Some Questions About King Quails

Discussion in 'Quail' started by saresare93, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. saresare93

    saresare93 New Egg

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    Dec 27, 2015
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    Hi guys,

    I have been looking everywhere online for information on layer king quails but can't find anything, so I figured I would ask here. I am brand new so apologies if this has been discussed before or I do something else wrong.

    I would love to produce my own quail eggs and have really fallen for the adorable little king quails. I know Japanese quails are good layers in Australia, but king quails aren't. Will they still produce infertile eggs for consumption, or do they only lay them (fertilised) around a cock? Because of limited room I would rather get as small a species as possible - in other words, kings instead of Japaneses.

    I have read somewhere that they are loud and annoying. Is this true? I see them in the pet store sometimes and they're always quiet, but of course that might change when they're given more room. I live in an urban area so chatty birds are not a good idea.

    Because I live in an urban area, I do not have the room for large, enclosed pens. My backyard is a modest size (perhaps 4m wide and running the length and side of the house), and is guinea-pig proofed (they can't crawl under the fence or anything), so I was wondering if I could trim the quail's wings (because they are ground animals, I assume they wouldn't suffer from it like a parrot would) and let them run around the backyard during the day for exercise (supervised, of course, to prevent predation) and keep them in one of the hutch-like chicken pens (something like this http://www.fourseasonspets.com.au/petstore/images/ccr/10-big.jpg) at night.

    Sorry for all the questions, and for being a noob, but I want to make sure I can give them a good life before I even consider getting them.
     
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2015
    Hi! I'm not an expert, but I'll share my experiences from having buttons (aka King Quail) for the last 10 months..
    I've never personally had a button lay an egg without a male around, but I've read about people keeping hens without roos, where they did lay eggs, at least occasionally, so I assume it's not a problem, as long as they are comfortable with their cage mates.
    With regards to noise, in my experience they almost only make noise when they don't feel safe - like when they have been moved to a new cage, when they are separated from their usual cage mates, when they are kept alone and so on. I have 3 buttons (1 male, 2 females) in my room, they boinked at night for the first 3-4 days, since then they've been really quiet at night and at day they've almost only made their really low peeps - I might hear a crow or a call a week or so. And those really aren't that loud either. But they are not laying eggs currently, they might become louder when they think it's breeding season.
    I also have buttons living in my budgie aviary. The aviary has an inside part and an outside part and the buttons live inside, but occasionally one of them flies out and don't know how to get back in. That makes them call relatively loud - even if more than one of them are outside at the same time.

    I try to keep my cages at least about 60 cm. high (with padded tops to prevent boink injuries), because they seem to enjoy stretching their wings a little every now and then, in particular in the morning when they just start moving. But if you clip their wings, they might be happy just flapping them without actually flying. You can give the free roaming a try, but I have a feeling it might stress them, as you will probably have to drive them back into the cage every night, I don't think they'll figure out on their own that they should stay in there at night. And if they are stressed, you probably won't get eggs. But unless you intend to have 10+, I think they'll be just fine in the chicken pen you showed. And with 10+ in the same enclosure, I would be worried about stress again. They are supposed to be monogamous birds, so they might not be able to relate to large numbers of cage mates, though I originally got a male and 3 females for my aviary and they laid quite a few eggs through the summer and even incubated them on their own and hatched chicks, so they at least didn't seem stressed.

    Let me know if you have more questions, I'll do my best to answer. And good luck with the project ^^
     
  3. saresare93

    saresare93 New Egg

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    Dec 27, 2015
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    I finally found a webpage about button eggs, and it says that hens will generally lay only when there are more than 12-14 hours of light in the day. Would you estimate that you have less or more than 14 hours? Because if the webpage is true, it would make sense that your hens don't lay if it's winter or you have shorter days. I'm hoping that's the case. :p
    That's good, then. The low peeps sound adorable.
    How would you boink-proof the mesh at the top of a hutch? Bubble wrap (which I've heard someone do) would let the sun through, but wouldn't it act like a greenhouse and make the area underneath hotter?
    I was looking at getting just a few, depending on how many I need to avoid bullying. Would, say, 4 females be a good a number?
    The pen seems awfully small to live your whole life in, but upon investigation I see that people put their quails in even smaller pens. Still seems far too small for me, to be honest. I have heard that button quails can become quite tame, so I suppose their ability to free range would depend on that. Good point about the stress of getting them back in - I will definitely have to look into a way to peacefully herd them back into the pen (maybe I could train them that bell ringing = food in cage or something like that?).
    Thanks for answering and for helping. I appreciate it. [​IMG]

    P.S. What is their poop like? Is it pellet-ish or typical messy bird poo? I'd love to give them some soft fleece flooring like my guinea pigs get but cleaning it would be a nightmare if they poop like parrots do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  4. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens are with males and still don't lay eggs ^^ But yes, most of them only have a light on for about 9 hours a day and live in temperatures currently ranging from -5 to +10 degrees Celsius, I wouldn't expect them to lay eggs ^^ The ones in my room have "daylight" from about 8:30 in the morning till 16:30 in the afternoon and then I turn on the light when I get home around 19:00 and turn it off at 22:00. That's around 11 hours. No eggs there either.
    I'm not quite sure how many hours they had light in the summer when they did lay eggs. The aviary is in an old barn with just a few, small windows, so I probably gave them about 8 hours of artificial light a day, not sure for how many hours of the day the daylight in there was actually strong enough to count.
    I had two hens from their first hatch living together without males in a small cage outside, with about 15 hours of daylight and they never laid an egg. But I don't think being together with a male would have changed that, I think the cage was too small and stressful and possibly the temperatures were getting a little low as well - the parents in the aviary stopped laying eggs within 4 weeks of those two hens being moved outside, and the hens were only around 6-7 weeks old when I put them out there, so I think their biology told them to wait till the next breeding season before laying, despite having enough daylight for at least a few weeks after being mature.

    I boink-proof my cages with fabric or foam rubber, that probably wouldn't be the best solution for you. I saw someone on here that used some kind of green plastic garden netting for a coturnix cage, that would probably work. I'd just place it about 5 cm. below the wire, depending on how tight you can get it. You wan't it to slow them down before reaching the wire but not necessarily to be so tight it won't budge all. But if you clip their wings, I don't think it'll be necessary to boink proof it.

    I think 4 females would do great in that cage, but their eggs are small - you'd have to gather eggs for quite a few days to get enough for an omelette ^^

    I've seen people recommend as little as a square foot as a minimum for a pair of buttons. Personally, I'd prefer at least twice as much for each bird and as they shouldn't be kept alone, that would make each cage at least 4 square feet, to give them a chance to move about - and to make it possible to add some hiding places and such. But of course, the bigger the better. Though you might have trouble finding the eggs if it's too big.

    With regards to tameness, I can get some of mine to eat bugs from my hand, but as far as I know, only hand reared birds that have had very much human contact from they first hatched get any tamer than that. The bell thing might work if there is something in the cage they really want, but I haven't tried training them like that.

    Their poop is messy. Being small birds, the poops aren't big so they get dry relatively fast, but that doesn't help much if they are already smeared out on the fleece ^^ And I think they'd be at least as happy with shavings or plain sand.
     
  5. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Correction: I just found an egg in the cage in my room. The hens in there hatched at the end of August, this is the first egg they've laid but they've only been living in my room for a month now, they were in the (cold) barn before. And judged by their curiosity about the egg (stretching their necks to look at it and such, I find that quite cute. I noticed their parents doing the same thing with the first egg they laid) it hasn't been there for long. They live with a roo, but as mentioned they only get about 11 hours of light. Doubt they'll lay an egg a day, but we'll see. It seems a little dark but has a nice shape and size ^^ I'm excited to see whether they will get broody in the cage, but I'll probably make some adjustments over the next months if they keep laying eggs and don't go broody..
     
  6. saresare93

    saresare93 New Egg

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    Didn't think about the 5cm thing. I suppose that would solve the sun and heat thing if I just had soft mesh 5cm underneath the roof. Cool. ^_^
    Yeah the size doesn't bother me. I plan to get the Golden Goose in-shell egg scrambler thing and pad it enough to fit quail eggs. Bite-sized hard-boiled scrambled eggs in the lunchbox sounds awesome to me. :D
    Yeah I had a feeling fleece was a bad idea. Sand is a good idea though. Definitely easy to clean, and I imagine they would like scratching around in it.
    Murphy's law - as soon as you tell someone they don't lay eggs, they lay an egg. :p
     
  7. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They dust bath in the sand as well as scratching in it, they seem to love it. I think I'll put shavings in the cages in the barn for the winter though, it seems the low temperatures and high humidity in Denmark cause the poo to dry so slowly that they get poo-balls on their toes all the time when they are on sand. I changed one of the cages to shavings some days ago, haven't seen any poo-balls in there since. The ones in my room are on sand though, with no poo-ball issues - and yes, the sand can be cleaned with a cat litter shovel, it's really easy and you don't have to get new bedding for them all the time that way.

    I've actually never tried eating the eggs my buttons lay, but if the ones in my room show no interest in incubating them, I guess it's time to try quail eggs.
     
  8. saresare93

    saresare93 New Egg

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    How messy are they when they dust bath? I've again been considering a C&C cage for inside, but I've heard they kick sand absolutely everywhere when they're given sand, so I need to know whether a C&C cage's walls would be high enough to contain the sand. Would 6" be high enough or would it need to be 12" (or is even 12" not high enough for sand-flinging)?
     
  9. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The buttons in my room have a wall of about 4 inches above the sand and then there is a very small gap before the cage door which has an edge of about 1½ inches and then wire the rest of the way up. So about 5½ inches of almost solid wall. And I haven't noticed any sand on my floor, though there might be a little.
     
  10. saresare93

    saresare93 New Egg

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    Dec 27, 2015
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    Awesome, thank you. ^_^
     

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