Questions & Answers
QUESTION: I am interested in Button Quail or Chinese Painted Quail as they are also called. I would like to know what colour mutations are available in New Zealand other than the wild colour, Silver, and Fawn, the latter bird not being easily available. There are also reports overseas of birds appearing with curly feathers. Are these avalable here in New Zealand ?
ANSWER: Firstly you will notice we now have an article on our website you may find helpful. To specifically address your question's however I may be able to add a few things. The mutation I have seen in NZ is Fawn or Cream, (these may vary in shades, thereby determining different names.) Silver and Blue are also quite different. Most I think are readily available but it's a matter of getting to know breeders if you are searching for a particular colour. I have not seen any birds with the curly feathers you descibe, but maybe other readers can notify me if they have this showing up in any birds ? The term Button Quail may sometimes be used for these quail but Button Quail are actually quite a different species and Australia has 2 or 3 of these. Chinese Painted Quail are also commonly called King Quail in Australia.
QUESTION: Hi, I am interested in the fire finch. Last week I learned from a bird store worker that they are best kept in an aviary, not a cage. Does this mean that they cannot be kept in a cage at all? Also, do you know of a fire finch breeder in auckland who I could contact? I enjoyed reading your article on kakariki. I see the birds out on Tiritiri Matangi island regularly. Are there any kakariki breeders in Auckland?
Thanks for your help, Elizabeth
ANSWER: Hi Elizabeth,
Yes Firefinches are best kept in an aviary even though it doesn't need to be large. It could be as small as 900mm wide and 1.8 long and you could also keep a pair of Gouldian Finches in with them if you wanted. Both are probably NZ's most readily available exotic type finches. Resist the temptation to put in Zebra finches as these will probably only disturb breeding and may interfere with both the other birds nests, causing you real problems.
A pair of Firefinches may be kept in a double breeding box cage, as used for breeding Budgies or Canaries but as Firefinches are not domesticated like the latter it seems a little unfair to keep them this way. They may breed like this, it will depend on the pair. You would need to put a bit of greenery across one end, maybe across the front of the cage for privacy and perhaps install a small wicker basket for them to nest in, also providing dried grass for them to use to build the nest.
A better option would be for you to build a little bit larger cage type as was seen in our article on Auroras in our last magazine. These type of cages are used successfully overseas. There was a good article on Firefinches in the last magazine as well.
There are Finch breeders in Auckland but we don't give out names of breeders, sorry. If you are especially interested in breeding finches we suggest you join the finch breeders club and there you will make contact with breeders.
Yes there are also Kakariki breeders in Auckland but again we suggest you join either the Parrot Society of NZ or the Avicultural Society to make contact with Parrot breeders. You must obtain a special permit for DOC to keep and bred Kakarikis.
Hope this helps,