Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Posted Aug 02, 2016
When I have first seen how small and cute these creatures are, I decided that I must get a pair on the first occasion. And it was not easy to find them since there are just a few breeders of them in my country. It happened that I noticed an ad in the animal section of a pet advertising webpage and as soon as I contacted the breeder, within a few days my first pair of these tiny birds arrived.
I believe they are the smallest in the family of quails since they are at least two times smaller than the average Japanese quails. For that reason, they need only just a small room for manoeuvring since they are ground dwellers. I got a pair with wild coloration of their plumage, which is dark brown although the males have distinguishable white rings below the beak and the sexes are easily distinguishable. Although they are small, the males are very loud when they are vocalizing, so if you keep them as pets in your apartment, do not get surprised if you hear them as morning alarm in the dawn.
Some breeders suggest keeping them in the same cage or aviary with other peaceful birds and they are considered to be cleaners and they pick up most of the feed scattered by the other birds. It is very interesting to observe how a mail does not immediately eat grains or worms when he encounters them, but he rather stops and releases a very low pitched sound resembling a call and suddenly all the females run towards him expecting a special offering. Besides that, males are very inclined to seducing the females by performing a kind of courting dance by running around them and by showing off.
Unlike the Japanese quails, the button quails still retained their natural instinct to lay eggs in a camouflaged nest on the ground. Males invite the females to lay eggs in a hidden spot and their small eggs are greenish-grey in color. After laying 10-15 eggs, the females go broody and the incubation begins. After 17 days, the small hatchlings emerge, and they are so tiny that you get an impression as if small bees are running around the cage. Their mothers are very caring and devoted to keep them warm and protect them and in less than a month, the small birds reach the adult size. And they even become sexually mature before reaching the second month of age.
Keeping these small birds is really rewarding experience, as you can enjoy in their everyday adventures just by observing them. One of the drawbacks of having them is their relatively short lifespan, so if you get attached to your cute little pets, be ready that they rarely live for more than 2-3 years. Nevertheless, they are very fertile, so that you can make this up by having their offspring to entertain you.