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Breeding Season: April
Breeding Age: Submitted by Sam Cunningham: Cocks are fertile at about 6 months of age tho hens don't usually start laying till the mid of Spring (Mid April) after they hatched, they can continue into the autumn. Late hatched hen might not start until the beginning of summer and laying few eggs. They then start normal patterns the following year.
Clutch Size: Submitted by Sam Cunningham: Normal clutch size is 5-7, tho we have had as many as 11 and as few as 3, curiously the clutch size is nearly always an odd number, eggs are laid on consecutive days. They are pure white and are about the same size as a Chinese painted quail egg.
Incubation Period::19 to 20 days
Description - Male: Submitted by Sam Cunningham: These are small birds no bigger than the rain quails. The male has a rufous red head with a slight brown mottling on top, the breast is barred with white and black, the wings are marked very similar to that of the grey partridge, the back is again mottled with blacks, browns and yellow.
Description - Female: The female is very similar but with a salmon pink/red replacing the barring on the breast, the call is hard to describe so i've added a link from an indian page so that you can hear it. Click here: jungle bush call.
Status in Captivity: As of this writing, this species is not currently kept in American aviaries. There are records of this species being in America several decades ago, but typical of most of the drab colored old-world francolin, partridge and quail, it fell out of interest of American "breeders".
Submitted by Sam Cunningham: Very rare in the uk and europe (not sure on the status in US), new bloodlines are needed to increase genetic viability.
Misc Notes: Submitted by Sam Cunningham.
These birds do well in both box cages (4'X2'x2') or aviary, these birds are very flighty and so a soft top such as 1" foam is recommended if they are to be cage bred. Whatever way is used there should be plenty of green branches in the cage to provide sheltered and a place for the hens to lay. These birds are not winter hardy and some heat is needed in cold weather. Jungle bush should be kept in pairs as the dominant hen will kill the other if she is not removed, they cannot be successfully colony bred either tho they can be kept together outside of the breeding season, a feature that they share with they grey partridge. Another feature that they share with partridge is that the males have a small but noticeable spur. The hens will nearly always sit thier own eggs and the cocks will assist in the rearing of the chicks. The chicks are very delicate when brooder reared and are hard to get eating, live food is not to be recommended as they are virtually impossible to wean on to anything else, Chicks that refuse to eat should be brush fed, if they are to be brooder reared then two or three weaker Chinese painted chicks should be placed in the brooder to help get the chicks started. They are also prone to rickets from about the age of 8 weeks onwards.
Submitted by Carl Garnham.
Unfortunately all the jungle-bush that have appeared in captivity in the past 20-30 years or so seem to have been derived from isolated, chance importations of small numbers of birds so that they have not lasted many generations in captivity before becoming so in-bred as to be all but impossible to breed.
My own stock was ex Robbins and Thornhill (UK) back in the 80's and I struggled to continue breeding the species for another couple of generations after first getting together all the birds that I could find. Those birds derived from about 5-8 imports and the production of young from those founders was kept pretty low for a variety of reasons.
They are very small birds - on more than one occasion I was asked "what colour are those odd-looking buttons (CPQ)"
They are hardy to at least ten degrees centigrade of frost and almost certainly lower, they are generally fairly tame and the male's loud warbling trill is amazing for so small a bird.
Pairs are usually devoted, never fighting. Although viability of the eggs from the stock that I had was very poor, each pair would produce up to 50 eggs a year, sometimes more. They are spring-summer layers.
Chicks seemed to loose any instinct to peck and feed themselves within a very few hours of hatching so that they had to be put in a brooder with plenty of fine crumbles scattered on the floor as soon as possible after getting free of the shells. If that was done, they were no more difficult to rear than valleys or bobwhites for instance, although they never developed any vices with me so were arguably easier to rear. They also did far better under a lamp than if trying to rear them in a dark brooder, as I do with all other gamebirds.
One oddity of the species was the ever-increasing thickness of the scales on their legs. I never found a closed ring that would fit a young bird but would not amputate the bird's leg by the time it was 3-4 years old.
Very different to all other quail in captivity, they were great fun to have around, let's hope that one day there is an importation somewhere of sufficient birds to make a viable captive population for the very long term.
Bibliography and Further Reading
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