Raising Game Bird Chicks
Brooding: Set up your brooding facilities a week before your Chicks are to arrive so you have time to make adjustments or make purchases if needed.
Start the Chicks at 98 Degrees for the first week( this can be best done by hanging the 250 watt bulb 14" off the floor toward one end of the pen.) ( it is important that they can get away from the heat and choose their own comfort zone) then decrease the temperature by 5 degrees weekly after that. be sure to give them warm water during the brooding stage, and be sure the starter feed is about the texture of coffee grounds so that they can eat it. We suggest turkey starter.
A good cheap heat supply is a 250 watt red lensed heat lamp suspended 14 inches above the floor, a bulb this size will brood up to 250 quail, or 175 chukar. For a small amount of chicks in a small space use smaller bulbs. Check on the chicks about 30 minutes after placing them in the brooder to see that they are comfortable, Ideally they need an area about 110 - 120 degrees directly under the Heat bulb, and room to get away from the heat to about 85 degrees, then they will find their comfort zone in between. The most important thing is to observe the chicks, if they are huddeling under the light they are to cold, if they are staying away from the bulb they may be to hot, etc.
Quail need 1 square foot of space per 6 chicks and chukar need 1 foot per 3 chicks for the 6 weeks they are in the brooder. You can cut this space in half for the first 10 days. Quail also need Vitamins & Electrolytes in the water for the first 3 days. (you can get them at the feed store).
Be sure there are no drafts in the brooder, and remember day-old quail can squeeze thru a 1/2 inch hole. Use chopped straw or pine shavings for bedding, pine shavings can be purchased at most feed stores. Do NOT use saw dust or sand as they can mistake it for feed and they cannot digest it.
Just a note about quail, for waterers you can use the "baby chick founts" from your feed store, but be sure to partially fill the base with clean gravel so they don't fall in and become soaked, also place the fount on the floor and pull the litter in to it so the lip is not to high, ramping the bedding up around it does not work as they will soon have it trampled down flat. We don't recommend baby quail founts.
Supply Day-Old Chicks with baby chick grit by sprinkling it on top of their feed for the first few days then have it available to them in its own feeder after that.
Feed the chicks on paper plates (paper not plastic) for the first few days so the feed is plentiful and easily accessible, they will waste some but this will get them started eating faster.
If you have any questions give us a call or send us an email, we're here to help.
A note about Guineas: Roosts in the coop are a must and we recommend a light, if possible, to come on an hour before sunset and go off an hour after sunset, to draw them in at night, after release to free range - 5 or 6 weeks old. If they do choose a tree to roost in eventually, fashion a metal flange around the trunk about 5 feet up the tree to keep raccoons from climbing it, this can be made from flashing or coil stock from your local hardware.