Presentation by Sally Huntington and Alan Blanchard


Coturnix chinensis
AKA, King Quail (in Australia) and/or Chinese Painted 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. Best transported in paper bags or padded ceiling in cages.
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
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. (i.e. In S. Cal live where coldest temp is about 28F)

Can breed year round
Females can lay an egg nearly every day of year
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, covered in bird seed
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, chick starter, CEDE egg food
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

-Normal, Blueface, Golden Pearl
-Silver & White
Some of Mutations Available
-Cinnamon, Fawn, White, Red Breasted, Golden Pearl, Silver Pearl,
Cinnamon Pearl, Ivory, Ivory Pearl, Silver Red Breasted, Blue faced,
Blue Faced Cinnamon, Golden Red Breasted, Slate, Smokey, Cinnamon Breasted Blue Faced