CHINESE BUTTON QUAIL
Info, Feeding, Housing:
Chinese or Button Quails do not need very many fancy foods, and are very cheap to feed. If kept with other birds, they will get almost half their food off the floor. They can survive off of seed and water, and the occasional green, but they are much happier when fed other special feeds. Gamebird pellets, panicum millet, blue maw seed, Canary and/or Finch seed is the best thing for them. The feed should be broken up into beak size pieces so the birds can actually eat it. They should be fed meal worms occasionally, and any fruits or vegetables are great also. All vegetables or fruits given to birds should be thoroughly washed first. They need grit because they don't husk the seeds they eat like finches do. They also need a constant supply of fresh water. You can also give them a high protein egg food mixture such as Cede (brand name) which is a multi-vitamin & mineral supplement from a seed supply store or pet shop for the 1st week or two. If you place your Quail in with other birds in your aviary or flight, you should give them separate food and water containers so you can make sure they get the proper food and not just eat leftovers from the other birds. Cuttlefish bone should also be placed on the bottom for the Quail. Button Quails are the perfect addition to any flight cage, or aviary. They are small, around 4", attractive, and can become very tame. They are intelligent and will clean up all the spilt seed from the other birds. They need very little care and come to breed quite easily. Feeding is simple, and they are not very noisy. They stay on the ground almost all the time, and don't bother any other birds. Their actions will keep you very entertained. An addition of a few rocks or a log will keep them occupied and give them a feeling of security as well as making their cage attractive. They will also eat greens and mealworms or spiders they can find.
A bad habit they have is the males' aggression. These tiny birds feel right at home in almost any cage or aviary. They like outdoor aviaries the best but will also do fine in any larger size cage. They will be enjoyed much more if they have space. They will run around on the floor of the cage, searching for seeds, and other valuables that they seem to find. They are always busy pecking at something, and enjoy hiding in evergreen branches or cedar that can be put on the floor for them to play in. They like to hide in these, and if you shift them around weekly, they get to explore their home all over again. The branches also give scared birds a place to hide when one approaches, instead of flying straight up and hurting themselves. They like to bath like all birds, but quails don't bath in water - they bath in sand and dust. They should be given a container of sand in a well lit spot. They will spent hours "playing" in their sand box. They seem to like to run around the edges of the cage or aviary, so if it is outside, they should have fine gravel in these areas. This keeps them from running in mud.
Grated lettuce is a good green food, moths, and meal worms can be added when the babies are large enough to eat them. Any open water dishes should have marbles in them so that the babies can get a drink from between them, and not get wet. Only shallow jar lids or clay dishes should be used unless you can get them used to the clip on waterers such as those for Budgie cages. Ours prefer shallow dishes.
An other advantage to this charming little bird is the many color mutations they come in. There are now literally dozens of colors being bred. These new colors are only slightly more expensive than the originals, and some are very attractive. The most common mutation is the silver. This changes all the colors to shades of light pastel gray. We have has a few that appear to be marble in appearance but do not know if this is rare or just another common color. There are many, many advantages to this attractive little quail. They are very little trouble and there "strange" activities will always keep you entertained.
Above information was taken from the book Hayes, Leland B., Ph.D. The Chinese Painted Quail "The Button Quail" Copyright by
Leland B. Hayes, Ph.D., 1992.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.