Button Quail vs Coturnix Quail


10 Years
Jul 26, 2009
Any thoughts on which would be better as pets/ornamental birds.

I'm debating which I would like to try raising, now that I'm done incubating ducks and turkeys. And, I really can't decide.

I understand that the Coturnix can be noisy. Buttons are so small, they would probably be more of an indoor pet than outdoor in Michigan. Coturnix, from what I've read, are smelly and must have an outdoor aviary.

Any thoughts?


9 Years
May 8, 2010
Mount Orab, OH - East of Cincy
I am new to quail but I have both Button and Coturnix. My Coturnix just hatached last week. They are so cute. There are several types of Coturnix so you can have a very good Color Variety. Buttons are small and would not be good meat birds. They sing and make losts of noise as do the Coturnix. I am not sure what types of noises the Coturnix make as all of mine chirp right now being babies. I can tell you that they mature in 6 weeks and start laying eggs at 7 weeks. Coturnix are supposed to make better pets as Buttons are always afraid of everything. I do however have 2 baby buttons that hatched and I am going to try and tame them.

Several of my Coturnix babies died and I don't know why, I am trying to find this out. I had 91 eggs, 50+ hatched and I have had 4 or 5 die a couple days after hatch. None yesterday or today though so hopefully I am out of that stuff now.


the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
Adair Co., KY
Coturnix can be kept indoors, but you'd have to be very diligent on cleaning their cage. Their droppings have a high ammonia content, so it smells very bad! Buttons are mostly an indoor pet, though they can be put outdoors when it's warm out.

Coturnix are better as pets if you are looking for a bird that you can hold. Buttons, no matter how much you handle them, never really get used to being held. They are almost always skittish. There are some exceptions, but it's usually a lone-hatchling button quail that is hand-raised that becomes a good pet.

Coturnix are much more noisy than buttons are, the coturnix male's crow is very grating IMO. Buttons just have a whistle that they do, and they don't seem to do it all that often.


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 24, 2010
For pets/ornamental purposes, I highly recommend the Button Quail. They are available in a great variety of colors and, since they are so tiny, collecting them is quite addictive. I just got 32 eggs for $8 (including S/H) on eBay, so they are about the cheapest hatching eggs around. They are odorless with minimal cage cleaning, but do have special cage requirements due to their size. My husband and I find their mating calls and soft peeping pleasant. Some people let them free in their homes, but we have only done so by accident.

Here's a great link to get started:


Oct 3, 2013
Button quail can be tamed but a lot of work has to be put in. I have a friend who raised around ten button quail all at once and they are all tame. I only raised two and they are very tame as well. My friend held them often as babies and also fed them treats from her hand. There are videos on YouTube about people taming the button quail. Coturnix are noisier and smellier that is why I keep mine in a coop not indoors. I like them because they lay an abundance of eggs. Buttons also lay a lot of eggs but the eggs are very small and cute and I can't possibly eat them. My female button lays an egg a day but that's because I provide proper nutrition. Female buttons are known to be very fragile as they lay so many eggs and are small so it is important to provide enough protein and calcium. I would try out with button quail first as they are easier and then move on to the coturnix.

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