BUtton or Coturnix? Temperaments? More Newbie Questions!


10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
Central Virginia
I have kept chickens for some time now, and am finally thinking of expanding into quail. It's something I've wanted to do for awhile, but now I think the time is finally here!

1. Which is more tame-able, (or docile/friendly/etc.) button or coturnix?

2. can button quail live comfortably outside? i have a large shed that i am thinking about converting into a quail house for just a few quail, although they must have a certain amount of space, is there such a thing as too much space? also, do they need, or would they enjoy a run?

3. can male quail live together if there are adequate females between them?


10 Years
Aug 14, 2009
Sandhills NC
I would go with the coturnix.
To me they are more hardy than the buttons. Buttons seem to only be good as pets and nothing else. The coturnix can be eaten as well as their eggs.
I handle my coturnix daily. They don't like it much but they are ok with it. I have 1 male to 5 females and they are doing fine now. I had 1/1 and he wanted it all the time. Now he leaves them all alone. But others have a large flock with mulitple males together without problems.


14 Years
Mar 31, 2007
Central Florida
My coturnix are much more tame than my buttons. To me the coturnix are the tamest of the quails. Plus they are multi purpose = tame pets, egg producers and meat producers. My buttons are flighty and I have to keep the males apart or they pick on each other. I keep some just for fun. I am a hatchaholic you know!!!!!



11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
Buttons-flighty, psychotic, can only be caught in an empty pen, will kill themselves on a solid topped pen for the dumbest reasons, pop out of your hand like little feathered rockets and shoot around the room

Coturnix- avoidant but can be caught even in a complex enclosure. We easily recaptured a few that got loose when we were getting ready to butcher them. May kill themselves spooking in their pen but generally takes a good scare like this annoying cat that was hanging around jumping on their pens. Easy to keep your hands on.

Buttons may not survive freezing outdoor temps. Otherwise they could be kept outside but they spook easy and are easy prey so I'm betting on some losses there unless you've got them thoroughly fenced or in a building so nothing can get at them.

Males cannot be mixed unless in a very large area. I know a few who keep large numbers of buttons together. One does it in an entire room of their house and a few others with outdoor aviaries in warm climates. Buttons are frequently used in the bottoms of aviaries as cleanup crew where they have tons of space and can't smash in to the ceiling. Coturnix are more often kept in small pens like rabbit hutches with a breeding pair or trio that only includes 1 male than in large enclosures Anytime you mix males be prepared for injuries but if we are talking about a large aviary type enclosure for pet quail then it may work.

Do you want something you can handle and keep confined or something to look at and give space? Coturnix fit the former and buttons the latter. Despite their small size I'd actually give them as much or better than the minimum space recommended for coturnix. They are very very active little bumble bees. The odds of injury both from accidents and fights goes down greatly when you increase the space a button has.


10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Maybe it is because we handle them a lot but our coturnix are extremely tame, we have a few that will trot up to you for attention and a couple that love being picked up and stroked. We are well known by the petshops in our area for producing a very friendly bird. My buttons are definitely not as tame as my coturnix and are more inclined to leap around and risk injury. Plus the coturnix give you the bonus of a tasty egg. We find coturnix males will live together only under certain conditions. The first is that they must be hatchmates and never have been separated. They only tolerate other males that they know. The other condition is that either there are no females whatsoever - ie you have a couple of pet bachelors - OR you have plenty of female and lots of space so they can stay out of each others business. I would have to agree with Akane that buttons actually need more space than coturnix, coturnix will often bunch up if given lots of space anyway. Coturnix are often kept in very confined conditions in labs and do quite well. They are also tamer if kept in a run or cage type arrangement as opposed to an aviary or shed. The drawback with closer conditions for coturnix is mostly that they will foul their living area faster so need plenty of attention to keep them clean. Their claws can get crud stuck to them very easily. I would say the coturnix are generally the better choice with a couple of provisos: one is that we find sometimes coturnix will unintentionally scare small birds such as finches and we think buttons are better if you want a mixed collection of small birds. The other is that coturnix won't raise their own young in 99 cases out of 100 and so if you want to breed them you will need an incubator and brooder, the buttons will do the work by themselves.

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