Bobwhite quail as "pets"


10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
central Ohio
When I worked at the Zoo we had a few gamble's quail we used as program animals. We raised them alone and they tamed reasonably well (the male would sing with the keepers - cute!). I'd like to do the same with a bobwhite, as I now work at a park in Ohio and we focus on native wildlife. Bobwhite in Ohio makes a pretty good conservation story, and people are always more moved by getting close to the actual animal instead of just hearing about it.
I'm wondering if anyone has kept a single bobwhite chick as a "pet", and how well they tame. How much space would a single bobwhite need? Our gamble's seemed fine with a 20x20 (indoor) cage. Any suggestions about how to acquire a single chick? Everyone wants to sell a minimum of 25! How hardy would a single bird be? I'm thinking it would have to live inside....
Thanks in advance!
Well, I'll share the story of the one I found, or, more accurate, found me.

I used to work at a garden center before I changed careers.

One day, the woman who worked out in the perennials came to me and said I had to see what was out there.

It was a large bobwhite. And, it was completely unafraid of people and seemed very tame. And, it enjoyed handouts of pieces of people's lunches, popcorn, that sort of thing.

It hung around for a couple of days. The whole place was brimming with feral cats, raccoons, skunks, snakes, etc., so I don't know how it managed not to get eaten.

Finally, after three or four days, I took him home, because I sensed a bad end otherwise, which wasn't difficult, since I just walked over to him and picked him up and put him in a box.

He then lived for almost 3 years in a large parrot cage in my family room, and was quite fun, since he did talk, enjoyed coming out of the cage from time to time, and would perch on your arm or shoulder. He got old and slowed down and finally one morning was gone.

I'm sure it was someone's hand-raised pet that either got loose or was dumped. We had a lot of dumped animals there over the years (people can be so cruel, alas).
One observation I've just had -- I hatched some ducks over the past weeks. The eggs went into the incubator on a staggered basis as they were layed by my one lone hen.

Out of the first batch, only one egg was viable and hatched. So, this was an "only duckling" with no contact with any living creature except humans. It is VERY tame and wants to be touched, picked up, hand fed, etc.

I have 4 others that hatched later, 2 together and 2 more a couple of days later. They are tame, but not nearly so much so as the first, "only duckling."

So, I think the key to getting a super-tame quail might be to isolate it from hatching and let it know only humans, not other quail.
I would try to find a game farm within driving distance that raises bobwhite as far as a source and get them within a week of being hatched. Also I would start with a small group of 3-5 and weed them out as they grow this will make them a little more hardy and also make it so if you happen to lose 1 or 2 you still have some left. I have never heard of anybody being able to sex baby quail either to if you want a specific sex (it sounds like you want a male) this would help insure that you got 1. hope that helps.
This is great advice!
Id go a step further tho and get a bunch, and keep only the friendliest one.

I wouldn't get to many as the more time they spend being handled the tamer they will be. I also wanted to add this is not a good Idea with most male birds because their lack of fear of humans make them dangerous, or at least aggressive...I don't think bobs will be a problem though.
I think if they started with like 10 at first(to account for variables and mortality too) . . .

After so long, pick the 4 "friendliest birds . . .

Then start handling the you-know-what outta those 4 birds . . .

After so long, pick your favorite/friendliest.

Could even selectivly breed for friendlier birds this way, I would think

I got wayyy too much time on my hands to be able to keep replying to this thread . . .
Yeah, somehow I don't see an 8 ounce bird the size of a robin being a big threat. Now, a full grown African Grey Goose, yes.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom