Summer is the season to load and raise young bobwhite quail in the Surrogator. What I’ve learned in the past about how to raise quail, I’ve run 4 five-week cycles but it’s really a push and you can’t miss a single week and pick-ups of fresh wild quail chicks has to be carefully timed. My bobwhite quail breeder has chicks available from approximately May 15 through mid September. I’ve decided that it’s much easier and more fun to run 3 cycles per Summer and not try to rush things. It also helps that I don’t have to be tending wild quail chicks during September and October when I’m trying to hunt other birds while I’m waiting for my natural population of wild bobwhite quail to grow.
Fresh Bobwhite Quail Chicks
My bobwhite quail breeder delivers 125 week old bobwhite quail chicks nicely packaged in a cardboard box with pine shavings. I prefer week old birds instead of day old quail chicks since the mortality can be higher during their first week of life. I’m always amazed how quick and active the chicks are even at one week old. It has become a ritual in my process of how to raise quail to invite friends with small children to help me load the baby bobwhite quail chicks as kids always seem to love catching them from the box and loading them into the Surrogator. Since I typically release a batch of wild quail and reload the batch on the same day, they also enjoy seeing 100 or so wild bobwhite quail released from the Surrogator.
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Clumping Wild Quail Chicks
Young bobwhite quail chicks can’t generate sufficient body heat to keep themselves alive. Without an external heat source, they will clump together and smother the chicks on the bottom. Heat regulation is a critical aspect of successfully raising wild bobwhite quail in a surrogator.
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Heating Unit for Young Bobwhite Quail
The heating unit for young bobwhite quail that is supplied with the Surrogator is ingenious. It is absolutely critical in how to raise quail. It has a temperature regulator, a thermostat and a heat dispersion disk. While you can build your own Surrogator, this small piece is definitely the big secret to the success of the Surrogator. The wild quail chicks don’t need much heat beyond 3 weeks of age but without it during those first 3 weeks, the results can be disastrous.
Young Bobwhite Quail Eat Grasshoppers
Young bobwhite quail eat mostly bugs to satisfy their need for a high protein diet. Bugs generally need rain and moisture to reproduce. I use the grasshopper/windshield method of measuring the natural food available to young bobwhite quail. During last year’s drought, we literally had ZERO bugs. This year, we’ve been fortunate to have some rain and moisture and the bugs have returned. Part of my habitat plan is to expand our rain water collection systems to provide additional moist areas around the ranch so that there will be more moist bug reproduction areas to support the wild quail that are reproducing on the ranch.
Summary of Young Bobwhite Quail
Summer is the time to get busy and run batches of wild bobwhite quail chicks through the Surrogator. In my method of how to raise quail, I prefer 3 five-week cycles but 4 cycles is possible and if you start with week old quail chicks instead of day old quail chicks you can shorten your cycles from five weeks to four weeks. I don’t do that because I prefer to have them more fully fledged when they are released. The heating unit is a critical part of the Surrogator’s success. Wild quail chicks need an external heat source during their first 3-4 weeks of life and the Surrogator’s heating unit is a champ. Young bobwhite quail rely heavily on bugs to fill their need for a high protein diet. Bugs need rain and moisture to reproduce and a casual survey of the number of grasshoppers is a good way to estimate brooding success for you previously released wild bobwhite quail.