07. Training Birds

Post date: Aug 16, 2011 6:06:48 PM

There's no way to train a bird dog without birds. The most common birds used for training are:


This is a breed of quail. They're cheaper than bob whites but don't recall as well and aren't as hardy. They fly well when they're young. These are the birds to get if you're going to take them somewhere, use them the same day and leave them there.

Remember that pen raised quail aren't as skittish as wild birds and will sometimes sit still while a puppy jumps in an eats it - this is very bad for your training. Most professional trainers who use pen raised birds use launchers to simulate a wild flush. See my tips on building a quail pen HERE.

Bob White Quail

Hearty bird that recalls well to about 100 yards and will live in captivity for months at a time. Good flyers.


Hardy bird. Bigger than a quail but smaller than a pheasant. Prefer to run rather than fly but are good flyers when they take to the air. Can be intimidating to a young pup.

Pheasant a/k/a "Ditch Parrot" a/k/a "Thunder Chicken"

Large, hardy birds. Difficult to handle. You'll need a large bank account if this is what you plan to use for training. You'll also need a flight pen if you're going to keep them for any period of time. Very fun to hunt. Not recommended for day-to-day training.

Homing pigeons

Will recall very reliably, even from tens of miles away. Extremely hardy and will reproduce in captivity. Won't sit on the ground voluntarily so you'll need a harness or bird launcher to train with them. See my tips on building a Pigeon coop HERE.