Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder),
Bred animal myself
Louisiana, United States
Posted Jun 09, 2012
I got my first pair of silver mutation Button Quail as a gift, and these ornamental birds proved to be a very valuable learning experience. Although I would later learn that it's unusual for the hens to sit their own eggs, I got lucky with a good hen who incubated her own eggs, and I soon had a nice clutch of absolutely adorable bumblebee-sized fluffy chicks. Awwwww.
Lovely silver/gray birds, easy to breed, easy to take care of, cheap to feed...what's not to like? However, I soon learned that these sweet-looking little birds do have a dark side. The adult male has only one thought on his mind, and he may mount the hen again and again, until she has damaged spots on her neck or head. You will have to separate them to allow the hen to sit her eggs in peace. Then, when the little ones grow up, each bird or pair of birds must have its own space. Otherwise, they can get quite vicious when they attack each other. Some of the females are quite unpleasant and will neither sit on their on eggs nor will they tolerate the existence of other females. The males are equally aggressive. I had an arrangement where I could trade or sell back my extra birds to pay for bird food, and I ultimately sold them all back, except for a single pair which I kept as an ornament for my large aviary. But I kept a good watch out to make sure that the female was not nesting and that she had plenty of space to hide from the male when he was a little too over-active. These birds won't harm other species in the aviary, such as your finches. But they sure know how to go gunning for each other.
So that's the biggest downside -- these birds ultimately require a lot more space than you think, because they cannot play nicely together. You do learn a lot about the pecking order and other facts about poultry psychology, which may be why these little birds are often considered to be good study birds for children.