Last week I was happily going about my business, cleaning bird cages, doing house chores, feeding birds, when I happened to look in my smallest button quail cage. This is a regular bird cage with a solid floor on the bottom grill. It’s a moment of desperation cage, as buttons can’t be housed together if you have more than one male.
At the recent bird club where I talked about button quail along with another breeder, she and I traded some birds to improve our populations. I got a classic male from her, whom I named Darcy, and put out in the big aviary with T3, a pretty classic hen. They are still thinking about this whole raising a family thing. I had a few young quail of my own and put them in a new cage with another new hen. I’m not sure I have any males in that group. Lots of eggs, no signs of chick. But they lay some of the prettiest shades of green eggs I have ever seen.
This last cage has Pixel, who was temporarily in with T3 but is her brother. He now has a pretty hen of his own, Dotty. Dotty makes the neatest little nests inside their covered area. But when I looked at them on that day, both adults were outside the covered area and something was moving around under them. Button Quail Chicks had happened.
I ran around getting the aquarium cleaned, the rubber mats cleaned, the heating pad turned on, evicting the cocktiel that was still on the heating pad, and setting things up for the new clutch. When I first looked in the cage, I counted eight chicks. By the time I had everything set up, I could only find five. Just as I was coming to get them, one of the chicks demonstrated that he or she could fit through the bars of the cage. And being a bird of very little brain, the chick stepped out into mid air and fell to the ground. Where an extremely happy cat sat and waited for the next snack to walk its way.
After securing the five, I checked around in case any had escaped the hunger cat. No such luck. But the best thing is, this time everything else has worked out perfectly. The chicks are eating and drinking, their legs are working, and they tunnel under the stuffed toy for naps. I can’t help staring at them. I had never noticed the other clutches flapping their tiny wings and stretching up as high as they could go on tip toe. They have tripled in size over the course of a week. These guys are going to be rehomed, unless I need a male in the yard cage. Or maybe Darcy would like another hen to choose from. Anyway, there is a lot of joy in having baby birds around. And having things go so well.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.