Advice on an aggro button quail?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by spookyevilone, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. spookyevilone

    spookyevilone Crazy Quail Lady

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    Oct 5, 2008
    Minneapolis
    Hello!
    My name's Tara and I'm new here. Today I picked up six adult button quail from a small farm. I used to raise buttons but gave it up when I went to college. I have a house now, and had been thinking about purchasing more this spring. I started looking for people in my area raising them, found a farmer who wanted to get rid of the last six of his right away, so we made a deal and I came home with the buttons, 3 male, 3 female.

    I can't tell the hens from the roosters quite yet - they were in with larger birds and are all quite badly featherpecked. There are two pied/tuxedo, one white, one cinnamon, and what look like two normal coloured browns. When I got them home, I tried separating them into pairs by colours. The button who's most featherpecked is also the most aggressive of the six and attacks any of the others I pair him with. (I'm assuming it's a rooster because it crows almost incessantly.) The trio and the other pair are all settled in and calm, with nobody bullying anyone else, and the aggro one is off in a cage by himself. Right now, each group are in large modified clear totes that are roughly 3'x2'x2'. A larger aviary is in the process of being built. The current bedding has been treated with Sevin dust in case the feather loss is mite/louse related instead of pecking, although since it's back of head/neck feather loss, I'm fairly sure it's pecking.

    I've never had to separate an aggressive bird before, so my question is: Am I going to damage him if he's left alone? Secondary question is, if the answer is yes, what the heck do I do with him to give him companionship without letting him pick on another bird? He's not pacing, but he's crowing a lot. Since he was in with the rest until just today, I'm worried I'm going to make him completely neurotic.

    As mentioned, he's the one most badly featherpecked. His head, neck, and top of his back are pretty much bald right now. Could the aggressiveness be a defensive issue that might tone down once the feathers grow back?

    Any advice is appreciated! Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2008
  2. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Were they all in a cage together before? You can't just throw buttons together or into different groups. They may argue. Mix and match carefully and you will probably need to set them up with a mesh divider or in 2 cages next to each other for at least a day. I had an agressive cinnamon one that even attacked the divider of a little button I had temporarily seperated and then tried to add back to the group. These aren't even mature buttons. They aren't even fully feathered. After a day and a half when I let the little one out they only pecked it a little and then gave up. Now they are all back in a group of 7 until I figure out which ones are male and divide them so there's only 1 male per pen. If you aren't sure which ones are male or female it makes it even harder. Same genders are more likely to argue. Especially males and especially if there are females in the area. I would wait to attempt pairs until you know for certain what you want since switching them later or trying to put the wrong 2 together now is likely to lead to your current situation.
     
  3. spookyevilone

    spookyevilone Crazy Quail Lady

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    Oct 5, 2008
    Minneapolis
    They were all living together in an outdoor cage with much bigger birds - speckled hens and rhode island reds were two I saw. They're all featherpecked somewhat but the aggro little one has major bald spots.

    Right now they're divided because I wasn't planning to get any until spring so the aviary's in progress and they're in totes until I finish it sometime this week. I put all six in together but it was wayyyy too crowded, so I tried to pair them out. They can still all see and hear one another. None of them seem to be pacing and none of them are pecking the others. They're all about 6 months old, hatched around the same time but all from different clutches, I was told.

    I waited awhile after getting them home, to let them calm down again, and tried again to put any of the others in with Baldy. No dice. He attacks them and goes for the eyes and head every time. I don't know what to do with him if he insists on being such a little brat. [​IMG] I don't want to leave him alone if it'll make him neurotic and insane, but I don't want any of the other birds hurt, either.

    I think he and the white are opposites. Baldy hates his cagemates and freaks out if I look at him wrong, and the white one loves everybody and ate dandelion leaves from my hands.

    The crowing noise Baldy's making sounds like this: example on YouTube - apologies if the maker of the vid is on here for using it without permission but I couldn't find just a sound file.

    One of the Tuxedos started making that noise and I figured out it was because my bedroom light was shining on his cage and he was trying to sleep, so I'm assuming that's the 'I'm annoyed!' noise. Baldy made it almost constantly until I covered his cage with a towel and he went to sleep.

    When I had buttons before, they didn't make that noise. They made peeps and purrs and a tiny little shrieky sort of crow, but not the same .. velociraptor noise, for lack of a better word.

    Anyway. Thanks for answering but I'm still confused what to do for the bald little guy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  4. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Like I said divide him off for at least a day, preferably 3 or 4 days, where he can see and interact with the others without touching them before you even attempt to put them together. It takes more than a few hours or part of a day for a stressed out or agressive button quail to chill and accept cage mates.

    I've heard my buttons make annoyed sounds and it was nothing like that. That to me seems more of a questioning call. Like a button asking if that's another button out there or if it's something else. Possibly a lonely button or just a curious nervous one.
     

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