Caring for an Injured Quail

No one wants injuries to occur, but unfortunately they are going to happen. The best thing we can do for our birds is to care for them and give them the best chance at life. 

Step 1: Separate the Injured Bird

You want to ensure that no other birds peck at the injury. They are drawn to the color red and will make the injury worse by pecking. 

Step 2: Assess for Active Bleeding

Styptic Powder is commonly used to stop bleeding. It clots the blood and prevents them from bleeding out. You may need to reapply if the bleeding doesn't stop the first time or even hold the powder against the wound. If the bleeding still doesn't stop, get your bird to the vet or cull it depending on how severe the injury. At the Mini City Farm, we do our absolute best to prevent the need to cull, however sometimes making that decision quickly is the best, most humane thing we can do for our beloved birds.

Step 3: Check for Shock Symptoms 

Bobbing head, shaking, ruffled feathers, and slow breathing are all signs of shock. If the bird isn't actively bleeding, this is the most pressing concern. Shock will kill a bird before infection can, so make sure to prevent shock from progressing as quickly as possible. 

They need to be kept warm. 77F-85F is a good temperature range. They can chill very easily when they are in shock. You will notice that their feathers are puffed up. This is letting out a lot of heat, so you will need to control the temperature for them.

They need to be kept calm. Making sure there are not stressors around them will help them focus on healing. Calm and quiet will let them rest.

They need access to fresh food and water. Don't be surprised if they don't drink. Do not force them to drink or eat. Watch for these activities being done without help as that will tell you where they are in their healing process. 

Step 4: Assess the Damage  

Handling a bird a lot while they are in shock will cause more stress, so we wait until they show signs of improvement before handling them to assess the injury. If there is a piece of skin flopping around, put it where it belongs. If there is just a cut, try not to disturb the injury. Always wash your hands after handling a bird.

Step 5: Clean the Wound

We use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to clean out wounds that are less than 1/8" long. We just rinse with water for larger wounds until they start to heal then switch to more intensive infection control. 

Step 6: Monitor for Healing and Continue Cleaning 

The best thing you can do for your bird is to monitor them and let them heal. If they are progressing, great, let them do so and try not to disturb them too much. If, however, they start to decline, they may have an infection. Your vet should be called for next steps if that is the process you have decided on for your mini farm. 

If you have decided that they will not be taken to the vet, monitoring for decline and then quickly making the decision to cull is the kindest thing you can do. For us, if we don't see that they are healing, we want to end their suffering as quickly as possible. As farmers, we are 100% responsible for the health and well being of our animals. Every minute that we are indecisive is a minute that they are in pain. We practice kindness and good husbandry by being decisive.  


  1. Wow, it makes you wonder what could have caused such as injury unless they are territorial birds.

    1. Thanks for your comment! There are lots of reasons quail can become injured, but the most common are the males overbreeding one female, males and females fighting for a position within the covey, and being attacked by predators. With proper introduction, territorial disputes shouldn't end in severe injury. Check out future blog posts about introducing new birds to the covey!

  2. The bird is either sick or injured and must be taken right away to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. For the bird to have the best chance of recovery and release, you must contact a rehabilitator right away and transport the songbird there

  3. This page helped me heaps understanding quails during stress. A quail somehow flew over my fence at 9:30 pm and my dog chased it, but I managed to pull him away leaving the quail with no physical injuries just a small amount of feathers on the floor. I think the quail is in shock, the quail isn’t really responding, more so sleeping, breathing seems to be at a normal rate. I’m just wondering if anyone thinks it’ll make it through the night or not. I’m not sure what else to do.


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