Habitat management and mother nature don’t always cooperate fully so sometimes supplemental feeding with quail feeders is required. There are a huge variety of quail feeders available that pack a ton of experience behind them. I tried a couple of them and didn’t experience the success I expected. So, I took a different approach and started asking people who were successful, without anything to sell, what they were doing.
Homemade Quail Feeders
The best model I saw was built out of PVC pipe with holes drilled in the end caps for quail feeders. Looks simple – and it is – but don’t be fooled, it wasn’t that easy. First, I couldn’t find 8″ PVC so I had to settle for 4″ PVC. Still, this is enough to make 40 lb quail feeders when it is 5 feet long. Next, the small matter of the small holes – how big, what angle, how many, how high from the ground – lot’s of questions!
Prototype 40lb Quail Feeders
Then, the question of mounting the quail range feeders. Where, how, alone or with water, movable or permanent? My first prototype that was easily portable and also had a watering station was way over engineered.
Watering System for Quail Range Feeders
The watering system no the range quail feeder turned out to be more hassle than it was worth. Pictures showed it being used once but it certainly provided an excellent opportunity for fun and frolic for the coons.
Prototype Range Quail Feeders
What to do about the varmints? We have deer, coons, squirrels and hogs. It can quickly cost more to protect the quail range feeder than the feeder and a sack of feed is worth. I had an unused plant cage from my tomato garden that I tried.
End Caps for Quail Feeders
Can you train a bobwhite quail to a quail range feeder? It was easy enough to give it a try. I built a very short model, loaded it with chick starter feed and put a solid board underneath it so feed wouldn’t fall through the screen in the surrogator. This also helped me experiment and learn about the size, angle and distribution of the holes in the end caps for quail feeders to trickle the feed. Worked like a charm!
Working Model Quail Range Feeders
The evidence speaks for itself – the newly released wild bobwhite quail loved the feeder. Unfortunately, the large numbers bobwhite quail decreased rather quickly but based on call counts I think that has more to do with a natural distribution of the wild bobwhite quail in the wild than anything else. The quail feeder worked and continues to work.
Quail Watering System Failure
The watering system on the other hand – that was just folly and a pain in the butt. The wild bobwhite quail didn’t use it and the deer and coons just disturbed it – every week.
Chewed End Caps for Quail Feeders
Put an end cap for quail feeders on that rascal – and don’t forget! I forgot for two weeks. Since we didn’t have any rain and the feed was still flowing from the trickle holes, I thought everything was fine. It wasn’t. The third week I went out to check, instead of chick starter feed coming from the trickle holes, I had hair! Seems as though a squirrel had climbed down inside and died – nasty! Good riddance to a squirrel though.
Revised Range Quail Feeder Cage
I certainly don’t need to continue using my tomato cages to protect the wild quail feeder – too bulky and it still had a hole in the top where the varmints could get in. I had some scrap pieces and wired together a small cage around the bottom – just enough to keep the critters away from the feed and allow the quail in to feed – much easier to build and manage.
Modification of End Caps for Quail Feeders
After quite a bit of experimenting with the hole size and distribution in the end caps for quail feeders I think I’ve gotten it just right. Wild quail feed flows smoothly without flowing too fast. I also learned to use a rake to clear the ground around the base of the quail range feeder to help the wild bobwhite quail find the feed.
Newest Revision to 40 lb Quail Feeders
I also learned that the range quail feeder does not need to be as portable as I originally thought. I removed the sliding pole and hose clamped it directly to a t post. Now the 40 lb quail feeders have a cost of less than $20 and I can afford to put one at every wild bobwhite quail release location and other locations where I see and hear activity.
Quail Range Feeders Near the Release Site
Putting a range quail feeder right next to the wild bobwhite quail release site seems to work very well. I was a little worried about the size of the holes in the cage but it appears that it does not bother the bobwhite quail.
Protecting Your Range Quail Feeders
Ah, the varmints and critters still seem to think this is a Luby’s. Who doesn’t have some sort of hog problem in Texas? The only thing I did to secure the cage around the quail range feeder was to push the little 3 inch spikes into the ground – obviously not enough as the hogs were able to loosen it up and get under. It still prevents major destruction but I do need something a little better. I’m not a fan of feeding hogs for free.
Varmint Stand Off at the Range Quail Feeder
After the hogs had done their initial work, the smart coon found a way inside. Unfortunately, he also found a way back out. With the Texas drought in it’s third year, everything is looking for a little food.
Quail Feed Distribution and Modification of End Caps for Quail Feeders
I adjusted the holes in the end caps for quail feeders slightly and now have a great flow of bobwhite quail feed. It also helps that the cage rubs against the quail range feeder column so any disturbance of the cage or column causes additional feed to flow – that helps prevent the feed from locking up inside the range quail feeder column.
Wild Quail Surrogator Survey
Summary of Quail Range Feeders
Quail habitat management is a critical part of having success raising and releasing wild bobwhite quail. Supplemental feeding using a quail range feeder – something like 40 lb quail feeders – seems to be beneficial in keeping the wild bobwhite quail in the area near where they were released. Being successful with a range quail feeder take experimentation. I highly recommend using a game camera to monitor your progress and document what is happening while you are gone. This provide evidence that you can then take action on to modify your quail range feeders to increase your success.