DIY Quail Cage 2.0

Discussion in 'Quail' started by mdees88, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. mdees88

    mdees88 Songster

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    Mar 15, 2018
    Lower Alabama
    My Coop
    I decided to build this cage specifically for breeders. I wanted it to require as little "maintenance" as possible. It needed to hold a lot of feed, have an unlimited water supply, and have a large roll out egg catcher. My goal was to design a cage that "could" be left unattended for up to one week.

    This cage is roughly 12ft x 2.5ft x 18" and is divided into 5 separate compartments. I connected it to my lean-to and extended the roof over it.

    Here is the frame for the floor

    20160427_145734.jpg

    I attached the rear of the cage to my existing 4x4 posts and I added two more posts to the the front. MAKE SURE you install the wire the correct side up so the eggs will roll down easily. One way the wire runs left and right, if you flip the wire over it will run front to back. I installed it wrong the first time and had to pull all my staples and flip it over.

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    I added a plywood divider so that each of the 5 individual compartments would have an enclosure that is somewhat protected from the wind.

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    I built 4 individual dividers out of a ripped 1x4. I used a Kreg jig to put them together. (It is an awesome tool, I used it for my doors also). These dividers can be removed with 2 screws in case I want larger compartments.

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    This was the first roof design that popped into my head and I rolled with it. It works but I should have just scabbed onto the original 2x6s and made another 12ft long roof. This way I would have room for another row of cages in the future.

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    For the watering system I have a 2 gallon bucket with a gamma lid on it. I have two threaded bulkhead fittings attached to the side and bottom of the bucket. My water hose attaches to the fitting on the side of the bucket. Inside the bucket attached to the side bulkhead fitting is a toilet bowl float. This keeps a constant level inside the bucket. The bottom bulkhead fitting attaches to this 1/2" pvc pipe via a short section of hose. I have 20 chicken nipples that I attached to the pipe (4/compartment). I do not remember what size drill bit I used but you just drill a hole and these fittings will screw into the pipe. Only one fitting leaked and I swapped it out and added some more t-tape and now none of the nipples leak.

    I mounted the side bulkhead fitting very low in the bucket. This way the bucket does not maintain much of level in it. My thought was the water inside the bucket would "turn over" faster since there was less in the bucket. This way if it is very hot outside the water would not get as hot as a full bucket of water. Not even sure if my thought process is correct or not but that is how I did it.


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    I attached a valve to the end of the pipe so I can drain the system if I need to. If you are doing something like this indoors make sure to install a valve just downstream of the bucket so you can valve out a leak if you have one. Since mine is outside it is not really necessary.

    If I ever need to add supplements to the water I valve out the water supply going into the bucket. I unscrew the gamma lid and open the drain valve at the very end of the pvc pipe. This drains the entire system. Then I add premixed water with supplements to the bucket and let them drink. Once the level gets low I line the water back up to the bucket.

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    I built doors on the back side also since you cannot reach all of the quail from the front side.


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    Here is the finished product. I built an egg trough out of 1x6s and 1x4s using the Kreg jig (did I mention how awesome this tool is).

    20180305_145653.jpg

    I added dividers inside the trough so I know which eggs came from which compartment. I added an eye bolt, hook, and string in the middle so I can leave it raised when I want.

    20180305_145735.jpg

    Here is the inside of one compartment. I left a gap under the wooden wall so if the quail lays an egg in the enclosed part of the pen it will still roll out to the front.

    The feeder is from tractor supply. The fittings are a 45 degree 4" street elbow going to a 4" to 2" reducer. The reducer is just slightly too big to fit inside the red plastic piece. I had to get my dremel and grind off the plastic threads on the inside of the red part. These threads are there so the clear bottle can screw into it.

    These feeders are notorious for wasting feed and not many people use them. Well with some slight modifications they can be used and will waste little to no feed at all.


    20180305_145751.jpg


    I added a 1.5" long piece of 2" pipe inside the 4" to 2" reducer. This creates a 3/16" gap at the bottom of the red tray for the feed to come out. This prevents the red tray from completely filling up with feed. The quail have to stick their heads down into the feeder to get food. This feeder is astronomically better than the original in terms of not wasting feed but there is a way to make it 100% waste free (I'm talking they do not spill one drop ever). All you have to do is cover every other opening with duct tape. When the quail stick their heads in they shake them side to side which piles up the food to the left and right of them. This is where the food gets lost. It does reduce the number of openings from eight to four. Shouldn't matter unless you have a lot of quail using that one feeder.

    I didn't bother doing that on this cage because they probably waste less than 2% of their food just like I have it now. I added a 2x6 under the feeder to lift it high enough so the quail could not poop in it. I made it round so the eggs will roll around it. If one gets stuck it wont be long before a quail will bump into it, sending it on its way.


    Screenshot_2018-03-29-20-11-26.png

    I'll be honest these feeders are not the cheapest option out there but after using them for some time now they are worth the money IMO. Rough cost breakdown: elbow $7, reducer $7, red feeder $5, 4in and 2in pvc pipe about $5-8 per feeder when building 5. If you add a cap that is another $7. So you're looking at $30-35 a pop.



    So what would I do differently now.... a couple things

    1) Ask me why I made the front two 4x4s where they were "inside" the cage instead of "outside". I have no idea. Now they will block some of the eggs and keep them from rolling into the trough. These 4x4s should have been spaced the same as the existing 4x4s so that they did not end up inside the cage. Rookie mistake...

    2) Doors... doors need to be just tall/wide enough to get a dust pan into the cage, that is it. These doors are not huge but they are pretty much as wide as the cage itself. When you open it up you create a pretty large opening for a bird to get out. Make them as narrow as you functionally can.

    3) For the sake of simplicity I could have built this cage MUCH differently and have ended up with same result. I could have built the entire cage perfectly square (not on a pitch or slope). Then when I attached it to the 4x4's I could have installed it on a slope. The way I did I cut every single board on a pitch. Look at the dividers I made and you will see what I'm talking about. I could have saved myself some time and measuring had I built it square.

    Here is a link to the cage I built before this one. I'm going to use it as a grow out cage now. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/diy-quail-cage-1-0.1231344/

    I was in the beginning phases of building a new cabinet incubator a couple weeks ago when I came across a deal I couldn't pass up on 4 GQF incubators. I bought them and sold two my buddy. I have quail supposed to hatch tomorrow and they will be my first hatch ever, I'm pretty excited.

    With the additional birds coming, I'm getting ready to build another cage. I have considered taking down the metal roof I built on this one and adding a 12ft roof to make more room for additional cages. Well I have decided against that. All my cages from here on out are going to be free standing "portable" cages, each with its own metal roof. This way whenever I sell my house I can take them with me. I am going to design them around my 5x10 utility trailer so I can easily transport them if I need to.

    I should be starting on my next one in a week or so. I will do a write up on it too and it will be pic heavy. I built this some time ago and wrote this up using whatever old pics I could find on my phone. If anyone has any questions or needs some more pics let me know.

    Matt
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  2. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    :frow Thank you for sharing!
     
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  3. JoeQ

    JoeQ Chirping

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Hatboro Pa
    Thanks for sharing the great pictures, I think I learned a few things for my next build. I'm currently using a home made rabbit hutch that is 6x2. I would make a quail coop very different and like I said I learned a few tricks that I really like, one being the feeder! great idea on saving space for sure! I just purchased the automatic water cups with the toggle that fills the cup when the beaks hit them, haven't installed it yet, still kind of brainstorming on how id like to do it the most practical and useful way, where to put the bucket etc. Thanks again for sharing and I look forward to seeing the next build!!
     
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  4. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    My Coop
    :frow Can I ask how many quail you keep in your current set up?
     
  5. JoeQ

    JoeQ Chirping

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Hatboro Pa
    sure you can! I have sixty birds in it..........just kidding!!!! 12 hen 2 roos
     
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  6. JoeQ

    JoeQ Chirping

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Hatboro Pa
    they seem quite happy I might ad :)
     
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  7. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    At first >:th

    LOL..
    Thank you!
     
  8. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Songster

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    Oct 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    Looks really well-thought-out, congrats.
    Are you planning to add any enrichment? You could probably hang some brush from the ceiling so as not to block the eggs rolling while still giving the quail something to duck into and peck at.
     
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  9. mdees88

    mdees88 Songster

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    Mar 15, 2018
    Lower Alabama
    My Coop
    I have considered adding some brush to this cage. Suspending it from the ceiling would definitely the way to do it. I did have brush in my prior cage but my coturnix didn't seem to care about it too much (they never perched or really hid behind it, seemed like it was just in the way).

    I'm planning on raising some bobwhites this summer and I will put a good bit of brush in their cages, for hiding and perching.
     
  10. mdees88

    mdees88 Songster

    345
    390
    151
    Mar 15, 2018
    Lower Alabama
    My Coop
    I tried to add some more pics to my first post but it wouldn't let me edit it.

    Here's a better shot of the feeder. You can see that this design maintains a low level of feed so it's harder for them to spill it.

    Screenshot_2018-03-31-09-57-10.png
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    Here's a shot of the water bucket. The water hose connects to the brass water hose fitting which is connected to the black plastic blukhead fitting.

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    Inside the bucket you can see the float which is threaded into the bulkhead fitting.

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    I found this section of tubing at home depot. It is tubing with a blue plastic cover to keep sunlight off it. It is threaded into the bulkhead fitting on the bottom of the bucket and connects to the pvc pipe.

    20180331_093021.jpg

    The bulkhead fittings have worked out great. There are no leaks at the bucket (the water hose wasn't screwed in tight in the bucket pic.... this is why the board was wet). I really like this setup and will be using it with the rest of my builds.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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