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Free ranging quail with gps trackers?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have heard about people using gps tracking devices on falcons and racing pigeons to keep from losing them. I was wondering if you could do this with quail and allow them to free range, using the gps to track them down when they wander too far?
post #2 of 9

Quail don't free range, they are not a chicken or pigeon.  Please don't free range your quail, they won't come back and will probably get eaten since domestic quail don't have the instincts to avoid predators. They are small enough that even cats will get them.

post #3 of 9

gobble,coyotes,other animals will eat them all

post #4 of 9

Surely that depends on what type of quail you have? I currently have a covey of valley quail that lives in my backyard (moved in voluntarily) that free range and seem to have no problems avoiding being eaten.

I'd never let my coturnix quail out to free range, they'd be dead within minutes. 

post #5 of 9
Originally Posted by fishforbrains View Post

Surely that depends on what type of quail you have?


I don't think it is about the type, but more about whether they were wild or not.  With the level of domestication seen, I think the family history (wild versus bred for generations in a cage) makes a much larger difference than the type.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
My quail are descended from wild bobwhites from where I live. So they're not domestic. They were hatched from some wild quail eggs.
Nobody seems to have answered my question about whether I could use a gps tracker to keep track of them though...
Just a little update: after I posted this I set my quail free. They are still hanging out around my yard. I see the flock nearly every day and they all seem to be doing well. I have ordered a cheap gps tracker and when it comes I will test it out, but if the quail stay where they have been I don't think I will need to.
I know people in the past have had little success with free ranging quail (at least it seems so with how much they argue against the idea). One theory I have as to why these quail are sticking around is because a couple years ago all my quail escaped. Half of them were never seen again. The other half returned to the cage. Possibly the descendants of those birds have the same "homing" instinct? Maybe you could selectively breed for that trait.
Anyway, we will see in time what happens.
I bought a book about creating a habitat for quail, and a quail seed block. So, hopefully I can make a garden that will provide them all the things they need and they'll stick around all year. I guess we just have to wait and see.
I am not keeping the quail anymore, so I have to let them go.
Also, I know these birds can survive in the wild because one of the escaped birds lived in the wild for several months before he returned to the cage.
Well, it will be an experiment anyway-if they leave, they leave.
I will probably be building a fenced in yard over the summer, and might end up making that into a quail haven. Any thoughts on how I could make a good enclosure to keep birds in/give them access and attract them and keep predators out?
Edited by risingeaglefarm - 4/7/16 at 12:49am
post #7 of 9

I think it is going to be really rough trying to keep birds in/give them access and attract them while also keeping predators out.  If you do a fence/wall, they cant get in, and neither can predators.  If you made little doorways in the fence, in come the predators.  If you did some sort of netting up high to keep flying predators out, then your yard looks weird and the ground predators still come in.


I think all you can do is make lots of hiding spots and hope for the best.  You could even go so far as to lay down a bunch of pots for them to hide in?

Edited by paneubert - 4/7/16 at 10:14am
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
I think that's a good idea. I put some cinderblocks out for them to hide in.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone, I just want to give an update for future reference in case anybody wants information about free ranging quail.

The quail stuck around for about 3 weeks after I released them. They acted very much like the chickens, except the quail stayed under cover for most of the day, only appearing now and then to eat. They paired off and would take dust baths under shaded areas. They were approachable and moderately tame. I never found any eggs, but I'm not sure they were laying yet. For these three weeks, when the covey was together as a group, I noticed about one missing (an unpaired female). She left soon after release, I assume to find a mate. The quail stuck around for a surprisingly long time, acting very much like domestic poultry.

The day before yesterday, the quail moved on. A predator killed my chicken rooster, and after that day, only one pair of quail remained in the yard. I assume after witnessing this traumatic event, the 8 quail decided to split and run for the hills to save themselves. I tried to recapture the remaining pair to shelter them from the predator, but they were so skittish, they eluded me easily and were never seen again.

So, what I have learned from this little experiment is, at least in this specific case, you can free range quail-up to 3 weeks at least-but they will run for it at the first sign of danger. If you can give them a very sheltered habitat away from any possible threats, you might be able to keep them around a little longer. If I were to do it again, I'd have a fully enclosed yard with a garden, tall fences, lots of hiding places and bushes, and pinion them so they can't fly over. I'd keep a close eye out for any predators, and have a large open window facing the garden.

I'm very sad to see my flock go-they were a great joy when I had them. It is such a shame that I've been forced to get rid of them.
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