Note: The button quail chicks in this post did not survive, either due to a sudden cold morning or the male becoming aggressive. However, the events while they were with me were fun and interesting.
My prolific button quail in the aviary are raising another clutch of chicks. The babies hatched on September 10 and I made the decision to leave them with the parents. I placed a low dish full of marbles and water where they could easily reach it. I ground up the chick mash until it became a fine dust and put that in another dish. All went well the first day.
The second day, I relaxed as the chicks survived the first night. I didn’t expect too much trouble as Southern California is still pretty warm overnight. But I did appreciate the babies making it through the night.
The third day, I panicked. Checking on the tiny flock, I could only count 5 chicks. Yikes! Where was the 6th baby? After looking under everything, I gave up and exited the aviary, only to find Six under the budgie cage, possibly on his way to or from the other adult buttons in cages around there. I scooped him up and returned him to the aviary.
So, if you find a leak and you don’t fix it, would you be surprised that the pipe keeps leaking? Yeah, you shouldn’t be.
That same day, I thought I heard the distinctive peep of a BQ chick closer to the house than the aviary. I opened the door and went outside. A neighbor’s cat, Bea, startled and ran from the yard. In my excited brain, I thought I saw a bit of yellow fluff in her mouth. Frantic, I went back in the aviary and counted. Only five chicks.
In a fit of anger, I began pulling smaller wire and boards around to plug up the sides of the aviary where the chicks were most likely to get out. Having done as much as I could on my own, I stood back and considered the results. “Peep!” I turned to my right and saw a little yellow fluff ball looking around.
Of course, I lunged for him in panic. He panicked and fled along the side of the shed. Dang it! I was pretty sure he’d be eaten by a lizard or a cat would get around there. So be it, I thought and went back inside. About 20 minutes later, I went looking again. Yes, Six had come out to the front of the shed and ran back and forth by the door. I still couldn’t catch him and he ran to the side with the rose bushes.
I needed a bit more reach, so I went to grab the longest handled net that I have. Back outside, the temperature had to be 92 degrees at least. I was dripping sweat but determined. The little guy gave me one more chance, and I netted him. Yes!
I put Six back in the aviary and dunked his beak in the water, then in the food. He sat in the dish for a while until his parents and siblings trooped by. With a flutter of stubby wings, he jumped up and ran to catch them.
Day Four, they should be starting to maintain their own body heat, which is good because we have an overcast day. I checked on them as is now a morning habit and they were tucked under mom. And Auntie. One of my female cockatiels is trying to nest in the corner where the button quail spend the nights. She happily lets the chicks crawl under her when they are cold. I have to try to get photos. It’s too cute!
Day Five, more of the chicks are under the cockatiel and she is attempting to keep the adult quail away from “her” babies. Luckily the chicks don’t beg like cockatiel chicks so they won’t be surprised by “Mom” regurgitating breakfast for them.
All in all, it’s a crazy world in the aviary. I’ll be back next Sunday.