Entertaining Button Quails are a Delight to Keep
Button quail owners agree that these small, cute, relatively quiet little birds make wonderful pets. Button quails are very active and their antics can provide hours of amusement. Although not easily tamed, with patience on behalf of the human caretaker, button quails do respond positively to love and attention.
Button quails are generally shy birds that are easily startled. They enjoy having a number of places to hide away in within their cage or aquarium enclosure. Shoeboxes with more than one door cut in and cardboard cylinders make good hiding places. Real plants make nice hiding places, but only if you are absolutely positive that they are not toxic to birds. It may be safer to stick to plastic or silk plants as these are easy to maintain and can be washed.
Button quails need a reasonable amount of floor space as they run around a lot – at high speed. When a button quail is startled – and they startle easily – it will fly straight up in an attempt to escape. If the roof of its enclosure is something hard, there is a great risk of serious injury and even death. To prevent this from happening it is advisable to install something with a bit of “give” in it (fine mesh nylon netting works) over the top of the tank or cage. If your little button quail takes off, it should return to ground unharmed.
Button quails need animal, vegetable and mineral elements in their daily diet to remain healthy. As their primary need is protein, game bird crumble from a pet store is ideal and can be ground in a coffee grinder to suit the quail’s needs. They also enjoy small seeds such as hemp, millet and linseed, as well as fresh vegetables. Broccoli is a favorite and, apart from being a good source of nutrients, is also a source of amusement – at least for the owner – as the little bird tosses the broccoli around to get the little buds off. Button quails also need live food such as mealworms, crickets or maggots, but only from a pet store and not in large quantities. Never give your bird any bugs from outside that may have been exposed to pesticides.
It is important to allow your button quail access to grit, preferably in a shallow bowl big enough for it to sit in. Not only do they use the grit to aid digestion, but it also serves an important role in quail hygiene. Watching your button quail take a dust bath is a pleasure – for both of you. They also like to bath in their seeds, wood shavings on the enclosure floor and water. Also, be aware that using solvents and householder cleaners near your birds will be detrimental to their health.
These sociable little birds should not be kept alone if possible. However, male button quails are known to fight (sometimes to the death) and the best combination seems to be one male with two females. This allows the male to enjoy his favorite occupation of pursuing a female, while the other takes a rest.
Button quails make fascinating, undemanding pets that, in return for a comfortable home and good food, will be enjoyed by the whole family.