1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

New to bobwhite quail, and would like some info

Discussion in 'Quail' started by ducky 13, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. ducky 13

    ducky 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I bought a trio of young bobwhites, the seller told me the females were close to laying age, but I think they are younger than he says. I got 2 hens and 1 male, for some reason the females are losing feathers, a lot of feathers. The male looks fine, he lost a few feathers here and there when I first got him, but the females have bald spots on their backs, every time I pick them up (They aren't very tame) I get a handful of feathers every time I do. I thought they were molting, but they don't only when they get their feathers at first, they do it a year after. (Or something like that) I'm not sure how old they are, but the male doesn't even try breeding yet, it's either the male is younger, or they are all the same age. If you have any suggestions on what might be happening, tell me. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  2. TwoCrows

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

    31,913
    4,429
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Bobwhites are sexually mature after 6 months of age however generally don't start to breed or lay eggs until the spring following their hatch. It is difficult to tell the age of a quail if you are trying to narrow it down to months. Old birds definitely look different than very young birds.

    Bobs will molt twice a year. Once before breeding season and then right after. However they can drop feathers if they become stressed from handling. It is best to never handle your birds unless absolutely necessary. They can injure themselves very easily.

    Generally Bobs are kept in pairs only. Some people are able to keep them in trios the first year of breeding, however Bobs become more aggressive as they age and tend to mate for life with one mate.
     
  3. ducky 13

    ducky 13 Chillin' With My Peeps


    Thank you!! I'll keep that in mind, and try my best to be a great bob owner!
     
  4. ducky 13

    ducky 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Another question...

    Do hens go broody, if they do, does it happen often, or does it seldom happen?
     
  5. TwoCrows

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

    31,913
    4,429
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hens and Roos alike can go slightly broody if given the right environment. Mine have set all day on eggs, taking turns at incubation, however they never set on the eggs overnight. They might come back the next morning though. LOL

    It is rare that they will set full term, but it does happen occasionally. Your best bet is an incubator. :)
     
  6. ducky 13

    ducky 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    K
     
  7. ducky 13

    ducky 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    How am I supposed to know when they are near laying time? I mean with chickens, all you do is feel the bones between their legs and if it's 2 fingers wide at least, they would lay eggs soon. Most likely anyway.
     
  8. TwoCrows

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

    31,913
    4,429
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    It may work this way with quail however I have never did the pelvic check on quail. And I don't suggest you do this on Bobs either.

    However my females will get nervous and start pacing just before laying season. Usually the male is mounting the female a lot. Since you don't know how old your birds actually are, I would offer up some crushed oystershell on the side just in case so the female can get her fill for hard egg shells, if she needs it yet. Young layers are prone to egg binding if they don't have enough calcium in their system.

    If you use bedding in your pens, the female will start to make nests out of what ever material is available before she starts to lay eggs.
     
  9. ducky 13

    ducky 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    What bedding do you think is the best?

    Do they need/use or would like the privacy of small nest boxes?

    Well if my male chooses one female, when breeding season comes, I'll hatch they lone hen a mate for then next season

    When does the breeding/laying season commence, what month most likely will it start on?
     
  10. TwoCrows

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

    31,913
    4,429
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I use grass hay for bedding. It is actually Bermuda Grass hay. You can get this at many feed stores that sell bales of hay and straw. Wow, have I seen some elaborate nests built by my birds! LOL Just crazy big and complicated! LOL But you can also use pine shavings or even straw. Straw is not all that absorbent and I never cared for it when I tried it. It is more expensive than grass hay, which is the cheapest.

    They don't really care for nest boxes much. Mine have used over turned water buckets that I cut a mouse hole type thing cut into them. But they prefer to nest in a corner under some brush.

    Males don't choose their mates, the female does the choosing. He can woo her all he wants, but if she doesn't like him, the relationship is over. Ha!

    It depends. First year breeders can wait until May or even June. Older birds of over a year old will start up in early to mid April. It also depends on the weather. If it is a very cold damp spring, they will hold off until conditions are ripe for breeding and laying. Breeding season runs through October, depending again on the weather.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by