The 2007-8 Season
I have waited this long to update because
I had hoped with the increasing day lengths that ther might be
something new to report in regards to my birds’ behavior this year.
There has not been much change from last year regarding the birds
behavior other than timing which I will mention below. One slight
improvement is that I did not lose as many birds due them going
elsewhere. There was still no recalling from the birds at a
volume loud enough to be heard any distance. I believe they were,
although not responding with calls, returning to the pen because of
hearing my electronic callback device. The only other explanation
might be that they, like most creatures, do have somewhat of a homing
instinct and just found their way back.
Timing this year was interesting and
confusing. In the original article on pen raised birds I pointed
out that I released birds permanently from
my quail pen usually around or before mid-April. Re-entering
cones were blocked at that time. The trigger events for doing
that was when the cocks started whistling bob-white, and the hens
started laying eggs. I haven’t heard any “bob-whites” since
spring of 2002. That seemed to be correlated with no egg
laying by the hens since then. Early this month (June) they did,
however, start laying (still no “bob-whites.” ) Also some of them,
during this same period of time started producing a normal covey call
loud enough to be heard a quarter mile. I have no
explanation for what is going on other than what I mentioned on the
previous two updates... instincts unintentionally bred out.
I also might add that it appears that this problem is spreading and is
not just here in Georgia.
The article by John Yates in Field Trial Magazine supports this.
Interesting observations regarding feed were made
this year. I located a source of feed grade soybeans and added them to
my feed mixture which was described in previous updates.. What
was fascinating to me was the preferences of the birds.
They changed with the time of the year with regards to some of the
ingredients. The sequence appeared to
parallel preferences of native wild quail. Early in the season
millet is the preferred feed; they didn’t touch the sunflower seeds nor
By the end of the season this was reversed. They would not touch
the millet then but gobbled down the sunflower seeds and soybeans
first. Cracked corn, wheat, and milo seem to fall somwhere in the
middle. Makes one wonder if this is some sort of inherited
biological clock corresponding with availabilty in the wild or if it is
only a matter of beak size and as they grow they prefer the larger
seeds. That would have a survivability factor in wild because of
less time required to feed on large seeds and thus less vulnerabilty to
Last year I ran across a new predator control device
for nightime predators. It is a solar-powered device called Nite Guard
Rather than go into details
here you are
referred to the Nite Guard
website. I will only say that it
appeared to work here in my case.
In the ‘05
addendum I mentioned adding nylon netting
inside the hardware cloth mounted on the inside edge of the 2X4
framing. The purpose of this was to decrease fraying of the
primaries which occurs when birds beat their wings against hardware
The nylon netting served this
purpose well and birds flew much better. Two new problems arose
which I will deal with on the next round. One problem was that
birds sometimes broke through the netting and became trapped between
the nylon netting and the hardware cloth thus badly fraying their
feathers. My solution for next time is stronger netting.
The other problem was litter from inside the pen
accumulating on the bottom plate (2X4) between the
internal nylon netting and the
external hardware cloth.
not an immediate problem but through years it would accumulate and
create environment conducive to rot on the base vertical (untreated)
framing. Bottom plates are pressure treated. Solution is for the
netting to have smaller openings than the current netting. Might also
add that a couple of times snakes came in through the cones and became
entangled in the nylon netting..... extracting them was no fun.
Received the following email from Tommy Graham in Texas:
can’t remember the exact dates of
the releases but I made two releases last year. Each release on
separate ranches but involved two surrogators. One ranch is a place
that use to have a pretty good population of quail but hasn’t had any
for the past few years. I released birds there in about July. After the
release I didn’t go back there to run dogs on them until right before
bird season, in late November. Didn’t find any birds.
The second ranch has a small
population of quail so that time I used
Tennessee Reds, so we could tell if we got into released birds or
native birds. I released those birds probably in mid-late September.
During muzzle loading deer season, late November, a friend reported
seeing a hawk dive into a covey of red quail and the location was about
150 yards or so from where I had one of the surrogators. After bird
season opened, we went back there on two occasions with dogs but never
found any of the birds.
I’m going to try again this
year & I’ll let you know how it goes.
One thing I’m going to do this time is I’m going to run dogs on the
birds a few days after release to see if I can locate them. If I do I
will occasionally run dogs on them to try & keep track. I think
maybe busting the birds up like that will help train them to relocate
& covey up.
This coming season if I can find good birds I will again try (1)
modification of surrogate system for two covies, (2) Gerald Moore's
idea on day olds imprinting on cock bird and cock bird taking care of
them for immediate release of newly hatched chicks, and (3) my
conventional system previously described in first article.