In New Zealand I have fed my Quails a diet “corrected ” for Quails starting off with a commercial Chicken Starter Mash. This seemed to have worked fairly well as the growth results were acceptable. As my enterprise expanded it became more time consuming hand mixing feed all the time and I inquired with various feed companies, as to the availability of a specialised product for Quails, to no avail. I have however found a standard product off the shelf from a reliable feed company that claims, on the bag, to be adequate for quails. Having purchased it and used it for the past weeks, the results are shockingly bad. A specific batch of Quails, consisting of about 80 birds,, received this diet from day one. I normally supplement young Quail diets with boiled eggs for the first two weeks, which I have also done for this group.
Apart from excessively poor growth and survival performances I have two birds showing severe signs of Enephalomacia (Vitamin E deficiency). The inherently low level of vitamin E in the the cerebellum makes it very susceptible to Vitamin E, Selenium and Antioxidant levels. The problem is normally associated with diets high in unsaturated fats as often found in poor quality fish meal as well as poorly processed blood and bone meal. Also the rations are normally supposed to be adequately supplemented with a vitamin and mineral pre-mix appropriate for the specific application. I dare to say it was not the case with the product I have purchased at high cost.
The signs of Encephalomalysia is imbalance, staggering and uncontrolled movement. Treatment is by supplementing Vitamin E and/or Selenium in the water and feed. Should the brain damage not be too severe, remission is possible.
I also have a video of two birds affected but cannot upload it – if you are interested I could Email it to you. I am busy setting up a YouTube account which will resolve this problem in future.
My diagnosis of the deficiency was unfortunately a few days too late as I firstly did not expect it from the purchased diet and secondly I initially thought it to be Wry Neck, a genetic disorder for which I select and cull very strictly against
The performance for this group are as follows (Figures in brackets depicts all previous batches):
Average mass at 21 days of age for top 20 % of birds – g – 108 (113)
Average mass at 21 days of age for the bottom 20 % of birds – g 57 (78)
Birds alive from eggs placed – % – 42 (69)
As can be seen from the above results there was a great number of bids affected as can be seen in the large number of underweight bids as well as the high mortality, even though only a few show the excessive diagnostic behavior found int the two birds photographed. Interesting enough the one bird showing signs was by far the heaviest bird in the group (Maybe the fast growth required higher levels of nutrients??) I am now supplementing the entire group with Vitamin E and hopefully shall save the rest not too severely affected.