Tame Bobwhites!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by kywest, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. kywest

    kywest In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2009
    central Ohio
    Hi backyard bird friends
    A few months ago I posted in search of advice on obtaining, husbandry and taming some bobwhite quail for use in educational programming. I got a lot of great advice so I wanted to share my success with all of you!
    These two are about 4 months old now and they have been out to meet preschoolers, grade schoolers and seniors. Though they don't seem to enjoy the experience in the same way my "program chicken" does, they definitely tolerate the people well, even letting about 40 kids touch them gently.
    I started with three hatchlings, hoping to be able to give two away to fellow environmental educators, but the third bird never tamed at all -- always banging its head on the top of its cage. ( "normal" bobwhite behavior, I'd imagine. This one met its end as snake enrichment) And now that the remaining two turned out to be a pair, I'm reluctant to give one away!! The male is definitely more skittish than the female, and I do keep their wings clipped for safety. I have fantasies of breeding a line of "tame" bobwhites (hey if they can do it with foxes in Russia, I can do it with quail, right?) but unfortunately don't have an incubator.
    I also have a few more questions for the experts:
    Do bobs ever go broody?
    Any estimates on expected lifespan of bobwhite?
    These two live in my garage in central Ohio (zone 5). Will they be able to tolerate the midwinter temps, or should I plan on bringing them in to the basement for a few months? (for such small birds, they are very stinky!)
    Thanks again for this great community of bird lovers. Sometimes its the only place i feel sane;-)


  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Cute bird!

    Quail rarely go broody, especially Bobwhites. They are just to nervous and skittish. I have had pairs set on eggs for a day or two, but never any longer than this. However it can happen so some, so never say never. But don't hold your breath. LOL

    Depending on how well they are cared for, they can live a pretty long life. They say the life expectancy of captive quail is 2-5 years old. However I have some Bobs that are 7 years old and still doing their thing. Strong as ever. So only time will tell just how long they can live.

    As for them surviving the cold in Ohio, Bobs can survive brutally cold temps. A few years ago, we had an arctic blast come down from the north one winter and our night time temps got down to MINUS 30 degrees F every night for 3 days. The day time high never got above MINUS 15 degrees F. Of course I did use heat lamps for 3 straight days to keep water from freezing, and the birds of course. LOL The temp in their coop stayed between minus 10 and zero with the lamps going non stop. But they all survived and are no doubt even hardier today than before this freeze hit. As long as they can get out of all wind, rain and snow, they have bedding to snuggle down into on the floor of their pen, cage or aviary, they can survive the coldest of temps. So your garage is more than enough. :)

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