How I keep quail cool in Phoenix, AZ

RYGO72

Hatching
Jun 29, 2021
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How I keep quail cool in Phoenix, AZ

I keep Coturnix quail in a 5X10 foot shed in my backyard. Summertime temperatures exceed 100 for months and regularly exceed 115. The shed is wood frame with metal siding, so it is essentially an oven. My goal was to keep the quail shed as autonomous and independent from my utilities as possible and still maintain a safe and comfortable space for the quail.

Started with the basics....
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My first challenge was to devise a way to get power and water to the shed using as little from the utility companies as possible.

For my water supply I purchased a 275-gallon IBC tote from a local surplus yard. That I fill with city water twice a month in the summer.
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Then I needed power. I did a lot of research on-line for this and found a guy named Will Prowse who has a great web site and YouTube video channel. https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/ I can’t say enough about how much I learned from his content. He is well thought out and easy to understand. My first solar power system was a basic 12-volt system with 2 100-watt panels, a 40-amp MPPT charge controller, a 1000-watt inverter and 2 12v deep cycle SLA batteries. I wanted to utilize as much 12v appliances as possible to keep the amp draw low.
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Now I had to address the cooling system. I could have bought an off the shelf evaporative cooler but at that time I was interested in the DIY aspect of the project and using 12v loads so I did some more research on evaporative cooling and found several web sites with instructions for the construction of large scale greenhouse cooling walls. I simply scaled down the design to fit my space. I used materials bought from the Home Depot and it was easy to construct. I used 2 aftermarket 12v automotive fans for air circulation and a 12v 500 GPM bilge pump to deliver the water from the IBC tote to the cooler using PVC and fountain pump hose. To make the cooling system as autonomous as possible I wired both fans and the pump to speed controllers and thermostatic switches so they turn on at specific temperatures and can be adjusted to deliver variable speeds.

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In addition, I would need to insulate the shed, so I found some foam board insulation on Craig's List and insulated the shed as well as the roof under the solar panels. I also added several yards of canvas draped outside to keep the direct sun off the shed.

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As time went on, I increased my quail numbers, so I needed more power to run more appliances including 2 incubators and brooding heaters. So, I upgraded to a 24v system with a LiFePO4 battery and a 3000-watt inverter as well as bigger 240-watt panels. I now keep all the solar components and battery in Pelican cases in the shed.

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The evaporative cooling system works well and will keep the shed comfortable for the quail if the humidity is low. But it still required some daily maintenance. I needed a way to leave the quail alone for several days at a time for weekend trips and such. My solution to this was to install an automatic transfer switch to the solar system that will switch to grid power if the battery gets too low and install a small AC unit, oscillating fan and a Wi-Fi temperature monitor. If I am not home, I can still be confident that the quail will stay safe and cool. I can monitor the temperature remotely and have a back-up who will show up and help if something goes wrong.

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So far I have been happy with the results and the quail stay safe, cool and comfortable.
 

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