Advice for Picking Buttons for Breeding

Discussion in 'Quail' started by SeattleButtons, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. SeattleButtons

    SeattleButtons In the Brooder

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    Hi All! :)

    This Wednesday, I have a good friend willing to drive me out to a farm in the East to go and pick up some Buttons! This farm is known for the love and attention they put into their birds...

    I'm looking to become a hobby-breeder to potentially sell chicks/adults to others in the Seattle area to spread the Button fun :) I will be a first-time owner, but I've done all the research I need. I just have some questions that I couldn't find much meat on.

    Essentially, my goal is to sell gorgeous chicks as pets to locals. I want my chicks to be calm and friendly, and I want to try my best to produce as many neutral-colored chicks (silver, tux, splash, white) as possible.

    • I want to try and stick with colors that are more like silver, tuxedo, splash, etc. I think I'm going to pick up a silver and a splash for parents...and try to get handsome chicks from them. Is there any advice you all have about selective breeding? I tried to find some more info specifically about buttons to no avail! The only thing I heard was to avoid breeding two golden pearl together...as it makes for weak chicks. Not sure about the accuracy, but I would avoid anything that puts the chicks lives in danger!
    • Are there any things I should look for when I pick out the parents? Any things I should avoid?
    • How many pairs should I get? One or two? I was thinking since I was going to sell the chicks, I only need one pair...but if I want to sell them as breeding pairs, I would have to have blood from a different pool to give them away as a pair. What makes the most sense? I guess if I want to sell them in pairs/trios, they will have to at least have the one male from a different gene pool...unless I only sold the hens together. But then I wouldn't know what to do with the males?
    Thanks so much for reading, I look forward to your replies! I am so genuinely curious and excited about becoming a Button hobbyist!
     
  2. Binki

    Binki Songster

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    Hello :) I don't have button quail, but you ask some good questions, I'm sure somebody with experience with chime in soon!

    Personally, if I were choosing adult birds to breed tamer birds, I would go and test them at the farm by seeing who freaks out the least when you walk up/put your hand in the cage.

    They may only be "freaking out" because they're following the other bird(s) that is genuinely fearful of your presence - watch them carefully and choose the most calm ones, then hopefully they will double up on that trait with their chicks :D

    I don't care what color my coturnix are, I think they're all beautiful, but I definitely prefer the plumage that is sexually dimorphic, meaning I can tell the sex of the bird by their markings at several weeks old - very handy for selling :p
     
  3. SeattleButtons

    SeattleButtons In the Brooder

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    Thanks so much for the reply! That's great advice. I think looking for a parent that is both calm and the right color(s) will probably be difficult...I researched everything I could last night, and I think I have an idea of what I need to be looking for in color at least!
     
  4. DK newbie

    DK newbie Songster

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    They are a lovely hobby ^^ Though they can be challenging at times.

    I find that calmness has a lot to do with how they are raised, kept and handled, but assuming those 3 are equal for the birds you see, any difference in calmness might actually be genetic.

    I assume you intend to use an incubator to hatch chicks, and if you have two pairs this will give you the advantage of being able to produce unrelated pairs that are ready for sale at the same time. The issue is telling which chicks are from which pair, if you incubate and raise them together. And if you raise them separately, it's twice the trouble. There are both dominant and recessive genes for so many different colors, you'll need to be lucky to tell which chick is from which pair from the color.

    I have 2 breeding groups in my living room and two breeding groups in aviaries at my parent's place and I rely 100% on natural incubation. I just hatched my 3. generation this way. Lots of people will tell you that buttons don't get broody regularly, but in my experience it all comes down to how you keep them. If they have a suiteble place to nest, mine go broody all the time! My 3. generation hatch comes from a blueface hen that's about 9 months old. She hadn't gone broody for me before and it was starting to bother me. So I purchased a new fake plant, installed in a corner of the cage and SLAM - a couple of weeks later she was laying so steadily on her new nest under the plant I was worried she didn't even eat and now she has 4 lovely little chicks (I let her keep all 9 eggs which was probably more than she could cover, I could probably have removed a couple of eggs and had all hatch).
    So if you want to skip the trouble of incubating and brooding the chicks yourself, it can be done. You won't get as many chicks, but you could still get quite a lot. And you'll get to experience mom and dad raising their own babies, which is utterly adorable.

    It's true you shouldn't breed 2 golden pearls as it's a lethal gene - 1/4 chicks will die, possibly before they even hatch.
    Other than that, as far as I know you can breed whatever you want.

    Look for birds with tight feathers, bright eyes, straight, clean toes, normal beaks and if the roos have bibs I really like it when they have sharp edges - no white feathers overlapping the black areas. Not important for the health, just looks nicer.

    If you get a chance to observe the birds from a distance while they behave as they would if you were not there, look for any sign of aggression, chasing, pecking and such. That is not something you want. Though I've had a roo that was sweet as can be for more than a year, then suddenly plucked his girlfriends' back clean of feathers. I removed him for a couple of weeks, reintroduced when the feathers had grown back, no issues for 10 days - then he did it again. And I gave him away as snake feed..

    I'd get 2 pairs, if the breeder can provide you with 4 birds that are not related. My flock expanded by me keeping a female chick every now and then and purchasing a roo for her. This means I'm not inbreeding, but all of my chicks are somewhat related.
    Having a second set of genes will make it easier for those who buy birds from you.
     
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  5. SeattleButtons

    SeattleButtons In the Brooder

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    Jul 7, 2017
    Seattle
    Hi DK,

    Thanks so much for the in depth reply! This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for... It's really great to know!

    I do want my hen to be able to brood her own chicks, because I would LOVE to see a cute little family of buttons!!!!!!! I think, because it's my first time owning, I'm only going to get one pair for now... and in the future, when I have better knowledge and experience, I'll try and go for the more intensive type of selective breeding.

    That's really great advice about the bibs though. I'm the kind of person that cares about those little things!

    And your roo that became snake food...I feel the same way about that kind of thing, that totally made me laugh out loud! Sometimes it's best to remove the aggressive genes from the pool.....

    I'll report back on what I pick! I think I'm going to get a tux and a silver so I could get some beautiful multi colored tux's! I really love the colors that are father away from normals and bluefaced.
     
  6. DK newbie

    DK newbie Songster

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    Oh, about the tuxedo - you'll find places telling you it's a dominant mutation. I have a tuxedo roo and none of his chicks have been tuxedos. Most of them have had a little extra white in the bib area, perhaps a few white wing feathers, but the conclusion is tuxedo is co-dominant, not dominant. So if you want tuxedo chicks, you need both parents to carry the gene. Maybe the breeder can tell you if one of their non-tuxedo birds had a tuxedo parent, otherwise go for two tuxedos.
    I've never had a silver bird, but according to what I've read, silver is recessive. So in order to get silver chicks, you need both parents to carry the gene, though none of them have to display it. Again, the breeder might know which birds carry the gene, otherwise you'd have to go for two silvers to be sure.

    Below you'll find a picture of my tuxedo roo and his two girlfriends - and then a pic of one of their daughters, showing just how much tuxedo this combination gives me :p
    Tuxedo male with hens and egg.PNG dv2.PNG
     
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  7. MageofMist

    MageofMist Songster

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    I breed my buttons as a hobby, I started with red breasted females and a blue faced male... Be prepared for surprises to hatch out of those eggs! :lau I have gotten Cinnamons and a Silver Tuxedo from my quail along with other Red Breasted and Blue Faced quail.

    Every time an egg pips, I always get excited over what will pop out of it! I am thinking on pairing up the Cinnamons and Silver Tux together (have two female Cinnamons and one male. The Tux is also female) to see what they produce. I know the Cinnamon and Tuxedo genes are recessives, which is why I am thinking on keeping them together for breeding.

    The Cinnamon male is a cousin to the Cinnamon females and Tuxedo, so I feel a little safer breeding them together even though I know that like with finches, quail are fairly safe to pair up with siblings and such for a few generations. I believe one female is a Blue-Faced Cinnamon (morphs can mix) like the male is, while the other female is a Red Breasted Cinnamon, who I'd LOVE to get a male of... They are pretty much pure red and gorgeous.
     
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  8. MageofMist

    MageofMist Songster

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    Three pics of my quail.
    Pretty male cinnamon.png
    The cinnamon blue face, he is younger than the two girls and is in a separate enclosure with his parents, but I intend to carefully introduce them in the future once I am sure he is mature enough, eg, his sisters laying eggs.

    Silver Tux.png
    This is the silver tuxedo hen, a very pretty girl. She lays brown eggs with lots of speckling.

    Female Cinnamon.png
    This is one of the two the female cinnamons... I thought she was a he until I saw 'him' straining and an egg come out of 'his' butt, a vibrant blue-green egg. All my pics of the other female cinnamon are blurs, so I am gonna wait til later to take a pic when she settles down.

    First egg of Tux.png
    The Tux's first egg compared to the energetic cinnamon's egg, the one who I can't get a pic of lays light brown eggs with a few spots, really cute.
    eggs.png
    And here's Tux's egg of today compared to the 'male' cinnamon's egg, it looks almost like a robin's egg!
     
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