Quail Decline = Parasites

Have you ever heard about anything about the Bobwhite quail decline?

Several times this has been mentioned to me and I really had no answer to what was happening and then something developed to one of my coturnix quail that took me on a journey to learn more.

One of my quail came down with an eye infection; this led me to research a cure.  I didn’t discover a cure which was a little unsettling but what I did uncover was actually rather fascinating.

I stumbled upon what happened to the quail population in West Texas dating back to 2010.

They call it the blood sucking parasitic eye worm.  I know sounds awful and it is pretty disgusting.

Texas Tech University was given a grant to study the quail decline and cause.  Their research dates back to 2010 when we had heavy rainfall which increased the insect population, specifically crickets.

Since quail mainly eat insects for survival, they contracted this parasite from crickets.  To read their research I’ve attached a couple links from Texas Tech University; one includes a video.

Researchers Blood Sucking Parasitic Eye Worm Culprit
Blood Sucking Eye Worm Culprit – 2010 Decline

My Sick Coturnix Quail

After reading and finding out there is no cure I decided to cull my little quail to keep the parasite from spreading to other crickets through their feces.

The eye was badly infected; perhaps if I had noticed in the earlier stages I could have tried to treat with a little copper sulfate by separating the quail from the rest of the flock.

I’m not really sure this would have helped and you should also know this parasite doesn’t spread within the flock, just the crickets.

I’ve never run into parasites of any kind with my birds so this really caught me off guard.

I’m going to continue researching to see how I could have avoided this situation and in the meantime I plan to implement using organic vinegar in their water to help clean out their system from parasites.

Worming Quail & Chickens

I did take my research a little further and found that one bird farmer worms his birds.  This was not an avenue I plan to implement because we’re raising these for eggs and meat.

Some of you may find it helpful and compatible to your own raising methods.  He’s very detailed and helpful.   Worming Chickens and Quail

The main thing to remember problems will occur but you don’t need to panic!

Take the problems as an avenue to learn and improve what you’re currently doing. If I can answer questions please feel welcome to ask.


  1. Anonymous says:

    The research you are referring to only provides information on abundance and prevalence. There is NO scientific evidence that the quail population declines they are referring to are related to the presence of an eyeworm. These parasites have been present in quail populations for decades. Please don't be fooled by the smoke and mirrors. They have yet to actually prove that these eyeworms have any significant effect on quail population dynamics.

    1. I had a quail with this eye worm Texas Tech University diagnoses. I thought they did a great job describing what happens once it is contracted. Once a quail has this eye worm they can function in a manor to eat, lay eggs and so on. However they can't see to protect themselves; they do become visually paralyzed. It's rather sad and since I'm not a scientist I don't want to ignore the information that TTC was granted to study. My focus is pretty basic as I'm raising for self reliant purposes with plans to help repopulate the loss of quail. This post was about sharing an experience and what I uncovered online. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it's always nice to hear from my readers. Hope you have a great day! -Carole

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