Yay! My shipped button quail eggs were viable! So far I have 11 chicks hatched out of 36 eggs, and I think that’s all I’m likely to get. Still, that’s not too bad for eggs sent through the mail. I also have about 50 coturnix chicks hatched out and for now everyone is in the brooder together. I would have had a higher hatch rate on the coturnix, but 36 of the eggs were also shipped here to bring some fresh genetics back to my covey.
Seeing as the last place I saw button quail for sale locally was charging $23.99 each, I now have $263.89 worth of birds. That’s if they all make it to adulthood.
Button quail chicks are small. I thought coturnix chicks were small but buttons are half the size. Below is a comparison with a coturnix on the left and a button on the right, both white chicks. It makes the coturnix look gargantuan!
I’ll probably separate the buttons into their own brooder within the next few days so I can keep a closer eye on them and make sure they aren’t getting trampled. It’s not like they need much space. Right now I have the same nipple waterer in with them that I use with all my newly hatched quail but I’m not sure the buttons can peck the nipples hard enough, so I’ll be giving them an easier alternative to make sure they’re drinking.
The buttons have hatched out in a few different colors. There are pure whites, a dark brown with white wingtips and a white face mask, a wild type and some silvers and silver mixes. Here are a few shots. The dark brown bird is my favorite so far.
The button quail act a bit differently than the coturnix do, they race around more, and they treat my hand more as a mother bird instead of a “scary hand of doom” like the coturnix sometimes do. If I peck at the food with my finger, the buttons watch intently and then copy my movements. If I pick them up, they don’t peep their heads off and struggle to escape like the coturnix, instead they snuggle into my palm and go to sleep. It’s very endearing.
I was also happy to see some Manchurian coturnix hatch out, as I used to have some of these but they gradually phased out after my last male proved infertile. Golden/Manchurian is a dominant trait so it’ll be nice to have this color in my lines again. It’s also a color that can be sexed by plumage like the wild types, and that’s good too.
Unfortunately the two broken button eggs I “fixed” with beeswax did not hatch. Of course, neither did 25 other perfectly intact eggs, so the experiment will continue. Bring on more hatching eggs!