Transgender Button Quail??

CuriousCreature

In the Brooder
May 3, 2015
21
0
22
About a month ago I rehomed two little button quail from a woman who's young grand-daughter had bought them from a pet shop and then shortly lost interest. While she meant well, she didn't know how to take care of them, and the two buttons had spent six months in a bare cage in a gloomy shed with nothing but chicken feed to eat. They were shabby and stressed. To cut a long story short, I followed the care guides carefully and they are now living a life of luxury as indoor pets. Plucked feathers are growing back in, and their sweet personalities are shining through. They've been named Pop and Squirm, after the fiasco of attempting to handle them for the first time!

Their genders, however, remain a bit of a mystery. While the most likely case is that they're both male, I'm confused by them constantly exhibiting both rooster and hen behaviour. As it stands currently, I am not capable of checking under their skirts so to speak, because I can barely keep hold of them when I do have to grab them on cage-cleaning day. They are very nervous birds. So I will list what I have learned from observing them.

- They are both silver, both with a small white patch on their chests (not a bib - just an irregular 'splodge'). They are believed to be about a year old.
- No eggs have been produced.
- Pop is the more flighty of the two and has a fluffy unkempt tail whereas Squirm's comes to a neat point.
- Pop frequently mates with Squirm, especially in the mornings; pursuing and grabbing the neck feathers - the normal scenario.
- However, Squirm will occasionally do the mounting instead.
- But more often, Squirm will willingly present itself to Pop before mating occurs, flattening itself on the ground and squealing.
- When I give them some mealworms, they will take one each, then start chirruping and offering the worm to each other. I'm aware that this is usually a courtship display, but I don't understand why they both try to offer their worm to the other at the same time.
- Pop will crow 'pew pew pew' every evening. I have only ever heard Squirm utter a single answering 'pew'.
- Pop paces up and down the cage a lot, while Squirm is pretty laid back. Pop will also sometimes raise its body up and strut about on tip-toe, with wings fanned out. I have never seen Squirm do this.
- They will occasionally squabble - an average of once every few days. It is usually Pop who bullies Squirm, charging and pecking - notably different from the mating behaviour. Squirm will hide and make distressed squawks for a while and then they'll suddenly be friends again.
- Apart from those instances they are very sweet to each other, always sharing out food and snuggling up together in the evenings.

All in all, they just seem very confused! For as long as they remain happy in each other company for the majority of the time, it's of little consequence if they are indeed both male, but it's killing me not knowing! And it would be lovely to have some eggs, fertile or otherwise.

What do you guys think?

(Pop is on the left - note the fluffy tail.)
 
Last edited:

GrandmaBird

Songster
7 Years
May 28, 2012
1,280
56
161
Colorado
From your description you have 2 males. If you want a pair then you need to find a female and trade for one of the males. I would not put one female in with these 2 as they are bonded and will kill the female or even 2 females in the same cage/territory. You could put them into a separate cage with mates or divide this one with wire so they can not fight. Nice color birds and thanks for helping them become happy and healthy!
 

Bengt747

In the Brooder
May 3, 2015
64
6
35
I agree that they're likely two males.

If you take a look at Pop (bird on the left), he has a hint of tan coloring in his tail feathers. Most male button quail have reddish-brown feathers around their vent, but in silver button quail, this red coloring appears to turn into a tan coloring. I would not depend on color alone to distinguish male from female, but this can prove useful in some situations.

Good luck!
 

kat777

Hatching
May 12, 2015
1
0
6
I had a hermaphrodite bantam a few years ago, from an egg hatched in a neighbours kids school project. He/she crowed and had fighting spurs like a rooster, but layed an egg every day. Tried to mate with the other hens, not sure how successfully! So it is possible your quail has both characteristics. Or it could just be how 2 males have adapted to living together.
 

Canina

Songster
Oct 28, 2021
307
817
173
I have two button roos and one is currently sat on top of the other- they’re preening eachother... I have a small spare cage on standby in case things change and have been thinking about upgrading to a massive cage when I move but Jesus Christ these two are something to watch sometimes.
 

Ravenlover

Bird lover,idk I'll think of something later 😂
Jun 22, 2020
1,987
2,805
351
About a month ago I rehomed two little button quail from a woman who's young grand-daughter had bought them from a pet shop and then shortly lost interest. While she meant well, she didn't know how to take care of them, and the two buttons had spent six months in a bare cage in a gloomy shed with nothing but chicken feed to eat. They were shabby and stressed. To cut a long story short, I followed the care guides carefully and they are now living a life of luxury as indoor pets. Plucked feathers are growing back in, and their sweet personalities are shining through. They've been named Pop and Squirm, after the fiasco of attempting to handle them for the first time!

Their genders, however, remain a bit of a mystery. While the most likely case is that they're both male, I'm confused by them constantly exhibiting both rooster and hen behaviour. As it stands currently, I am not capable of checking under their skirts so to speak, because I can barely keep hold of them when I do have to grab them on cage-cleaning day. They are very nervous birds. So I will list what I have learned from observing them.

- They are both silver, both with a small white patch on their chests (not a bib - just an irregular 'splodge'). They are believed to be about a year old.
- No eggs have been produced.
- Pop is the more flighty of the two and has a fluffy unkempt tail whereas Squirm's comes to a neat point.
- Pop frequently mates with Squirm, especially in the mornings; pursuing and grabbing the neck feathers - the normal scenario.
- However, Squirm will occasionally do the mounting instead.
- But more often, Squirm will willingly present itself to Pop before mating occurs, flattening itself on the ground and squealing.
- When I give them some mealworms, they will take one each, then start chirruping and offering the worm to each other. I'm aware that this is usually a courtship display, but I don't understand why they both try to offer their worm to the other at the same time.
- Pop will crow 'pew pew pew' every evening. I have only ever heard Squirm utter a single answering 'pew'.
- Pop paces up and down the cage a lot, while Squirm is pretty laid back. Pop will also sometimes raise its body up and strut about on tip-toe, with wings fanned out. I have never seen Squirm do this.
- They will occasionally squabble - an average of once every few days. It is usually Pop who bullies Squirm, charging and pecking - notably different from the mating behaviour. Squirm will hide and make distressed squawks for a while and then they'll suddenly be friends again.
- Apart from those instances they are very sweet to each other, always sharing out food and snuggling up together in the evenings.

All in all, they just seem very confused! For as long as they remain happy in each other company for the majority of the time, it's of little consequence if they are indeed both male, but it's killing me not knowing! And it would be lovely to have some eggs, fertile or otherwise.

What do you guys think?

(Pop is on the left - note the fluffy tail.)
The flattening to the ground and sweeping is called submitting buttons do it when they are afraid or so on can do it just to show the other male it don't want to fight and he can be boss bird, sounds like they are both male lol and they need a mate I have a button who tries to chase and hump my coturnix cuz he's waiting for his mate to be done being broody
 

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