Button Quail Fighting

Discussion in 'Quail' started by MissLithium, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. MissLithium

    MissLithium New Egg

    Oct 20, 2012
    Gibbons, Alberta
    Hey guys! This is a question about my favorite domestic bird.

    I have 4 button quail;
    Mouse, Luna, Mooney (Moonshine) and Lando.

    Mouse is a cinnamon and is 100% female, egg layer, and gets along great with Lando.
    Lando is a dark blue male with russet vent feathers, 100% male, gets along great with Mouse.

    We got Mooney, who is a silver with a white bib, along with Mouse & Lando at the same time from the same breeders. The breeders were pretty sure Mooney was a female, but after a few weeks Lando, the for sure male, started chasing Moonshine around like crazy and pulling at his head feathers. So for this reason we figured Mooney was actually a male. So we separated him and got a "supposedly" 100% female egg layer who was also silver with a white bib.

    So we put Luna and Moonshine in a tank together and they seemed to just kind of... well.. do nothing. They didnt court or snuggle or preen the same way Mouse & Lando did when they were left alone, but they didnt fight at all either. So I was left wondering if both were females, but they would keep me up at night with their territorial calls back and forth, which I thought only males did (the little growl they do and the pew-pew-pewooo). Lando and Mooney were constantly having their little "squawk off" as my husband calls it, from separate rooms, in the wee hours of the night.

    Anyways, lol (bear with me here) we bought a BIG tank, (its about 4 1/2 foot long, not very tall) hoping to put Luna, Mouse and Lando together and let our local pet store have Mooney (we're very close with them, they incubate our eggs) because it was driving me nuts them bickering back and forth at night.

    We filled the tank with shavings, 4 hide out/nest boxes that are dark and well covered, multiple branches from the evergreen out side for cover and a food & water dish at each end as well as a heat rock. But when we added Luna into the equation, Lando the male went nuts again and started picking on her, chasing her all over. So I thought that was odd, because everything I'd read said about 3 females per male would be great. So then I thought... maybe SHE is the male and Mooney is female. So we tossed Mooney in and now Lando is after both Luna and Mooney. SO. WHAT. IS GOING ON? Lol Im so confused.

    If Luna and Mooney were both males, they would have fought when they were together, yes?
    But if Luna was a female why would Lando be so harsh on her?

    I would really love to keep them all but I hate to see them stressed like this. I really dont think space is an issue, or hide outs, this tank is very well equipped! They're fed a mix of finch seed, game bird crumble (for laying hens), oyster, broccoli, lettuce, and other veggies regularly.

    Im almost wondering if Lando is just extremely territorial/aggressive, he'll even attack my hand as it goes into the cage which is quite valiant/hilarious. Is it possible that Lando is just a one woman kinda guy? Will they ever get used to each other and the fighting stop? Should I give it some time or should I just separate them again?
  2. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2012
    Buttons are actually monogamous birds. You can start a group with multiple females and one male from chicks and there might not be any fights, but once you have a mated pair by themselves you can't add any more birds or there will be fighting. Not even a female.
    I have a mated pair, Neil and Violet, and i tried adding another female to their group who'd been flock calling like mad and driving me crazy. Neil freaked out and started attacking everyone, Violet threw up because she was so upset, it was a total mess. Won't make that mistake again!

    It is possible that Luna and Mooney are both females, or even both males. If they get along without fighting then they can be housed together. Mouse and Lando are a mated pair and they won't accept any other quail in their territory. It's pretty standard button quail behavior, so don't worry. Your birds are normal. It's the folks who say to house them together who are wrong!

    Buttons males can be pretty bold, too. My Neil knows that if my hand goes into their pen that usually means i have a treat for them, and he's gotten into the habit of pecking my manicured nails mistaking the nail polish for colorful food. He'll also snatch at my hair if i let my face get too close to him. And he'll jump as high as six inches straight up to grab anything that looks tasty! He really has no shame!
  3. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2012
    I agree with gorabbitgo that the Buttons should be kept in pairs. They do mate for life and will only except a different mate after the first one dies and sometimes not then. You could place a barrier in the tank that they cannot see through and keep them all. It sounds like the unknown sex birds get along okay so why try to get another male or female? Do you want to breed them? that would be the only reason to get more pairs and then you will really have them calling. They call to mark their territory as well as bragging when mating or laying occurs. Cover them at night to stop the 4am calls.
    So for my 2 cents I would say just house them separately and enjoy! They are really quite entertaining little birds.
  4. MissLithium

    MissLithium New Egg

    Oct 20, 2012
    Gibbons, Alberta
    Thank you guys! I removed them both after the first blood was drawn. That makes sense that they're monogomous, now that the other two are gone there is peace back in quail land. ~Sigh~ Now what to do about Luna & Moon! -.-
  5. MrNappy

    MrNappy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2012
    Ajax, Ontario
    I wouldn't advise doing it but, i have 1 male and 3 females. In the beginning they fought when they didn't have 14 hours and were inmature (under 4 weeks), but now they started laying and are best friends.

    Also they change their moods often, one of my quail (male) who was the boss of 9 quails (1 male) got beaten up by 1 female, tragic story. I have a little compartment were he can fly up to when scared and when i found em there and took him and put him on ground, he beat up all the quails (except one) and mated with one ([​IMG]) then the female came and beat him up.

    On a note:

    -The female is HUGE! (So huge she can't support her weight and has a limp, supposedly)
  6. sunheeter

    sunheeter Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 26, 2014
    Ventura County
    Okay, so I need some advice! I have 4 quail, 2 bobwhite and 2 coturnix. They are probably 6 weeks old? Not laying yet, but not babies anymore.. I can't remember exactly how long i've had them. I think the bobwhite are both boys and the coturnix are both girls. (Could have that backwards though). The two girls are almost completely bald. One of the boys is being severely picked on by the other boy, and I've separated him after he lost most of the feathers on his back and started bleeding. :/ I feel bad that I didn't do it sooner, I just couldn't figure out how it was happening for a while. Would it be a good idea to stick one of the girls in with him, and just have two separated pairs? If I kept both of the girls with the mean dude, would he take care of both of them? Would they grow back some of their head feathers with one of the boys removed?

    Thanks for any advice you can give!
  7. Quail Jailer

    Quail Jailer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2014
    With bob males, pair them. 1 roo 1 hen
  8. GuineaFowling

    GuineaFowling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 3, 2013
    Central California
    Putting Bobwhites and Coturnix together isn't always a good idea. Of course, some people have good luck and keep them together peacefully but that hardly happens. Bobwhite males are known to be very aggressive towards other males and even females.
  9. Bryam

    Bryam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2008
    Luna and Moonshine are probably both males, that is why they do nothing when together. Males can be paired and get along, as long as there are no female qauils in the cage.

    Sorry you had to wait so long to get your answer.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015

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