button quail feather picking

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Akane, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    I have 7 button quail that are just becoming mature. I saw the silver and slate mating a couple days ago and the males have been growling and calling but no eggs yet. I know I need to seperate them but I was hoping to be more certain on gender before I divided out my groups. They are all in a 48x18" aquarium with lots of obstacles. Large bricks with holes down their length, wood, logs, cholla cactus branches... Yesterday I thoroughly cleaned their pen which was mildly stressful for the buttons. I had to scoop them all up and put them in an empty brooder. Today while I was gone at class the red breasted male picked the 3 other brown ones bald and one is rather bloody. He started in on the silvers when I caught him and put him back in the empty brooder with some food and water. Then I threw a bunch of millet sprays in the button pen to keep them distracted. The others don't seem interested in picking on each other.

    So what do I do with him? He has nice color but I'd rather cull the more agressive ones from my group. I was going to put the 3 light ones in a 48x12" tank and leave the browns together until I knew males from females. I'm rethinking that now. If the browns all turn out male I'm only keeping the cinnamon and selling the other 3. Should I try to pair the red breasted back with one of the feather picked browns? Leave him by himself? Or do you think they just got stressed and bored and with some distractions like millet they will be fine for a few days?
     
  2. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

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    Buttons pick for pretty much one reason. stress.

    Colony button quail breeders cull out the aggressive ones.

    Trio breeders normally don't see feather picking, but if they do, they too separate the one causing the problems and most do cull.

    Colony breeders (more than 1:3 ratio) seems to cause the most stress...especially if the enclosure they're in isn't big enough.

    If that was me, i'd cull it. Best to get rid of the feather picking problem now then seeing it spur up again. They can and will kill eachother.

    Also I've talked to other breeders who say that feather picking can become almost contagious and birds will start picking other birds just because of one bird picking.

    The ones that are calling, you know are males, i'd mark them with something, or put them all in separate cages until you can pair them all off. Least that's what i'd do.

    If you can post pictures of your birds i may be able to tell you who's male and who's female.
     
  3. Sunny the Hippie Chick

    Sunny the Hippie Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2008
    Brookings Oregon
    I had a trio of buttons.. 1 male and 2 female.. Every thing was fine.. Then the male started to crow and growl.. Then I started to find one egg a day.. And about 2 times a week I would find a really weird egg without a shell.. Soon my normal female was missing lots of feathers.. Then the next day she was all bloody.. I was told they can be kept in breeding trios.. But he picked his mate.. He wanted the slate female.. I removed the normal female and left the other female with him.. They are fine together now.. No fighting.. Now it seems they may sit on the eggs.. I guess it is a bit rare.. And the male is even sitting on them.. I think it is neat..

    I would suggest that you put him with the female he was breeding with.. It is the female that he picked out..

    I finally broke down and got a new male for my single female.. I think I will only keep them in breeding pairs now. A lot less stressful for them.. But now, where to put all the cages.. lol I keep them in 10 gallon fish tanks..

    Oh and I have noticed.. Since I have only kept them in pairs they dont bonk their heads as much.. Now it is only rarely.. Like when a person walks up to their cage to fast..

    Good luck on your buttons...
     
  4. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    I was planning to do trios. 1 light colored trio and 1 brown or dark colored trio. The only ones that will call or growl with me around are the light colored ones and I believe the 2 that are a silver-slate shade are male and the almost white one is female.

    Here is the other one I'm definitely not breeding. A runt that hasn't grown as fast as the others.
    [​IMG]

    The lightest brown one.
    [​IMG]

    One of the lighter colored buttons that should be male.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

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    Akane,


    your runt is a wild colored hen [​IMG]

    the second is a redbreasted hen

    the third looks like a silver carring blue face male [​IMG]- is that a tint of brown/rust on it's chest or just poo? Normally silvers have a white bib still but not all do. It could be a hen but to me it looks like a male without a bib. THis is the only one im not completely sure of on the sex, the other two are deffinatly hens [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    So why did my red breasted male pull all the feathers on the hens and leave the other males alone? Seems odd but if he isn't even getting along with the hens he can find another home.
     
  7. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

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    Quote:It's really hard to say but he could just be very aggressive to hens (more so than just normal aggressive breeding). Or he could be stressed. It's really hard to say how they're feeling, but from what i've learned from other breeders stress of some sort always seems to be the factor. Either space, too many males etc. It does seem however, that picky males pick on the hens most more so than the other males. Not sure why, but when it's the males doing the picking, i'm always hearing that he's picking on hens. The blood worries me as that's obviously getting very rough.

    If the feather picking stops the ones with feather loss should regrow their feathers within 2-3 weeks i've been told if you were curious.
     
  8. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

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    warez*sunny :

    I had a trio of buttons.. 1 male and 2 female.. Every thing was fine.. Then the male started to crow and growl.. Then I started to find one egg a day.. And about 2 times a week I would find a really weird egg without a shell.. Soon my normal female was missing lots of feathers.. Then the next day she was all bloody.. I was told they can be kept in breeding trios.. But he picked his mate.. He wanted the slate female.. I removed the normal female and left the other female with him.. They are fine together now.. No fighting.. Now it seems they may sit on the eggs.. I guess it is a bit rare.. And the male is even sitting on them.. I think it is neat..

    I would suggest that you put him with the female he was breeding with.. It is the female that he picked out..

    I finally broke down and got a new male for my single female.. I think I will only keep them in breeding pairs now. A lot less stressful for them.. But now, where to put all the cages.. lol I keep them in 10 gallon fish tanks..

    Oh and I have noticed.. Since I have only kept them in pairs they dont bonk their heads as much.. Now it is only rarely.. Like when a person walks up to their cage to fast..

    Good luck on your buttons...

    sounds like your hen needs more calcium (laying shell-less eggs is almost always because of a lack of calcium in the diet). If you have a walmart or a petstore near by, pick up a cuttle bone (very cheap---found in bird section) grind up the soft part into their food (about a teaspoon a day) and soon she should be always laying healthy shelled eggies. [​IMG]

    My bonking buttons stopped after I took out the skiddish button. I will not breed skiddish buttons, and it's made some very docile birds this way. With no head injuries (plus i use foam roofs). I too am raising some of my buttons in 10 gallon tanks in trios.​
     

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