbreeds.

Need to have it checked though.

21-Jun-09, 22:21
Glad to hear Lionel the lionhearted quail chick is getting it together....a little smartie by the sounds of it.....he'll get there I am sure...if you put your finger or something in his water dish and move it about he will hear the sound and twig where it is.............;)

22-Jun-09, 11:23
How would he know what water sounds like?
He does however know what the plastic sounds like when he pecks it compared to the walls of his enclosure and the difference in floor covering and sound when he pecks the floor.
Still hard to find when you have no understanding of shapes and direction.

He keeps trying and I help him every few hours to make sure he gets enough water.

As he seemed a bit lonely on his own we have given him a teddy which he gladly cuddles up to to sleep.

22-Jun-09, 11:50
It's a natural instict to know the sound of water if you dabble it....how lovely to think he is cosying up to his teddy...what a special little guy..keep on loving him and keep us updated...even pics would be nice.:)

22-Jun-09, 18:29
Ok teenybash,
just for you :)

I honestly didn't put him there, he starts off underneath the heart then pushes his way up behind it. Has a very strict routine. Sleep with the teddy, fall off the top, have a wash, eat, drink, warm up under the lamp, sleep....

I can tell his voice now from the other 76 and also understand when he is upset.... amazing what you can learn from a tiny quail chick if it sits right next to your desk.


I took a few videos with my mobile, might put them on youtube...

23-Jun-09, 16:42
Awe...he is lovely and just look at the little contented soul sitting there as happy as larry...or should I say Lionel. This is one special little chick....
Thank you for the pic...as he grows will you keep us updated with pics??:)

23-Jun-09, 20:08
That is a great photo of him and i have been reading how he is getting on so thanks for sharing with us.

23-Jun-09, 22:52
I've been reading with interest too. He's a survivor that one :D Thanks for keeping us updated

24-Jun-09, 03:59
Ah Stefan, you have a big heart!
It's gonna take some looking after, but it's in the right hands methinks! Good on ya kiddo! :)

24-Jun-09, 16:23
To keep you all updated: Linonel can now drink all by himself, although he spends an enormous amount of time locating his water. He gets frustrated and pecks around wildly at times but he is much livelier now and walks around more.
I am considering changing his drinker or at least adding another one, one which will be his chest height into which he can walk into without falling into it and then getting upset, jumping around, falling over and getting covered with food.... to the point where I have to bathe him and blow dry him.... only happened once... but now he tries to avoid lying down... he tries to sleep standing up with his beak on the floor as a "third leg". Hilarious!

Quick note about Marek's disease: pretty sure it's not Marek's, as the virus is not spread via eggs. All symptoms started at hatching, so there was no time for infection.
I also don't have any other birds that could carry the virus, so unlikely we have a problem with Marek's.
Inbreeding is much more likely to be the cause.

24-Jun-09, 16:50
I just love the thought of Lionel getting upset, having a wee tantrum and falling into his water and food..................He is just such a special little guy who seems to be going from strength to strength.........Good idea about the chest high water bowl.
I bet you never thought an egg bought from Ebay that travelled through the postal system before being incubated, would have resulted in a little bird called Lionel, who is now reaching out and touching hearts.:)

24-Jun-09, 20:20
Re your quail drinking and sometimes falling in the water. Depending on the size of the quail they could fall in the water and drown. I put marbles in the dish and this prevents drowning. I also use a circular multi hole plastic feeder in to which goes an upturned glass bottle. These can be used with both seed and water -- keeps the food and water a lot cleaner. These feeders were purchased off E-bay and came complete with the bottles. Hope Lionel keeps going from strength to strength. What variety of quail is he or maybe she?

24-Jun-09, 22:04
Lionel is a japanese quail.
I use drinkers that are designed for quail, they can't drown in it. However, Lionel was unable to find the water so I had to design and make my own.

He doesn't use a feeder at all, his food is spread on the floor, otherwise he doesn't get enough food.

He didn't like the drinker at chest height, kept moaning about having to drink that high and kept getting all wet when drinking so back to the old one... see how it goes. Problem is that he runs backwards until he bumps into something to have a poop. Unfortunately it's often his drinker... so I have to clean it out every few hours... I must be mad.

No sign of my daughter or my OH who both wanted me to keep him alive and look after him... ah well, I knew they wouldn't look after him...

26-Jun-09, 23:10
I laughed at the thought of Lionel running backwards, bump then poop.....of course you are not mad with cleaning duties...you just love the little guy.:)

26-Jun-09, 23:28
Teeny, I keept loads of quail, they are food and egg producers... not pets. Quails taste delicious, so do their eggs... whatever made me have a quail as a pet, I don't know... whatever isn't 100% healthy usually ends up in the freezer...

Lionel is growing wing feathers now and has started hopping around and flapping his wings like mad. He nearly flew out of his tray earlier. Will have to add a cover to it tomorrow or he will be dog dinner !

He is tuxedo coloured (brown top, white underneath) so won't be able to tell his sex until he either starts crowing or laying eggs. I just so hope he is not a boy or will not crow much because a crowing quail in the house is worse than a cockerel !
If he was a she I could have the egg for breakfast.. mmmhhh...

27-Jun-09, 23:57
Will be lovely if he is a she......this little bird must have something special to give since it is now your special pet.....I think it is so heartwarming to hear of little Lionel/Lionelle and the steady progress from helpless to finding his/her way. great stuff.:)

19-Sep-09, 21:00
Only just found this - how sweet! Any updates?

19-Sep-09, 21:56
i've not seen it before either Leanne so thanks for resurfacing - would love to find out how things worked out for Lionel

19-Sep-09, 22:02
Lionel turned out to be a girl. We never changed her name and although she was laying us an egg a day we referred to her as "he".
Lionel is living in the garage with all the other quails now, he enjoys listening to them, is active when they are and goes to sleep when they do. When he was in the house he didn't know when it was day and when it was night. Now he listens to the other birds and settles in his bed when they do.

He now easily finds his food and water and sleeping place, which is an old shoe box filled with saw dust. He still has a teddy, but needed a biger one... I'll take a picture tomorrow.

Lionel was a very happy quail until last week. Unfortunately he has developed a growth in the place where one of his eyes should be. It doesn't seem to bother him too much but I believe that it will effect him soon. I am not sure if it is some kind of infection or a tumor.
I am giving him a natural anti inflammatory but it doesn't seem to have an effect. He still eats and drinks normally and his behaviour hasn't changed.

Some people might not agree with this, but I am not prepared to spend loads of money at the vets only to find out that he is not going to make it anyway or has to suffer. The kindest thing would probably to cull him before he suffers.

He was to be culled when I first spotted that he had no eyes and it was my daughter and other half who begged me to keep him alive. Both of which don't have any interest in Lionel now. I am the one cleaning him out every 3 days and giving him fresh water twice a day. He can't have sawdust as he would get it all in his water and food and the paper towels get soiled very quickly.

If the family had an interest in him and he was a treasured pet I would see it differently, but he isn't. Yes I fell in love with the guy but can't justify taking him to the vets. OH already indicated that it's not acceptable to run up a vet bill for a quail.

If anybody wants to sponsor a vet visit for him please feel free to contact me.

19-Sep-09, 22:30
I have often thought of Lionel and wondered....what a kind little soul laying eggs for you..............If she is not bothered and going about her business as usual, maybe she should be left to get on with life while the growth/lump is not bothering her. Glad you brought her with you and that you obviously look on her as being special..............:)

19-Feb-10, 10:39
Just a quick note that Lionel is still alive and well.
The lump turned out to be an infection which separated and fell off after a course of oil of oregano that I administered in the water.
A second infection was cleared up recently the same way as I caught it early this time. Lionel has a very sophisticated way of letting me know when she's unwell: If I talk to her and she talks back and bends her back when I touch her she is fine, if she jumps around and avoids my touch and moans she is unwell.
During the winter she had to move indoors but she is in the hallway where people pass all the time and she can tell who is passing if they don't speak to her.
She enjoys walks around the lounge when I clean her out every other day and is generally a happy quail.

19-Feb-10, 11:35
so pleased to here that Lionel is well,you have a good heart!

19-Feb-10, 13:29
Aw so glad that wee Lionel is okay and still with you. A very heartwarming story.:D

By the way I am really interested in the oil of oregano you use. Where do you get this and what is it used for?
I try to use natural remedies for both myself and my pets as much as possible.

19-Feb-10, 13:32
Stefan you need to clear out your pm's.:D

19-Feb-10, 14:29
Thanks Liz, I have.
There are different types of oil of oregano. I tried cheap stuff which didn't wok too well.
I bought the one I used for Lionel (and myself for joint paint) on amazon. Look for extra strength (30ml = 19.95).
I put one drop each day into Lionels water for a week, myself I have 3 cups of tea a day with 3 drops each. Works every time for me and worked well with Lionel too.

19-Feb-10, 17:45
Thanks ever so much for the info. Much appreciated.:D

19-Feb-10, 18:05
So very glad Lionel is very much still with you and her lump was not ominous and cleared up with your help.
Have often thought of this wee soul and it is heart warming to hear she is just fine and very much part of your life. If you ever get the time another pic would be really nice as she is such a part of Pets Corner.......must try the oregano, sounds good. Tickly hugs to Lionel and one to yourself for being so kind to her.

19-Feb-10, 19:15

19-Feb-10, 23:43

Awwwwwww i want one!

Lovely story tho! :Razz

20-Feb-10, 13:45
ahhh bless her gorgeous heart,love the teddy!:D

23-Feb-10, 23:18
I have just come across this thread, Stefan it is so sweet. Glad to know Lionel is still doing well

23-Feb-10, 23:42
Awwww bless.

I'm another one who hadn't seen this thread afore, what a lovely story.

27-Feb-10, 17:16
as the chick is not meant to be a pet dont you think it would be kinder to knock it on the head its not like it will see you coming nor would you want to breed from it considering its disability:Razz

03-Mar-10, 00:45
as the chick is not meant to be a pet dont you think it would be kinder to knock it on the head its not like it will see you coming nor would you want to breed from it considering its disability:Razz

Have you actually read this thread?

03-Mar-10, 10:24
Don't think he/she has....

BTW, Lionel is moulting and in a terrible mood. DON'T TOUCH ME, DON'T EVEN TALK TO ME !!!
Runs into bed as soon as somebody even so much as breathes over her cage...lol. Such a drama queen.
The bed is now a cardboard box with just a small entrance at the front to retain heat. Such a safe place if you don't want to be touched...

03-Mar-10, 18:08
My goodness, Lionel is so female.......I love the thought of her being oh so....Greta Garbo...'I vont to be alone!!!!!' Quite the little madam, me thinks.:Razz