Quail 101 - I'm playing the new member role

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Nifty-Chicken, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    Okay, I never get to do this, so here's my chance!

    Let's pretend I'm the new BYC - Quail member:

    Hi, I honestly don't know anything about them. A few miles away, towards the hills, I see them running wild (I assume wild, but maybe they are pets?)

    So, what's the deal with these birds? Can I have a flock of them running happily free in the vacant 2 acre lot adjacent to our house? Or do I have to keep them cooped up, protected like my chickens?

    I'm not ready to start a whole new flock of animals that will require a coop, run, etc., but I may be interested in supporting a flock of semi-wild quail running around that just require bare minimums.

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  2. SamG347

    SamG347 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2007
    PA
    LOL okay I will play along........Yes you would have to keep the quail in a pen/run. With a top...bottom and sides. Preferablly off the ground so a wire bottom pen. The quail you are probably seeing are either Bobwhite or Valley Quail or Gambel Quail. All three of which live in the wild of the U.S. . Some more specific to location in the country and geographical features.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    Very interesting, thanks!

    So, my next newbie questions: Could I get / hatch some of those breeds and let them run wild on 2 acres?
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Some states you need a permit to raise the bobwhites or other native quail and/or to release them. I strongly urge you to check with your Ag dept for all regulations on releasing into the wild and having bobwhites in your possession.
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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  6. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    If you have them running loose predation would become a big issue.

    Cats, both domesticated and feral that won't normally hunt chickens will be hunting your quail, along with the normal predators.
     
  7. CountryMom

    CountryMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From my experience and reading this year on releasing quail it is easier said then done.

    First, check with you local Parks and Wildlife for any licensing info and the laws that pertain to game bird programs - breeding, keeping and releasing.

    If you do find it is legal in your area, then you need to read up on habitat and what they require to support a covey (group of wild quail.) So say your land is set up with the right plants and coverage they need. From there you need to obtain an outdoor feeder and release your birds while they are young (like 4 weeks of age.) You will have better sucess rate if you set up a flight pen to allow them to run with as little human contact as possible.

    With all that said and done, I think my sucess rate without flight pen release first has been very low. And from my readings you need a lot more acreage then 2 acres to support a covey of quail that usually is the average of 15 quail family members.

    And be sure to note that Coturnix quail are not known to be a wild species that survive when released.
     
  8. SamG347

    SamG347 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2007
    PA
    Chances are you will let the quail ago.....and they will either leave or get killed by multiple things. You would be best just building a nice little avairy/pen depending on if your keeping them for looks or production. It can be really simply. And inexspensive.
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  9. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks everybody! I guess I expected as much, but the wonderful dream of tiny little quail bobbing in and out and running all over the property was just too tantalizing to not ask.

    Thanks!
     
  10. Lophura

    Lophura Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Going by your avatar location, there are two wild species located in your area - Mountain Oreortyx pictus and Valley Callipepla californica. Images below from gbwf.org; Moutain top and Valley bottom (no pun intended) -

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    Mountain Quail can be a tricky species and not recommend for a beginner to quail aviculture. Valley are a nervous species, if allowed to free range, would almost certainly split. Both of these species do best in ground aviaries that are well planted and natural.

    Dan
     

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