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Chinese Blue Breasted Quail (aka. Button Quail)
Excalfactoria Chinensis

By Charlie Plaza,

The Chinese Blue Breasted Quail is known as the world's smallest quail. This page provides essential information for daily queries about maintaining, breeding, and rearing button quail. For comprehensive details on these remarkable birds, the book mentioned below is your ultimate resource. If you heed any advice from me, let it be this: acquire the book! Also, remember to LIKE us on Facebook!

Male Button Quail

Chinese Blue Breasted Quails


Chinese Blue Breasted Quails are reliant on our care for their survival. It's imperative that we provide the best care possible. These quails have often been misunderstood, and I aim to educate those interested in learning about them. This page will cover the basics of caring for CBBQ (Chinese Blue Breasted Quails or "Buttons"). For a more comprehensive understanding, the book "A Closer Look at 'Button Quail'" is essential for anyone keeping quails or considering turning their hobby into a business. I highly recommend this book to anyone dedicated to caring for these birds.

To purchase the book, please click here: Book: A Closer Look At Button Quail | CP Birds






























Housing is one of the most misunderstood aspects of caring for Chinese Blue Breasted Quail Aka. Button Quail. These birds are monogamous, living in pairs of one male and one female, and are highly territorial, often harming intruders in their space. While they may coexist in groups briefly, this can lead to plucking, fighting, and chasing, sometimes resulting in death. Therefore, Chinese Blue Breasted Quail or Button Quail, should be housed only in pairs. Their enclosure should measure no less than 16" x 11" x 11". With numerous nerves in their feet, similar to humans, Chinese Blue Breasted Quail or Button Quail require a cage without wire mesh flooring, as it can cause significant pain. Instead, soft bedding like fine pine shavings should line the cage bottom, providing comfort and absorbing waste to maintain cleanliness.





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.





Providing fresh, clean water to these quails is essential. They need to stay hydrated for their organs to remain healthy and function correctly. Water is vital for life, and it's crucial to remember this, especially since these are the world's smallest quails and they can dehydrate quickly, leading to illness or even death.

Females laying eggs may consume over 50% more water than those not laying. This should be considered when choosing their water receptacles. Baby chicks are prone to drowning, so it's imperative to provide water carefully to ensure they don't drown or become wet. After testing various water containers, we've identified one that we highly recommend. These water containers are very effective; they prevent the baby birds from drowning, getting wet, or contaminating the water. 





















Breeding Chinese Blue Breasted Quail, Button Quail

Breeding Chinese Blue Breasted Quails (CBBQs) is both rewarding and fast-paced. 

Nutrition and healthy parents are crucial in breeding Chinese Blue Breasted Quail, Button Quail. A superior bloodline cannot be developed from B grade breeding stock. Having the best possible breeding stock is essential to enhance and perpetuate a quality bloodline.

Chinese Blue Breasted Quail, Button Quail, reach sexual maturity at 16 weeks, although breeding them sooner is not advisable. Selecting a breeding pair requires careful consideration of the birds' conformation, size, and health. The beak should be symmetrical and well-formed, and the feathers should be pristine and of proper size. Typically, females are larger than males, who tend to be more slender.

Chinese Blue Breasted Quail are monogamous and thrive when bred in pairs, which supports their physical and psychological well-being and facilitates tracking of breeding performance. This practice also prevents inbreeding and allows monitoring of fertility, hatch rates, and egg production, enabling the removal of non-performing pairs from the breeding program.

It is advisable to breed Chinese Blue Breasted Quail, Button Quail, for only one season at a time. I practice breeding pairs for 4-6 months before retiring them to a peaceful life with their mate. Others may breed for the same duration but then provide a rest period during winter for the female to recover and replenish nutrients lost during the breeding season.
























To successfully hatch Chinese Blue Breasted Quails, it's crucial to master the proper incubation of eggs to ensure the chicks are robust and healthy. As Jodi McDonald, a world-renowned expert on Button Quails, once said, "One cannot hatch a healthy chick from a poor quality egg." This statement holds much truth; a chick hatched from a substandard egg will not be healthy. That's why selecting high-quality birds from reputable bloodlines in optimal condition is vital.


Hatching CBBQ eggs is as simple as 1, 2, 3... we must follow some very important steps.


     1. Ensure the incubator is set up to maintain a temperature of at least 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit for a forced air incubator. For a still air incubator, the temperature should be approximately 102 degrees Fahrenheit. It is crucial to use two digital thermometers for an accurate temperature reading. It cannot be overstated that many thermometers may be inaccurate by a few degrees, leading to disastrous outcomes. Both thermometers must display the same temperature.


     2. Maintaining humidity levels between 55-65% is crucial. It is advisable to use two hygrometers to ensure accuracy. Avoid making assumptions about humidity levels.


     3. Ensure you use an automated egg turner to save time and effort. If not, label each egg side: one with an "X" and the other with an "O". When manually turning them, make sure they're all turned to the same side. For instance, if "X" is facing up, then on the next turn, "O" should be up. This method allows the embryo to contact a fresh part of the yolk and prevents adherence to the membrane.


     4. Stop turning the eggs on the 13th day and remove them from the egg turner. Lay them on their sides to allow the chick to position itself properly for hatching.


     5. On the 16th day, the chick will "pip," indicating it has depleted the oxygen within the egg, prompting it to break the shell with its "egg tooth" to breathe. This initiates a gas exchange, and once rested, the chick will begin to break free from the shell. It is crucial not to assist the chick in hatching; despite the temptation, it is best to allow nature to take its course. If the chick lacks the strength to hatch on its own, it is unlikely to survive more than a few days even with assistance.   


I suggest reading the book "A Closer Look at 'Button' Quail" for insightful information on this subject. It provides a detailed understanding of how nature operates.




















Caring for chicks is a critical task that must be approached with diligence to prevent suffering. These young birds are delicate and can easily succumb if not properly tended to. Once fully dry, chicks should be removed from the incubator and placed in a brooder set at a steady temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It's essential to line the brooder with a multi-purpose shelf liner to avoid the risk of the chicks developing splayed legs from slipping on a slick surface.


Chicks should be given feed with a consistency similar to cornmeal, scattered on the ground for easy access. Water should be offered in a shallow dish containing marbles to prevent the chicks from drowning or becoming wet, or you may opt for our specially designed water containers. As the chicks mature, the temperature should be reduced by 5 degrees each week.


Additional information on chick rearing is provided in the book available for purchase: "A Closer Look At Button Quail"


A closer look at Button Quail by Jodi McDonald
Baby Button Quail water drinker
Group of Button Chinese Blue Breasted Quail
Baby Button Quail set up
Baby painted quail set up
baby button quail size
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