Excitedly new to button quail

Discussion in 'Quail' started by goosehaslanded, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. goosehaslanded

    goosehaslanded New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 29, 2014
    Ohio
    Hi everyone! I'm very excited to be here and meet a few of you guys! I have recently had my heart stolen by these adorable button quail I had seen at a pet shop and wanted to know if you guys could spare me a bit of advice. Before I buy a pet I like to know everything I can about them.

    I have been looking up information quite extensively and I'm getting mixed signals. My one friend said I could easily keep them in my 75 Gallon tank. But I have also been told they need well ventilated enclosures. How tall should the enclosure be? How much space would I need to own at least two pairs? What is the best food to give them? And what is the best way to breed their adorable hatchlings.

    I also own quite a few reptiles, and I'm highly impressed with a new form of substrate I have been using with my snakes. It's called bio-active. Its a natural mix of organic soil, leaves, sand and peat to create a mini-bacterium level that decomposes waste naturally. Do you think I could set up a way to create this compost for them with natural grass and live plant hidey places?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  2. goosehaslanded

    goosehaslanded New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 29, 2014
    Ohio
    Anyone?
     
  3. Kneedles

    Kneedles Chillin' With My Peeps

    147
    8
    86
    Jul 22, 2014
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I have not owned my one for long, but here are some basic facts about keeping them:

    1. Their enclosure needs to be well-ventilated.
    2. Their enclosure must be long.
    3. The inside of the roof of the enclosure must have soft padding on it. Sometimes the quails become so startled that they 'flush' vertically, and without padding, they can hurt their necks when they hit their heads on the roof.
    4. They should only be fed quail crumble, but I have found that my one is quite fond of cucumber slices (I suspect that quails should only be fed them as treats).
    5. The floor of their enclosure should be covered in pine shavings.
    6. They need a dust bath set for them.
    7. They are extremely wary birds that should not be handled unless you have raised them from the time of their hatching. I learned this the hard way.
    8. They are monogamous, so pairs need to be kept away from other individuals, and most mothers do not incubate their eggs, so you will need to buy an incubator if you plan to breed them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  4. goosehaslanded

    goosehaslanded New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 29, 2014
    Ohio
    My 75 Gallon is 4 feet long and 1.5' wide. I wanted to build an upper screen encloser for them so it's a bit more ventilated. Do you think the 75 Gallon is long enough?
     
  5. Kneedles

    Kneedles Chillin' With My Peeps

    147
    8
    86
    Jul 22, 2014
    Wellington, New Zealand
    The length sounds okay, but I am not very experienced on the matter. The enclosure for my one is approximately the same size.
     
  6. Bryam

    Bryam Chillin' With My Peeps

    946
    31
    161
    Aug 19, 2008
    Make sure you have a cover and you are good to go! I have kept 6 adults in a 10 gallon and they laid eggs like crazy!! They are really easy to keep! Make sure they get plenty of light! Button quails are prolific breeders so watch out!!!
     
  7. goosehaslanded

    goosehaslanded New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 29, 2014
    Ohio
    Holy cow 6 in a 10 gallon haha. I just find them so pretty.

    What do you guys think of my organic substrate though. I want to put live plants in with them and make it a natural almost vivacious look.
     
  8. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You have to keep button pairs solo unless you have a huge aviary. They are very territorial and will kill each other over it. Buttons are monogamous and will mate for life, but realize in the wild those pairs would have a large area of their own space that they would defend from other buttons. I know that it would be nice to keep them that way but nature just doesn't work like that, you'll never teach or force them to get a long so it'd be best to just keep your pairs separate.

    As far as space goes 4 sq ft is enough to keep a button happy but you will want it ventilated and aquariums really aren't the best enclosures for a few reasons mainly when buttons are afraid they shoot straight up, making it nearly impossible to clean without handling the butttons. Because of their small size you should avoid handling them, plus their instincts make them very nervous in your presence. Button quail really aren't pets so don't expect them to ever think of you as anything more than the food monster.

    People not understanding button quail is doing a great dis-service to their species and in 10 or 20 years they'll have lost all the instinct they have left. It's reached a point where I will never again sell button quail because I refuse to be a part of the destruction of their species. Here is a good site that provides accurate information on keep them www.brackenridgeranch.com
     
  9. RattleCan

    RattleCan Chillin' With My Peeps

    127
    23
    73
    Oct 25, 2014
    Maryland, USA
    - A 75 gallon tank should work fine for button quails. As long as you're using a screen lid, it should be vented enough. I think the recommendation for buttons is 1 square foot per quail minimum but that is rather cramped.

    - If I were you, I would not get four buttons. Get two, a male and female. As others mentioned, they are monogamous. The benefits to keeping only two -- less mess for you, less stress for the quail, and a happy couple that will very likely lay eggs and communicate with each other often. A single pair of buttons is about the cutest thing to sit and watch all day. The male will usually present his mate with food (especially if you give them live insects, it's funny to watch the male hold a cricket and try to "talk" his mate into taking it from him). And he'll call to her often. Their cute habits tend to disappear if they're kept in more than pairs. If you just want them as pets, just get two.

    - That said, buttons aren't really "pets" per se. They're like fish. You can look at them and enjoy feeding them, but don't expect to hold and pet them. They are very skittish animals. They exist to panic. Holding them just causes them stress. So if you get them, just expect to enjoy looking at them and that's it.

    - Buttons do have a habit of "popcorning" or flushing vertically if spooked. This can injure the quail if they hit their little heads on a cage ceiling. This can be dealt with by padding the screen lid (however, this will reduce ventilation). A 75 gallon is just tall enough that they can really get their speed up by the time they hit the top, so it might be very necessary for you to figure something out. Maybe several hiding places coupled with lots of plants/decor could help keep them from flushing. I always make sure to approach my quail cages fairly noisily-- they usually don't spook if they know I'm coming.

    - They need to eat a ground up pellet food made for gamebirds. Protein should be 20%+ in the food. Farm stores usually carry the right food for them. You can also supplement their diet with live insects, which I'm sure you buy for your reptiles anyway. Mealworms, waxworms, and crickets are all great treats and readily accepted by buttons.

    - I've never used the substrate you mentioned, so I can't tell you if it's a good choice. All I can tell you is that birds poop A LOT. They'll probably poop faster than your special substrate will break down the poop. I usually just use aspen shavings or newspaper depending on the set-up. Whatever you use, it will probably need to be changed often no matter what.

    - They need a dust bath, or they will use their food dish (they might just use their food anyway!). The dust is good for them, but messy for you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  10. Kneedles

    Kneedles Chillin' With My Peeps

    147
    8
    86
    Jul 22, 2014
    Wellington, New Zealand
    One would have a better chance at handling a goldfish than a King Quail that has not imprinted on them. At least my goldfish swims towards me when I go to feed it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by