Button Quails as Pets

 
 
 

Button Quails aka Chinese Painted Quails are an oft overlooked aviary bird. They are classified asGalliformes which simply stated, they’re ground eating birds (like chickens, turkeys, peacocks and pheasants). Button quails can fly but most of their time is on the ground and they even enjoy taking dust baths. They use the sand for grit as well which helps with digestion.

 
The State bird of California is a California Quail, the button Quail is about half the size and does not have had plume. Button Quails come in white, silver, reddish brown and even speckled colors.

 
Females usually have bright white faces and the males have more distinct markings. In the wild they can be found anywhere from India to northern Australia and about 15 species can be found in Africa.
 
Quails are quiet birds but the males can get a bit vocal. “Crowing” is a long high pitched sound they make as they mature. Male Quails are known to crow all night if they see any light. Something you may want to think about if you want to get a Button Quail and keep them indoors.They are also prone to night frights when even minimally disturbed. They are nervous birds even in daylight so you want to move about them slowly.
 
Because they don’t perch, they need their own food and water on the floor of the cage where they can reach the dishes. They are quite happy to eat the pellets and seeds that fall on the floor from the other birds in the aviary. They’re generally fed game bird crumbles but Canary seed & pellets along with mealworms and their own cuttle bone would be a fine diet. You can feed them about anything from hard-boiled eggs to mixed vegetables. Because they are omnivores they really like live insects and if you keep your birds outside they will help in keeping the insect population down.
 
The floor of the cage should be solid unlike a parrot cage where the floor grate is wire. Because males always want to breed they can be very aggressive and can chase females, pecking them mercilessly. It’s best to have some potted plants or greenery in the cage for the females to hide behind ( artificial is okay). They do not use perches.
 
It’s best to give them about 3 feet of height in their bird cage because when startled they fly straight up but they poop out rather quickly and flutter back down. By giving them enough “headroom” you can avoid injuries like hurting themselves on the roof of the cage.
 
Females will lay eggs whether or not they’re with a male. They’ll generally lay an egg every day for several days then take a few days off. This egg laying cycle continues year-round and as long as she’s getting enough nutrition she should be fine. We do offer a supplement from Nekton specifically for Galliformes which can be found here. If you’re thinking of breeding you’re best off using an incubator because most of these birds have lost their nesting instincts. Because are so many of these birds are in captivity it’s really better to not allow the eggs develop unless you have an outlet for the babies.
 
You may consider actually eating their eggs. They taste just like chicken eggs (or so I’m told) but have a higher percentage of yolk. If you plan on doing this make sure that you pull the eggs within a day of laying and then rinse (cool water) pat dry and you’ll be good to go for up to three weeks.
 
Because they’re small it takes about 10 Button Quayle eggs to equal one large chicken egg in volume. You can scrambled them or make a poundcake with them. If you really want to impress your friends you can hard-boiled them and offer them up as and hors d’oeuvre at your next party. Because the shells are not all that easy remove it’s best to boil them for about 5 min. in salted water. The Martha Stewart in me recommends you put the peeled eggs together with some black olives for little contrast then expect everyone to say “ewww” after they’ve met the mom who layed them.
 
 
 
 

Housing for a Lineolated Parakeet

Mitch, 

Thanks so much for spending time with me on the phone. Very much appreciated.

As discussed, I will be getting a single Linnie. Most likely, it will stay at one. There is a small chance it could expand to two birds later … but not in the plans right now. I just mention that in case it influences your recommendation. Wouldn’t want to have to change cages later in this unlikely occurrence.

As far as the cage itself, it sounds like something with a 24″ width with an open top option would fit the bill. I would presume I’d be looking for a depth between 20″ and 24″ give or take. Having a storage shelf or cabinet below is also important to me for food and supplies. I was leaning toward a platinum color but have also been told that white showcases the colors of the bird better when they are in the cage. Curious on your thoughts about that in terms of showing dirt and chips to the paint.

 A few other factors … 

Having the food cups lower would be important to keep most of the spillage in the cage when possible; separate access doors to the food cups is important 

Having a grate between the cage and the waste tray would also be important … one that slides out for easy cleaning 

Finally, having a waste tray that pulls out easily from the front of the unit for daily changing of liner paper would be very important. 

I will want a unit that has very reliable door locks including top door … as like you … I don’t underestimate the “escape” skills and intelligence of the cage occupant. 

On a related note, I will plan to have some type of play gym for our living room (the cage will be located in an adjacent study) … so I would like your best recommendation for a play gym or even floor-based stand for the Linnie. I’m expecting they will spend much out of cage time there during the mornings and evenings. I presume I would likely have something that would go on one of our tables … but again … I’m open to your suggestions. Do the gyms have the option of using liner paper as well or just an easily cleanable surface? 

When you respond with some options, please note availability. The bird will be shipping to use within 4 weeks give or take … so I need to be in a position to have everything in place by then. 

Thanks again … your advice is greatly appreciated!

 Regards,

Hi Matt

Thank you for contacting Windy City Parrot

Here’s a link that may be helpful to you: http://www.linniesociety.org/

here’s some additional bird cage selections for your Linneolated Parakeet. 

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Convertible-Top-Bird-Cage-with-2-Tops-by-Laviva_p_2969.html

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Parrot-Cage-HQ-32217C-discount.html

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Parrot-Cage-HQ-Open-top-discount.html

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Small-Bird–Flat-Opening-Top-Cage-_p_707.html

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Convertible-Top-Bird-Cage-with-2-Tops-by-HQ_p_3209.html

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Windy-City-Parrot-Kung-Pow-Bird-Cage-Prevue-Pet.html

As for play stand I think you’ll really like this American made stand from mango pet

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Traveler-Bird-Stand-for-Parrots-by-Mango-Pet.html

The top lifts off the stand so you have a tabletop stand for mobility yet maintaining a small footprint.

This stand from Prevue is a bit larges but offers more activities

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Windy-City-Parrot-Grant-Park-Prevue-Pet.html

Newspaper is a cheap an plentiful liner for both bird cages & stands

Let me know of you have any other questions

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Windy City Parrot, Inc.
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Thanks Mitch. Very helpful. I’ll look through these tonight. 

Meantime, a few follow-up questions … 

You proposed several cages that are 5/8 vs. .50 on the bar spacing. Just wanted to make sure you did so with deliberation given that we’re talking about I Linnie. I’ve consistently seen recommendations of .50 spacing for this type of bird. So I just wanted to clarify your thinking. 

In terms of cage color, in your experience, is white advisable or not in terms of showing dirt, chips, etc. My wife prefers white … but I would go with platinum or black if that ended up in your experience being a better choice. 

In addition to the stands you recommend, is there a portable play gym for a Linnie you carry that you would particularly recommend. Something that would be on a side table or coffee table.

I ran the 5/8″ bar spacing by my partner – Linnies are a little “chubbier” than budgies we think you bird will be fine. We kept an Indian Ringneck in a 1″ bar spacing cage for 8 years. I also point out to people that a bird has to be so motivated that they’re willing to literally scrape their eyeballs to to get their little heads through the bars. 

 

Sorry about the out of stock – I no longer predict in stocks becasue of homeland security so we just wait until they show up 

I prefer platinum as it hides bird poop the best. 

you can get the stand without the floor base

http://www.birdandparrot.info/Mango-Pet-Hilltop-Traveler-Table-Top-Parrot-Play-Stand_p_2275.html

hope that helps

 

 

How You & Your Bird Benefit from Clicker Training

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Clicker training is a great way to teach your bird positive behavior. Clicker training is especially useful with problem birds and parrots because it can help in making positive changes with you birds.

Clicker training helps make your bird do something willingly. Clicker training has been used on dogs many zoo animals. Dolphins use something similar to clicker training except they use whistles instead of clickers which are heard better underwater.

The clicker actually acts as a “bridge” which is any sound that let’s your bird know they have done what they been asked and will get a treat for doing this. The noise that clickers make are consistent in the preferred over verbal bridges (i.e. “good bird”)

You’ll be using the target stick but the bird will not be allowed to chew on it. Along with the target stick you need a favorite food that they really really love. Something that you use just for training. To determine the food place several morsels of different treats before the bird and see which one to go to first. You should do this a couple times so you can narrow it down and then from that point forward only use the special food for training sessions.

 

The favored treat should be small and something the bird can consume in a single bite. Seeds should not have hulls so you’re not wasting time while the birds chews through the shell of the seed to get to the next portion of training. If you bird’s aggressive or biter initially you have to offer the treats on a spoon. You don’t want the bird bite you because that will work against you during a training session.

Make your training sessions brief, 2 to 5 min. unless you’re bird’s really have a lot of fun and always end it on a positive note. The first thing your bird is learning is something called “targeting” “Targeting” is when you place the target stick from a bird and then move it closer to their face very slowly. If he or she moves towards it and it comes in contact with it or bites it, click the clicker and give them a treat.

If you bird’s afraid of the stick the person you want to do is click the clicker for any movement towards the stick. That doesn’t work shorten the stick by pushing up your sleeve or behind your arm showing only the tip of the stick. As your bird approaches your hand “click” and then length of the stick.

Once you get your bird to react positively to the stick you need to step things up and ask for more specialized behavior before the click or the treat. If you bird’s trying to bite the stick you have to begin clicking offering the treat when he touches the stick but don’t allow him to bite the stick.

If your bird is on the tentative side keep the sessions shorter and offer slightly bigger treat with each click. Once you make it through the targeting phase is time to actually get into some actual training.
How to train a parrot: The DONT’S of Training parrots

 

 

So now what you want to do is get the bird to touch objects after you touch them with the stick. This can be a bird toy placed on the table. Touch the toy with the training stick and hold the stick on the toy. The bird we usually go for the stick. What you want to reward the bird for his touching the end of the target stick and the toy at the same time – “click” “treat”.

The next step is to touch the target and pull the stick away before he touches it. Initially your bird will probably go for the stick and if he does touch the object again and pull it back ever so slightly so your bird touches the toy not the target stick. Do this until he learns that what you touch with the stick is what you want your bird to actually touch.

Once you get through this fundamental training you can then move on to the fun stuff like teaching your bird to do tricks like ringing bells pushing a toy that wheels and perhaps even playing basketball.

Surprisingly a lot of bad behavior seems to go away when clicker training starts. You can also use the clicker to reward positive behavior. So you can use this for both screaming and biting – just make sure you don’t interact physically with a bird that bites until the biting stops.

You can do this by working with your bird while it’s in the cage through the cage bars. You’ll have to find your own rhythm with training given the time off here and there so little get bored. Sometimes taking the t time off will make it interesting again

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