We need more space for our growing covey of coturnix quail, which we raise for meat, eggs and pure enjoyment. Currently we have a single outdoor cage that is 8'x3', which I built to be a movable cage - yea... not so movable.:he Now, with winter coming in just a few months I want to move the quail into our shed coop or garage for protection from the harsh winter weather. I'm certainly not moving the 8' long mega cage, so I decided that one will remain outside as a Spring-Fall home for the quail an I'm building a new cage for the winter months. Our covey is also growing now that we are incubating our own eggs.:celebrate This means that the winter cage needs to accommodate more birds, and I would like it to double as a grow out cage too.

I decided to go with a tiered design to save space. 3 cages stacked together, with shallow drawers beneath each one to catch droppings - after all, I don't want quail poop all over the floor. The overall structure is 6' tall, 4' wide and 2' (26" actually) deep.

I'm doing this on a minimal budget too... So I bought seven 8' 2x4s and a 1lb box of screws, and decided that's all the structural material I will use. As for the actual cage material, I purchased one roll of 1/2 hardware cloth 3'x25' (4' wide would have been smarter...:barnie) and I have some heavy deer fencing and vinyl window screen laying around. Now these materials would not be ideal for an outdoor cage exposed to predators, but this will be an indoor cage. :D

First things first. I had to turn seven 2x4s into enough material to construct this whole thing... :idunno I have a table saw! :yesss: I ripped each 8' 2x4 (actually 1.5"x3.5") into three 8' 1.5"x1" boards. I ended up with 21 8' long boards to work with now! Alright!:thumbsup

Now I could start building! I framed out 2 sides with 6' tall legs and 2' wide side rails. I then connected those with 4' wide front and back rails.



Then I build the frames for the shallow drawers.


Next installed the scraps of vinyl window screen on the back of the cage. I'm hoping this material will allow air to flow through the back, but prevent feathers, poop and other debris from falling through the back of the cage.


Then I installed the heavy deer fencing on the sides. I also used this on the top. It's tough stuff - a real pain to cut!


The next step was installing the hardware cloth floors for each tier. I hate working with hardware cloth by the way...:mad: I managed not to cut myself and the floors got done. A key note to add is that the wires running back to front are on top and the wires running side to side are on bottom. This allows eggs to roll easier - notice that the floors are sloped down to the front. I raise the back floor rails 2" to slope the floor and make egg collection easier. :old


Now, on to closing in the front... I need to have doors. I also want to be able to collect eggs without opening the doors. After much debate and opinions of fellow BYC members, I decided to go with two doors in the center that could both be opened to make a 24" opening or just 1 could be opened to make a 12" opening to minimize the risk of an escape - catching quail is not my favorite pastime by far. Additionally, I would include a 1.5" slot across the bottom of each tier to allow eggs to roll out. Here's a picture of the framing for the front.


Finally, it's time to add the doors. The only problem is I only had a few scraps of wood left. I didn't account for the construction of the doors when I decided to get just seven 2x4s. :he With a minimal budget I didn't want to go by more wood, so I settled with using two 4' 1x4s (actually 3/4"x3.5") I had left over from a previous project. I ripped the two 1x4s down to six 4' long 3/4"x1" boards. I then cut those into twenty-four 9.5" long pieces. This allowed me to build doors that are 11.5"x9.5", which worked great with some wiggle room in the openings I had, which were actually 23.75"x10". I covered each door with 1/2" hardware cloth (I was so cheap I used the 12" wide scraps from installing the floors). I then installed the doors with some small hinges and added hook latches.


Once all the doors were installed, enclosing all three tiers, I built DIY feeders and a DIY watering system.
The DIY feeders are each made of 2 pieces of 4 inch PVC pipe cut to ~9 inches to fit through the doorway easily and a plastic container I purchased at the hardware store that's about the size of a shoebox. I drilled holes ~1.5 inch in diameter in the sides for the quail to stick their heads in to get to the feed. I eventually capped the PVC pipes with some cheap ($0.49) test caps because the quail decided to get on top of the feeders and jump down into the pipes when the feed got low. :rant


The watering system is made of a 5 gallon bucket on top of the cage structure with poly hoses connected with hose barbs running to each tier. I used a bulkhead fitting connected to a threaded hose barb to get the connect the hose to the 5 gallon bucket. I also used threaded hose barbs to connect to PVC pipes mounted in each tier. Lastly, I attached 3 poultry cups to each PVC pipe. The poultry cups refill a little each time the quail drink and bump the yellow lever in the cup.