This is luckily something that has rarely happened but when it does it is an excellent wake-up call to remind me that I still have plenty to learn about these wonderful little birds! So it was a rather horrible shock to open up the lid of the quail dormitory and find the ceiling splattered with blood and one of my female quail, Nuggets, with a horrible head injury and both eyes swollen and closed.
The first thing to remember if you are faced with a similar situation is 'don't panic'. Your bird, if it trusts you, can also pick up on your emotions, she/he is looking to you for reassurance. I am the World's worst and most pathetically squeamish person in a case of bleeding wounds, particularly my own but over the years I have had to steel myself! So I'm hoping the following article will share not only how to deal with an emergency but also, that a bird can look near death at one minute and be back eating and running about a short time later. For this reason I'll take you through what I did day by day to show you the improvement as it happens. Needless to say at the time, I did not photo cleaning the wound. I was too busy doing it and as Andy was holding the bird there was no one to film, plus my concern was for poor old Nuggets.
Injury - Observation & Assessment
Firstly, I inferred from the patterns of the bloodstains on the ceiling that the bird had repeatedly jumped and hit her head. As my quail have all been sleeping together in this house over the Winter, my first thought was to look at the male. Sure enough his beak and front were slightly stained. So I reasoned he had been trying to mate with Nuggets and she in turn had been spooked into damaging her head. I therefore removed Nuggets into our house and decided that from now on to protect the other females, the male would sleep alone.
Unless There is an Immediate Emergency, Always Treat Stress First
N.B. If you have an injured/stressed bird to deal with and are worried about getting electrolyte into it then please go immediately to my emergency electrolyte article at the bottom of the page. This is a comprehensive article on first aid for stress and shares what an electrolyte's function is, how to administer one in extreme cases and follow-up treatment in the case of the bird not responding.
In general though, what I am doing here is to rebalance the bird's system and thus get its body back up and functioning as quickly as possible. An electrolyte carries the electrical impulses which the body uses to 'communicate' within itself, in essence to tell itself what to do. Thus a sudden shock, stress attack, overheating, hypothermia, sudden or prolonged physical exertion can cause electrolytes to be rapidly depleted. The effect of this imbalance on the functioning of the muscles, heart and nervous system, produces the symptoms displayed by birds under stress. Again if you are unsure what you are dealing with, go to the article below. Be aware that stress is a killer and that your bird is as likely, often even more so to die of this than the physical injury of a wound. Stress can be fatal within 24 hours.
Wound - Treatment & Immune System Support
Once the stress symptoms had been dealt with I now decided to treat the wound. I was really hoping that her eyes were only suffering from the trauma of the injury and were closed because they were stuck together as the wound had bled. I gently applied warm mineral water on an organic cotton wool pad and succeeded in getting the right eye partially open. The left eye looked much worse, although both eyes were swollen and had slight peck marks around them.
As these are oils they naturally float on the top of water but I use an organic cotton bud to break up the drops and spread them across the surface.
Seen here, the day after her injury she is already looking more perky though still keen on being safe in her box, where she had her food even though I also put food outside the box to show her it was a safe place.
Her right eye is already beginning to heal even though her left eye is still closed. She is thus having difficulty with depth perception and feels a lot safer in her box! She also still has the slightly 'fluffed up look and her wings are slightly droopy. If you look at her expression she also doesn't look the usual confident Nuggets!
By the end of day 2, I realised that the dried blood around the back of her head, though not on the wound itself was beginning to annoy her. She had started to leave the box to eat her food and was beginning to scratch at the back of her neck. I therefore, took some warm mineral water and with a cotton wool pad removed as much as possible of the blood on her feathers without touching the wound nor exerting undue pressure.
I also had managed to get her left eye lids cleared and realised that the eye was intact, which was marvellous. It also meant Nuggets found it much easier to see where her food was and to scatter it around!
You can however see in the photo, that the left side of her face is still slightly swollen.
She is on her usual 100% organic diet of sprouted triticale, a little cooked pasta, a mix of root and leaf vegetables. This she supplemented by going around the skirting boards under the cupboards and eating all the spiders!
I also, seeing she looked so calm yesterday, now gave a further treatment on the wound of melted raw virgin organic coconut oil. This I applied with an organic cotton bud.
Organic pure virgin coconut oil is a magical substance, which contains lauric, capric and caprylic acids, these have wide ranging properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities. It is a great support for the immune system and has both healing properties for the skin and promotes the regrowth of feathers/hair. We use it in cooking as well as in making cosmetics.
So there you have it, a happy ending to what, at first sight looked like something really tragic. The fact that our male quail started to call for the first time this year on the afternoon of the day we found Nuggets injured, showed me that the courting season had begun. Until I have figured out how male quail fits into the natural environment I am endeavouring to create and whether or not they do/can revert to connubial bliss, I shall keep them separate at night.
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful then think about sharing it using the icons below and please feel free to ask questions, comment or share your own experiences of treating your flock.
Thanks for dropping by and all the best,
The great thing about this emergency treatment is that it is concocted from simple foodstuffs you probably have to hand in your kitchen cupboards...read more
Simple Home-made anti-bacterial and pain-killing wash for wounds
Using two of the easiest to source organic essential oils, I share what happened after Andy said; 'watch that blade it's just been sharpened'...read more
RETURN TO CONTENTS PAGE
© 2016 Sue Cross