I’m not a fan of feeders for bobwhite quail. I’ve tried several designs and it never appears to provide a benefit that is great than the cost. There’s also a valid argument about providing a banquet of quail to predators as they gather near a feeder that isn’t entirely wrong. I didn’t see predators eat my quail at the feeder but I sure saw a lot of predators give it a visit! Here’s what I’ve learned.
The folks at Wildlife Management Technologies sell this unit. It’s one of the more comprehensive units I’ve seen and includes an integrated nipple waterer that can connect to a water tank. The quail access small holes inside each leg to get to the feed.
I used this unit for about a year but never saw any quail visit it. I think that the very small access to feed that prevents other critters from raiding the feeder also prevents most quail from ever finding the feed.
I built this feeder myself based on what I learned from the WMT unit and a design that my quail breeder uses successfully. It addresses the supposed flaw in the WMT unit by generously exposing the feed rather than hiding it. I also incorporated the nipple waterer but quickly realized that was a folly. My main goal with this feeder was to provide newly released chicks with some extra support for their first few days in the wild. It worked but only for a couple days after each release. Maintaining it longer than that was a waste of time and feed. I also built a small prototype feeder that I placed in the Surrogator while the chicks were young so they’d be familiar with the feeder design. I’m proud to say that I think this did have an impact on the usage of the feeder. Nevertheless, in the long run, this approach wasn’t worth the effort to build & maintain it.
As it turns out, just protecting the feeder from other critters is the hardest part. Sometimes, the whole damn family!
This is the best I came up with and even it’s not impervious to critters and more hassle than it was worth.
It has a solar powered 12V battery connected to a large capacitor which is then connected to an insulated ring of wire around the outside to deliver an electric shock. This is common on deer feeders and works well.
It was devilishly fun to build but worth the effort over time to keep it maintained and full of feed.
I’m sure quail feeders work somewhere but I’m not convinced that they’re an important part of my quail restoration and management efforts. Since we live in Central, TX and don’t graze the ranch, we have an abundance of seeds and forage for the quail.