Surrogate Button Quail Research Project
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Guidelines For Surrogate Buttons

These are the guidelines I follow for surrogates

Surrogate Button Quail Research Project

Guidelines for Surrogate Buttons


1. Introduce the hen to the button chicks between the age of 3 days and one week old. This will allow the chicks to properly imprint on the hen, rather than you. Social interaction with humans is encouraged. Using a hand-tame hen is suggested.


2. To introduce the hen, once the chicks are in the brooder and have learned to eat and drink, put the hen on one side of the brooder with a see-through divider between her and the chicks. Food and water should be on the chicks’ side. I suggest using a piece of mesh, screen or plexi-glass as a divider. The divider should only be there until the hen and the chicks see each other, no longer than 10 minutes. Watch the hen at all times. Remove the divider.


3. Monitor the hen closely for a few days to ensure that she is not picking on the chicks. Remove at once if she is. A different hen can be introduced, or not. Make sure that the chicks are eating and drinking. If you have a video camera, you may want to set it up while you are out so that you can tell if something happens.


4. To reduce stress, avoid unnecessary commotion and noise around the quails. Offer the usual diet and socialization you would offer any other chicks.


5. When the chicks are 3 weeks old, remove the hen. I chose to re-introduce the hen back into my flock, but you may not. Every time I have a surrogate hen, I use a different hen that is over 6 weeks old. If she failed and was removed, I introduce a hen that was successful a previous time. If the hen was successful, I will usually test to see if she will sit on her own eggs or not.


Closing Guidelines


*Chose NON aggressive hens over 6 weeks old

*Remove eggs the hen lays while in the brooder with the chicks.

*Watch the birds closely

*Examine chicks for signs of injury, feather loss, or dehydration

If you would like to become a part of this project, please e-mail me at