Bobwhite quails are unique birds with a call that can be heard across fields and valleys of their range, which is throughout the eastern United States and down into Central America, and parts of Washington state, Oregon, and Idaho.
Even with their loud voices, the protective coloration of these popular game birds makes them quite hard to find in the grass and brush of their natural habitat. Both male and female quails are patterned with dapples of black, white, and brown, making them almost invisible unless they move.
The sex of a Bobwhite quail is more or less easy to distinguish by the coloration of the feathers on the head and the neck of older birds. Males are known to have a distinctive white eye stripe that extends from the bill through the top of the eye to the back of the neck, with brown to brownish black coloration above.
Also, note that their ear region has black to hazel brown feathers that extend backward below the white eye stripe and expands under the throat to form a blackish collar surrounding a white chin and throat. Females have buff colored feathers in place of the white feathers of the males.
Note that these features are well-known and would be missed by a few. However, other plumage characteristics also may be used to determine sex in young birds that are at least eight weeks old, when adult head plumage has yet to develop or when only a wing is available.
Males are known to have fine, sharply pointed markings on the central portion of the middle wing coverts, while females have wider, dull gray bands that do not contrast sharply with the rest of the feathers. The white on a female, on her belly, is broken up by black edging on the feathers, giving her breast and underside a scaly appearance. The male has the same scales but is brown and grey whereas the female is white.
Tips on How to Successfully Raise Bobwhite Quails
One of the most popular types of quail that is desired by hunters is the Bobwhite Quail. This well-known Bobwhite quail specie can be raised on quail farms to accommodate the needs of backyard hobbyists and quail hunters. Note there are many varieties of Bobwhite Quail.
Some of the most common is the Tuxedo, Blonde, Silver, and Tennessee Bobwhite quails. Here are a few tips to have in mind when looking to raise Bobwhite quails.
- Bobwhite quails lay eggs in large quantities, typically 15 at a time, possibly more depending on how and where the quails are raised. Farm-raised Bobwhites can yield more than wild Bobwhites.
- Make sure all equipment is available before supplying quails. A quail breeder will need an incubator, a coop, and of course a brooding section to put the quails’ coop. So instead of purchasing live quails, the ideal and cost-efficient option is to invest in quail eggs. But having adequate knowledge is imperative to successfully breeding and raising the birds. When more information is available, the hatching yield rate will be much higher.
- The Bobwhite quail eggs for hatching should be collected and removed from the place they were laid several times throughout the day. Also, remember to prepare a certain time of day to perform this task. This should be done a minimum of three times daily.
- Remember to keep the Bobwhite quail eggs in a flat similar to plants. The flats should be in a location where the temperature of the environment can be controlled. Low humidity is required, a maximum of 70% and the temperature kept at approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Try not to use an incubator to hatch Bobwhite eggs for at least seven days after the eggs are laid.
- Also, use the right type of incubator as this will increase the success rate of hatching. Choose an incubator that uses forced air to hatch a larger collection of fertile quail eggs. The unit should be available for use before buying eggs for hatching. Preparation is the key.
- The incubator temperature should be around 99 degrees. The humidity level in the incubator should be 86 degrees. Note that the quality of incubators will vary, so choose appropriately to meet your needs.
- Another crucial factor is to keep the wet bulb wick clean to prevent an environment reading that is not correct. The wick must be cleaned regularly. Just like with a toothbrush, replacements are required periodically.
- When using an incubator to hatch the quail egg, note that the timeframe is approximately 3 weeks for a bobwhite quail to emerge from the egg shell.
- Don’t be afraid to handle them either! Bobwhites are a bit nervous as adults and many of them can stress horribly. So handling them as babies will make it much easier on them as adults should you need to handle or examine them. It is best not to handle adult Bobwhites unless you have to as they can injure themselves very easily and some can go into shock from fear. So handle them as babies as much as possible.
- At 6 weeks, they are ready to head outside. How you keep them is a personal preference. Some people keep them in cages or pens as they are called. You can keep them in rabbit hutches or even large flight pens or aviaries.
Bobwhite quail production can be a lucrative enterprise if the birds are managed properly. It is recommended that quail producers either raise hatching egg chicks or grow out quail from hatching until 17 weeks of age and avoid producing both at the same time. However, Bobwhites will not be able to be sexed until around 12 weeks of age.