Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Things have sure changed over time here on the Poor House Ranch.  As a child I could find quail everywhere.  My Pop's dogs would always jump them up out of the bushes and tall grass.  When we drove out to check cows we would see several coveys scurry across in front of us.   They would fly up right in front of the horses and ponies and startle our mounts.  Well, time passed and their numbers became less and less.  For many years now I have been very sad because I never saw them....ever.  I have gone years without hearing them sing or seeing them fly.  Lots of things contributed to their demise.  Things like coyotes, hawks, foxes even habitat changes.  Could one person change things?  Could I help?  I didn't know but it was worth a try.  So....

This spring I ordered day old quail babies from a well known and reputable hatchery.  100 !!!  And they are soooo tiny when they arrive.  And so fragile.  I really had to learn a lot and be watchful for trouble on those teeny tiny birds.   Oh, I lost some and cried for everyone that didn't make it.  I read more and tried to learn more to help them survive.  That was a tough venture.  The babies have to be kept at 100 degrees for awhile then gradually drop the temp down to 90 and kept at that temp for a period of time then drop the temp again.   It took months.   And they grew and grew.  Quail are birds that get startled by the slightest sounds so they would run from me when I would feed them or water them or clean their space.   Where was their space?   In my bathroom, of course.  It was like a sauna in there!!

Once they acclimated to a  temperature that was more normal and spring turned into summer I moved them outside into a small enclosure but still had the heat lamp on them so they could warm up if they choose to.  And they grew.   They began to chirp and make sounds.  When I approached with food and water they would be ultra quite like they do in the wild.  I had hopes that they would survive once I released them. 

That time came and it was way too soon for me....the mother bird.  I opened the end of their enclosure and spread out their feed in the tall grass and stood back.   They slowly ventured out and began pecking and scratching the ground in all that grass.  My heart swelled.   They stayed around their pen for days and I got to feed them a little longer.   They would come in from farther and farther out to get food and then one day they didn't come in at all.  

I have chickens and would call them and feed them and after several days the quail showed up again.  They had split up and gone in different directions.   Some came from one way and still others came from another way.   Slowly they stopped coming in for chick food but I would find them out in the pastures.  I could hear them singing.  I knew they made it.  

I haven't seen them in some time now but I have faith that they are out there in the brush and along hedge rows doing what quail do.   My neighbors about a mile in each direction have told me of their sightings of my quail in their yard and around the barn so they are surviving. 

I hope to add to the quail population again next summer by investing in day old chicks again.  It was expensive but very rewarding.   I go outside sometimes and give a whistle like a bob white quail and off in the distance I can hear a reply.  It is so magnificent. 

In my small way, I HAVE helped.  And that's what being a good steward of the land does.


  1. You are a good steward of the land. Good for you. That is quite a story.
    We have always taken little chickens or even baby pigs to start out in our bathroom. The warmest most contained place. LOL

  2. i am so glad i found this post. It brought tears of joy to my eyes. Isn't it amazing what one person can do. i am so pleased at your results.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. I have been neglectful with my blog and last week decided to make a post before the 10th of every month. So stay tuned.