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Northern BobWhite

 
Adult Pair $10.00
Chicks $1.50
Eggs .80
 
 

The popular Bobwhite Quail is a favorite of game bird breeders, hunters and bird lovers alike. Just about everyone is familiar with male's call for which the species is named. These plump birds have the most widespread range of any quail species, ranging from Canada to southern Mexico.

Of the subspecies, the Eastern Bobwhite, is the most often kept and seen. They are found in a variety of habitats, from open woodlands & fields to suburban parks. Males have a white throat and eye-line, with a dark crown and a black line that separates the white on the throat to the eye-line. The lower breast is mottled white & dark brown; sides have light brown streaks and the back and rest of the body mottled brown overall; tail gray. The hens are similar, but her throat and eye-line is buff and her overall color is somewhat lighter. They form large groups during the winter called coveys. These coveys can consist of up to 30 or more birds and when disturbed, all will burst into flight at once.

 

Breeding:

Bobwhites present no problems in captive rearing, and can be produced easily in small or large aviaries. Many producers house their breeders in breeding batteries, some as small as 1'x1'x1' and keep them in trios or pairs. You can choose to colony mate (several hens with two or three males), trios (one male with two hens) or in pairs.

Bobwhite hens begin laying in mid April and may lay all summer long. The eggs are pure white and are incubated for 21 days. You will probably have to use artificial incubation with this species, as many captive hens are mass producers of eggs are highly unlikely to go broody in a cage setting.

 

General Comments:

As mentioned, Bobwhites are easy to keep and raise. They are often one of the first species of quail for the beginning quail breeder and many long-time breeders keep them around for the male's call. Like many other species of quail, they seem to do best on wire, but can be kept on the ground if the aviary is well-drained.

During the Winter, birds that are not kept indoors such as a barn, should be grouped together so they can form natural coveys for warmth. I also recommend keeping dry straw or hay in the cage during the Winter.

Bobwhite should be fed a good quality game bird ration of at least 16% protein during the non-breeding season to 20% during the laying period.

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