Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder),
Posted Sep 14, 2014
Button quail babies win the unbearably cute award and the adults aren’t far behind. These diminutive quails aren’t much larger than a well-rounded chick. Their small size makes them a game bird that’s easy to keep inside as a pet, however, these are not birds for small cages.
I’ve kept them in cages for transport and quarantine purposes and it didn’t suit them at all. Button quails are extremely active birds that spend the day foraging, scurrying around as if they’re always busy.
If kept indoors, it should be in an aviary with an abundance of floor space and a lot of hiding places. Button quails can become outgoing, but are initially timid birds that can be easily startled.
When startled, these otherwise flightless birds shoot straight up into the air. Mine were kept in seven foot tall, walk-in aviaries and still had no problem bouncing off the top. Their enclosure should have a soft top to avoid injury.
Button quails make a wonderful addition to aviaries housing small, non-aggressive bird species. Keeping quails in an aviary, though, does mean that you need to be on top of maintenance since they will be running around and eating from the ground where the droppings from other birds accumulate.
Button quails behave far more like nervous chickens that don’t roost than like other exotic birds. They run around scratching and will eat whatever food other birds drop. They should also be provided with their own food, which can be seed, chicken or game bird feed as well as live insects and fresh greens.
The males crow similarly to a small bantam rooster - something I didn’t realize until I brought my first one home. I’d been quarantining him in a cage in my bedroom and jumped out of bed at 4:30 AM because I had no idea what that sound was. It’s actually very cute as long as it’s nowhere near your bedroom since they do start calling at the first hint of light.
While they look like sociable little birds, button quails can actually be very aggressive with their own kind and males should not be housed together. They breed quite prolifically. Unfortunately, the heavy amount of eggs females will lay, especially indoors under lights, drastically reduces the lifespan of these already sadly short lived birds.
If not for the brevity of their life span, I would most certainly still be keeping these delightful miniature quails.