Anything about your quail pen you wish you could change?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 20, 2012
I'm planning on incubating and raising quail for meat/eggs I already have 6 in my aviary but want to do it on a larger scale. I have an old ice chest I'm planning on making an incubator out of. It's pretty large, so I'm hoping to continuously hatch about every two weeks until they reach butchering size, so I'm thinking of building 1 hutch with 2 pens, stacked. Maybe two. I probably won't be doing this until early spring of this year. I want to wait until after the holidays and we have a couple structures that need to be taken down that are a great source of free wood.

I'm thinking they could spend their first two weeks inside, 3&4 weeks in the aviary, 5&6 weeks in one portion of the hutch, and 7-freezer in the other. The aviary has heat lamps, but it rarely freezes here. I'm in the Central Valley, CA.

Either that or just get a large amount of eggs and raise them all at once.

I'm still in the planning stages. Anyway, the whole point of starting this thread is because I want to make the perfect, easy to maintain hutch. So, what about your hutch or pen would you change to make it better?
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I suggest getting a forced air incubator. I have a hovabator and it was really easy to maintain the correct temp and humidity. That is so important. I also suggest an auto turner. You can find them used online. I only hatched 4 eggs, but I had 100% hatch rate (I only put four eggs in the bator) and the chicks are super healthy. I live near the central valley, but technically East Bay, and I keep my chicks indoors.
I forgot to mention,

I keep mine in guinea pig cages right now, 2 in each cage...until we move to a place where we can have them outside.

But about their cage...I put a shelf where they can hop up on both sides and they love hopping up, and I put branches for them to hide in...some of them like it some don't.
Thanks for your reply. I want to use the ice chest because I'm on a very limited budget. As I get more into it, I'll get an actual incubator. There's a lady that sells fertile quail eggs 1.50 for an 8 pack, and she says they're fertile, so I'll start out with those. I figured they're local so I'll probably have a higher hatch rate than mail ordered.
Thank you and that's cool! I think my 6 are getting used to me going out into the aviary every morning to check the feeders and change water. I would really like to hatch my own because I want to raise them for meat. After the investment on the incubator, brooder, and hutch it would be cheaper in the long run. Maybe I will get a few more from them when I go up that way for thanksgiving, if I can get the ones I have to lay eggs. I just don't see feeding more of them if I'm not getting a return. They are fun to watch though.

I'm wondering if anyone has any tips on features I should include in my hutch.I know I want to have a wire bottom.

These are the ideas I have:
1. Now I'm thinking two single hutches instead of one double decker, so I don't have to clean out poop pans.
2. I would like to have the bottom have a 2x6-ish base, the front of which could be removed, where the poop will fall and I can layer with shavings and food scraps for my compost,
3. I want the whole front to be one or two big doors that I can open when I need to clean, with smaller doors in the middle for everyday use to limit escapes.
4. I know I want to give them a hidey house, not sure If I want to have it built in, or get some rubbermaid tubs to fit and cut doorways into them. I'm leaning towards the rubbermaid because it would be easier to clean
5. I know I want to use either rodent water bottles, pop bottles, or make some kind of nipple waterer. I don't know about the food. I think a mason jar feeder would be fine. A pvc feeder would be a little hard to fill in the rain.
My pens are half solid floor/half wire. When my husband makes new ones I want the following: trays to pull out under my wire floors, the flies drive me insane and I will be just fine with dumping poo in a compost pile daily, some way to keep my solid floor cleaner and more sanitary (haven't figured that out yet, maybe a plastic mat I can roll up and take out to scrub ), two doors to reach into the pens (we use long pens 8-10ft) and pens that are a little taller (the birds jump straight up and sometimes bang their heads in our shorter pen). I stick a rubbermaid container in the pens with sand now for dust bathing, they do love it and I can easily clean that up. I stick flower pots turned on their side with straw for mine to hide in and jump on, those can easily be removed and cleaned too. I really like to have straw in the pens for them to hide and snuggle in, but I am finding that it really hinders the whole "keep the pen clean" concept. If mine were going to be pets I would have them on the ground and just worm them, but we raise ours primarily for meat, they are not around long. You may want to consider an extra smaller pen. I have utilized ours for injured birds and right now have a male and female in there to breed for specific colors I am trying to get.

Edited to add: hanging feeders will be on my list too, they waste a tremendous amount of food if they can get their feet in it
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Thanks! That's just what I needed! Yeah I like the low maintenance of just letting them poop to the floor below, maybe doing a deep litter method that way, which would be the whole point of making it 2x6, also so my dogs are less likely to walk under there. Then again it's going to be in their area, and Tractor Supply has 30x30 pans to go with their rabbit kits so I'm thinking I could make it to fit those and put shavings in them to do the deep litter, just change it out every so often. I'm going to feel bad keeping them on wire because of how much the ones I have now enjoy the ground so much.

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