will pen raised quail breed and survive in the wild

Discussion in 'Quail' started by quail hunter, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. quail hunter

    quail hunter Hatching

    Jan 14, 2015
    I'm going to start raising quail in a pen and i want to know if they will survive in the wild i also want to know if they will breed in the wild my pen is 25 feet by 50 feet
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    If they came from wild parents or grandparents they should stand a good chance, generally, but many animals even with very strong instincts, especially those from social species that learn from one another, can lose much vital instinct in one generation of being kept caged. Learning the wrong things from birth/hatching onwards, or a very young age, can also prevent many wild born animals from being safely/successfully reintroduced to the wild.

    It also depends a lot on your environment. Is it the same as what their wild ancestors (if they had any recently) lived in? If not, their instincts may be non-applicable to it.

    If they were reared in cages, or came from birds only kept caged for one generation it's still a risk, if they've been cage-kept and bred for multiple generations you might as well break their necks and throw them to the predators, since that's what releasing them will likely be the equivalent of doing (except of course it's less merciful to let the predators do the killing).

    If they have the instinct to survive in the wild they should also breed in the wild, but it's not too likely that they do.

    There may also be legal regulations in your area about naturalizing even native species that have been kept captive, and while that might sound like pedantic bureaucracy, it's got a sound basis to it; it's designed to prevent issues.

    Your profile doesn't yet say where you live so I don't know if you have wild quail native to your area, but if they're native to your region but you don't have any wild quail where you are, it may be because it's very unsuitable for them.

    There's also the concern of genetic contamination. Under human husbandry many defects tend to crop up which natural selection would have removed in the wild, as well as genetics selected by our preferences which also would handicap them in the wild. Those genetics serve us, but not them, and would make them vulnerable in the wild. Compared to wild birds domestic birds are often less feed efficient and more meat/egg productive which doesn't bode well for a domestic bird suddenly left to fend for itself. These traits could wipe them out before they adapt and refine their genes through natural selection and epigenetic adaption to the environment they now have to live under. Just keeping an animal caged and feeding it the often unnatural diets we feed them can alter them significantly quite quickly. Even if the diet is great and natural, simply having food on hand all the time can still cause changes.

    Then there's the disease risk... Captive quail are very likely to have been exposed to other poultry and diseases which either do not exist in the wild, or to which the domestic bred quail are now resistant but to which the wild quail are highly susceptible, and introducing them to the wild in any area that already has quail could wipe out the local population that way.

    Anyway, lots of things to consider, and overall, I think you may as well kill them if you plan to release them since chances are it will only result in a slow and unkind death for them.

    Best wishes.
  3. quail hunter

    quail hunter Hatching

    Jan 14, 2015
    I'm in georgia and thanks for the info
  4. Campine

    Campine Chirping

    Aug 17, 2012
    I have a large flight cage (15x40x15). I raise about 100 bob white each year. I keep them through the winter, collect eggs in the spring and release the mature chicks mid-spring. Then I incubate another 100 and start over. Last summer I saw three separate broods of a mother with chicks, so yes it can be done. The people who tell you otherwise haven't tried it or haven't done it right. Some of the quail will seem more wild and adaptive than others, some of course don't make it so start with a good number of them.
    chickaroo22 likes this.
  5. JohnE2015

    JohnE2015 Hatching

    Jan 18, 2015
    Dunnellon florida
    Can you post a pic of your pens I am trying to see how to make one.
  6. bayshorek9

    bayshorek9 In the Brooder

    Jan 9, 2010
    Almost ever game bird in England is raised by a game keeper then released!
  7. Fat Daddy

    Fat Daddy Crowing

    Dec 11, 2010
    Almost all the studies come back to about 2% survival rate of pen raised birds..... my personal attempts have not worked out any better. Chukar or bobs, made no difference.... Good luck

    EDIT TO ADD: check your local laws.... Ga requires a permit to release pen raised bobs or raise more than 50 for your own use....
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  8. Campine

    Campine Chirping

    Aug 17, 2012
    Here's a video from the first year. I've since added silt fencing around the bottom edge and a hot wire about 3 foot high.


    Habitat is essential. I think that may be why some fail. Get Rosene's book, he tells you everything in a very scientific manner. I'll have to try and get a video of some of my success's flying into the Indian grass to roost for the night.
  9. HunterH

    HunterH In the Brooder

    Jan 17, 2015
    We have almost no native quail here in central SC. When my dad was growing up, they could go out with a dog and shoot enough to go do it the next weekend. Habitat destruction is the problem, it's not really fair to release birds somewhere that wild quail don't think is good enough to live. Just my .02.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  10. aprophet

    aprophet Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    we trap hard here in va I have a small pop of pen raised "wild" birds that are making making it I stomp all possums coon and fox all trapping season long here my habitat is quiet good mostly marsh the reeds bulrushes offer them hidey holes I suppose

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