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Button Quail Nest

Destiny

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I was checking on my aviary yesterday and noticed that one of my button quails was missing. I have a pair of quails and they are always together. Today, the male quail, Geo, was out, but I didn't see my female quail, Terra. After a brief search, I spotted an unusual clump of leaves under the apple tree:

20210124_162308.jpg

Upon closer inspecting, it was Terra sitting on a nest of eggs:

20210124_162318.jpg

She must have gathered the apple leaves around her nest, because they were not piled up like this before.

Clever girl!
 

ParrotNuts

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Did she any eggs?
And do we get any quail pics? :devil:
 

MR. Mango

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Do you wanna consider adding a real nest?
 

Destiny

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She definitely laid some eggs, but I don't know how many yet. Based on the nest she made last year, I am guessing five or six. I didn't realize she was laying again. She had stopped laying eggs in the early fall and I didn't expect her to start up until closer to spring.

Last year, I did my best to gather all the quail eggs as soon as she laid them and didn't let her get settled. The aviary was still new and I didn't have enough time to focus on baby quail. I think I will let her have these ones.

This is the nest she made last summer. She hid her eggs in this cute little house.

20200821_192438.jpg 20200821_190937.jpg 20200821_192448.jpg
 

Zara

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I think I will let her have these ones
How wonderful! I'd love to read the journey if you're up for sharing :) :loveshower:

Congratulations Terra and Geo :swoon: :bliss:
 

AussieBird

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:awww: baby quail are gorgeous!!
 

Destiny

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How wonderful! I'd love to read the journey if you're up for sharing :) :loveshower:

Congratulations Terra and Geo :swoon: :bliss:
I will definitely be taking lots of pictures and posting the best ones. The quail are harder to photograph than the parakeets and finches, because they are so fast and always on the move. Most of my quail pictures end up as gray blurs with the bird halfway out of frame!

The incubation period for button quail is 16 days, so I expect to have a major update in about two weeks, plus or minus a couple of days. I don't think she has been on the nest for very long. In the mean time, I will be getting ready for the little ones.

Button quail have precocious young, like chickens, so they will be up and running quickly. But they are so much tinier than baby chicks, you must be extra careful to keep them safe from potential hazards. For example, they are notoriously prone to drowning in waterers. You can reduce the risk of drowning by adding marbles to the water bowl, so if one does accidentally fall in, it is easier for the tiny chick to climb back out safely. You also want to offer food that is small enough for the babies and high in protein. They grow quite rapidly.
 

MR. Mango

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Oh the nest is so cute from last year, sorry I didn't realize the leaves were fine I thought that it was supposed to look more like the one that you posted from last year
 

Destiny

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I suspect it looks similar underneath the apple leaves, but I haven't tried moving her to see. If quail are anything like chickens, they do not appreciate being disturbed while on the nest and could abandon the eggs if you get too intrusive or try to move them off the nest. This is a defense against predation since ground nesting birds survive by remaining concealed. If their nest is discovered, it usually means it is already too late and they should try again later.

20200704_100548.jpg

Button quail don't always build a true nest. Sometimes, they simply lay eggs in a slight depression in the earth. But they do tend to make a little bed of straw or leaves under the eggs to help insulate and keep them warmer.

Last year, I would do a quick search each day, looking for quail eggs. Terra would lay eggs regularly, sometimes skipping a few days. Most of the eggs were laid near the walls or corners, like these ones. They were laid just inside the door into the aviary. Not a great spot for a nest.

20200802_092512.jpg

Quail eggs are significantly larger than parakeet eggs, but darker brown and speckled for camouflage. Terra would pick a new spot each time I found an egg, so I had to keep my eyes peeled for the little things. She managed to gather a full clutch once by hiding them inside that little house, but I usually found her nests before she got that far. Just like this time, I noticed that she was missing and searched until I located her nest. But since I wasn't in a good position to allow her to hatch the eggs, I collected them instead of leaving them under her.

Since I have a lot of female birds in my aviary, I am careful to provide a lot of calcium supplements to protect against egg-binding and other complications.

These are three kinds that I like:

20200823_184922.jpg

I offer them in little trays at ground level for the quail and higher up for the parakeets. I also mix some of the oyster shell calcium in with the seed and herb mix in my foraging trays so the birds will find it while hunting for seeds.

20201116_132650.jpg
 
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Mybluebird

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This is so exciting - can't wait to see the babies!
 

tka

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Button quail chicks are tiny! They're just tiny little pompoms.

If the eggs hatch and the chicks survive, will you keep them or find them new homes?
 

Mockinbirdiva

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Oh yes @tka those little ones are about the size of a bumble bee when they hatch! How in the world will you keep your eye on those little babies! @Destiny will you be putting fine mesh to keep them corraled when they hatch? How exciting!
 

fashionfobie

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I am so happy for you new little quail family. Beautiful eggs! Looking forward to following their story :grouphug2:
 

Destiny

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I will be finding new homes for the babies, when the time comes. Button quail prefer to be kept in pairs, rather than groups. Males can be territorial toward other males and might fight or stress each other out. So when the babies mature, they would need to be separated from the parents.

My aviary is the the safest spot for quail on my farm, but since it is one large open space, it is only suitable for a single adult pair. I can setup temporary pens easily enough for the babies, if necessary. Button quail do not require a lot of extra space. But for the longterm, I would much rather find them new homes.
 

MR. Mango

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Wait I thought you had multiple quails not just one pair?
 

AussieBird

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I will be finding new homes for the babies, when the time comes. Button quail prefer to be kept in pairs, rather than groups. Males can be territorial toward other males and might fight or stress each other out. So when the babies mature, they would need to be separated from the parents.

My aviary is the the safest spot for quail on my farm, but since it is one large open space, it is only suitable for a single adult pair. I can setup temporary pens easily enough for the babies, if necessary. Button quail do not require a lot of extra space. But for the longterm, I would much rather find them new homes.
Button quail don't do well in trios?
 
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