Button Quail Information

Scientific Information

Class: Aves

Order: Galliformes

Family: Phasianidae

Subfamily: Phasianinae

Genus: Coturnix

Species: Coturnix chinensis

Species English name: Button Quail

CITES Status: not endangered

Distribution: Extensive - China, India, Sri Lanka, Africa, & Australia

(from The Quails, Partridges, & Francolins of the World, Paul A. Johnsgard)


• There are many different colour phases of the button quail. The three varieties that we used to raise were Normals (Chinese Painted), Silvers, & Buffs. 


• We fed our breeders and young adults 20-25% starter crumble & our tiny chicks 25% Turkey Starter crumble.


• Done in pairs or trios or colonies.

• Button quail reproduce like mice. They start reproducing at a few months of age and will lay virtually year round if adequate light is provided.

• If they are put on light, they start laying eggs usually in February and will lay either every day or second day until they lay a few hundred eggs. In natural light, they do not have a set time to start laying, as they will start laying at a few months of age regardless of the light situation.

• They lay a tiny olive egg either speckled or not.


• Eggs are collected twice a day and set daily.

• Eggs are set in a Sportsman Ratite hatcher and turned by hand 3 times a day.

• Temperature 99.8°F, humidity-wet bulb 90+ . Make sure both water trays in the Sportsman are full because they really like humidity.

• Once the chicks are hatched, about 10-12 chicks are put in a wire mesh hatching basket for a minimum of 8 hours.

• Incubation for Button Quail is 16 days.


• Chicks are the size of bumblebees after hatching. Depending on the colour phase, they can range from yellow to gold to brown with stripes.

• They start out in our round 18" brooder pen with a mixed assortment of button chicks. After a few days they are separated into a 2' x 4' baby pen for about a week. They should be raised with their own kind in 2' x 6' pens for the next 7-9 weeks because larger varieties of quail tend to pick on them since they are smaller. Once we have enough of each variety (e.g. normals, silvers, or buffs), males and females are separated into different pens because the males want to breed with the females. All of these brooding pens have wire bottoms with a heat lamp at one end and feed & water at the other end. The heat lamp is attached to a dimmer switch so we can turn down the amount of heat as the chicks get older until it is turned off completely.

• After they are off of the heat for a few weeks, they are moved outside to the quail house (a free standing house with less heat than the basement). They remain in here until they are sold. All of our breeders are also kept in this building.

• Chicks are very easy to raise together with their own kind.


• Breeding pens are 6 feet long x 2 feet wide x 1 foot high.


• I like to call them the rats of the bird world. They are filthy, prolific, and have pretty much no personality. They are constantly making irritating noises and scuttling across the floor of the cage. After raising them for over 10 years, the only positive thing that we can think to say about them is that they paid for at least 1 year of my University tuition.  Plus the chicks are cute for the first week.  They look like tiny bumblebees.

Article By Krissy & Donna Bush

Pheasant Ridge

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