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How Do I Crop Feed Day Old Quail Chicks Please?

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I am in a tiz so have put this on the other forum and copied it here too as I need help.


I have just had a crash course in crop feeding 8 very young budgie chicks but now need to crop feed day old Chinese Pained Button Quail chicks.


The long version...


This is Sarah's second year breeding and she is a very good mum but for some reason this clutch of 12 eggs she kept putting eggs out of the nest and in again over the hatching period. Saturday 8 Jan I found 3 eggs in the bottom of the hutch and she laid an egg each day thereafter. She still had her previous clutch as they were only 1 week old when she started laying, earliest she has ever done. They eggs sat on the floor until she bundled them up and started sitting on the 9th egg on Friday 14th Jan so I made her due about Sunday 30th Jan when her chicks were 4.5 weeks old.


She hadn't hatched by then I moved her previous clutch to another aviary (usually they get moved about 4-5 weeks as Timmy the Dad starts chasing them around the hutch, but Sarah was a lot earlier laying)


On Friday 4 Feb when I was checking on them before getting the kids from school I saw one yellow chick in front of her. She moved off the nest and there was a little brown one too. I checked again later at 5pm and there were 2 brown and 1 yellow chick. Last time she hatched 5 chicks on Friday and 1 on Saturday from her 6 eggs so I checked again yesterday but no more chicks.


Today is day 20 from the last egg was laid so they should've all hatched by now. When I went down this afternoon I found an egg away from the nest with a hole in it and could see a chick! I peeled a bit of egg away but no movement so threw it in a rubbish container. Since Sarah wasn't sitting on the eggs anymore I thought I might as well see what was in the other 9 eggs. The next 2 were chicks and the third was just yolk so I stopped opening them and ran the chicks inside.


I looked on the internet and have made a quick incubator with a heatpad, flannel, lamp and put towels around the cage with water in a container for moisture. I rubbed the chicks trying to dry them with a tissue as their feathers were very wet and have only seen dry feather chick babies when Sarah hatches them.


One of the chicks I hatched still had an egg sac attached and it died. One chick is very strong and the other is weaker. I can't see how to feed them. I have water on a teaspoon and carefully dip their beak into it and they drink but I read to put starter food down dry and tap it so the chicks learn to tap to eat but they aren't doing that either. I have a small syringe and putting water starter food on their beak but their beaks are so small it won't fit. I have tried a toothpick with the budgie chicks but the food scraped off before I got it in the beak.


What should I do with the remaining eggs as I tried candling but the shells are very thick and I can't tell if there is a chick or yolk in them. Should I leave the eggs tonight (6.47pm now) and crack them tomorrow so I can feed them during my day?


Any ideas please? Many thanks




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Have no experience with quails unfortunately. As far as i have read they hatch self sufficient? They should be able to feed themselves from hatching which is partly why they are so popular with mass breeding and artificial incubation?

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Yes, I know I don't need to crop feed because they are self-sufficent but these chicks aren't eating the mashed food. The weaker quail is just curling up it hasn't got to its feet. I have put their beaks into a teaspoon of water careful not to get them wet but I can't get any food into them. I've tried tapping the food but the stronger chick keeps snuggling into me and the weaker one just lies on the floor.

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Many a time I have tried to save the weak chicks who wont eat once they hatch and many times it fails no matter how hard I try. I now dont try. Let the strongest survive and the other dont make it for a very good reason I have worked out.

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