Can button quail live happily in a jungle?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Karen in Baltim, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Karen in Baltim

    Karen in Baltim Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
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    I'm looking for some experts at raising indoor button quail to reply back with your thoughts on the subject of cage decorations.

    One of my buttons just started laying eggs. I wanted the pair to have some type of spot to hide in the cage and I also wanted the female to have somewhere to lay her eggs if she so desired. I wasn't happy with the idea of my buttons having a breeding box in their cage since it is kind of unattractive so I compromised by decorating the cage with a group of plastic aquarium plants. (I used the kind that have the stones glued in as a base that are easy to clean.) I lined the side of the cage that is next to another cage with a row of tall plants, tucked a twig basket in a corner behind 3 plants, and added a twig tunnel with a small bush in another corner. There is a clearing in the middle. Both buttons seem to be really enjoying the foliage and their newly found ability to hide. Even more interesting is the fact that when I open the door of the cage to peek in at them they don't fly up in the air like they sometimes did before, instead they either dart into the foliage or simply hop up and over the foliage into a corner.

    Now here is my question . . . how much jungle is too much jungle? Should there be a ratio of clearing to jungle in the cage or should I just adjust the plants according to how "happy" my buttons seems to be with the decor?
     
  2. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also have indoor buttons, and i find that mine seem to prefer hidey areas to explore and forage in and clearings for eating, sleeping, and dust bathing. They like to stay in a tight group most of the time and get upset if one of the flock is out of sight, so i try to keep pen decor oriented so that they can easily find each other.
    But then, mine came from a high-density breeder who sold them for meat and kept them in tiny, ridiculously crowded pens. None of his quail were allowed to exhibit natural behaviors of any kind, so even though mine are in much different conditions now they still have a lot of strange tendencies.
    In nature, button quail live in tall grasses and shrubby areas so they'd almost constantly be hidden. As far as wild quail are concerned, the more foliage the better!

    I'd say play it by ear and let the quail tell you what they like. It might be easier on you to keep their food/water areas clear to facilitate changing dishes, though.
     
  3. Karen in Baltim

    Karen in Baltim Out Of The Brooder

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    Awesome! That is fantastic news for Thunder and Lightening. Their home is a vision cage which has a food tray at one end and a water tray at the other with drop down panels for easy access. They seem to have been having a ball since all the foliage suddenly appeared and it's great news to find out that I've accidentally created their natural habitat! The only challenges I'm going to have due to the change is locating the newly laid eggs to put into the nest and cleaning the cage. The day after I added the foliage I realized that challenge of locating eggs and called my sister to ask her if she wanted to come over to help out with a Easter Egg hunt.
     
  4. kbell

    kbell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have Button quail inside also and have ben trying to figure out how to make it more like a natural home. Yours sounds perfect, do any of you have pictures you could post or send to me? I am also trying to figure out the best kind of cage for them. Thank you so much in advance, Kim in GA
     
  5. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    I have been having problems with my button quail plucking feathers from each other and also one injured her head flying up into the roof of the cage, and then the others pecked at it till it was bald![​IMG]

    Now I have decided to use your idea[​IMG]. I have put lots of grasses, stringy hay, hide boxes, in the cage, and a big dish of sand. I did not know they liked the dust bath so much! They all piled into it and forgot about fighting - having a great time rolling about.

    I hope with all the hiding places and stuff to do they will be more happy and stop pulling each others feather out! [​IMG]

    I am going to make them a mini chicken tractor to put outside with a wire mesh floor, so they can peck at the grass and dirt and be in the natural light also.

    I keep many different kinds of birds, but these button quail are the most difficult to keep happy and stress free! They are such nervous little things, and also can be really mean to each other.[​IMG]

    Lets get some photos of our set ups on here soon!
     
  6. Going Bhonkers

    Going Bhonkers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the picture request! I'm wondering what indoor quail cages look like
     
  7. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have mine in a half flight cage. it is 18 deep x 18 high x 36 wide. I put fake vines on the top so they think there is something up there and do not jump so much. I also added fake greenery in the corner and edge. The Pepsi box is where she has her nest and they run through the oatmeal tube all the time, I removed the yellow dish and replaced it with a 7 inch round cake pan full of sand for their "bath tub", they love it. That is a seed catcher around the bottom and it keeps the wood shavings on the table and not all over the floor. It is also completely lined with non slip shelf liner then wood shavings. they seam to be happy but I would love to add a few more holes for them to hide in. I keep looking and am sure I will find something I like. I only have one pair in here but it does have a divider so you could house two pairs just not with much room.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  8. Karen in Baltim

    Karen in Baltim Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
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    I'm planning on covering the bottom of their cage with Astroturf this weekend. I figure if I cut 2 pieces the size of the cage I can easily swap it quickly for cage cleaning. It would be great to have extra "jungle" to do the same with but at $15-$20 a plant (and I have 9 plants in their jungle) it just isn't in the budget right now. I'm sure they will adapt to having the jungle come and go while it is washed since I'll be putting it right back for them.

    I like the idea of sand for dusting. Thunder and Lightening have been using their food . . . maybe they will be happier if I put a small bowl of sand in for them to use instead. Now . . . where to find a small bowl that dips down in the center that looks like a lake in the middle of the jungle. This may take some real creativity! I'm thinking kitchen equipment - like a spoon holder that you use on the stove when cooking. I'm going to post a request for the Astroturf and any potential bowls on Freecycle tonight. I'd welcome any ideas anyone here has also.

    I'll post pictures as soon as the "decor" is complete.

    I will warn you though that their cage is rather small . . . but they seem very cozy and happy in it. It's a vision cage 15" x 24" and 21" high. You can see the cage online at http://www.petsupplies.com/item/vision-medium-bird-cage-m01/533834/. It's model #M01. That link goes to the cheapest place I've found for Vision cages - and since it is over $50 they ship for free! I love the Vision cages since they have the plexiglass bottoms so you can peek through but it isn't open so it contains seed spills . . . and dust bath remnants! It also has easy access doors on each end for food/water.
     
  9. Karen in Baltim

    Karen in Baltim Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm not letting Thunder and Lightening see these photos - they will probably go green with envy about the cage size . . . but they would probably perk up with they realized they have MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more foliage and hiding spots!
     
  10. gorabbitgo

    gorabbitgo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In nature, quail live in mated pairs and are pretty territorial. If you have just hens and they were introduced as chicks, they can usually cohabitate after establishing a pecking order. But if you have a mixed-gender flock, you're going to see some territory disputes pop up. I've heard that males can even fight to the death!
    If you watch your flock, you might see a male/female couple (or multiple couples, depending on how many quail you have) doing most of the bullying as a team. That's going to be a bonded pair and if you can separate them from the rest of your flock you might be able to establish some peace.

    I hope that extra hiding places fix your problem, but if they don't you might try isolating your couples.
     

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