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How to Keep Button Quail Outdoors

Updated February 21, 2017

Button quail, also known as Chinese painted quail, are a nice addition to any garden aviary. The males are a beautiful red and grey blue, while the females are mottled brown and blend into their surroundings. Their chirps and whistles only add to the tranquillity of a backyard garden. There are some things to consider when designing the button quail's outdoor aviary, but once you have the area set up, the button quail will be easy to care for.

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  1. Build an aviary that is large enough to give your button quail adequate roaming space. Six quail would need about 60 square feet of space. A quail aviary should be no smaller than 20 square feet no matter how few birds you have. Make the aviary at least 6 feet tall so that you can easily go inside to clean and care for your birds.

  2. Use soft netting for the roof of the aviary. Button quail fly straight up when they are spooked or nervous. If they have a hard or solid roof, they can injure themselves.

  3. Make the aviary predator-proof. Button quail will attract raccoons, coyotes and neighbourhood cats. Use design features such as underground mesh attached to the base of the aviary, a sturdy build and a lock on the door to prevent predators from getting your birds.

  4. Plant lots of bushes and grass in the aviary before adding the quail. The quail will feel more comfortable with lots of natural places to hide. By planting the plants before adding the quail, you can let the plants get established; smaller plants or seeds will be scratched up or eaten by the quail.

  5. Give them a sheltered area. A section of the aviary should be covered for shade and have solid walls to protect them from the rain and wind.

  6. Include huts or other small shelters for them to go into when it gets cold, although some quail may prefer to sleep under bushes or in the grass.

  7. Make sure the ground will stay dry. When picking a location for the quail aviary, do not place it at a lower elevation, where water will accumulate. Also, use sand as a substrate so it will drain well. You can install a 12-inch layer of sand before adding a layer of dirt so the plants will grow and the soil will drain. If you have standing water in the aviary, it is too wet and your quail could get sick.

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Things You'll Need

  • Aviary
  • Huts
  • Plants
  • Sand

About the Author

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.

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