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.
THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO TO A CHICK IS OVERHEAT IT, THE SECOND IS TO CHILL IT.
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 use turkey starter.
if you dont have a commercial brooder a good brooder is a 250 watt red lensed heat lamp suspended 14 inches above the floor, NEVER USE CLEAR LAMPS, a bulb this size will brood up to 200 quail, or 150 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 115 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. THEY MUST BE ABLE TO GET AWAY FROM THE HEAT.
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 benefit from Vitamins & Electrolytes in the water for the first 3 days. (you can get them at the feed store), mix half strength.
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 large flake pine shavings for bedding, pine shavings can be purchased at most feed stores. DO NOT USE SAWDUST OR SAND as they can mistake it for feed and they cannot digest it, be sure to give them baby chick grit so if the do eat foreign material they can grind it up and pass it,- it will not help with sand or sawdust.
About quail waterers, 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. Clean and dissenfect the waterers with bleach 2 or 3 times a week. 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 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.
For those seeking more information we recommend the book "how to raise bobwhite quail for commercial use". Available from GQF