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Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not? (They have arrived!)
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Author:  Azira [ Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not? (They have arrived!)


Just knocking together a quail enclosure and I had to stop for a second to work out how big to make the coop part in relation to the rest of the pen. But after doing some reading, I've come across quite a few things about quail not using or not needing an enclosed coop like chickens do?

I'm making a simple triangle enclosure, one end was going to be the coop. Should I make a box for them (four sided with door opening) to go into or should I just create a covered end (three sided) and just put in some baffles/walls and the like for them to go behind?


Author:  PossumCorner [ Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

Option 2 sounds okay as long as it gives enough shelter. Mine were in 3x2 metre pens with larger runs attached. Their preference was to stay in the runs, sleep under the stars, get wet if it rained. But if it was too wet, or windy, or sunny they would then positively use the pen for shelter. Just not as a regular habit, only to dodge more extreme weather.

Author:  Azira [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

The sheltered part would be as wide as a sheet of trimdeck, so a little over 762mm wide, with the back end covered too.

I was thinking about how I was making it with the bits and pieces I have lying around here, and I think I've got enough to make a fully enclosed coop/house. Even if they don't use it, I might as well make it so it's there. It'll probably help stabilise the structure anyway. I was thinking that if I raise the base of the coop a little then they can have a place to hide underneath when it gets too hot. My chickens like to do that with their coop.

Thanks for the feedback PC, it's greatly appreciated. I don't think they'll end up using the coop and you've given me confidence that they'd be ok without it, but thinking more about how and what I'm making it out of, I think it'll help make it more solid.

And then it's there if I ever re-purpose the enclosure for something else.


Author:  Winglet [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

If they're Japanese quail. they'd rather be in the open than underneath any structure. That's because their instinctive way to escape is to fly upwards (sometimes at an angle rather than directly up). They would enjoy shrubbery type shelter to hide in, rather than under.

Anything solid you build for them should ideally have an exit route, which will make them more likely to use it.

If all you want to do is keep rain off them & any gale-force winds (which is really all you need for quail shelter), then the HUGE trimdeck pieces you have will be just fine, but if you are using it as a baffle or divider, something significantly smaller will probably be more of a safe shelter for them. Don't close off the back though... leave it so that they can get in one end & run through to exit the other. A sort of A-frame shelter within your A-frame pen, just sitting on the ground, and preferably against one side of the enclosure (not in the middle of the pen) is ideal... they'll automatically run through it as they go around the pen, and find it for shelter before they really need it. That will make it easy for them to locate when the need arises.

Having said that, if you do end up with a solid "coop" with one entry for them, in order to make the enclosure more stable, make it comfy with some soft bedding & they might start to utilise it from time to time.

Their preferences & behaviour are quite different to chooks. Other than needing to have plenty of fresh water & feed available all day, they don't have a lot in common with chooks at all.

Author:  Azira [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

This is a very quick scribble of what I was thinking of doing.

A simple triangle/A-frame pen, mesh sides, with one end having the trimdeck roof and enclosed timber end.

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I was either going to build in a little house/coop into the trimdeck end (not quite as wide as the roof, say only 450mm or so), so from front on it would look like the scribble on the bottom left. There would be a space underneath the house part that would be sheltered on three sides but open at the front.

Otherwise, I was just going to leave it completely open, and put in some sort of baffles/walls on the ground underneath the trimdeck roof.

So you think more open is better? I was thinking of nestling it among the trees on my back fence so they have more shade, but there wouldn't me anything in the way of shrubbery inside the actual pen itself.

Actually, stability wise the trimdeck will stabilise it enough now I've switched around some of the materials I'm making it from, so a coop/house end won't really be a major structural part.

Thanks for the help!

Author:  Winglet [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

Looks good.

If you think it's going to be stable enough at the covered / trimdeck end, if it were mine, I'd just add a front to the trimdeck end, but with an entry / exit on both sides of the A-frame. Not with one small door. I wouldn't bother raising the floor at that end.

Sitting it under the shade of a tree sounds good. Don't worry about shrubbery inside... that was to give you an indication that they'd prefer a place to hide "in" rather than "under".

You indicate potentially two hinged doors to access them. That's a good idea. Make sure that they're up the opposite end when you open it to put food & water in & out. When you want to catch them you may find it a bit more "fun" with an A-frame like that.

...thinking as I type this... if you have a piece of wood you can slide down in front of the open doors to the coop end, you could block that end off sometimes to help with accessing the pen or coop without risking the quail getting out. Alternatively, you could block them into the coop end & carefully open the outer door to access them. I'd make that coop door for access hinge at the top to assist with reducing their chance of escape... or if hinging the entire triangular end piece, hinge it at one "top" side, definitely not hinged at the bottom... on second thought, that end scares me to access them at all. Depending on dimensions of the entire thing, and how far your arm can reach in, you might be better blocking them OUT of the coop end, in the pen end, and reaching for them that way. Hmmmm.... glad mine are in an aviary with a birdlock... SO much easier to access.

Author:  Winglet [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

Hmmm... I've thought a little more.

I'd forget having any sort of baffle permanently fixed to the inside at the coop end... I'd just leave it as a bit of open shelter, and face it with the prevailing wind to the back of the enclosed end.

I'd have some sort of baffle attached to a stick, which would sit out of the way at the coop end (inside). It would be just a tiny bit smaller than the internal dimensions & the same triangular shape. I'd use that to "push" the quail up the other end & reduce the size of the entire pen, whenever I need to get them out. I could then reach in the door at the mesh end once they're up that end. Again, being very careful that they don't get out.

Author:  Azira [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

This is what I've knocked together so far. Top rail isn't fixed yet, and the sheet is just resting on it in the second photo, just to give an idea of the sheltered area. Triangles are roughly a metre on each side, by about 2 metres long.

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I wanted to make the end doors big enough for my big fat butt to get into, to make it a little bit less awkward to clean. But escaping quail did have me worried, I wasn't sure how well shooing them down one end of the pen would work. Never having had them before I don't know how they'd behave and knowing my luck they'd scarper, lol.

I like the moving baffle idea though. Do they jump much as adults? Would just creating a bottom lip to the doors work? So they don't open flush with the ground? Roughly their height perhaps?

An aviary does sound much easier, we are apparently being given a large one with 10 budgies at some point, so I may well just end up moving them in there, but until then I need to get rid of the junk lying around here, and what better way than to make something with it, lol.

Thanks so much for the help and feedback, it's absolutely awesome and greatly appreciated!

*edit* Forgot to add, yes I'm wanting Japanese quail. :)

Author:  Winglet [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

No worries Azira re: the replies (I'm not sure that mine are helping so much as creating more questions). :roll:

They can fly well, and a small barrier at their height, or even much higher, will do nothing to stop them getting out if a door is open. They are also very fast when they feel the need to get past you. They could easily fly over your head or through your legs. Once they're comfortable around you, they will think nothing of going straight past you as you open the door & stick your arm or arms in.

My brain has been in overdrive to come up with a solution for an A-frame. I think I'd make the door or doors as small as possible & get a large aquarium net to catch quail in the pen when you need to. The door should be just big enough to get the net through. That would also help to pick up eggs, as they may lay anywhere, or they may end up choosing one or two favourite spots to lay if there's somewhere they're happy with. You want the net handle to be long enough to easily reach all points in the A-frame, which will partly depend on how far you can get your hand & arm in.

Separately, I'd hinge one entire side for opening to clean it out. If you put in deep litter you won't need to do that much at all. Or just put them on grass & move the A-frame onto new grass periodically.

Oh.. and the size of the covered end (if it's going to go all the way to that 'middle' frame) will be plenty without a baffle of any sort. I'd just stick their feeder or waterer there, which will be a small visual barrier for them to get behind if they want to get away from a predator's line-of-sight a bit.

For changing water & putting in feed, you need to decide whether you'll have containers that you can refill from outside, without opening either the small doors or the larger hinged side. I'd set it up so that you can do that if at all possible. Water can be in the open area, and food can be put in a container under cover, or scattered about for them to search for (but that means careful balancing of ENOUGH food without so much that you create problems of mouldy or off food which would create health problems for them). If you open the larger hinged side I would ALWAYS get the quail out first & put them into a secure smaller carrier whilst you sort out whatever you're doing in the A-frame.

If you get to put them in an aviary later, then I would do that. You can still utilise the A-frame as their temporary enclosure when doing things in the aviary. If you have a birdlock in the aviary you get, you won't need the A-frame for that, but it will still come in handy for some time... or you could sell it as a chook broody cage.

Thoughts going around in circles here... you can still shoo them to the other end of the pen to a degree... and the more you handle them & catch them, the better you'll come to understand how they can move & avoid them getting out. Depends how quick you think you'll learn that. :)

Author:  Azira [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

You are definitely helping. More questions aren't a problem if it's raising issues I hadn't thought about properly!

I might make the mesh end fully opening, and with the solid end I might build in a smaller egg/quail catching door, but make it a door within a door, so if I need to I can open the whole lot right up (to lock my children in when they misbehave perhaps?).

I was planning on using nipple waterers with the quail as I do with my chickens, quail can use them can't they? If they will use them, I can put a small barrel on the outside and run a tube with the feeders inside which will make for easy refilling.

And for the food, I was thinking of making a miniature version of the bulk chicken feeder I have for my chickens (copied from Hamish121212's & RobBob's on youtube). Depending on where it's positioned in the pen, I will hopefully be able to run out a pipe that I can cap off and refill easily too. I like the idea of them using it as a bit of a shield, it will hopefully be big enough that it can provide them with some security.

Egg and bird fetching will be a bit of a pain, but I've got a few different nets I can use so I can do that if there are eggs all about the place. If the aviary is suitable I'll relocate them in there and then keep the A-frame pen to use as temporary housing for something.

Thank you again, muchos appreciado!

Author:  Winglet [ Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

That all sounds like it will work well. :thumbs:

Quail can use nipple waterers... once they've learnt to use them they'll be fine with that. They do drink loads more for their size than a chook does, so keep that topped up well & do check they've learnt to use it before you risk leaving them without any water. They're quite inquisitive so it shouldn't take them very long.

I use a gravity fed chook feeder for mine, too. Different style to yours, but same principal.

As indicated, if the quail end up in the aviary, perhaps you can rotate your children through the A-frame when you need a break from them. :)

Throw in some green pick for them when you can.... quail LOVE greenpick. I'm slack & usually just pull up some fresh grass when I'm heading to the aviary, and throw that in. I find that even on the best feed they do just that little better with some fresh greenery to eat.

If you make a little sandbath or dirtbath for them, they'll love that, too. They enjoy dustbathing even more than chooks do, I reckon. They also make a LOT more mess of their dustbath than chooks ever could. :)

Author:  Azira [ Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

I'm going to try incubating some eggs and raise them from hatch, so with any luck I can get them using the nipple waterers easily. My chicks took too them straight away so fingers crossed it's that easy. My chickens have a 60lt barrel and I was thinking at least 20lt for the quail, that should give me the chance to top up without it running dry.

I've decided to only make a small egg/quail door in the covered end of the pen, I can't be bothered making a frame within a frame after wasting time sticking bits on it I didn't need to today (then taking them off again, lol). So I'll whack on some of the old jarrah floorboards and just leave a gap and put a little drop down door in it. The other end I'll mess about with making either a big hinged door or a removable panel of some sort. My lazy has kicked in, lol!

I've definitely been thinking about a dust bath for them, as I'll be putting mesh on the underside of the cage they won't be able to do it in the dirt very well, so I was thinking a tray or two in there should do the trick. My chickens have dug a few holes. The Dorking rooster loves to sit in one in particular with his harem of girls lying around him, lol.

With the greenery, my husband often brings home bags of cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower greens when he goes into the supermarket for the chickens, can the quail have that too? I've always got bits and pieces from the veggies I grow too.

Thank you again and again, I am so grateful for the help and advice!

Author:  Winglet [ Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

All sounds on track.

Introduce any greens gradually, preferably one type at a time for a week or so before you introduce a different one. You can introduce them from very young... I start at a few days old (if that) with 1mm cuts of blades of grass (cut with scissors) & give more pieces per day (or every few days) as they grow. When they're strong enough to take bits off without cutting the greens, let them. It will help strengthen bones & muscles. Only give a couple of pieces per quail chick whilst they're little. You want them to eat mostly their complete starter food & not fill up on other things.

Once they reach adulthood you can give them more greens in relation to their usual feed & more than one type on the one day.

Lazy kicking in is good. Bill Gates (I think it was him) said he prefers to employ lazy people because they come up with simple, efficient solutions to get things done. :)

One slightly larger dustbath will probably be better than two smaller ones... I'd go reasonably deep if you can, and a lip around the top (if made of wood) will help limit the amount they'll kick around. The more ground space they have the better. I have a car tyre filled with sand, and four or five quail COULD get in there together if they really wanted to. I've seen up to three in there dustbathing at one time. There's another tyre (a truck one) filled with soil that they could also dustbathe in if they wanted to, but they prefer to all rap dance in the sand.

Author:  Azira [ Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

I got a little bit more done today, although I thought I had a spare padbolt but I didn't so the solid end isn't totally finished yet. I had to resist the urge to pilfer one from one of my sheds, lol. I need some flashing too, I do have some ridge cap but it's ugly and bent so I'm not sure I will use it. I think I can have a dig around at a couple of friends places and find something though.

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Thanks for the info about the greenery and when to feed it. I waited a while before I gave any to my chicks, and even now they only get treated in the afternoon, so I'll probably do the same. I have to just scale down my mental image of how much the quail will eat, I have to remind myself they are only tiny, lol.

Would a kitty litter tray be ok for a dust bath or is that too small? I was thinking of one like this (the one my friend has is about 55x45cm I think):


You know I'm going to say it, but thank you again for your help! :clnava

Author:  Winglet [ Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Q: Quail housing, enclosed coop or not?

Azira wrote:
Thanks for the info about the greenery and when to feed it. I waited a while before I gave any to my chicks, and even now they only get treated in the afternoon, so I'll probably do the same. I have to just scale down my mental image of how much the quail will eat, I have to remind myself they are only tiny, lol.

Would a kitty litter tray be ok for a dust bath or is that too small? I was thinking of one like this (the one my friend has is about 55x45cm I think):


You know I'm going to say it, but thank you again for your help! :clnava

They do eat less than chooks, but still eat plenty for their size, as they are far more active throughout a 24 hour period. They don't do nearly as much resting / sleeping as chooks do.

Kitty litter tray would be ideal. Perfect size. Large enough for them to dustbathe in, and low enough that they'll be able to climb in & out as adults easily. Whilst they're chicks, I'd fill that to the top (right up under the lip so the soil or sand is touching the underside of the lip) so that they have no chance of getting stuck in there whilst they're small.... they may get up easily enough, but find it tricky to get out to begin with. Or just put it in without the top bit & fill it nearly to the top... that would probably be safer until they've grown a bit.

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