I always look forward to a new season and cycle of raising wild bobwhite quail. This is my third year and I’m finally starting to see and hear the fruits of my labors. We had a terrible drought last year and I doubted that any of the approximately 700 birds I’d released had survived. I was starting to wonder if I knew how to raise quail! Although I didn’t make it out for call counts in May, every time I’ve been over to the ranch, I’ve heard wild quail calling from the tress – almost throughout the entire day. What a treat to know that my efforts to raise bobwhite quail are paying off!
10 Day Old Bobwhite Quail Chicks
I prefer 10 day old bobwhite quail chicks rather than 1 day old chicks. I like their hardiness and the fact that I don’t have to suffer that first week’s mortality. The slightly older birds seem to perform better in the surrogator and fly better when released. Some other people I talk with also use this approach to shorten their cycle from 5 weeks to 4 weeks and get another batch in over the Summer. I’m not in that much of a hurry and prefer the quality over the quantity because I think they make better wild quail.
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Heat Control and How to Raise Quail
Even though the bobwhite quail chicks are 10 days old, they still require supplemental heat – just not as much. This, I’ve come to understand, is one of the biggest and most valuable secrets of the Surrogator. Heat control is a critical element in how to raise quail. The heating unit has heat control as well as a thermostat to help regulate the internal temperatures. The little ceramic dish on top of the flame is also brilliant – it pushes the heat downward and conserves gas. When I start a cycle with 10 day old bobwhite quail chick, I start the thermostat at 3 instead of 5 which is the recommended second week temperature setting. We use less gas this way but the wild quail chicks do eat more food over 5 weeks.
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Bobwhite Quail Chicks Clumping
Even 10 day old bobwhite quail chicks clump when you first load them in the surrogator. They do this even through the heater is running. This is what would happen if there were not a heater and the chicks on the bottom would suffocate. It doesn’t take a lot to know how to raise quail but you do have to pay close attention to the basics. It doesn’t take them long to realize their new situation and begin feeding. They always seem to be hungry!
Bobwhite Quail Helper
One of the biggest benefits of raising wild bobwhite quail with a surrogator is having my daughters along to help me. It’s not always exciting and frequently involves some hard work but the time we get to spend together learning and raising bobwhite quail is precious. My daughters seem to like the loading and releasing weeks more than anything else and are developing a passion for wild quail.
Summary of A New Cycle of Raising Wild Bobwhite Quail
I’m always excited about another cycle of raising wild bobwhite quail. I’m hearing lots of birds this year that have come from previous releases or are the offspring from previous releases. I prefer 10 day old chicks instead of 1 day old chicks for their better performance and hardiness. I’ve learned a lot about how to raise quail and temperature control is critical even with 10 day old chicks. Even the slightly older birds tend to clump and this can cause suffocation. If you’re raising wild quail, take your kids with you – it is a tremendous opportunity to get to know them, teach them about our great outdoors heritage and pass on our passion for bobwhite quail.