What do you think of when you think of a quail buffet? Perhaps you think this is a reference to supplemental feeding, but today’s post is about increasing the amount of forage for quail without supplemental feeding. The buffet line in this post refers to a disked strip of land.
Disking promotes the growth of forbs such as western ragweed, partidge pea, and croton, which are all good food sources for northern bobwhite quail. Not only are the forbs themselves eaten by quail, but the insects that eat forbs are an excellent source of protein for quail chicks. So, much like in a buffet line, a strip of forbs provides quail with a diversity of food options!
How do you create your own “quail buffet line?” Disk about 2-4 inches deep over about 5% of the area you are managing for quail. The cool months — November through March — are the best time to disk, so it’s not too late to try this quail management tool on your land.
Remember, food is only one part of the quail habitat equation. Choose to disk near good nesting and woody cover, so that foraging quail have easy access to shelter for themselves and their chicks.
For more information about disking, cover, and seasonal to-dos, check out the free Northern Bobwhite Management Calendar app.