Fortunately, I was able to get one more batch of young bobwhite quail chicks and run a last cycle quail raising in the surrogator. It is mid September now and we are very quickly reaching the end of the quail hatching season. Running another surrogator cycle raising quail required the traditional cleanup, brush clearing and setup. I’ve got it down to just a couple hours now and I’ve become much smarter about selecting my locations to minimize brush clearing and still get it near a good quail habitat.
Again, I’m using one week old birds instead of one day old bobwhite quail. I’m convinced that the quail raising mortality is lower and that they fly and survive better upon release.
I can’t stress strongly enough that you should make this a family affair. We bring all of them – kids, cousins, parents, nephews – who ever wants to join us. Raising quail is a ton of fun for the little kids to load the baby bobwhite quail chicks out of the transport box into the surrogator.
These week old chicks were hungry immediately. When quail raising, it is very important to make sure that they have plenty of the right type of feed. They attacked the chick starter that I put out in paper plates.
This is the surrogator locked and loaded and ready for raising quail. The white powder is Sevin Dust to minimize ants and bugs.
Week old bobwhite quail grow amazingly fast. They are two weeks old in this picture and already feathering out nicely. You can see my quail raising “helper” in the background. She’s been gone most of the summer learning blind retrieves and is very happy to be able to participate and help out – more on that later….
There isn’t much change week to week from two weeks old until six weeks old other than growing feathers, eating, pooping and getting bigger.
One thing to keep in mind when raising quail using older bobwhite quail chicks to start with – you need to be very careful when opening the surrogator to clean and feed. They can fly – and they definitely will. This is a three week old quail that escaped and promptly roosted in a nearby tree.
This is why it is very helpful to have a hunting dog – they can find the bobwhite quail you’ve already released. She’s on point to a small covey of quail from the previous cycle quail raising release. It was a thrill to finally find wild released birds and I’ll post more about that episode next time.
If you are an avid quail hunter, you’ll find this to be an interesting video on hunting bobwhite quail.
As you can see, the quail chicks are nearing the end of the cycle of raising quail. They’ve been quail raising in the surrogator for four weeks and are now five weeks old. They are strong, healthy and quite noisy.
My next post will cover the release of this cycle of bobwhite quail, how we found the released quail and my opinion on the value of quail feeders.