Quail Chinese Blue Breasted "Button" Quail Overview

Discussion in 'Gamebirds' started by Stellar, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Stellar

    Stellar Quail Lady


    Excalfactoria chinensis
    AKA, King Quail (in Australia) and/or Chinese Painted Quail...in the U.S, they are predominantly called Chinese Blue Breasted Quail
    Name "button' probably because chicks are size of a "button'
    Can be found throughout the world
    Have been kept for hundreds of years, once even used in Asia for 'cock fighting'

    Terrestrial birds, ground dwelling, feet can not perch
    Flight limited to quick bursts (straight up, with wings flapping) when frightened. Runs for cover upon landing. In small cages, they can seriously hurt their head.
    Lays on side to sunbathe
    Baths in dirt (or seed) not water, can easily drown in 'deep' water dishes. Chicks especially drown easily
    Are generally territorial, but need one companion
    Cocks will emit a low growl sound, 5-7 seconds in length at about 40 decibels, followed by 5 to 10 crows at about 70 decibels
    Buttons do not like to be alone. Cocks will do non- stop crowing when alone
    Hen makes a soft 'peep peep' sound used to call chicks
    Cocks sometimes carry a worm (or piece of food), 'peeping' to call hen and hen will take worm (emulating parent feeding chick behavior)
    Birds pace endlessly when anxious

    Scavengers: seed, small insects, egg food, grit, cuttle bone, millet, 20-28% protein gamebird starter
    Fresh water; very shallow dishes, (so chicks won't drown) or drinker bottles
    Usually one pair per aviary flight
    Introduce both birds into flight at same time, to reduce fighting
    Dry ground, sand, hay (wire cage bottoms are too hard on their feet and can not be tolerated)
    Use 1/4 wire (or netting) around bottom 4 inches of cage/flight to prevent new chicks from escaping
    In Southern areas, can be outside (without heat) all year as long as they are kept dry, have shelter from rain and wind. Be aware of cold weather. DO NOT HOUSE YOUR BIRDS OUTSIDE WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 50 DEGREES F

    Can breed year round
    Females can lay an egg nearly every day of year with sufficient lighting
    Egg laying is stimulated by sunlight (photo period) and high protein diet
    Cocks may copulate many times with hen, sometimes pulling feathers off her back
    Hen will make nest in corner using small amount of hay, straw. (Make use of finch nest box turned on side, closed end windward, works well)
    Incubation is 16 days, hen will sit fairly tight
    Chicks signal each other (peep peep) when ready to hatch; hence they coordinate hatching nearly all at once.
    Chicks are much like baby chickens. They walk upon hatching and follow both parents which is encouraged by 'peep peep' sounds by parents
    If parents were 'parent raised' usually will not harm their chicks. However, incubated parents (esp cocks) not having the experience of "babies" will often kill chicks. Some never stop this behavior
    Chicks continually 'peep' back to parents, getting louder if chick is separated or lost from parent
    Chicks hide in and under parents feathers to stay warm and for security
    Parents will feed chicks and teach chicks to eat and peck ground

    Collect eggs for seven days, store pointy side down
    Incubate for 16 days at 99.5 degrees (Fahrenheit) (99 to 101 OK) lower: poor hatching, higher: kills chicks.
    Ideal humidity 65%, especially crucial during last 24 hours
    Leave newly hatched chicks in incubator for first 24 hours (they do not need to eat during the first 24 hours)
    Move to solid wall box (with screen cover)
    Add overhead heat source (25-40 watt light bulb) keep temp at 95, 24 hour a day for the first week, reducing temp 5 degrees every week
    Water (not more then 1/4 inch deep) should be very shallow (i.e. lids to jars )
    Food first week, food such as hard boiled egg, High Protein Gamebird crumbles, UNMEDICATED
    DO NOT FEED MINI MEAL WORMS for the first 6 weeks, chicks confuse meal worms with their own toes, and OFTEN eat their own toes in error
    They must have textured surface to walk on, like sand or indoor/outdoor carpet to avoid splay legs