Starting A New Season of Raising Quail

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Love the process of raising quail?  We do, too!  Whether it’s repairing a surrogator, maintaining a healty environment for the quail, preparing quail feeders and more, we know that there is a lot to do and learn about.  If you are looking for help and guidance or just to share your experiences, explore our site and bookmark us so you can check in and see how things are going as we raise our wild quail.


It’s that time of year to start raising quail again. It’s been a nice resting season between October and May but I’m excited to get started with my quail restoration again. The quail surrogator has been sitting in the barn waiting of repairs and my previous surrogator locations have been growing weeds and brambles during the rest period. It’s time to get my prep work completed and get the surrogator ready to load some baby quail and begin my third season of raising quail.

Equipment Maintenance for Raising Quail

Black and Red Quail Surrogator Rust Damage
Fix Your Quail Surrogator Rust Damage Every Spring

The surrogator that I use for raising quail is very well painted and protected but any piece of equipment that sits out in the weather exposed to animal feces and urine is going to show signs of rust. Most of the rust on my quail surrogator occurs along the bottom support pieces. It isn’t bad rust, mostly just surface rust. I think that may be because I do have an annual preventative maintenance program to clean it up and get the quail restoration surrogator repainted.









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Equipment Restoration for Quail Restoration

Black and Silver Metal Quail Surrogator Repairs Started
Wire Brush Away Rust to Start Your Quail Surrogator Repairs

I use a wire wheel and a lot of elbow grease to grind off all of the exposed rust spots from the quail restoration surrogator that I use for raising quail. Rust has generally been to extent of my maintenance problems. I have had to replace a hinge or two but usually do that in the field as the need arises. I don’t try to perform rust and paint maintenance between cycles because I usually empty, clean, move and refill the quail surrogator all in a single day. With the hot Texas Summers, I’m anxious to get the work done and the surrogator refilled. In this case, I had more rust than last year and spent a couple of hours working with a wire wheel buffing out all of the visible rust spots.








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Final Maintenance Touches Before Raising Quail

Quail Surrogator Repairs Finished with Black Spray Paint
Use Black Rustoleum Paint to Complete Your Quail Surrogator Repairs

After I buffed out all of the rust spots, I used Rustoleum black paint to repaint the exposed areas. I used this same paint last year (same can of paint!) and it held up well over the past year. I did a better job of buffing this year so I expect my repairs to withstand the elements even better this time around during another cycle of quail restoration. There were also a number of nicks and dings in my quail surrogator that exposed bare metal so I used this opportunity to cover those as well to prevent any additional rust from occurring during this season while I’m raising quail.






New Transport for the Quail Surrogator

Camoflage Wild Quail Surrogator Loaded in a Green Mule for a New Season of Raising Quail
The Wild Quail Surrogator Fits Loaded into a Mule for a New Season of Raising Quail

We moved the entrance gate at the ranch and built a barn so the roads out to the quail surrogator locations aren’t as easily accessible via truck as they have been in previous years. So, I loaded the quail restoration surrogator in the mule to see if everything would fit – and it did with the exception of my water barrel to fill the surrogator water barrel. I love that the surrogator XL breaks down so easily for transport. This makes it even easier to manage my operation of raising quail.






Ready to Begin Raising Quail – Again!

Camoflage Quail Surrogator, White Gas Bottle and Green Water Tank Show a New Season of Raising Quail Ready
Quail Surrogator Locked and Loaded for New Season of Raising Quail

I am going to reuse previous year’s quail restoration locations this year. I have 5 previous locations that I’ve used for raising quail and of those, three seem to perform better in the long run than the others. Since there are already wild birds from previous releases in these areas, I can assume that the habitat is sufficient for the quail and that releasing new birds into that habitat with the existing populations will help them survive even better after release. Just seeing my quail surrogator installed and ready makes me excited to begin the raising quail season again.






Summary of Starting A New Season of Raising Quail

I’ve begun my annual cycle of raising quail and scheduled and completed my annual quail surrogator maintenance. My quail restoration maintenance mostly it involves buffing out rust posts and repainting with a rust proof spray point. I’m using a mule this year instead of my truck to move and install my surrogator. The surrogator XL fits just fine in a mule with the exception of my water supply barrel. I’m reusing past locations that have proven to hold wild birds after release instead of starting new locations and running the risk of higher mortality after release.



Week 2 in the Surrogator

Seven wild quail chicks died during the second week so the count in the Surrogator is now down to 103.


The two week old wild quail appear to be very healthy and growing quickly.


There also appears to be plenty of room for them in the surrogator.


My bird dog appears to be particularly interested in the process – imagine that!




I’ve also scouted the location for Round 2 of surrogating wild quail. Next week I will take some extra time and clear the brush in Location #2.

Feeling like you walked in on the middle of a conversation?  Read about Week 1 in the Surrogator



Get caught up on the wild quail chicks’ experience in the surrogator:




Initial Setup of a Surrogator in the Field

After selecting the location for our first field trial, it’s time to setup the Surrogator to house the wild bobwhite quail to release in the wild.

We assembled the heating unit and the water so the wild quail chicks will have ample heat. Hard to imagine that they need heat in the TExas Summer but when they are less than 3 weeks old, quail chicks have trouble regulating their body heat. Without a heat source, they will clump up and smother each other.
My Surrogator model is the XL. The XL is very convenient as it breaks into 2 pieces that can be easily transported in a pickup. However, those two pieces need to be clamped together. I elected to add a zip tie to the clamp as a bit of extra insurance.
I also bought the Chick-Aid as part of the Surrogator package. Most experienced Surrogators say you don’t need it but since I have it, I’m going to use it. Also, the Surrogator instructions recommended putting the feed on rough paper plates for the first week so that it would be easy to find for the wild quail chicks.
Wild quail chicks need water. Since we don’t have water easily available to the selected location, we needed to haul water. I repurposed a plastic barrel and added a water spigot and short hose so we could haul water. That’s my Dad looking authoritative.

Raising Bobwhite Quail and Surrogator

Update 7/11/11 – The promise of raising bobwhite quail and the surrogator is true – they work like a charm – as long as you know a few tips and tricks that aren’t so obvious in the manual. In my case, quail raising near San Antonio, Texas, I had four successful releases in 2010 and plan for four more in 2011.