Bobwhite quail escaped, help please

Discussion in 'Quail' started by lostquail, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. lostquail

    lostquail Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2010
    I've been raising Bobwhite quail this year as a hobby and as "pets" with my husband and kids and and things have been going pretty smoothly until today when one of them escaped and disappeared. This is my first time raising quail so I'm not sure what to do in this situation; will it come back? What can I do to encourage it to return to the pen?

    It happened this evening around 5:30pm...I heard the quail making a lot of noise so I went over to the pen and discovered that one of them (a male) was loose outside the door to the pen, calling and pacing back and forth in front of the wire while the rest were inside calling back to him. I began to slowly approach him but he quickly ran away down the bank into some bushes. At this point I went into the pen (it's a walk-in wire flight pen with a hutch at the back that they perch and sleep in) and quickly herded the rest of them into the hutch and closed and locked it. I then quickly checked the flight pen but couldn't see any way at all that the quail could have gotten out...I still don't know how he did.

    After this I went and got a whistle I bought that imitates a Bobwhite call and went out near the pen and whistled with it; the loose quail was nearby and would call back but I couldn't see him. Eventually I found him on the other side of the fence in the neighbor's yard, trying to get through to the pen on the other side. I went around the fence into their yard and tried to herd him back across through an opening but when he saw me he flew about 50 feet away and landed in some branches by a pond. I went back to the door of the pen and whistled some more and he would call back every time but didn't seem to get any closer. At this point my husband got home and went into the neighbor's yard toward him but it was too dark to see anything. I kept whistling, but starting when my husband went over there the quail stopped calling back. I stayed out there for another hour or so whistling but no calls back since then. I came back out with my laptop and played a video of bobwhite calls through some speakers and the bobwhites inside the hutch went crazy over it but still no response from the one out there loose. I gave up and went inside once it started to rain.

    I left the door to the pen propped open with food scattered around on the ground in and near it but even if he does come back I'm not sure why he'd stay in there and not just walk right back out the open door again. Due to the way the hutch is designed, the rest of the quail can't be seen from outside unless the door is open (which I can't open or else they'd all be loose too) so he would be coming back to an empty pen which I'm also concerned about. My kids are pretty broken up about it since they hand-raised these birds from eggs but I'm not sure what else I can do. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Franzen Farms

    Franzen Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    do you have a funnel for them to come back into the pen? I have around 250 bobs and I will let go around 200 of them to go out to eat bugs and have fun by the next morning the 50 will have called them back they just come in through the funnel.
     
  3. lostquail

    lostquail Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Unfortunately no, I don't. Would I be able to make one myself? Or would any local stores in the area carry something like that? I found a few available for order online but they wouldn't arrive for 4-5 days and I need it pretty quick.
     
  4. Franzen Farms

    Franzen Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    pretty simple to make out of scrap material. I use 1/4 x 1/4 wire 6" reduced to 3'" about 12"- 18" long small enough for quail to get through but not predators. I will see if I can find a pic to post for ya. once my kids found out they call each other back they let them out all the time, but now they are learning about hawks so they let them into my big pheasant pen to listen for them to whistle for each other.
     
  5. Franzen Farms

    Franzen Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2010
  6. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

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    In Most Cases Your Bob Will Hang Around Near The Rest Of Your Covey... They Often Times Reappear In The Evening And Try To Get Back With The Flock---- They Will Not Hang Around After Dark, They Will Instinctively Seek Shelter Somewhere Nearby . So Look For It Before Dark And After Sunrise. Do Not Build A Funnel Into Your Pen! This Is The Easiest Way To Let Predators In To Kill All Your Stock While They Sleep--- Build A Call Back Trap Using The Funnel On 1 Half, Then A Divider, And A 2nd Half You Can Use To Place A Male In To "call" Your Escapee Back To It.
     
  7. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Probably a small live trap baited with food might work as well. Maybe the size sold for rats?
     
  8. lostquail

    lostquail Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2010
    Some updates:
    I got up first thing this morning and heard him calling in the distance so I put my laptop outside near the door to the pen and had it play a bobwhite call on repeat. I think this worked because when I came back 20 minutes later he was there by the door again with the rest of the quail on the other side of the door all huddled around him through the wire. I didn't know how to open the door and get him in without also letting all the other quail out so I tried to lock the rest of the quail inside the hutch again but when I went to do this the loose quail flew away again and I didn't see or hear him again until this evening around 4:45PM when I found him back by the door again.

    I went inside to get a net (even though he's way too fast for me) and while inside I heard a strange loud bird call and looked out to see a large hawk perched in my backyard on top of a wheelbarrow. In the 8 years I've lived here I've *never* seen a hawk in the area, especially not right in my backyard, so I figure it must be after that loose quail. I ran out after it waving my arms around and yelling at it and it flew off, swooping right over the quail pen and then circling the field beside it a few times before flying away. The loose quail was no longer by the door so I figured the worst but about 30 minutes later I heard him calling again, this time from a different area. I wanted to stay out there to discourage the hawk from coming back but figured it would also discourage the quail from coming back at the same time. His calls stopped around the time it got dark so I left the door open (with the rest of the quail closed inside the hutch) and went inside. I'll try again tomorrow and will see what I can do about getting a funnel and/or a Havahart trap that might lure him back in, but that hawk worries me [​IMG]
     
  9. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

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    Just A Thought For Your Consideration.....

    But Now Would Be A Good Time To Pinnion Them [​IMG] And A Double Entry On The Pen Helps Too (they Are Wicked Quick Lil Dudes Arent They? [​IMG]
     
  10. lostquail

    lostquail Out Of The Brooder

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    I found him out there in the same place again this morning, just after sunrise...so far the only times I've seen him have been early morning (6:45am - 8:15am) or evening (4:30pm - 5:45pm); don't know where he hangs out the rest of the time.

    The rock I was using to prop the door open had rolled away overnight so the door was closed and he couldn't get in; of course when I went over to open it back up he flew away again. I haven't seen or heard him since then (7am then, 9:50am now).

    I closed that door, let the rest of the quail out into the pen and then opened the door of an unused empty pen adjacent to the quail pen in hopes he might go in there instead. Stupid I didn't think of that before really. I put a webcam out there in the bushes nearby so I can view the area from inside and watch to see if he goes into the empty pen so I can then quick go out and shut him in there. So far no sign of him. I sprinkled some food around the entrance to the empty pen which has attracted 5 to 10 small birds (sparrows or finches I think) that have been flying down and eating it so I hope those birds don't keep him away.

    Im debating on whether or not to set the laptop out there and have it play the quail call every 10 minutes or so...on the one hand it may attract the bobwhite back but on the other it may also lure back that hawk. Any suggestions?

    Btw I called my pest service and a live trap from them costs $550.00 which is just a tad more than id like to pay for something like that, but I was able to locate a quail funnel for sale and will be getting/installing that later this afternoon. I plan to build a frame and a second door around the outside of the first (all enclosed with wire) ASAP but would like to wait until this guy is back first because the construction would surely scare him away. Sigh, this is turning out to be quite the chore...that's the price you pay for raising wild birds though I suppose.

    I'll post back with any further updates. In the mean time any further tips or advice would still be greatly appreciated. Thanks to those who have helped so far!
     

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