Hello! I'm new to this forum, and to Button Quail. Yesterday, I purchased 4 adult female buttons from a local pet shop that need some love. Apparently they had them in with a male that did some serious damage to their feathers, skin, and some toes. One had a moderate-pretty badly overgrown beak, which the shop workers filed down once I pointed it out. I understand that I'll probably have to watch that beak and it will likely have to be trimmed again in the future. On my way home from the pet shop, I discovered mites crawling out of the box (which makes me particularly angry since they specifically promised me there would be no parasites on or in my new quail). They birds are extremely flighty and terrified of human contact. So, obviously I have some work ahead of me to get these little ladies healthy and happy! Their housing set-up is a bit unorthodox, but seems to be working well so far. I bought the biggest clear plastic storage bin I could find, and used velcro strips to attach a fine mesh tulle "roof" with enough give that they won't hurt themselves when they startle. I'm planning on drilling a few extra ventilation holes when I can get my hands on some power tools. For bedding, I lined the bottom with paper, and added a few inches of aspen shavings. I'm currently using cardboard boxes as hiding places, but I'll replace those with something more permanent as I see what they do and don't like. My short term goals are these: 1) Fix the mite issue. This is extremely important because I have a cherished pet cockatiel that must not be exposed. The quail are quarantined in a separate room, but I'd like to be extremely proactive with this. I purchased some mite treatments online that should be here tomorrow or the next day, but I would LOVE some advice in this if anyone has experience! The products I ordered are "Sevin Dust" and "8 in 1 UltraCare Mite and Lice Spray" which contains Pyrethrin. 2) Get them on a better diet. They're currently eating 100% seeds. I ordered a bag of game bird crumbles, which seems to be a more species-appropriate diet, and I'd like to wean them onto this gradually so it becomes the bulk of their diet. I'm also planning on feeding them fruit and veggies, as I find out what they like, and egg. 3) Encourage healthy feather growth. The best bird is about 15% plucked with good possibility of feather re-growth, and the worst is probably 50% plucked, with more limited hope of fully feathering out. I'm hoping a better diet and more space to roam will help, but I've also been giving them a feather conditioning supplement in their water. Any tips on helping them re-grow feathers? 4) Discourage picking. This is the goal I'm most indecisive about. They don't rip into each other or anything overtly aggressive, but they do pull at each other's feathers from time to time. I noticed the healthiest bird doing the most picking, so I set up a temporary separate enclosure for her and removed her from the others a few minutes ago. I'm not sure if this is actually the best plan. They have been calling to each other a little, but they can see each other so they don't seem too terribly upset. The other 3 do still pick at each other, but seemingly not quite as much. I don't know if the "Alpha" being gone will encourage one of the others to start acting more dominant and picking more, or not. I wonder if I should just set up 4 temporary enclosures for each bird for the first few weeks until their feathers start to fill in? Would separation be worth the stress of being lonely? I'd really appreciate some input on this issue!!! 5) Adequate calcium. Since my quail are all (hopefully!) female, I'm particularly concerned about their calcium levels. I've read that oyster shell is a good supplement, but I don't know enough about it for button quail. Is it small enough for them? Or, should I just use a caged bird calcium supplement to be mixed in with food? 6) Healthy beak conditioning. How can I help the bird with beak issues? I would assume a better diet and calcium will help some, but is there anything else I can do for her? Would button quail know what to do with a mineral block or cuttlebone? 7) Human interaction. Eventually, I'd like for them to at least be comfortable when I change their food and water and bedding. I know this will just take time and patience. I would appreciate any advice or tips anyone has for me! Getting these little ladies healthy is going to be quite an adventure! Just for fun: The light-colored, mostly naked bird on the bottom is Marion, the medium-brown to her right is Elizabeth, the dark brown at the top left is (probably) Boadicea, or maybe Eleanor (her name hasn't been decided yet), and the dark naked one to the right is Lady Godiva, who has the beak issues, and was named after A) the story of the mythical/historical Lady Godiva riding naked through the street for the sake of her people and B) the color of Godiva dark chocolate. We've ended up going with a strong British women -type theme. Hopefully they'll live up to their namesakes and grow to be strong, feisty little ladies!