Ethics of releasing quail into the wild.

Discussion in 'Quail' started by cupman, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was browsing over quail sellers this past couple hours and one of the websites I read said, "Great for release, adapts well from Alaska to Florida." I have a friend who lives a few miles away with about 20 acres of land, mostly used as a nursery for trees but also some of the land used for his goats and chickens. I know when reading about ducks people said it's awful to release them in parks and things like that and was wondering if people had the same feelings for quail. I have an incubator that will hold 120 quail eggs and I mentioned this to him and he seemed interested. I think it would be kind of neat as well, but I don't know that much about quail so I may be overlooking potential problems.

    Anyone ever raised quail to the juvenile stage then gradually released them into the wild around your property?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    This question comes up a lot on these forums with much controversy. First you need to find out thru the Fish and Game dept whether or not it is legal to release in your area. Pen raised quail can carry disease that can endanger the local quail population, which in most places is already struggling to survive, and it is illegal to endanger our native wildlife.

    So on this note, if there are no local population of quail around you, then why? Quail are being stressed in the wild due to lack of natural habitat for them and the wild populations are disappearing. So unless you plan on planting huge stretches of natural cover for the type of quail you are releasing, then plan on no survivors.

    Next, pen raised quail, being hatched in your incubator, seeing and bonding with humans from hatch, relying on you to water, feed and change their bedding, may not survive in the wild. They lose their abilities not being raised in the right environment. Most likely the released quail will die on the first night or so due to predation. If the predators don't get them, thirst of starvation will.

    So why send them off to their deaths? I did attempt to do a release of Bobwhites the first year I got into quail. I got a permit, licensing and inspections by the state. I have large native colonies of wild quail in my area so food is not an issue. It was a complete disaster and I do not believe any of them survived. Once the predators found them out, (they did not disperse around the property but stuck nearby) each one was picked off every night. I was able to count nearly everyone of them by the piles of feathers I found about the area.

    Many states are attempting to raise and release quail, doing it the proper way, (quail raised not seeing humans, predator control, etc...) and there is barely a 1% survival rate in some states.
     
  3. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    unless you institute some form of trapping /predator control you are just feeding preds
     
  4. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    It is actually illegal in AK to release non-native game species. Admittedly, chukar, bobwhites, pheasants, etc, do very well up here, and it is very hard to resist the urge to let them live a more natural life. But those that released them thinking they'd stick around were sorely disappointed, even more so when they discovered remains after predators enjoyed them. And not all states/areas allow "open season" on NNGS. Here, if one of my birds gets loose, I can pretty much be assured that one of my neighbors will probably enjoy a little target practice. [​IMG]
     
  5. Woofless

    Woofless Out Of The Brooder

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    We release quail for dog training & put out feeding/water stations for most of the training season. In our experience they actually flourish very well from spring until fall; we release small numbers over a period of weeks and they usually pair up at first, then eventually group up and form a covey. We have a covey living at the edges of the property and in the treeline right now and they've been grouped up at least the past three months. By the time they covey up they're pretty much self sufficient at foraging; we haven't provided extra food or water in almost two months. Looks to be about 20-30 birds in the covey. We released about 50 total and probably 10 ended up coming back to our recall pens & went back in the main pen with the rest of the birds. So by my count we haven't lost many.

    Unfortunately they don't make it through the winters here without shelter & food, some kind of human intervention (do they actually "adapt" to Alaska winters totally in the wild? Seriously? If so, my mind has just been boggled...lol). Just a little too harsh I guess and not enough cover once it snows. About 100 miles south of here they do just fine in similar habitat but with a bit less snow & subzero temps. Couldn't even get quail to establish on a nearby game preserve with managed natural cover, abundant food plots and predator control, all designed for ideal wild pheasant production. Wasn't good enough for quail I guess [​IMG]

    I don't have an ethical problem with what we do. We release only as many birds as we need, and we do it to serve a purpose, not just for the sake of saying "gee, I have quail sounds in my back yard for a few months, how nice". It's unfortunate that some will die in the wintertime; but on the other hand they lived the natural life of a wild bird and thrived up until then. It's not adversely affecting any local wildlife population in any way, which to me would be the biggest concern. Personally I don't see anything wrong with it in our situation, but that's JMO [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  6. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    as cold as it gets where you are I could not imagine much "wild food " left in the winter time we can release them here on our own land but it is pretty temperate here I am @ the south end of the chesapeake bay and being out in the woods as much as I am in the winter time I see hardly any wild food here . I have cousin that raise them and release them they are kina happy with a 20-30% survival rate most times the habitat needs to be improved for them to thrive as well fencerows and ditch banks left grown up instead of clean farmed they call preds with electronic callers and I trap for them we clean out the fox bobcats and yote on a regular basis and still only do as well as I mentioned most of thhe time the DNR will assist in planning habitat modification for them
     
  7. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We decided against. Friend actually decided to skip quail, so it will just be me. I have the quail rails for my incubator and I just like the birds. I will probably raise for meat, gonna hate having to do the slaughter, but I hear quail tastes delicious. I hope to build two quail pens, a breeding pen and a pen for slaughter. I've heard jumbo coturnix is good and I've heard jumbo bobwhites are good... what do you guys recommend and why?
     
  8. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    Quote:We did a side-by-side taste test one time, and we liked both equally. So the decision to keep the coturnix for meat was more of a personal thing... they are more docile than Bobwhites, and (to me) the BWs are more "exotic" and I prefer to sell them as breeders instead of meat.
     
  9. quailmale

    quailmale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:To me the Bobs taste better hands down IMHO. but the big thing is grow out time. You can do about 3 or 4 sets of Coturnix for ever one of Bobs,
     
  10. joe125

    joe125 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    Quote:To me the Bobs taste better hands down IMHO. but the big thing is grow out time. You can do about 3 or 4 sets of Coturnix for ever one of Bobs,

    Yup, but if you just have to have them bobs, then you can wait for it. They eat/waste way less than coturnix. just wait for it.
     

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