I built 3 brooders last year and I have brooded?! over 300 quail in them so far. They have worked great...
Here's what I used:
HDX 55 gallon storage tote $25
Two light bulb sockets $2 each
Extension cord $4
Push button rotary dimmer switch $10
Two 150w light bulbs $5 each
Plastic switch box $1
The tote is 48" x 21". I like the size because you can have a hot side and cool side. This way the quail stay somewhere in between and can easily regulate their temperature. This means you do not have to keep the temperature perfect for them. Just keep the hot end a little warmer than they need and they will do just fine.
All you do is cut the end off the extension cord then cut a short piece of wire off it too. Use that piece to wire the two light sockets together. Cut another piece of wire to connect the sockets to the dimmer switch. Then connect the extension cord to the dimmer switch.
I screwed the sockets and the dimmer switch into the bottom of the lid (you can mount the switch on top of the lid if you want, it may be easier for you this way).
I cut a large hole in the lid of the box at one end of the lid. The easiest way to do this is by putting your circular saw blade on backwards. This keeps the plastic from cracking. Once you cut it out make sure to collect all the tiny plastic pieces so your birds don't eat them.
All that left is making a wood frame to cover the hole in the lid. Attach some hardware cloth to the wood and you're done. (I just the use the hatching trays from cabinet incubator as lids right now).
Plug it in and turn down the dimmer until you reach the temperature you want. You can easily fine tune your temp with the dimmer switch.
I use 2 bulbs for redundancy in case 1 burns out. I use fine pine shavings in the brooder. I add a small layer every other day in the beginning and everyday after the 1st week. I use 1qt and 1 gallon quail waterers. I use a modified little giant chick feeder. These brooders have worked great for me and they double as a great way to transport quail when I sell them.
Thanks for checking it out,
Here's some quail I hatched out....
Here's some pheasants I just hatched for a friend.... if I was keeping these I would have them split up in 3 brooders.....