Vitamins are always added to feeds in amounts that meet minimum dietary requirements. This insures that birds consume plenty of vitamins for proper health and performance. Higher levels are not usually harmful, but extra vitamins are unnecessary and expensive. When adding vitamins to the diet as a premix, make sure that an adequate amount of all vitamins are provided. It may be necessary to add extra amounts of some vitamins to achieve minimum levels for other vitamins. This may increase the cost of the complete feed but is better than creating vitamin deficiencies that can be more expensive. During periods of stress caused by disease, shipping or sudden changes in the environment it is recommended that extra vitamins and electrolytes be provided in the drinking water until the stressing condition is corrected.
Like vitamins, adequate levels of minerals must be provided to all birds. Minerals in breeder feeds are especially important. Laying hens require higher levels of minerals for egg shell formation. Chicks require high levels of minerals for proper bone formation and development. Breeder feeds are fed only to laying birds. If a breeder feed is fed to chicks reduced growth and unnecessary stress will be placed on the chicks.
Although not always required for survival, better performance is observed if a trace mineral premix is added to diets. Trace minerals are those minerals required at very low levels for good growth and production. Most feed ingredients provide some of these minerals but sometimes contain less than adequate quantities. Many of these minerals are contained in commercial vitamin premixes. An excellent trace mineral premix is shown in Table 3. The premix will provide adequate trace minerals when added at the rate of two pounds per ton of feed.
Many producers overlook the importance of providing clean, fresh water to their flocks. Water, though not considered a nutrient by many producers, is the most important nutrient for animals. Like all farm animals, game birds need clean water at all times. Drinking water must not get too hot or cold, or the birds will not drink it.
Clean the water troughs and replace with fresh water at least once daily. You must keep water and feed troughs clean from droppings, litter, soil and other contaminants.
Keep feed troughs clean and dry. Place them so the feed stays dry. Empty the feed troughs at least two or three times weekly (daily if necessary) and refill with dry, fresh feed. Do not wash feed troughs unless they are excessively contaminated with wastes or unless the feed gets wet. Do not let the feed get moldy. Moldy feeds can kill quail.