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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7574
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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She's a bobwhite quail and unable to poop. Keeps trying but

Customer Question

She's a bobwhite quail and unable to poop. Keeps trying but no go.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the bird's name and age?
Customer: Mama and she is 2
JA: Is there anything else important you think the veterinarian should know about Mama?
Customer: She lays egg daily but no egg today either
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

I'm August Abbott, cert. avian specialist; owner of N.CA Parrot Rescue. Give me just a few minutes to review your question & respond. I'm with you

Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

Not sure how long it’s been with your quail thus far so please catch me up. Is anything different right now? Is she still eggless and no poop?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Got egg out. She is very lethargic now
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

Good job! We need to stop her from laying so frequently. One of these times it won't have a survivable outcome like this. But, first things first: Get the bird in a safe, enclosed, secure environment where movement is limited for their own safety and comfort. You'll want a brooder box. This is a sort of ‘intensive care unit' at home.
For a makeshift brooder, use a small box lined with soft clothes like tee shirts.
Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes. Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it's not too hot. Tuck this in just under the cloths.
A heating pad under one half of the box is also helpful, set on low. This is one of the few times I’d ever use both heat sources if necessary to maintain incubation temp (90-105 degrees).
If ever using an electric source for heating anything in anyway, please be vigilant and constantly double checking carefully.
Gently drape a light cover over this box to further help hold heat in and keep light low.
You must be on your way to professional care. Not even I have a lab at home complete with X-ray machine, CT Scanner or MRI and it won’t be doing justice to your companion to try to fix this yourself.
You may offer a few drops of sugar water to the side of their beak with your finger or by eye dropper; or a dab of corn syrup, maple syrup or bit of natural jam/jelly to help with blood sugar levels.
I wouldn’t force fluids or food though until a professional has agreed it’s required and shown you how. The last thing we need is aspiration pneumonia.
A bird may show their weakness, illness and lack of energy one moment, even for a few hours or days - and then “suddenly” seem to be fine. This is their getting a second wind. Finding the strength to ‘mask’ the illness or problem. And since this masking can continue for a while, the underlying issue is only getting worse. The next time you see the bird acting ‘off’, it might be really, really bad.
If your bird is acting ‘off’, no matter what – no matter when, they need to be seen by their vet. Infections and disease are far more successfully and inexpensively treated when tackled early. Unlike mammals, avians don’t fare well with a “watch and wait” protocol.
Though specialized avian vets are ideal, any vet who sees a majority of birds or at least 1/3 of their practice consisting of birds is a good choice.
If you have a Pet Smart, you have Banfield Clinic inside, open 7 days a week and they see birds.
If you have a Pet Co, they have a list of vet names that they use for themselves and are happy to give you, ask for 'bird vets'.
Ask any vet in town who they'd recommend for bird care. Ask any good breeder in town who they use (if they don't use anyone, they are not a good breeder, stay away from them).
Find an avian vet near you


To curb or stop egg laying, leave the egg in with her. Unless it's broken or cracked it won't 'go bad' and is perfectly safe.

You'll also want to increase her calcium sources. Make her an egg (chicken egg) lightly scrambled or even soft boiled and crush some of the shell in with it

You can even offer her a plain, non flavored Tums or other antacid (they are calcium); plain or natural fruit yogurt; brussel sprouts, kale, most of the dark green colored veggies are good calcium sources

Let's try to get her healthy and keep her that way. Again though, you did a great job and likely saved her life

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I leave eggs in with her. Doesn't matter. Concern now is no droppings. Still pushing but no stool
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

Sometimes constipation is the result of grit or other foreign object impaction. Grit should not be offered to hook billed birds (parrots), despite what some packaging might say and even the best intentions of advice offered by clerks. Hook billed birds do not need grit and grit is considered a foreign object to them. They can go many years sometimes without any ill effects, then suddenly have a very serious problem.

Try increasing fluids for the bird, including in the form of children’s Pedialyte, watery fruits like melons, oranges, grapefruits, etc..
Put a drop of pure olive oil on the side of their beak (they’ll ingest it this way, but have less chance of inhaling it than if you were to put directly in their mouth).


Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

--- I understand you have a quail and not a hook bill --- I meant to add that recent research indicates that even seed eating birds like your quail are found to not need added grit either

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
She does not get grit. I have given her olive oil. She is eating meal worms with egg food coating. Just still acting lethargic and backing like trying to poop. Could it be another egg in way already?
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

Oh I hope not another egg. Seriously, at this point it's vital that you get this bird into a vet asap

Not just for this current issue but to discuss options for controlling the egg laying. This amount of laying is not healthy and your poor girl needs help.

You've done everything right and everything you possibly can. There comes a time when we have to get hands on medical intervention and I believe you know that this is it

--- Please let me know how it goes though ok?

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