Chinese Blue Breasted Quail (aka. Button Quail)
Chinese Blue Breasted Quail are the smallest quail in the world.
This page will give you the basic information to answer everyday questions on keeping, breeding and raising button quail. However, the book listed below is the to-go-guide for in depth information of these amazing birds. If you take any advise from me, please take this one... Get the book!
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Chinese Blue Breasted Quails
Our birds depend on us to survive. This is why it is critical that we care for them to the best of our ability. These little quails have been misunderstood for decades and it is my desire to educate anyone who is willing to learn about these little Quails. Before we go into details, I'd like to say that this page will teach you the basics on how to keep CBBQ (Chinese Blue Breasted Quails or "Buttons"). However, there is a tremendous book called; A closer look at "Button Quail" that is a must for everyone who keeps quails or would like to turn their hobby into a business. I strongly advise anyone who is serious about these Quails, to get the book.
The book is available for purchase. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request and I will send you a paypal invoice where you can pay with a credit card.
One of the most misunderstood topics of the CBBQ is housing. CBBQs are monogamous (they live in pairs of one male and one female). They can be very territorial and will cause damage to other intruders in their territory. Surely, they can be kept in groups for a short time before disaster strikes. They will pluck, fight, chase one another and even death may occur. CBBQ should only be kept in pairs as that is their nature. They should have a cage not smaller than 16" x 11" x 11". These little birds have lots nerves at the bottom of their feet (moreless like humans do) and therefore their cages should not include a wire mesh on the bottom of the cage. It does hurt their little feet and can cause tremendous pain. (Imagine a human standing on rocks all day and night) Soft bedding such as fine pine shavings should be placed at the bottom of the cage. This will not only help the bird walk comfortably but will absorb liquids, urine and keep the habitat clean.
We sell a wonderful cage that meets the minimum requirements for a pair of CBBQ's and it holds up to three pairs. The cost is $149 wtih free shipping. It houses 3 pairs of button quail and comes with three pull-out metal pans for easy cleaning. If interested please shoot me an email at email@example.com
Good nutrition is key to keeping, breeding and raising Chinese Blue Breasted Quails. It is imperative to provide the highest quality feed in order to achieve success in raising these precious quails. Due to their small size and high metabolism, these quails require a very high protein base feed. It is recommended that no less than 24% protein is given to them during their breeding season and when chicks are growing or molting.
I also mix premium quality finch seed in their diet to provide the birds with the necessary oils, vitamins and minerals to stay in shape and healthy.
Calcium Carbonate is essential to them to develop strong and healthy bones, to provide a healthy neurological balance as well as to produce nice and strong eggs.
We will be offering packaged button quail food for sale soon. We are working on getting the necessary instruments to package the food. Please check back if interested.
It is a must to provide fresh clean water to these quails. They must stay hydrated in order for their body organs to stay healthy and work properly. We must always remember that water is essential to life. Since these quails are the smallest quails in the world, they can become dehydrated in a very short period of time and can cause illness and even death.
Females that are laying eggs would consume 50% or more water than a female that is not laying eggs. Keep this into consideration when selecting their water receptacles. Baby chicks can drown very easily. It is this reason why special attention must be taken when providing water to newly hatched chicks to make sure they don't drown or get wet. We have tried several water containers/receptacles and we finally found one type that we strongly recommend and for this reason, we sell 5 for $14. If interested, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a PayPal invoice. These water containers work very well. The baby birds can't drown, get wet nor can they waste in the water.
Breeding Chinese Blue Breasted Quails is very rewarding and very fast paced.
One of the most important parts in breeding CBBQ’s is nutrition and healthy parents. You cannot obtain a good bloodline from a B grade breeding stock. It is vital that you have the best possible breeding stock to continue on and build upon the good bloodline.
Chinese Blue Breasted Quails are sexually mature at the age of 16 weeks (four months), some even sooner although not recommended. The breeding pair should be chosen very carefully. You should look at the overall conformation of the bird, size and health. Their beak should be perfectly symmetrical, not crooked and in excellent shape. The feathers should be in perfect conditions and their size should be appropriate. Females are generally larger than males while males are more in the "slender" side.
As I have already mentioned before, CBBQs are monogamous and should be bred in pairs. This way you not only ensure their physical and psychological health, but you can keep a better tracking system on the pairs breeding performance. You can also separate the bloodlines so that you don't inter-breed siblings. You can also keep track of fertility, hatch rate and the amounts of eggs laid. This way you can remove any pair that is not producing like a healthy pair should be and can be "retired" from your breeding program.
I recommend that you only breed CBBQs for no more than one season at a time. What I do is breed the pairs for about 4-6 months and then "retire" the pair by providing it a good home where it can live a peaceful life with its mate. Others breed their CBBQs for four to six months, then during winter, they provide a resting period where the female can recuperate from the stressful breeding period and she can regain all the nutrients that she lost while she was producing eggs during the breeding season.
In order to be successful on hatching Chinese Blue Breasted Quails, one must understand how to properly incubate eggs to hatch strong and healthy chicks! One truth that the World Leading Expert on Button Quails once told me: “One cannot hatch a healthy chick from a poor quality egg" -Jodi McDonald
This is one of the most truthful statements you can learn from Jodi. If you have a poor quality egg, the chick will not be a healthy chick! Period! This is why it is so important to choose good quality birds that come from a good bloodline and are in peak shape.
Hatching CBBQ eggs is as simple as 1, 2, 3... we must follow some very important steps.
*Set up the incubator and make sure it holds a temperature of at least 99.5 degrees F. in a forced air incubator. In a still air incubator you want to keep the temperature at around 102 degrees F. PLEASE USE TWO DIGITAL THERMOMETER TO MEASURE AN ACCURATE TEMPERATURE READING!!! I cannot stress enough the fact that many thermometers might be off by a few degrees and can cause a catastrophic result. BOTH thermometers should read the same temperature!!!
*Humidity should be kept between 55-65%. Please use two Hygrometers!!! Do NOT guess!!!
*Make sure you are using an automated egg turner. This saves so much time and effort! Otherwise, mark each side of the egg. One side with an "X" and the other side with an "O". This way when you hand turn them, they should all be turned on the same side. For example, if they are all with the "X" facing upwards, next time you turn them, the "O" should be facing upwards. This allows the embryo to be exposed to a fresh part of the yolk and it prevents it from "sticking" to the membrane.
*STOP turning the eggs on day 13th and remove them from the egg turner. Set them on their side so that the chick can position itself to hatch.
*On the 16th day the chick will "pip". This means that the chick has ran out of oxygen inside the egg and it forced it to break the shell with its "egg tooth" to be able to breath. This allows for a gas exchange and when the chick is rested, it will start breaking itself out of the shell. DO NOT help the chick out of its shell! As tempting as it might be, let nature do its course. If the chick is not strong enough to hatch, most likely it will not make it past a few days if you "help" it hatch.
I recommend you read the book A Closer Look at "Button" Quail on this topic. The book has some eye opening information that will teach you exactly how nature works.
If you need immediate assistance, please email me at email@example.com or visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/cpbirds/ and I will respond as soon as possible. You can also join a great yahoo forum by clicking HERE
The care of chicks must be taken very seriously or the chicks will suffer. Chicks are very sensitive and can perish if proper care is not given. Chicks are to be taken out of the incubator once they are completely dry. Then, they are to be placed in a brooder that holds a constant temperature of 100 degrees F. The brooder must be lined with multi-purpose shelf liner to prevent chicks from sliding on a smooth surface and getting what we call splayed legs.
They must be provided a grown-to-cornmeal consistency feed (For Sale Coming Soon), sprinkled on the floor so that the chicks can find it at ease. Water must be provided in a shallow dish with marbles to prevent the babies from drowning or getting wet OR you can purchase some of our specially designed water containers. As the chicks grow, the heat must be lowered 5 degrees weekly.
(MORE INFO ON CHICK REARING AVAILABLE IN THE BOOK WE HAVE FOR SALE)