How to prepare a habitat for quail can be a bit of a process. It’s important not to overlook a few key things before the birds arrive because it’s much easier to set up a large sanctuary when it’s empty.
Before we dive in, I want to answer all those questions about when Bobwhite quail will arrive here at the grove?
The answer to that question has a lot more to do with our weather than anything else. I’m hoping towards the beginning of June.
You might remember I used this space last summer to raise a few baby chickens? It was a positive experience and the new sanctuary worked perfectly. I was basically using those chicks to test the run.
My plan was to add quail shortly after that. Then it started raining in September so I tabled the arrival of quail waiting for the ground to dry out.
Here we are in May and I’m still waiting for the ground to dry. Can you believe we’ve had rain almost every week since September?
To say I’m anxious for the arrival of quail would be an understatement, I decided instead of focusing on the weather, getting their habitat ready would be a better use of my time.
Clearing the Grass
Since the ground has been extremely wet, I made a clear decision against planting Spring grass seed. Instead I allowed the grass transplanted last fall to get established.
This includes letting it grow, trim and repeat.
I started this towards the end of March and it’s paying off because the grass is already thicker.
I use my Sthl weed eater and in just a few minutes the grass is trimmed and the cuttings are left behind to work into the ground. This has helped fill in low and thin areas, create a solid base and allows the grass to grow back healthier each week.
It takes about three weeks to see results and it’s possible if the rain slows down, I may still sprinkle in some seed.
To learn more about planting quail grass read here.
Making A Path and Nesting Boxes
After the last trim I decided to leave some tall grass behind; this will be expanded towards the back right and the front left.
The goal is to leave just a walk path in front of the raised beds where I have vegetables growing.
Offering tall grass is important, this helps the quail feel calm in their environment in addition to providing shelter and places to nest.
In this space I’ve also offered three shelter boxes; the quail will use them during all types of weather. I’ve made mine via scrap wood back when we lived on the farm.
These boxes can also be raised off ground with landscaping timbers during wet or colder temperatures. Get those building nest box details here.
Food Dishes and Details
Also make sure to add necessary food dishes, these are moved around because quail are messy and many times if dishes are left in the same location, they will attract fire ants.
Additional details like adding logs or tree branches is also a good idea. I’ve only incorporated a few small logs at the moment but I have some nice branches I plan to include once the ground is dry.
Bobwhite Quail use this debris to perch or hide and it’s nice to have natural elements in their sanctuary for them to explore.
Checking the Exterior
The final step would be to check the exterior wire. Inspect square footage by making sure wire is secure and no force of entry has occurred, then make any necessary corrections.
I want to bring attention to the peppermint border; it’s growing outside the sanctuary working like a charm.
This was incorporated last summer to detour rodents and so far, there hasn’t been a point of entry. Learn more about mint borders here.
Planting a mint border around coops and garden areas is something I highly recommend because it does help detour rodents; dogs don’t like it either.
This sanctuary is also placed in a fenced area so make sure to check your fence line as this will help keep quail safe from predators. Placing all types of quail housing in a fenced area is necessary.
Quail that live on the ground have a neat life, they’re allowed to use their instincts and thrive as God intended. I love that!
This habitat is ready for quail, we just need some dry out time before welcoming a new flock at the grove.