Bobwhite Quail Cycle 4 for 2010

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.

Raising a Week Old Bobwhite Quail
One Week Old Bobwhite Wild Quail

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.




Family Bobwhite Quail Raising
Loading Wild Quail in a Surrogator

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.

Young Bobwhite Quail Eating Chick Starter
Wild Quail Eating Scratch

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.

Raising Wild Quail in a Surrogator
Bobwhite Quail in a Surrogator

This is the surrogator locked and loaded and ready for raising quail.  The white powder is Sevin Dust to minimize ants and bugs.

Two Week Old Wild Quail
Bobwhite Quail at Two Weeks Old

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….

Three Week Old Bobwhite Quail
Raising Quail Three Weeks Old

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.

Wild Quail Escaped
Raising Quail Escaped

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.

Bobwhite Quail Hunting Dog on Point
Hunting Dog Needed for Raising Wild Bobwhite Quail

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.

Raising Quail Five Weeks Old
Wild Quail Five Weeks Old

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.




Loading the Wild Quail Chicks

I ordered 125 1 day old wild quail chicks from a supplier in Mountain Home, TX. He graciously met me in Kerrville to deliver the birds.

The wild quail chicks were delivered in a small cardboard box. Hard to believe that there are 125 of them in there.
Well, maybe not. One day old wild quail chicks turn out to be rather small!
You can actually hold about 6 in your hand at a time.
Here are the wild quail chicks, loaded in the Surrogator.
The surrogator is divided into two sections – a brooding end that is completely enclosed where the heat, food and water are and the loafing end that has mesh wire sides. During the first week raising wild quail, the wild quail chicks are confined to the brooding end.
This is the surrogator locked and loaded with the first batch of wild quail chicks.


Update 9/2012

I’ve now raised two finished seasons of quail and am on my third season now.  Although the break over winter is nice, the challenge of figuring out the best way to care for the quail chicks is enjoyable and definitely worth the efforts.  Browse our different posts on raising wild quail here and read about our most recent season here.


Go to the bobwhite quail or bring the wild quail to you?

It’s no secret that there is an ongoing bobwhite quail decline – not only in Texas but all across the United States.  There are several things being done but I’ve decided to see about raising bobwhite quail in a surrogator.  Our ranch is located, and we will be raising quail neat San Antonio, Texas.  The plan is to raise the bobwhite quail to release in the wild. We will be raising quail for hunting but that a long term goal after learning how to properly use the bobwhite quail surrogator, establish successful wild quail feeders and then have the wild population of bobwhite quail thrive on their own.


There are wild quail in Texas. But, if you live in Central Texas, you’re going to need to drive other 5 hours to South Texas or 7 hours to West Texas.

You’re also going to need to spend several thousand dollars for a lease.

Even then, you’ll need to outfit yourself when you go.

The other option is to bring the wild quail to you!

I did some research and found a company call Wildlife Management Technologies who build a device called a Surrogator.

I liked what I read but was skeptical.

The basic idea is that you put 125 day old chicks in the Surrogator, check them once a week and release them when they are five weeks old. Then, clean the Surrogator, move it to a new location and reload it.

Sounds simple enough to get genuine wild quail.

I called them and asked for the names of a couple people in my areas who were happy customers.

I talked to two people who had great things to say about the Surrogator.

So, I decided to order one and give it a try.



Here’s what I got.


My Surrogator is the XL version which conveniently breaks into two pieces for easier transport. This picture is of the two halves stacked on top of each other in the bed of my truck.

Now, all I needed to do was wait for chicks!