Scientific name: Coturnix chinensis
Other common names: Button Quail; Asian Blue Quail; Blue-breasted Quail; King Quail
The 10 subspecies of the widely distributed Chinese Painted Quail are secretive birds that are not easily found in their wet grassland habitats located in India, China, Southeast Asia, Australia, and a number of Australasian islands. Vulnerable to predators because they are the world's smallest true quail and because they nest on the ground, the wild birds are understandably shy. However, they have become extremely popular in aviculture, where they can be bred in a variety of beautiful color mutations, as well as the natural forms.
In the United States, the Chinese Painted Quail (very frequently called Button Quail) is most often represented by the ever-popular Silver mutation, but there are many other choices, including White, Cinnamon, Golden Pearl, Blue-faced, Red-breasted, and more. The sexes are easily distinguished in most mutations, since the male will sport a dapper white bib that the female lacks.
28 - 40 grams (1 - 1.4 oz.)
There is a relatively high mortality rate when hatching baby Chinese Painted Quail, and most breeders advise people purchasing eggs to raise baby chicks to purchase more than they think they will need. Adult females can be prone to over-producing eggs, which steals calcium from their bodies. By cycling the light in the bird room, to increase the hours of darkness during the winter, you can encourage your hens to rest over the winter, which could double the lifespan of a pet female Button. Injury is often the biggest problem if the birds are not managed correctly. Over-crowded Chinese Painted Quail will fight each other with surprising vigor for such a tiny bird, and startled birds can helicopter straight up, hitting themselves hard on the top of the head.
Behavior / temperament:
The Chinese Button Quail is often recommended to beginning bird owners, but it might be better for the intermediate birdkeeper, since its care does require some knowledge of psychology. These cute, alert little birds can be real charmers if raised as an imprinted pet that follows you around. They also make terrific aviary birds because they are gentle toward non-competing species in their territory. However, they do represent some significant challenges when dealing with each other, since males are completely intolerant of rivals, and females can be almost as bad. An additional challenge is that a great many females will not incubate or raise their own young. Some breeders have used small silky Bantam species to incubate the eggs and babies, and many others use commercial incubators.
The fact that so many color mutations are available is proof that Chinese Painted Quail can be successfully paired and reproduce in cages. However, don't underestimate the space needed for the project. These tiny birds are extremely aggressive toward rivals of their own species, and females as well as males can kill their rivals. Two males should never be housed together. Some people do have success with housing two females for each male, because otherwise the highly-sexed male would be constantly mounting one female and spoiling her back, neck, and head feathers. However, you must keep a close eye on the project, since two females can fight. Most breeders recommend that a minimum floor space of 4 feet by 2 feet be required for each breeding cage.
The height of the cage is another consideration. They fly straight up when startled. Therefore, the top of the cage should either be very low so that the birds can't get up too much speed and bonk themselves on the head, or else it should be very high, so that they have time to steady themselves (over 6 feet high). Chinese Painted Quail kept in regular finch breeding cages may benefit from some birdsafe netting placed at the top of the cage, so that they won't hit too hard when they zoom upwards. In a walk-in aviary that they're sharing with other species, be aware of these ground-dwellers at all times, because a friendly Button Quail can get underfoot. They will enjoy live plants in the aviary, and such cover will also benefit the female, by giving her a little extra help in getting away from her persistent mate. A climate-controlled bird room need not be kept too hot, but Chinese Painted Quail held in an outdoor aviary will need shelter from extremes of hot and cold, as well as wet and windy weather.
Chinese Painted Quail are remarkably easy to feed as long as you make sure that these ground-feeding birds have easy access to food and waterers on the floor. The backbone of the diet is usually a non-medicated commercial gamebird starter, which the birds can eat their entire lives, not just as babies. Don't ever consider feeding them on starter crumbles meant for chickens. The balance of medications, calcium, and protein in chicken feed is all wrong for these tiny quail. You can easily supplement the diet with a chopped salad of apples, greens, carrot, broccoli florets, and sprouted seed, similar to what you might offer finches, which is probably one reason why these birds are often selected to add interest to a finch display. You may offer them some tiny mealworms or other small insects as well. They should have access to a grit that includes crushed oyster shell or another form of calcium.
Written by Elaine Radford
adorable diminutive size, ornamental birds, coloration, friendly pets, childfriendly personalities
meat, eggs, male birds
tiny little eggs, smallest quail, dimesized quail babies, fluffy chicks, flightless birds
Beautiful and tiny game birds!
Chinese Painted Button quail are a very tiny breed of gamebird. They come in a variety of colors, the males plumage being particularly colorful. While the breed is not a "cuddly" type, they do not mind being touched/handled. Usually they are kept as aviary birds and require a high protein diet contrary to the popular belief that they can suffice on their aviary mate's dropped seeds. I incubated my button quail from eggs and raised them for about a year. While they can be tame, I wouldn't suggest taking them out of their aviary as they tend to fly straight up when startled. Trust me, I learned this the hard way! Buttons are very delicate and fragile due to their small nature, unlike their larger counterparts of quail. Great birds to start out with in aviary as they are very easy to take care of and never fail to provide hours of entertainment with their silly antics..
From artofjesselle Apr 7 2015 1:16PM
Button quail/ Chinese painted quail
I saw button quail for the first time in a planted bird atrium at a hotel. They were active and beautiful, foraging in the undergrowth, weaving between the tropical plants.
Button quail are easily obtainable online through numerous breeders, in a huge array of colours. The eggs are tiny (grape-sized) but do well in table top incubators with quail racks (such as Hova-bator or Little Giant incubators) and hatch in only 16 days.
Raise the tiny (bumblebee-sized) chicks in a brooder at 95F for the first week (use a 60 watt light bulb and reflector 24/7 about 10 inches from the floor); the young will use the heat as they need it until they are fully feathered at 2 weeks. For hatchlings, use metal screen or burlap on the floor for the first 2 days to prevent spraddled legs. From them on, raise them on newspaper covered with paper towels until they are big enough to go on 1/4" hardware cloth.
For their first water, use a shallow dish or jar lid with large pea gravel in it; they will sip water from between the stones without being able to get into it. After 2 weeks, use a quail waterer (like a chick waterer, but with a narrower trough at the bottom). Feed with gamebird crumbles, though you may need to grind it smaller or start them on a gamebird mash. Supplement with millet and freeze-dried mealworms.
Button quail hens only live 18 months - 2 years. They will lay a spotted, army green egg daily. Some females will go broody on their eggs, most will not and so an incubator is required.
Housing can be a fully planted aviary or very large terrarium (they will pick up spilled seed from other birds that don't usually feed on the ground) or a small cage or battery cages. House pairs individually.
Two important things to remember about button quail that makes them different from other poultry:
1. Flushing: Button quail "flush" when panicked, meaning they fly straight upwards. This means a hard or sharp wire ceiling is dangerous to them. I bought mosquito netting (tulle) and clothespinned it under the inside the ceiling of my cages, tightly, about an inch from the top. This made a sort of reverse trampoline, which they'd hit and bounce back down from without injury. Eventually I relocated them into a planted aviary (7 feet high) where they could flush as far as their limited capacity allows (they're not brilliant flyers) and not get injured. The flushing behaviour (sometimes called "the Boink Factor" by breeders) means they're also not great for handling -- better just to observe them. When panicked they also tend to drop a lot of feathers, so excessive handling can lead to bald birds. I found that using a medium aquarium fish net was the safest way to catch them up and move them without them panicking.
2) They are pair birds. Don't try to house them communally once they are sexually mature -- they will pick each other to death, and cannibalism is not unknown. A small group can live peacefully in a planted aviary with lots of hiding places. In cages, keep pairs in individual battery cages (1x2x feet, minimum). In this case, use poultry nipples or a similar battery watering system..
From bnaqqimanco Jun 17 2013 8:49AM