Button Quail are the very smallest of the quail and game birds and are about 4 inches long when mature. When they hatch, chicks are the size of bumblebees. Although they are so small, they are hardy and delightful to raise. Button Quail come in all sorts of colors and patterns, and their eggs tend to be a variety of colors as well.
Button Quail, especially if raised by hand, can become very tame. Button Quail are often raised as pet quails. They are also neat, quiet, and active little birds.
Button Quail are originally native to Southeast Asia and India, but have become increasingly popular in aviculture and are found all over the world in domestic settings.
Button Quail are short-lived birds and have a very compressed lifespan. They hatch in 16 days, start laying eggs themselves in 8 weeks, and are often entering old age by 18 months. In ideal conditions, Button Quail have been known to live up to 3 years.
In general, raising quail can be much simpler and easier than raising chickens. Quail require less space and less food, and from a production standpoint, quail covert the food they eat very efficiently into meat and/or eggs. They are also quiet. Female quail are good mothers and can brood and raise their chicks very successfully. Quail also make good urban or city birds; often people find that although chickens are not allowed, quail are quite legal, according to town or city laws.
Because Button Quail are so small, be very careful when setting up your brooding area. Be sure that there are no chilly drafts and that the temperature within the brooder and the room is easy to keep regulated. Provide a non-slippery surface for proper leg development. Be cautious with how you provide water. Chicken-sized chick waterers are too big for quail chicks, and quail chicks may fall into the water and get soaked and chilled. Use either a quail-specific waterer base, or put stones or marbles in any waterer with larger openings. You want to make sure the quail chicks cannot get wet.
A high-protein game bird starter is the best choice for feeding Button Quail chicks.
Housing Requirements: An enclosure with a tall top for flying and plenty of space for the number of birds you are housing is necessary. Quail are very small and vulnerable to almost every predator, so the enclosure must be completely secure. Small trees or some kind of brush or shrubbery within the enclosure provides privacy and shelters their nests.
For hatching eggs, you will need either an incubator on hand or a broody bantam hen will also do. We recommend a styrofoam tabletop style incubator for your first-time hatching eggs. We recommend an automatic turner for 12 or more eggs. And as quail eggs are so small, you will also need a special quail-size rack or quail-size cups for the automatic turner.
Incubation Time: Button Quail Hatching Eggs will hatch in about 17 days.
Temperature/Humidity: Button Quail Hatching Eggs will hatch best if incubated at 100 degrees F, decreasing to 98.5 degrees F during the final three days of incubation. Humidity should be kept at 50% until day 14 when it should be raised to 60-65% until the chicks hatch. Turning the eggs 3 times a day for the first 14 days is a solid practice. After day 14, stop turning the eggs.
Special Incubation Notes: Start up your incubator 2-3 days before your eggs are due to arrive. This gives your incubator time to fully come to temperature and to stabilize humidity levels. It is also a good practice to let your newly arrived eggs rest at room temperature for about 12 hours before placing them in an incubator. Place them large side up in a clean and dry egg carton. Incubators should be kept in a room with a constant even temperature and out of the sun.