I am getting ready to pair up the 3 surviving fallows for breeding. They have turned out to be pretty, wild type, fallows that do not seem to suffer from the blindness or weakness often reported for this mutation. I am hoping to continue to strengthen the mutation by careful breeding.
I had four fallow button quail chicks hatch out yesterday: 6/8/15– 🙂 If a couple thrive, I should have the basis to set up a fallow button quail breeding program. They have their flaws (poor vision, sparse down, less able to compete with other button quail and may do poorly in an aviary depending on how well they can see). That said, the dilute effect is quite beautiful and I think it worth while to continue to try and strengthen the mutation through cross breeding back to normal colors to see if the vision issues can be reduced or eliminated over time. Working for darker eyes as some breeders have done, would also theoretically help with the vision issues. I will try to post photos as they grow. They are less than 1 day old in the feature photo.
I have ordered a few more button eggs that should arrive tomorrow. My goal is to have eggs from at least 4 diverse button quail breeders from across the United States. I do not like inbreeding and believe that diverse genetics, along with carefully choosing birds to be bred, is the key to robust healthy birds.
I have buttons from Pennsylvania and California so far and the just ordered eggs are from Colorado. I ordered these eggs because the breeder has a gene I do not yet have: fallow. With this color gene, the babies start out with bright pink eyes but as adults their eyes darken to look almost like that of a normal bird. The fallow gene has a neat diluting effect so that a red breasted button quail male for example, will have an orange belly rather than rust-red.