Lost almost my whole flock of button quail * PICS ADDED * ( not gross


12 Years
Nov 20, 2007
Glendale, AZ
I never thought I would ever have to make a post like this - we have lived in this house almost 2 years and in that time we have been very lucky with our chickens and ducks - considering all the stray dogs/cats and neighborhood kids that are around.

I have a very happy healthy flock of 11 button quails - they were living in the house in a plastic tote from wal*mart and they were getting crowded - after thinking about diffrent ways to house them I dedcided they might be happier outside with fresh air, sunshine, dirt and bugs living a more natural life

so I built them a " tractor "


here is my clean out door - also used for fedding/water collecting eggs etc - the bottom half swings open


here is there little " ghetto " house lol we made it at the last minute with left over wood - they loved thier little house


this tractor was made inside a fenced in yard - close enough to the house I was able to run a night light out there for them and planned to winter them inside ( was going to wrap it with plastic and proved a low watt light ) - I even made the tractor a little on the tall side to advoid them bumping thier little heads if they got flighty scared

everything was going great until a stray cat and her kitten got in my yard and killed all but 2 of my buttons

before my flock was killed one of my females had been laying eggs - one a day and on the day they were killed I collected 2 eggs so one of my other females had just started laying - they had been breeding pretty good so I saved the eggs and was going to test fertility - now I am praying these eggs are fertile so I might be able to give my remaining 2 a flock to be a part of again.

here are a few pictures of the buttons the day they went into thier pen for the first time



the little standard browm up front and the cinnamon splash behind it are they only ones left


I lost -- in my breeding adults

1 silver male
1 silver female
3 standard brown females

my teenage group

1 charcoal grey red breasted male
1 white ( not sure of sex )
2 cinnamon splashes ( i think both females )

the 2 left are back inside i will not put them back out until we rebuild the pen - and I have another flock for them to join,, but the 2 left are doing that " whistle call " does this mean they are young males or do the females also do the whistle call??

they both have a lighter patch under thier beaks but a few of my breeding females also had a lighter color ( not totally white just a lighter color )

any ideas to rebuild the pen and make it cat proof -- please feel free to share your ideas

we are very upset about losing our babies - these were pets and family members I hatched everyone out here at the house - I am sure people would tell me notto put small birds like this outside but I think they were happier out there flapping thier wings chasing bugs and taking long dust bathes

if the eggs in the bator are not fertile because my flock was still very young I will be getting more eggs and trying to rebuild my little flock.
I lost 2 of my buttons last night, and a silkie that slept up by the house, time to get my raccoon trap out. I don't know if cats kill as ugly as raccoons do, but I am now going out with hardware cloth, to line the bottom couple of feet of the cage outside.

The raccoons and the cats, I would assume pull them out thru the holes, only the raccoons never get them all out, they just leave me infuriating, horrific surprises in the morning!

The raccoons here breed like rats, I swear, its almost a plague here. They carry rabies too. $%%&&$***!!!!
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How did the cat get in? Your little tractor looks pretty cat-proof to me and I also believe they were happier outside playing in sunshine and fresh air.
after we chased off the darn cats - we took a look at the wire and she pulled it in places and strecthed the holes out of shape --

we found 4 dead inside the pen - with holes/bite marks, one was headless, and 4 I am guessing she managed to pull all the way - no bodies were ever found --

we are pulling all the chicken wire off and redoing the whole pen ( except the frame ) I plan on trying again to have buttons out there - right now the 2 survivoirs are resting fine in thier starter tote that they were in before -
if the eggs in the bator hatch and I can rebuild the flock with the babies of the ones I lost I am going to try and get them outside while we are still having good weather -- if none hatch I will leave these 2 inside all winter and get more eggs in the spring

unless someone on BYC has some extra eggs they are willing to sell *cheap *
That's a shame - I'm so sorry. Replace the chicken wire with hardwire cloth - not much can tear through it. Are you sure the cat tore through the chicken wire and did all that damage and not a coon? Sounds like a coon and the cat just came around later. In my thinking, a cat would grab one and run off with it - not kill them all, take some, behead others. Did this happen at night and you discovered it this morning - or did it happen in middle of day. I'm still saying coon - cat just got caught and blamed. Were the holes big enough for the entire cat to get in or were they just "stretched" and something with a hand and opposable thumb could reach in and grab them - that would be a coon and not a cat. A cat would have to get her whole body in pen and grab with her mouth to take off with them.
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I have 4 cats, and if you have chickens, they usually teach the cats pretty well. It usually applies right on thru to your other birds. No cat has ever messed with a baby here.

omg i hate raccoons. They leave parts.
well in my neighborhood we dont have coons - or hawks or weasels or any of the " normal " preds - every once in awhile we get the smell of a skunk but we have never had one near the house.

Yes we are sure it was a cat - we caught her and her kitten in the middle of the killing spree - DH said he saw this same cat hanging around the night before and chased her and her kitten off. I am thinking the reason the one button was mising its head was because she did not pull it all the way through the wire. The rest it looked like she managed to bite them enough the kill them but they died out of reach so she just kept going until she managed to get a few out to feed herself and her kitten.

We are going to be going to Lowes to look at the Hardwire cloth and some strips of wood to cover the seams alot tighter and try to make this as cat proof as possible- we were not able to get the cat so I am sure as soon as we get more buttons in there - she will be back.

I am sure there are ALOT of great cats that would never dream to hurt a chick of any kind - but this is not a nice kitty ! I do not care for outside cats they do way to much damage ( I know a few of you have outside cats that are great ) and I am sure I might have upset a few cat owners - I am sorry for that but I have never been a fan of cats I guess because I have allergies to them and have not spent much time around them.

We were so worried about a stray dog jumping the fence that we never thought of the cats around here.
I'd recommend 1/2" x 1" welded wire mesh. You can also get it at Lowes and it's a lot stronger than either hardware cloth or chicken wire. All my bird cages are built from it, and the wire is strong enough that you can build good sized cages without worrying about adding lots of wood or whatever for support. Fasten the wire together with J clips (you can get these at TSC or other coop-type stores) and the seams will be tight enough so that nothing can get in or out.

Sorry to hear about your little buttons! I love mine to death, I'd hate to lose em!
After I staple the wire to the wood, I always like to nail a one by two over the wire.


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