Ornamental & Bobwhite Quail Information

Description

 Bobwhite

• 9.5" - 10.5" long

• Males - white eye stripe that extends from the beak through the eye to the base of the neck. White throat with the rest of the body being a brown to blackish brown colour. The chest and abdomen are tan marked with blackish brown.

• Females - goldish tan eye stripe that extends from the beak through the eye to the base of the neck. Goldish tan throat. The rest of the body is various shades of brown marked with brownish black except for the abdomen area which is tan lightly marked with brownish black.

• Ranges from southern Canada to Mexico


Variations:

Tennessee Red Bobwhite - Reddish brown body colour with black markings.  The male may have a black face and throat.

Mexican Speckled - Both sexes are gold and white marked with black.

White Bobwhite - Pure white body. Males usually have a black beak and a larger, more massive head.


Scaled Quail

• 9.5" - 12.25" long

• Blue grey colour. Marked on back, breast, and abdomen with blackish scale markings. Crest is upright and bushy like a Blue Jay's. Females have dark streaking on their throat and side of face while males do not.

• Ranges from SE Colorado and SW Kansas south into Oklahoma, New Mexico, western Texas and southern Arizona into central Mexico


Chestnut Bellied Blue Scale - similar to Blue Scale except that males have a chestnut area on their abdomen and females have a subtle chestnut hue to their abdomen.


California Valley

• 9.5" - 10.5" long

• Males have a black tear drop crest that tilts or curls forward. They have a black throat and the top of the head is a dark chestnut brown. The throat bib is outlined by white, as is the cap on the top of his head. The chest is blue-grey.  The abdomen is golden buff with black scale markings and a chestnut splotch on the belly.

• Females are a brownish-grey with scale markings on the abdomen and neck. The abdomen is generally whitish. The female has a small black teardrop crest that tilts forward.

• Ranges from southern British Columbia south to Mexico


Gambel's

• 9.5" - 10.5" long

• Males have a black tear drop crest along with a black forehead and throat. The cap on the top of the head is a reddish brown and is outlined with white right above the eyes. The black bib on the throat is also outlined with white. The body is grey. The flanks are reddish brown with white streaks.

• Females have a grey body. They have a smaller black teardrop shaped crest and a reddish grey cap. They also have streaked flanks.

• Ranges from the southwestern United States into Mexico


Diet

• We feed our breeders and young adults 20% crumble our tiny chicks 25% Turkey Starter crumble, and our growing chicks 20% crumble.

• They get fresh greens (lettuce, chickweed, dandelions, grass) when available.


Breeding

• Done in pairs, trios, or colonies.

• Quail are first year birds meaning that the female will lay eggs the spring after she is hatched. The male is fertile the first year.

• They start laying eggs in May and will lay every second day until they lay approximately 30 eggs. The exception are bobwhite who usually lay daily and can lay up to 200 eggs if adequate light is available. You can start them earlier with artificial light.

• Bobwhite and their colour mutations lay a small white eggs. California, Gambel's, and Scaled lay small splotchy or speckled eggs.


Incubation

• Eggs are set in an automatic turning Lyons Roll-X (RX2) with grid 209.

• Temperature 99.8°F, humidity-wet bulb 85 with humidity adjusted periodically depending on development of the air space shown by candling.

• On the final day of incubation, eggs are placed in oval wire mesh hatching baskets (6" x 3" x 3") and set in the Sportsman Ratite hatcher.

• Incubation for Quail is:

- Bobwhite: 21 days

- California 21-22 days

- Gambel's 22 days

- Blue Scale 23 days

• After the chick hatches, it stays in the hatcher for a minimum of 8 hours.


Chicks

• They start out in our round 18" brooder pen with a mixed assortment of quail and partridge chicks. After a few days they are separated into a 2' x 4' baby pen (bottom is 1/4" wire) for about four days to a week. They are then transferred to 2' x 6' pens (bottom is 1/2" wire) for the next 7-9 weeks. Ornamental varieties such as California, Blue Scale, and Gambel's can be grouped together. Mutant Colour varieties of the Bobwhite can be grouped together. They stay with this grouping until they go outside. All of these brooding pens have wire bottoms with a heat lamp at one end and feed & water at the other end. The heat lamp is attached to a dimmer switch so we can turn down the amount of heat as the chicks get older until it is turned off completely. Quail chicks are debeaked often. Bobwhite and mutant colour varieties should be separated at approximately 1 week old, as they are more aggressive than the ornamental varieties.

• After they are off of the heat for a few weeks, they are moved outside to the quail house. After they are toughened up, they are moved to an outside chick pen.

• Chicks are quite easy to raise with their own kind. Separate each type into same sex pens at about three months of age.


Pens

• Breeding pens are 6' long x 2' wide x 1' high.

• Outside chick pens are 8' long x 3' wide x 1' high. They have 1/2" wire bottoms and will hold approximately 25 chicks.


Behavior

• Bobwhite and their colour mutations are calmer, more docile birds which can be tamed fairly easily.

• The ornamental varieties tend to be more high strung and can be skittery and spooked easily.

• All quail can be tamed if adequate time is spent with them.


Article By Donna & Krissy Bush

Pheasant Ridge

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