Have your brooder set up and ready 24 hours in advance of the chicks
arrival. The temperature should be 90 to 95 degrees for the first week.
Reduce the temperature five degrees per week until you get to 70
Use a high protein feed for the first 8 weeks (preferably 28%-30%
protein), turkey starter works well. For day-old quail, the feed must be
in very small crumbles or ground fine. Be sure that the feed that you
purchase is fresh, older feed loses vital nutrients that baby chicks
need. Never let the chicks run out of feed.
12-36 inch high cardboard can be put in circle around the chicks to
cut down drafts on the floor. Be sure the circle is large enough to
allow chicks to get away from the heat if they want to. A circle or
oval with no corners reduces piling/smothering other.
Wood chips/shavings, rice hulls, peat moss, or ground corn cobs
work for litter. If using wood shavings, be sure they are kiln-dried and
large shavings - not sawdust. Place the litter over the floor at least
1-inch thick. A smooth surface is deadly, baby quail cannot grip or
stand properly on a smooth surface, and it will cause splayed legs.
Try to provide 1/2 square foot per chick. Do not mix different age
groups together in the same space.
Have one gallon of water available for each 50 chicks. Do not
use cold water as the chicks will chill. For the first two days,
add 1 tablespoon of table sugar to each quart of water for extra energy.
Use plain water after that. Make sure the dish part of your waterers are
shallow enough to allow the chicks to reach the water and narrow enough
that they cannot get into the water and drown. Marbles should be added
to the dish part of wider waterers for the first couple of weeks so
chicks cannot pile up and drown in the dish. Never let your chicks run
out of water.
If you use a heat bulb, this will also serve as the light you need.
Otherwise, be sure to give your chicks some light - low wattage lights -
to keep them from piling.
Baby chicks will pick at each other if they are too hot, too crowded,
without fresh air; or short of room. To stop the picking, try putting in
green grass clippings, alphafa, fresh lettuce, melon, etc. to keep them
busy and darken the area. Old feed may also cause picking since old feed
may lose nutrients. If baby chicks continue to pick, try putting just a
pinch of salt on their feed. To treat chicks that have been picked smear
pine tar or black grease on the area injured, separate them from the
others if possible, and continue treating until healed.
Make sure chicks are safe from predators. Cats, dogs, skunks, mink,
raccoons, and hawks are some of the worst offenders.
Increase floor area to 3/4 sq. ft. per chick. Increase feeders to provide 2-1/2 to 3" of space per chick. Increase waterers to one 5 gallon fount per 100 chicks.