From The Magazine On Raising Quail
with Tammy Nelson
Among the most popular and commonly bred of the world's many quail species and breeds is the bobwhite quail. Thousands of bobwhite quail, including a variety of mutations or breeds of the bowhite, are produced on game farms to meet the demand from hunting preserves, state government restocking programs, gourmet food outlets, gun dog training and field trials, and people that simply make a hobby of raising quail. There is information on raising bobwhite quail and thousands of quail, eggs and chicks for sale in the Game Bird Gazette magazine.
University researchers and game bird breeders have developed special strains and quail breeds for meat production, egg production, and hunting. The numerous bobwhite quail mutations or breeds include the Tennessee Red Bobwhite (especially favored for hunting on shooting preserves), Tuxedo bobwhite, Silver bobwhite, White bobwhite, and Blonde bobwhite quail. Thousands of eggs, chicks and grown quail are available in each issue of the Game Bird Gazette magazine. The magazine is also packed full of great information and pictures on how to raise and market bobwhites and the various breeds that have been developed.
Having a large population, a fairly wide distribution, and desirable flesh, the eastern bobwhite quail is a favorite of many hunters. What makes them especially appealing to hunters is that it often lies close-by and is a fast flyer.
The name of the bobwhite quail comes from its delightful call, a sort of ah-bob-white, that registers cheerily upon the ear of game farm keepers or those fortunate enough to hear them in their natural habitat.
During most of the year bobwhites are easy going and good natured quail. However, spring time may bring out aggressive behavior in the males, which begin to quarrel over the favor of available females. In nature, fierce fights have been observed between rival males of this species, but in due time pairs form and the testiness of the mate selection process gives way to the joyful usiness of selecting a nest site and raising the chicks.
Many farmers like to have bobwhite quail around because they destroy certain weeds and eat harmful insects. Some farmers of the 19th century believed that utterances of the bobwhite quail signaled the coming of rain. So during periods of drought, farmers would listen carefully for their voices!
Bobwhite quail naturally lay about 15 eggs, but egg production in game farm birds can be much greater. With the main hatching season here, we are getting a lot of questions on some of the basics for hatching and rearing bobwhite quail. Here are a few things that can help ensure a good hatch and much more will appear in the upcoming issue of the magazine. Remember that every quail farm does things a little differently while at the same time there are many basic principles, like good sanitary practices, that should be adhered to.
Collect your bobwhite quail hatching eggs from the breeding pens at least three times daily. A good collection schedule is at 9-10 a.m., 2 p.m., and at 6-7 p.m. Gather the quail eggs more often, up to five times a day, if the weather is especially hot or cold. Many large bobwhite quail producers find it advantageous to place their quail eggs in flats which are stored in a thermostatically controlled environment where the temperature remains at about 60º F. (embryonic development can begin at about 76ºF which you definitely want to avoid)! Relative humidity should be about 70%. If quail eggs are set in the incubator before they are a week old, turning is not usually considered necessary.
Best hatching success with bobwhite quail will occur by using a good quality forced air incubator that should be up and running well ahead of when the first eggs are set. Most breeders hatch their quail eggs at a temperature of approximately 99.75º F and wet bulb humidity of around 86º F. The exact humidity setting used by different bobwhite quail breeders may vary from one quail producer to another depending on the local climate and other factors. Incubation time is about 23 days for the bobwhite quail.
There are numerous ways to build housing, brooders, etc. for keeping and breeding bobwhites that are described by quail breeders in their articles in the magazine. Game bird netting is often used in pen construction. J. A. Cissel Mfg. Co. has been a leading source of game farm netting for quail and game bird farms for decades. Quail producers can purchase a strong 30 lb. breaking strength polypropylene netting from J. A. Cissel that is excellent for quail pen construction in non-snow areas. It's lightweight and available in wider widths. It's also excellent for brooder pens for larger breeds and is excellent for quail and birds of similar size. Call J. A. Cissel Manufacturing Company or visit their website to purchase this product or obtain information on the many other types of netting they have available for quail, pheasants, and other game birds. They also have excellent catching nets and other products for the game farm.
Bobwhites are easy to take care of and breed when managed properly. Many game bird breeders specialize in producing them in large numbers and/or propagating the various mutations or breeds of the bobwhite quail. When starting out, it is important to obtain good quality stock from reputable and reliable game bird farms. Good sources for the eastern bobwhite quail and the various breeds and mutations are found in the Game Bird Gazette magazine. Each issue of the magazine has detailed information on breeding, hatching and rearing the common bobwhite quail and others as well. The Gazette has been serving quail and other game bird breeders for over 53 years. For information on subscribing to the magazine, go to the Game Bird Gazette main page.