Question Ideas on how to train quail to use a rabbit water bottle?

Discussion in 'Poultry, Domestic Livestock, Pets, & Bees' started by eggcentric, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. eggcentric

    eggcentric Member Premium Member GOLD

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2017
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Climate:
    Temperate (all seasons)
    I purchased one of these - https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/p...-heated-water-bottle-for-rabbits?cm_vc=-10005 - for my quail and installed it a few weeks back. I will be plugging it in once the nighttime temps are consistently below freezing. So far at night they've only hovered around the freezing mark, and only gone below 0 C on a couple of occasions, but this week's temperature trend is going steadily down.
    The problem is that they aren't used to nipple-type waterers; they been drinking from a standard mason jar with a screw-on base waterer up until now.
    I'm trying to figure out how to get them to try the new waterer, but am not sure how to encourage them. Any ideas?
     
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    338
    Location:
    Pomona, Qld
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    From my experience of training assorted animals to do unnatural things, you have to remove all food & water sources other than the one you want them to inspect.
    This needs to be done well in advance of the time it will be required to be in service.

    Which means lots of 5P's. (Prior & proper preparation prevents P poor performance.)
    If you leave it until the last minute you are more likely to fail.

    So for your quail, on a warmer day, remove all other water & food & change the bedding so it is brand new with no spilt food to draw their attention away from the smell of the water in the tip of the new waterer.
    If warmer days are not available then turn up the temperature of the warming pad or heat source you use to make it the same as a summer day.

    Once they get thirsty, the brainiest one will smell the water & begin investigating.
    Others will follow once they see the first one drinking but some will not try.
    You will have to keep a close eye on them to be sure none are becoming dehydrated from not drinking.
    You will need to separate out those that wont drink from the new waterer otherwise they will all go back to the old one.

    Providing those that don't drink with another water source actually concretes their rejection of the new waterer, but if they don't drink from something they will die.
    So it's a catch 22 situation. If most are drinking from the new source, then process those that wont drink before their health suffers.
    For future batches of quail, always leave a few of the older ones to teach the new ones the ropes. Once the new ones know what is what, you can process the last of the older ones.

    Chooks for example, will switch between waterers but there are always some that will only drink from one or the other.
    I'm not sure about the psychology of quail as to whether they are happy to switch between drinker types on a regular basis.
    But I suspect that once changed over to the new drinker it would probably be best to only have that type in their pen in future.
    If you need to save power costs then only plug it in as required but always use it as their water source.

    Good luck with your training! :)
     
  3. eggcentric

    eggcentric Member Premium Member GOLD

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2017
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Climate:
    Temperate (all seasons)
    Thanks for all your helpful tips, @ClissAT - I really appreciate that you took the time to post them for me! I will try your suggestion to remove their current water source and try to encourage at least one of them to drink from the heated water bottle by tapping on the pin to release some water while they are watching.
    Sadly, some of your other suggestions won't work for us here ...
    For instance, we will not be able to process any of the quail that won't learn to drink from the heated waterer because we only have two hens and one rooster at the moment. We did have a quad, but lost a hen to a freak accident a few weeks back. I inquired about getting some additional hens after we lost that hen, but I was told that integrating more hens into an existing flock can be tricky, especially if they don't have sufficient space, so we decided on keeping the status quo for this winter. We hope to add more in the spring when we have time and weather conducive to modifying our existing housing or building additional housing. :) We are raising our quail primarily for eggs, although when we get into adding new to our existing flock, I know we will have to process any extra males.
    Unfortunately, turning up the heat in our setup isn't an option, because they are in an outdoor pen, and the heating source I will be using - only when the winter really sets in here - will be a Cozy Coop flat panel heater (https://www.cozyproducts.com/products/cozy-coop) inside their house. This will provide the quail some radiant warmth, but will not raise the ambient temperature inside their house significantly.
    The heated water bottle has been installed for a number of weeks now, but there hasn't been any interest as far as I can tell, so as you said, I will have to remove their regular water this weekend and actively try to direct their attention to the new source. A local fellow poultry enthusiast suggested to me that I try some mashed banana on the drink bottle toggle pin so that the quail might accidentally activate the pin while pecking at it. I'll have to give that a try too. Hopefully they'll like banana. Worst case scenario is that I'll have to schlep out to their pen several times a day to change out their frozen waterer for a room temperature one from the house, or I'll have to make a DIY cookie tin heater base for their current waterer. Not ideal, because it's hardly energy-efficient, plus it has the potential to be a safety hazard.
    This Saturday looks like my last chance for quail training. It's difficult to do after work any more because of daylight savings time - by the time I get home now it's almost dark. :-\
     
  4. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    338
    Location:
    Pomona, Qld
    Climate:
    Sub-Tropical
    I always thought quail were tropical creatures.
    So I was thinking you would have to bring them indoors for the winter.
     
  5. eggcentric

    eggcentric Member Premium Member GOLD

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2017
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Climate:
    Temperate (all seasons)
    Yes, it’s true: No one can know for certain how the various breeds and sub-species developed, but it is generally acknowledged that all the Coturnix types are originally based on the Common quail, Coturnix coturnix, the wild migratory bird of Europe, Asia and Africa.

    The commercial strains of Coturnix quail here in North America are descendents of quail that were introduced by Europeans settlers, and have been developed to be quite hardy. Their wild indigenous cousins, the Bobwhite quail, also live here in the southern parts of Ontario. Sadly, Bobwhites have been in sharp decline throughout the past half-century, mostly owing to habitat loss, changes in agriculture practices and urban development, although they are occasionally killed by severe cold extreme weather events, and they are an increasingly high priority for conservation.

    Many people in the Southern parts of Ontario do keep Coturnix in unheated sheds, barns or outbuildings over winter in our area and add lots of extra bedding during the winter months. An increasing number are also using the Deep Litter method of bedding; Deep Litter should also provide some warmth. I’ve been told that Coturnix quail can handle temperatures down to -20 degrees C. In cold weather I agree that you do need to provide some heating in the coop or even move them indoors into cages in extreme conditions. Our quail house can actually be removed from the pen and brought in to our garage if/when the temperatures dip too low and for too long. Also, the flat panel heater will definitely be turned on at night and on any days where the temperature remains below freezing. I am using deep litter in their pen area, and there are a number of sheltered areas for them in there as well. So far, they seem healthy and happy, and unperturbed by the much cooler temperatures we are now beginning to experience (daytime highs in the 5 to 9 range this past week).
     
Loading...

Share This Page