Hunting Washington Forum

Other Hunting => Upland Birds => Topic started by: Angry Perch on May 17, 2021, 08:33:23 AM

Title: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on May 17, 2021, 08:33:23 AM
I'm trying to maintain/ boost the quail population at our place in Sequim. I'm leaving some margins on the the edges of the field when mowing, adding some more thickets (there is currently some thick stands of wild rose and a tree line of shore pine), and putting in some brush piles for cover as the place is crawling with raptors. I'm also looking into feeding, and have been looking at 5 gallon bucket feeders. Anyone have experience with feeding quail, or any game birds? Any advice would be helpful.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: ellensburgpo on May 17, 2021, 08:38:41 AM
I out bird seed mix from the hardware store and they hammer it. There’s tons of natural food but they still will eat the store stuff.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on May 17, 2021, 08:41:35 AM
I out bird seed mix from the hardware store and they hammer it. There’s tons of natural food but they still will eat the store stuff.

Are you using a feeder, spreading it on the ground, or?
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Fishmaker57 on May 17, 2021, 08:49:16 AM
We have been feeding Quail every winter for the last 13 years, and it seems to maintain  our groups at very healthy levels. Our feeders is a 55 gallon drum, as we hold around 250 - 300 Quail at any one time. We only feed once the snow is on the ground, as there is ample habitat and feed until that point. Several things you can do to help with increasing the numbers of birds, some of which you mentioned. Brush piles are great, as they can evade predators and gives them a place to get out of the weather. Racoons, Opossum, Crows, and Magpies are a big problem, as they are egg stealing machines, and will pick on the young. When putting up feeders, make sure you put sheep fence or some other barrier around them, so Deer / Elk don't eat it all. One thing we have learned, both through reading books on the subject, and our own experience, is that you can only increase the population to a certain extent. Habitat and predation will keep things at a certain level, but feeding is key once the weather sets in.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on May 17, 2021, 08:56:41 AM
We have been feeding Quail every winter for the last 13 years, and it seems to maintain  our groups at very healthy levels. Our feeders is a 55 gallon drum, as we hold around 250 - 300 Quail at any one time. We only feed once the snow is on the ground, as there is ample habitat and feed until that point. Several things you can do to help with increasing the numbers of birds, some of which you mentioned. Brush piles are great, as they can evade predators and gives them a place to get out of the weather. Racoons, Opossum, Crows, and Magpies are a big problem, as they are egg stealing machines, and will pick on the young. When putting up feeders, make sure you put sheep fence or some other barrier around them, so Deer / Elk don't eat it all. One thing we have learned, both through reading books on the subject, and our own experience, is that you can only increase the population to a certain extent. Habitat and predation will keep things at a certain level, but feeding is key once the weather sets in.

Thanks for the great info. As far as fence around the feeder, I was also planning on some type of screen over the top, as they'll be easy pickings for the hawks.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: ellensburgpo on May 17, 2021, 09:07:39 AM
I out bird seed mix from the hardware store and they hammer it. There’s tons of natural food but they still will eat the store stuff.

Are you using a feeder, spreading it on the ground, or?

My kids just throw it out on the ground in an area they use. My dad does the same thing at his place and they learn where it’ll be. They like doing it so no reason to make it more complicated by getting a feeder.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Special T on May 17, 2021, 10:13:47 AM
Ive done some research on this as well. One of the brush pile designs was a log cabin fire styked stacking of 4-6" logs then tossing the brush over the top some designes secured thenlogs together then places a piece if tin or plywood over top to keep the pule dry. This may be less of an issue depending upon if your in the rain shadow or not..

That and do everything in your power to kill of predators.

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Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Fl0und3rz on May 17, 2021, 10:14:13 AM
Tag.  I'd like to foster a bevy or two here.  I'd noticed here that they like thickets and for landscaping shrubs, evergreen, low ground covers, and a few take up residence in a neioghbor's dwarf ornamental evergreen, maybe a fir, with the limbs down low.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on May 17, 2021, 10:28:02 AM
Ive done some research on this as well. One of the brush pile designs was a log cabin fire styked stacking of 4-6" logs then tossing the brush over the top some designes secured thenlogs together then places a piece if tin or plywood over top to keep the pule dry. This may be less of an issue depending upon if your in the rain shadow or not..

That and do everything in your power to kill of predators.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

I've seen that as well. Some use a stack of pallets, but I'm not leaving old pallets laying around the joint. 
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: ellensburgpo on May 17, 2021, 11:15:31 AM
I have two “quail condos” on my property. I just used the slash from cutting a bunch of willows and everything I didn’t want for firewood. It’s big enough and random enough it would be difficult for predators to get in there, and certainly not very quickly. They closely resemble the area by our creek they also naturally use for roosting. Turkey hunting last week I saw tons of quail using old slash piles for the same thing in clear cuts and selectively logged areas.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Special T on May 17, 2021, 12:26:24 PM
Ive done some research on this as well. One of the brush pile designs was a log cabin fire styked stacking of 4-6" logs then tossing the brush over the top some designes secured thenlogs together then places a piece if tin or plywood over top to keep the pule dry. This may be less of an issue depending upon if your in the rain shadow or not..

That and do everything in your power to kill of predators.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

I've seen that as well. Some use a stack of pallets, but I'm not leaving old pallets laying around the joint.
I belive pallets are a better solution on  the East side where they are less prone to rot as quickly. If i were so inclined  i would debark notch and pin logs 3 tall and cap with something rain proof. Perhaps drill a hole and pin with a short chunk of rebar then brush up.

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Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Special T on May 17, 2021, 12:28:24 PM
Tag.  I'd like to foster a bevy or two here.  I'd noticed here that they like thickets and for landscaping shrubs, evergreen, low ground covers, and a few take up residence in a neioghbor's dwarf ornamental evergreen, maybe a fir, with the limbs down low.
In the cold NE ive read that keeping snow off them in the pile and a thick pile of brush helps keep the wind chill down and drifing snow out. I think that is why you often see them in ornamental trees like you describe.

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Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: nwwanderer on May 17, 2021, 12:43:15 PM
The soon to be hatched babies are dependent on temperature and protein, insects for wild quail.  Dominant pairs will gather more than their own and subordinate pairs will often set again giving many different age classes during late spring and summer.  Winter annuals, biennials and some perennials give great thermal cover and insect production.  Try to focus on those if you do food plots.  Winter feeding certainly helps but expect predators, owls and hawks especially, to take advantage of your program.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Special T on May 17, 2021, 01:16:15 PM
On the bug portion of the program i heard that disking strips of dirt make it easier to get at bugs. Not necessarily applicable to Sequim but in the south the disking of strips next to cover or in amongst the pine trees helped.

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Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: nwwanderer on May 17, 2021, 01:46:01 PM
The best crops for cover and bugs that I have used are sweet clover, biennial, and winter canola, winter annual.  Both tall for cover and insect factories.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Forks on May 17, 2021, 06:33:04 PM
I just throw feed out the ground for them. Find a old box spring and burn it. Use what's left for the ultimate condo once Blackberries or brush grow over it.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Man Tracker on May 17, 2021, 07:15:32 PM
Great book on the subject, "The California Quail, by A. Starker Leopold (son of Aldo).  Lots of good info on quail, even if it a little aged.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on May 18, 2021, 08:45:31 AM
Great book on the subject, "The California Quail, by A. Starker Leopold (son of Aldo).  Lots of good info on quail, even if it a little aged.

Looks like a good resource. Just ordered a copy.
Thanks!
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: baldopepper on May 18, 2021, 08:59:27 AM
Tried feeding them around my place but seemed to be a predator magnet. Hawks mostly but had to also dispatch a few feral cats that appeared.  Don't know why some people think it's ok to drop cats/kittens off in the country side but they are really rough on quail and other small birds. Don't have any homes really nearby so don't know how else they can keep showing up.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on May 21, 2021, 01:41:45 PM
Tried feeding them around my place but seemed to be a predator magnet. Hawks mostly but had to also dispatch a few feral cats that appeared.  Don't know why some people think it's ok to drop cats/kittens off in the country side but they are really rough on quail and other small birds. Don't have any homes really nearby so don't know how else they can keep showing up.

My wife adores cats, until they get close to a bird feeder. Then it's open season!
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Rainier10 on May 21, 2021, 01:48:19 PM
Ive done some research on this as well. One of the brush pile designs was a log cabin fire styked stacking of 4-6" logs then tossing the brush over the top some designes secured thenlogs together then places a piece if tin or plywood over top to keep the pule dry. This may be less of an issue depending upon if your in the rain shadow or not..

That and do everything in your power to kill of predators.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

I've seen that as well. Some use a stack of pallets, but I'm not leaving old pallets laying around the joint.
I was told pallets are the way to go, "quail condos".

I was also told "the real key is to kill every raptor you see".  :yike:

I would suggest you only follow the first tip, that second one is not a good idea.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Birdguy on May 23, 2021, 07:59:12 PM
Lots of great info here, i think all the major points are covered. Predators, cover, food, water, nesting habitat, predators!! The fencing around any feeder you have is mandatory or the Coopers and sharp shinned hawks will feast on them. Also remember to follow the current issues with any other wild bird sickness, congregate birds around a food source and sickness outbreaks get bad in hurry (thinking specifically of the recent issues our state had this spring) if issue arise reduce your feeding and do not leave food out during such an outbreak. They sell birdseed blocks at most feed stores they make them for wild birds as well as chickens. Placed under a cover in one of the habitat piles mentioned it will last quite a while and hold up well. Good luck!! 
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Mech on May 28, 2021, 03:56:06 PM
I have always wanted to have quail running around on our Sequim property.
Most of the property is forest and bush.
The only thing we really don’t have is water.
How can I get by that?
Would a drip system to a couple of pans work?
Thanks.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: rasbo on May 28, 2021, 05:13:32 PM
I use cracked corn,it's cheap and the go nuts for it.  I feed next to shrubs and my shed.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on June 07, 2021, 10:08:58 AM
Put together a prototype feeder yesterday. Going to paint it green, mount it on a 2"-ish stand and surround with rebar mesh. Will figure out a lid with an overhang to keep the feed dry.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on June 14, 2021, 09:32:03 AM
Got the feeder installed with a "raptor cage" around it. Also put in a watering hole that fills off the drip system for the trees. Put weed fabric underneath, and covered with gravel from the driveway and coarse sand. Quail were on it immediately.

Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Birdguy on June 14, 2021, 07:44:26 PM
Liking the idea and efforts! The auto water source is awesome! If it were me I would make that cage around the feeder BIGGER to protect the birds a bit more, maybe build some even "fake" cover into the tree branches so the birds have a better escape route to real cover. I would also watch the tree for hawks and consider topping it to not give the birds of prey a perfect perch right above the feeder. It must have been really rewarding to watch them come right in to your special project!!
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on June 16, 2021, 10:36:16 AM
Liking the idea and efforts! The auto water source is awesome! If it were me I would make that cage around the feeder BIGGER to protect the birds a bit more, maybe build some even "fake" cover into the tree branches so the birds have a better escape route to real cover. I would also watch the tree for hawks and consider topping it to not give the birds of prey a perfect perch right above the feeder. It must have been really rewarding to watch them come right in to your special project!!

I agree on the cage. It is just a sheet of rebar mesh, so I worked with what I had. I have 50 bare root vine maples heeled in waiting to be planted in the fall (along with 10 Serviceberry and 40 Nootka Rose) as additional thickets throughout the property. I think I'll plant a few of the maples around the pond/ feeder and train them to arch over it and provide some shelter. Immediately to the right of the feeder is a patch of Nootka Rose about 20' x 50'. They love to hang out in there, as it's virtually impenetrable from the top.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Birdguy on June 16, 2021, 05:23:11 PM
Solid plan! I love it! Best of luck to you!
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on June 16, 2021, 07:31:22 PM
Solid plan! I love it! Best of luck to you!

Thanks Birdguy.  :tup:
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on June 17, 2021, 11:25:30 AM
Any recommendations for food? Currently it's just cracked corn. I also plan to set some posts in and around the area. Dad likes to hang out on a perch to keep an eye on the kids. There are some old, grey posts laying in the field that look like they'd make good lookouts.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Fishmaker57 on June 17, 2021, 01:02:37 PM
We just feed chicken scratch and they love it, usually feeding 200+ in the winter, but only when the snow gets over 3 - 4". Once they are on it, we are feeding 50 lbs a week!
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Birdguy on June 17, 2021, 03:56:52 PM
Scratch or cracked corn is good for winter and supplemental other times but the corn will put fat on them and can reduce their ability to reproduce. They sell gamebird seed blocks that will sustain them and last a long time. They will likely just stop in from time to time outside of winter but keep an eye on how often they are and how much they are eating. Watch the numbers and make sure your predators aren't just eating your efforts.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on June 17, 2021, 04:20:44 PM
Scratch or cracked corn is good for winter and supplemental other times but the corn will put fat on them and can reduce their ability to reproduce. They sell gamebird seed blocks that will sustain them and last a long time. They will likely just stop in from time to time outside of winter but keep an eye on how often they are and how much they are eating. Watch the numbers and make sure your predators aren't just eating your efforts.

Great info. Thanks.
Predators are my main concern, as the place is lousy with hawks and those white headed crows.  :o
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Birdguy on June 17, 2021, 06:13:27 PM
Scratch or cracked corn is good for winter and supplemental other times but the corn will put fat on them and can reduce their ability to reproduce. They sell gamebird seed blocks that will sustain them and last a long time. They will likely just stop in from time to time outside of winter but keep an eye on how often they are and how much they are eating. Watch the numbers and make sure your predators aren't just eating your efforts.

Great info. Thanks.
Predators are my main concern, as the place is lousy with hawks and those white headed crows.  :o


Hopefully the white headed crows will be feasting on the neighbors chickens as they are a much bigger better meal! The hawks is what to watch and any raccoons, cats etc. That is why I say watch that tree top, hawks will be quite visible until you train them.  :tup:
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on June 17, 2021, 09:59:46 PM
Scratch or cracked corn is good for winter and supplemental other times but the corn will put fat on them and can reduce their ability to reproduce. They sell gamebird seed blocks that will sustain them and last a long time. They will likely just stop in from time to time outside of winter but keep an eye on how often they are and how much they are eating. Watch the numbers and make sure your predators aren't just eating your efforts.

Great info. Thanks.
Predators are my main concern, as the place is lousy with hawks and those white headed crows.  :o


Hopefully the white headed crows will be feasting on the neighbors chickens as they are a much bigger better meal! The hawks is what to watch and any raccoons, cats etc. That is why I say watch that tree top, hawks will be quite visible until you train them.  :tup:

I've seen raccoons, bobcats and domestic cats on my trail camera. My first order of business is to give them plenty of cover by planting thickets.
Title: Re: Feeding quail
Post by: Angry Perch on June 21, 2021, 08:56:49 AM
Watched a hawk come in hot Saturday, and Dad quail chased him off. So I put some brush over the feeder/ watering hole for a quick fix. An hour later Mom and Dad were giving the kids a tour of their new digs. Pretty cool stuff.