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 coloured feathers in place of the white feathers of the males.

Note that these features are well-known and would be missed by 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 where 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 most common are the Tuxedo, Blonde, Silver and Tennessee Bobwhite quails. Here are few tips to have in mind when looking to raise Bobwhite quails.

  1. 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 the wild Bobwhites.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 at a minimum of three times daily.
  4. 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, maximum 70% and temperature kept at approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Try not to use an incubator to hatch Bobwhite eggs for at least seven days after the eggs are laid.
  6. 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.
  7. The incubator temperature should be at 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. At 6 weeks, they are ready to head outside. How you keep them is 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Do Bobwhite Quail Eat?

As adults, bobwhite quail feed mainly on grain crops and weed seeds. Popular weed species include common ragweed, yellow and green foxtail, beggar’s tick, hairy vetch, smartweed, yellow nutsedge, wild sweet pea, lespedeza, tick clover, and black medic. Preferred grain crops include soybeans, corn, and grain sorghum.

But generally, their diet includes seeds, leaves, insects. Diet varies with season and place. Eats many seeds (especially those of legumes), also leaves, buds, berries, acorns, roots, insects, spiders, and snails.

  1. How Can You Tell If A Bobwhite Quail Is Male Or Female?

You can tell if a bobwhite quail is male or female by observing their differences and one of the most noticeable differences between male and female bobwhite quails is the coloring on their heads. The male is brown with black markings, and both his throat and the area above his eye are brilliant white. The female has the same brown and black coloration but lacks the white details on her face and head.

Please 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.

  1. What Does A Quail Mating Call Sound Like?

The mating call of scaled quail roosters is quite simple compared to the 2-3 note song of the northern bobwhite. Roosters will give either a repeated, squealing “whock!” call or a “whock!” with an added “chip-churr” during the breeding season.

  1. How Do You Tell The Age Of A Bobwhite Quail?

The technique for aging quail is by the coloration of the primary covert feathers and the sequential molting and replacement of primary feathers of their wings. Buff-tipped primary coverts indicate the bird is a juvenile. The absence of buff-tipped primary coverts indicates an adult bird.

  1. Do Female Bobwhite Quails Call?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, males and females give a loud whistled bob-white that sweeps upward in pitch; the song is used mostly by unmated males during the breeding season. The bobwhite still calls several times each day, but especially in the late afternoon just before dark.

  1. Is It Legal To Raise Bobwhite Quail?

Yes, it is legal to raise bobwhite quail and as a matter of fact, bobwhite quails are typically raised for one of two possible objectives. The release of bobwhite quail is controlled by state wildlife regulations. Whether you hatch your own chicks or purchase day-old chicks, you will need a brooding area. The first few weeks are critical for the chicks to get off to a good start.

  1. Do Quails Mate For Life?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, when adult quails pair up and become a mated pair, it is not just for a single breeding season – these birds mate for life. They remain monogamous till death do them part.

  1. What Happens If A Quails Mate Dies?

Although, the male and female quail build their nest together and breed their chicks. In cases where the female quail dies, the male quail takes over incubating and taking care of the hatched chicks till they mature.

  1. How Long Does It Take To Raise Bobwhite Quail?

It depends on the purpose you are raising the bobwhite quail, but if you want to raise bobwhite quail for their meat and egg production, they are considered to be fully grown at six weeks and begin to produce eggs at eight weeks. Unlike chicken roosters, the crow of a male quail is not as loud, nor does it carry as far.

  1. What Are Quail Babies Called?

Baby quails are called chicks. Chicks hatch out of their eggs in less than a month. In most of the quail species, chicks are already well developed and able to leave their nest and follow their parents right after they hatch.

  1. What Do You Feed Breeder Quail?

In general, about 80 percent of a breeder quail’s diet will consist of grains. Most quail or game bird feeds will consist of: cracked corn, grains (barley, oats, rye, and wheat), millet, milo, oat grouts, popcorn, safflower seed, sunflower kernels, and sunflower seeds.

  1. Will Bobwhite Quail Sit On Eggs?

Yes, they will likely take turns sitting on the eggs and may sometimes sit on them together. As long as at least one parent is on the eggs, they should continue incubating. Paired couples are more likely to work together. Most breeds of quail hatch in 23-24 days, but Japanese quail usually hatch in 17-18 days.

  1. What Is A Female Quail Called?

A female quail is called a hen. Yes, a hen!

  1. How Much Does A Quail Egg Cost?

Well, the price quail eggs are sold for may vary from one location to another. In some areas, people only feel comfortable asking for $2.00 a dozen and in other areas of high demand, they are able to get $10.00 a dozen. With the middle range of $3.00-$5.00 a dozen being the most common for the price of quail eggs.

  1. How Many Quail Can You Keep Together?

The number of quail you can keep together should depend on the space you have available. Most often than not, you will see quail in small cages, which are probably the most common quail habitat. You can generally fit five to ten quail in one quail cage, depending on the size.

  1. Will Quail Lay In A Nesting Box?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, most of the domestic quails use nesting boxes for laying eggs. Like other domestic and prolific bird species, quails also like to lay eggs in a calm, secure and comfortable place. Providing nesting boxes for your quails will give them some extra needed comfort in laying eggs and it will make them well behaved.

  1. Can You Make Money Raising Bobwhite Quail?

Yes, you can make money raising bobwhite quail. This is so because bobwhite quail is becoming a profitable business. This bird is very low in fat content and is a popular meat for many people. Due to the growing popularity of the bird as an alternative to other meats, there is profitability in raising bobwhite quail.

  1. What Is The Best Age To Release Bobwhite Quail?

The best age to release a bobwhite quail is their adolescence age and that is between five to six weeks of age, rather than at full maturity (sixteen weeks or more), the quail are at the optimal age for adaptation to life outside in their new surroundings. If released as adults, Bobwhites have a more difficult time acclimating to their environment and are less likely to survive.

  1. How Many Eggs Will A Bobwhite Quail Lay In A Year?

Bobwhite quail hens do not lay as many eggs as the Coturnix, averaging 150 to 200 eggs annually. In contrast to the Coturnix, bobwhite eggs take between 23 and 24 days to hatch.

  1. What Is The Largest Bob White Quail?

The largest bobwhite quail is the Butler. Butlers are indigenous to the United States and are the largest member of the bobwhite family of quail. They are popular with hunters but not for farming since they take six months to reach maturity. The jumbo, however, is prized as a meat bird, since it matures in just five weeks, as well as for its eggs.