Deformities of Coturnix Quail Chicks

It’s quail hatching time again, and I managed to fill the incubator right before the egg laying season ended. A little late this year, but that’s ok.

When you hatch large numbers of quail chicks you will occasionally get deformities. The chances go up if your incubator conditions were not ideal, or your breeding birds are old.

So far, 82 of my 120 eggs have hatched out and for the most part everyone looks good. There are a couple of chicks with splayed leg, which may or may not resolve itself. This always seems to happen regardless of the fact that I offer a surface with good traction right from hatch.


Chick with splayed leg

And there are a couple of chicks with bulging eyes. This also seems to happen every time and I’m not entirely sure why. These chicks look healthy enough for the first few days but in my experience will usually die. You can see in the photos how much larger the eyes are than in a normal chick. It looks very uncomfortable but I always like to give them a fighting chance.



This chick has bulging eyes


Compared to normal eyes in this chick

Today I had a deformity pop up that I’ve never seen before. This little chick has the whole top of their beak twisted into a 90 degree angle from their lower beak. It also seems like they may be missing an eye on the squished side. How on earth did this little bird even get out of the egg?


Anyway, with a deformity this severe, you can be pretty confident that this chick would just suffer and eventually die from hunger or thirst, so I euthanized it. Its little body did not go to waste and was happily eaten by chickens to be converted into more eggs.


5 thoughts on “Deformities of Coturnix Quail Chicks

    • Yes, humans are naturally attracted to oversized eyes in animals, it’s called neoteny. Sadly though, if you saw this guy in real life you would see how uncomfortable he is.

  1. I had a chick hatch today with the exact deformities. Beak twisted and one eye missing. Almost lools like his little head is squashed. But i dont have the heart to euthanize

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