The bobwhite quail chicks have been in the Surrogator for 6 weeks. They’ve grown from tiny chicks to young adults. The Surrogator has done all it can for this batch of chicks and it’s time to let them out!
If you started with 125 quail chicks and you’ve been moderately successful, you should release around 110 birds. Any less than that and you have some work to do tuning your Surrogator and/or process.
The first step is to gather all your helpers – this is going to be exciting!
Then, open the lid on the loafing end, scare/chase the birds from the brooding end. I find it helpful to also lower the middle gate to prevent confused birds from going backwards instead of out.
They’ll start with a trickle – leaving home is perilous and quail are wary birds. Be patient, the rest will figure it out very soon.
You can even grab a couple for your helpers to hold and examine.
Remember to hold them gently – they are tough but fragile, too.
Big Payoff Right There!
They won’t fly very well yet. And, they can’t land very well either! So, quite a few of them will congregate in the nearby bushes as they covey up for protection and begin figuring out how to survive in their brand new world!
Bobwhite quail are primarily ground birds so it is normal to see them on the ground after they are released. If you listen closely, you can hear them still peeping and a few beginning to call back.
I think the release is really exciting so I place a few cameras on stands around the Surrogator to catch photos from different angles.
And sometimes they will all want out at the same time! Explosion of Quail!
I also like to bring my bird dog, Jill. For a trained dog, this is a tremendous training opportunity for steadiness. How’s that for steady?
It’s also a bird dog bonanza hunting them up and pointing them afterward!
If you place a quail feeder nearby, it is likely that some of the bobwhite quail will stay around the Surrogator for a few days.
Well, where did you think that 50# of feed and 15 gallons of water went? You’ll need to move your Surrogator now to avoid any disease or pests. Truthfully, it’s not very smelly and I move mine just enough to get a clear base and let Mother Nature take care of the rest.