(originally published in Q.U. Magazine March/April 2003)
When I was a youngster staying on Uncle Jim’s rural farm in Virginia, the Johnny House was a place you ran to answer the call of nature. Back then we rated them as One Holers or Two Holers. If you train your own bird dogs you are probably familiar with a different type of Johnny House, often referred to as a Recall Pen.
The most common structures used are about four feet square and about six to eight feet tall. (Of course, in Texas they are twice this size.) The house has a screened in top area and ledges for the quail to fly up and sit on. Part of this screen area contains a door that can be lowered in order to let some or all of the birds out. The floor can be either solid plywood or hardware cloth. (I prefer a solid floor. Well talk about this later.) There is also a one way catch funnel located in the bottom of the house. This allows the quail to reenter the house but not leave again.
Johnny Houses for Quail II video is a great resource for those wanting to learn more about the use of Johnny Houses on their properties. This DVD produced by Daybreak Productions for Quality Wildlife covers the basics, the season of usage, field placement, preparing the house, Stocking the house, Usage, Maintenance, Disinfection and End of Season cleanup. Not only is this video informative; but Wildlife Biologist Jim Evans makes it really fun to watch!