The king quail is most commonly found in Australian aviaries. They can be known as the button quail (because the babies are the size of a button) or the Chinese painted quail because of their coloring. They are the smallest breed of quail. This tiny bird is said to be easy to manage, raise and tame. They are also known to be quite noisy and they do not like to be alone. The male will crow non-stop if left alone. The male or “cock” has a life span of 3 – 5 years while the hen lives between 2 – 4 years. The lifespan of the hen can be preserved through an excess supplementation of calcium because of the unending process of laying eggs and raising young. The king quail has some unique nesting habits. The king or button quail requires an aviary, so that they are not too close to other neighbors.
Because their feet cannot perch, the tiny king or button quail spends its entire life on the ground, vacuuming up seeds spilled by other aviary residents. Being their lives are spent on the cage floor, their “nesting areas” are also on ground-level. Nesting material most often consist of leaves, hay and straw that the hen will gather. These quails most often coexist with finches and budgerigars. Because of their tiny size, mouse-proof wire should be placed on the bottom of their aviary, so the babies cannot fall through.
Since the king quail spend most of their time on the floor, they usually make a nesting area in a back, secluded corner of the aviary. They usually make a small “hole or indentation” in the corner on the floor to build their nest for the eggs, which incubate in about 18 to 21 days. They do not need nesting boxes for their young. The hen uses a peeping sounding to call their young at which time the young will respond. When the young feel alone, they will keep peeping constantly until a parent responds.
Although it does not need a nesting box, the king quail hen may use a finches nesting box, laid on its side in a corner away from drafts. The female can lay an egg every day of the year. Once the babies are hatched, special care needs to be taken so that they do not get cold, especially if mom is not around. If they do get cold, a baby can go into a cold-induced coma. Caught in time, you can hold the baby in the palm of your hand and blow warm air onto it to warm it up. The king or button quail is an easy bird for the beginning breeder.