History: I discovered this new mutation in 1999 and it took 3 years to establish it as a breedable color variety and an additional 7 years to perfect the Fallows (By my friend Don) in to what we have today. The first chicks were discovered among normal chicks and were instantly recognizable as different. These chicks emerge from the shell with brilliant pink eyes, lacking all pigment in the eyes but are not albinos. They proved very difficult to rear and most died within 48 hours of hatching. We were never able to determine which birds in our breeding stock produced the Pink eyed Dilute now known as the FALLOW, but they continued to do so for several months and hatched quite a few though most died early. At least we knew to expect more with each setting of eggs.
Their eye sight is very poor and their hatching down is very sparse. They are not well covered in down like normal chicks. The down color varied considerably, indicating the the Pink eyed gene could appear in any color variety of button quail. The first Pink eyed chicks were covered in light down and were Pearls (photo #2) and Silvers. Notice how pale these Pearls are compared to normal pearls of any color variety. Two of these matured to adults. The Pearl was a female, the silver was actually a Pink eye Slate. Since we obtained both male and female Pink eye birds, we knew the gene was a recessive one and not sex linked. Eventually a Pink eyed chick hatched with what appeared to be dilute normal colored down. This chick was vigorous and we had no problem raising it to adulthood. At maturity it had the full appearance of a dilute normal wild type female. It bred well and we hatched a number of normal colored offspring from it. However once we placed the Pink eyed adult female in a flight, it simply could not function as a normal bird due to its poor eyesight.
Eventually we produced our first Fallow Male, which just happend to be a Red Breasted. This bird clearly revealed the pronounced differences between a normal colored Red Breasted bird and the true colors of a male Pink eyed Dilute. As you can see from the photographs, Pink eyed Dilute males exhibit a charcoal gray color that replaces the typical black color. The rusty red breast and underparts are replaced by a bright orange color, making the Pink eyed Dilute male exceptionally different and attractive.
This single male has done very well for us and is producing lots of offspring. But since we do not have any Pink eyed Dilute females to breed him with, we have paired him to normal Red Breasted and Normal Wild type females. The goal is to produced a sufficient number of offspring from this male in a dark background color to have a good foundation of birds which will all carry the gene for Pink eyed Dilute. We already have a number of young adult birds from this Pink eyed Dilute male. Though they all siblings or partial siblings (we kept several females with the dilute male) hopefully in a short time we should see more Pink-eyed Dilute offspring on a regular basis. Its my hope that Pink-eyed Dilute Wild Type will be fairly easy to raise.
When I described the mutation to Dr. Wilbur Miller, he said it closely resembled a mutation in Pigeons known as Pink eyed Dilute and I felt it an appropriate name to apply to this new mutation. Initially I referred to the new birds as "Red eyed button quail" but that was very confusing to many breeders, since some button quail have bright red eyes though these do not have eyes that appear to be those of an albino. The true Pink eyed Dilute has colorless, bright pink eyes thus looking like the eye of an albino bird.
Other Mutations of the Button Quail
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