For pheasants, food is not much of an issue. As long as we don't get an ice storm...they'll do fine.

On the other hand, we're already losing quail. Even with adequate food supplies, when temps get too low quail simply can't physically take in enough calories to replace the heat lost.

Given the forecast for Saturday though Tuesday the quail population will suffer even more.

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
It's going to be tough on them persisting this long. The smaller coveys may be doomed. Pheasants will fare better. It would be nice if the sun would come out a bit. At least some space around cedar rows would melt off.

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
Everyone I know that feeds uses milo. For pheasants it could be milo or corn. Put it where they will have overhead cover.


Active member
I have a few Currie feeders out there already filled with milo. They placed on the on the edge of plum thickets with the holes positioned so that the birds are well protected by the thicket while they are feeding. A couple have been in place long enough that the thickets have expanded around them. It's difficult to fill them, but it provides better protection.


Active member
I have a few Currie feeders out there already filled with milo. They placed on the on the edge of plum thickets with the holes positioned so that the birds are well protected by the thicket while they are feeding. A couple have been in place long enough that the thickets have expanded around them. It's difficult to fill them, but it provides better protection.

Just scatter it out on the ground/grain roads or plum thickets instead

I personally would like to see baiting/feeding made illegal -- all it does is feed nest predators for the most part -- If you guys have cameras that feed set up on your feeders I'm hypothesizing that you mainly get photos of raccoons and possums vs of game birds or deer.

****I'm not picking a fight with you or demonizing what you are doing - just my personal opinion on game feeders -- people blame a lack of trapping on the prevalence of nest predators - but we forget half the state and most of the moronic crazy deer antler crazed hunters think they need to feed deer and by proxy are responsible IMO for the explosion in nest robbers. Not to mention a deer hunter for the most part wouldnt know what makes good habitat if it jumped up and bit them in the face. IE which is why a cedar and tree infested piece of garbage ground will sell for astronomical sums to some out of state or local guy thinking the next booner is behind half the trees - they forget the biggest ones are never seen and live out in the grass - dont need a tree to kill a big one.

The birds will be fine - I'm sure this cold will kill some of them - but areas where there is good healthy grass they should be ok. Warm season grasses have a better thermal properties imo than cedars which are the devil or invasive cool season grasses.

If anything and it limits pheasants and quail next year there should be plenty of prairie chickens to be found where they have the habitat.


Active member
How long can quail and phez survive if food sources are covered up in this weather?
I've read that quail have high body temps (over 100 degrees) that they must maintain. So if it gets cold enough, long enough - they can die of starvation standing on a bushel of milo. Bet more than one person here knows whether that is true or not.

Not advocating for global warming, man made or 'natural' but might be a silver lining.
I have heard again an again how quail in general are not able to handle the cold.....quite some years back, we had a pretty good cold snap hit here in central washington,along with 7 or 8" of dry snow.. temps down into the low negative temps
wife, dogs and I took a walk around the orchard, which is bordered by very good quail cover.super brushy and protected from the wind.
My older wirehair, over the course of 1/2 hour brought me 5 or 6 beautiful, but perfectly dead and frozen california quail. I suspect the covey had gotten broken up by a hawk or other predator just before dark and they just couldn't make it on their own. All were in good condition and had fat showing.
All of her finds were scattered over 1/4 mile of brushy edge...leads me to believe how important it is to not break up coveys late in the day.


Active member
There is no doubt that this can’t be good for the birds but as I drove out to check on my place outside of town this afternoon I saw multiple species of birds on the road. It dawned on me then that if meadowlarks and other birds of similar and smaller size are able to withstand these elements the quail likely will as well. This certainly isn’t the first time in history that we’ve had weather like this and birds haven’t went extinct yet so maybe we underestimate the little boogers just a bit.


Active member
Well all of this weather talk makes me think of a decade ago... down here in NE Ok we had a brutal February in 2011. That was followed up by two years of extreme drought as you all know. I assumed my bird hunting days were over. 2013 was one of the best seasons I’ve had Where I hunt in Osage county. That was followed by several really good years, especially out west. 2015-15 were phenomenal. I’d like prairie drifter to chime in on this. The first few years after numbers plummet were the best. Have been okay at best since about 2017. Please chime in prairie drifter....

is there something about the species that really kicks in when conditions are right after low reproduction for a few years? I mean, we have had okay years since but the first few after the crash were best.

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
Quail are a boom and bust species that has density dependent reproduction responses to population crashes. There are plenty of variables involved and those could lengthen or shorten the down curve in the population. My wildlife area quail population is usually on a 5 year cycle. The flooding in 2018 and 2019 has lengthened that down curve by a couple of years. It's frustrating to have habitat that is in excellent condition and not see the expected response. This is all bigger than us, so we just have to try to maximize our preparations so that when the increase comes, we can maximize the positive swing! Just completed my annual prescribed fire training yesterday. The current conditions are set up to jump back into drought conditions in the coming months. Whether that helps or hurts is again due to the conditions that we get and when.

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
Here is a quote from the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch:

Brrrrrr . . . I'd hate to be a quail over the next several days. It's deja vu Dec 1983, which is the coldest extended weather period I've ever experienced. Forecasts call for ice, snow, and low temps around 0 degrees F on Sunday and Monday nights.
Hopefully your quail have access to high quality thermal cover (e.g., junipers, tumbleweed-laden fencerows, plum thickets) and carbs to stoke their fires (energetically). This kind of weather at this time of the year, is about as bad as it gets for quail. Much of the grass has disappeared and seed supplies are at their seasonal lows. And when your crop is empty, you're forced to venture longer into the "landscape of fear" where predators have your number.
If you use supplemental feed, ensure your feeders are full or if broadcast feeding spin a few more seconds in the "honeyholes." I filled my deer feeders in OK last month with milo, then set the timer to spin only 2 seconds twice a day. Right now, I wish every deer feeder in TX followed the same protocol.
If you've got a game camera, set them on your feeders and see just "who's coming for dinner." You'll likely be amazed. Share any good pics you get with us.