8 weeks old today

Pawpaws Aviary

In the Brooder
May 26, 2016
Addis, La.
Well our first hatching of 11 button quail has made it to the 8 week old mark. I just love these "little guys". They are on Manna game bird / show bird crumbled non medicated 24% that we have picked up from our local TS store. Now I am ready to spoil them. I have read, absorbed and confused myself on what else they need to be happy, healthy quail.

Below is a list of things that I have seen other breeders use. I would like some feedback on what is good, how often, or do not need to use. I know all breeders are different , but from feedback I feel I can come up with a good diet for them.

Calcium...cuttlebone or oyster shells? How do you give them the oyster shells and how often.

Boiled eggs and egg shells?


Grit? How much/ how often

Sand? How much/ how often

Finch food as treats? How much/ how often

Also veg and fruits as treats? How much / how often.

Thanks for everyone's input, I am trying to come up with a good diet for them. Our quail are inside our garage and have a real nice set up. As I type this hubby is building another quail cage.....WE ARE HOOKED!

One more thing....when can we expect eggs to start showing up?

I use oyster shells, available at all times.
Boiled egg and eggshells is fine, but unless they are sick or their regular feed is insufficient, it's not required.
Millet - you can use it as a treat, but it shouldn't be a significant part of their diet.
Grit/sand - I give it to them as a dust bath that's available at all times, but it's not strictly required unless you feed them seeds with hulls, as crumble is water soluble.
Finch food - same as millet
Fruit and vegs - I don't but you can try small amounts. If nothing else, just considering to peck at the strange thing you placed in the cage, will stimulate them mentally :)

With regards to eggs, I've heard they mature as fast as coturnix (around 8 weeks), but in my limited experience, they haven't started laying till the following spring. Might just have been caused by insufficient light though.
I'll just withdraw the last bit: I visited my parents today, where my 9½ weeks old buttons live. 4 females in the cage and there were 25 eggs. So it would appear they did actually start laying soon after turning 8 weeks. Either that, or my mother and sister who separated the chicks from their parents when they were around 6 weeks old accidentally caught an adult hen and left a chick in the aviary ^^
Just want to show what happens - or might happen - when seed (in this case a budgie mix) becomes a too large part of the diet. These pictures are from today.
I've had the birds for 1½ year and they've been eating gamebird feed for most of that time and had a nice coat. But recently, my father took over feeding them as I moved to the other end of the country. And he thought it was easier to use the same cup for budgie feed and gamebird feed as they live in the same aviary - budgie feed at the bottom and gamebird feed at the top - so when he fed the quail, they got a significant amount of the budgie seed and as they prefer eating seed when available, that was the majority of their diet.
This causes malnutrition - lack of vitamins and protein. And as a consequence, one of them started plucking the others, eating their feathers for protein. At least that is what I assume has happened.
I have 3 hens and a roo in that enclosure and one of the hens still has her feathers. She has now been placed in her own cage inside the aviary (can be seen in the second pic) as I assume (hope) she is the only one doing feather pecking and hopefully she'll get rid of that habit while being alone and will be back to a proper nutritional status when she is reintroduced. And I seriously hope I managed to convince my father NOT to give the quail budgie feed.
Those were my first buttons. I have 3 more breeding groups now, but those were the beginning of it all, so I really hope they'll be alright and get rid of the pecking habit :(


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