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Am I stressing out my Button Quails? They're Not Laying

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I've had a group of button quail for a while now, I separated a single pair (2) out of the nine total, and they're in a smaller cage on top of the larger cage with the other 7 birds in it. I must say I do not know gender. I've been assuming the two silvers with the "Beards" are males, and a little bluebreasted/blueface is a male. I've been assuming that most of the others are girls, also that the two silver tuxedos are females too. But I honestly couldn't tell you for certain (I can get pictures if someone wants to help me out) but the guy I adopted them from said he was getting 4-5 eggs a day. I haven't gotten eggs yet and i got them around may 1st, may 4th-ish. 

 

I know it hasn't been that long but I got a cotournix girl to go along with my young flock of 4 and she kept laying after she got a super stressful foot surgery even! Never skipped a day (what a trooper, Lol) 

 

I  keep them in our under cover porch, covered at night for warmth, I feed them parakeet seeds because they seem to like them, I haven't feed them calcium or regular feed recently since they're not laying and I dont want to give them too much calcium (and they dont really eat the regular food) I don't really harass them, only a few times when cleaning the cage, and I had to clean their feet off a bit the other day.

 

 

My major concern is they're in a fairly high activity and always freak out when we pass by. Could this be "resetting their internal clock" so to say? Do they need to be somewhere where we don't pass by so often? I will check the pair's nest today but I dont think we've gotten eggs from them or the group. :/

A proud member of 4h and a strong bearer of the Pacific Northwest and its Cold, not to mention a chicken mommy of 3 Cochins, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 2 Bantam EE, 1 RIR/EE Mix, 1 Mille Fleur Booted Bantam, and 2 bantam OEGB's, a Black Bearded Silkie and a double laced silver Plymouth Bantam!
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A proud member of 4h and a strong bearer of the Pacific Northwest and its Cold, not to mention a chicken mommy of 3 Cochins, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 2 Bantam EE, 1 RIR/EE Mix, 1 Mille Fleur Booted Bantam, and 2 bantam OEGB's, a Black Bearded Silkie and a double laced silver Plymouth Bantam!
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post #2 of 5

I'd try to place them somewhere where you don't walk right past their cage too often, as it sounds like they are very bothered by it. You can also try placing stuff in their cages for them to hide behind and under. Spruce branches in the corners are my favorite. In general, they will hide as their first defence mechanism when scared, but if that's not possible or if they don't feel safe enough where they hide, they'll boink. 

 

As for the sexing - if you need help, you can post some clear pictures of the feathers in the vent area and I should be able to help, as long as the bird isn't white or tuxedo with white vent feathers. Males have rust colored vent feathers, females don't. Silver males have pale rust colored vent feathers. Birds with white vent feathers in general can't be feather sexed.

 

With regards to the lack of eggs, stress could be the cause, but parakeet seeds lack both vitamin, minerals and protein (in generel they don't even have enough of those for the parakeets) so I'd start by cutting back on that and giving them a proper game bird feed that's grinded to a size they can eat. I do occasionally give my buttons a little parakeet seed as entertainment, as they really do seem to love them, but it's not suitable as primary feed. And, around here at least, the game bird feed is actually cheaper.

If they are getting game bird feed, they don't need calcium as long as they are not laying, but I let mine dose the calcium themselves by placing it in a separate bowl, which I put on a brick or similar to prevent them from scratching bedding into it and from eating more than they need. By forcing them to jump onto the brick, I believe they'll only go there when they actually need it. 

post #3 of 5

DC is spot on. They MUST have high protein food to lay and added calcium if you want to prevent soft shell eggs. If you are sure you have one pair in that cage I would be sure they cannot see the other birds as that would be a stress factor if they can see each other but still inter act, like through the bars they usually are fine. But if they can see, as in one cage on top of another sometimes they are too stressed.

what type of flooring are you using? they need solid flooring as their tiny toes get caught in wire and then the poo getting stuck is not healthy.

Best of luck.  

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I got a few questions but first off, they just cant live in a large open colony together with places to hide? If we gave them a 2ft by 4ft area, they all lived together when we got them in a smaller cage even and they laid at his house and not ours. 2 confirmed girls, 2 other possible gilrs rest of the 9 are probably dudes? I k ow they need seperated but is it impossible to have them live all together?
A proud member of 4h and a strong bearer of the Pacific Northwest and its Cold, not to mention a chicken mommy of 3 Cochins, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 2 Bantam EE, 1 RIR/EE Mix, 1 Mille Fleur Booted Bantam, and 2 bantam OEGB's, a Black Bearded Silkie and a double laced silver Plymouth Bantam!
Reply
A proud member of 4h and a strong bearer of the Pacific Northwest and its Cold, not to mention a chicken mommy of 3 Cochins, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 2 Bantam EE, 1 RIR/EE Mix, 1 Mille Fleur Booted Bantam, and 2 bantam OEGB's, a Black Bearded Silkie and a double laced silver Plymouth Bantam!
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post #5 of 5

Some people have large groups of buttons of both sexes in aviaries and such. I haven't tried that myself, so I can't really advice you on it. But 2x4 ft is the cage size i recommend for a pair/trio (with more space always being better), certainly not for a 'several mature birds of both sexes' group. Not saying that it won't work, I just wouldn't try it. Professional breeders keep them on as little as one square foot for a pair, but that's just not a life for a bird imo. They'll lay, yes, but laying, eating, mating and sleeping will be the only content in their lives.

If you want to know if you need to separate them, look at the birds. Both their appearance and their behavior. Does any of them lack feathers on their heads or backs? If you sit quietly near the cage for a while, does everyone settle down and appear happy and content in each others company, or are some birds avoiding others, chasing others or such? If you have more males than females, at least one male will be prevented from forming a proper pair bond, I can't imagine that is ideal. And even if they appear happy and content one day, they might be chasing each other the next day. I had a trio in a 2x5 ft cage this winter, the two hens were sisters and had been raised together. But when spring came, one started chasing the other. Not every day, but often enough to be a problem. I moved them to a small aviary and I haven't seen any chasing since. 

 

 

That's a picture of my newest cage. It's about 2x4 ft and houses a pair of buttons and a pair of zebra finches. The buttons were just put in there yesterday, they used to be in a roughly 2½x3 ft cage. They are pacing along the hind wall a bit more than I would've liked them to, perhaps because their old cage was deeper, perhaps because the hind wall is white, perhaps because they feel they lack places to hide.. Or maybe just because they need to get used to the cage. Anyway, I like the size because it's not bigger than I can almost reach the entire cage even though the doors are small (the finches fly out if I make them too big), and it's still big enough to allow the buttons to stretch their wings a little, move around and get away from me, even when the artificial plants, feeders, hiding places and such are there.

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