Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version

May 2008


From Grouse and Quails of North America, by Paul A. Johnsgard (Lincoln, NE, 1973 & 2008). Electronic edition copyright © 2008 Paul A. Johnsgard.


The rearing of grouse and quail for enjoyment, profit, or stocking in the wild has been an important aspect of grouse and quail biology. The very presence of chukar and gray partridges in North America, the occurrence of ruffed grouse in Newfoundland and Nevada, the presence of bobwhites, scaled quail, and California quail in Washington, and many other examples are ample testimony to the potential value of careful propagation and release programs. Between 1938 and 1968 a total of 110,663 bobwhites, 18,136 other native quails, 7,977 grouse, and 50,568 chukar partridges were released under Pittman-Robertson programs in the United States (based on a recent summary provided by the Bureau of Sports Fisheries and Wildlife). An additional but unspecified number of gray partridges was also part of the release program. Yeatter (1935) estimated that more than 260,000 of these birds had been released in North America by the 1930s.

The problems of keeping and breeding grouse in captivity are distinctly different from and much greater than those of propagating quails and partridges, and as a result relatively few persons have succeeded in keeping and breeding grouse in large numbers or with consistent success. This is largely a reflection of the greater sensitivity of grouse to various poultry diseases and parasites that are transmitted by ground contact, forcing the game breeder to keep the birds on wire-bottom cages where they can have no direct contact with the ground or their own droppings. A summary of the diseases and parasites of grouse and quails has been provided by Bump et al. (1947) and Stoddard (1931), respectively, although the treatments recommended have been greatly modified in more recent years.

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