How to deal with droppings

jackp

Hatching
Jul 7, 2019
1
0
2
My buddy and I just hatched our first brood of coturnix quail (15) and the little cheepers are doing great. We've drawn up plans for a raised planter bed (about 5'x6') that would let us grow vegetables up top and house quail beneath, but we're wondering about solutions for their droppings. How quickly does droppings accumulation become a problem? If we were to put the bed on casters and move it around the yard (it's maybe 15x5 yards), would we be able to move it around enough to keep things sufficiently clean? We've also considered incorporating a pan to catch everything underneath the bed that could be sprayed off from time to time; any reason that would be an issue? Lastly, I've stumbled across this idea (growing mushrooms around the coop), and it's pretty tempting: http://www.livingthecountrylife.com/animals/chickens-poultry/growing-mushrooms-your-chicken-coop/

Any advice welcome!
 

BReeder!

Free Ranging
Mar 12, 2018
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Plainfield, IL
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My buddy and I just hatched our first brood of coturnix quail (15) and the little cheepers are doing great. We've drawn up plans for a raised planter bed (about 5'x6') that would let us grow vegetables up top and house quail beneath, but we're wondering about solutions for their droppings. How quickly does droppings accumulation become a problem? If we were to put the bed on casters and move it around the yard (it's maybe 15x5 yards), would we be able to move it around enough to keep things sufficiently clean? We've also considered incorporating a pan to catch everything underneath the bed that could be sprayed off from time to time; any reason that would be an issue? Lastly, I've stumbled across this idea (growing mushrooms around the coop), and it's pretty tempting: http://www.livingthecountrylife.com/animals/chickens-poultry/growing-mushrooms-your-chicken-coop/

Any advice welcome!
I have 14 currently in a raised cage. I don't move it, but use a hoe to scrape out the poop for now and transfer it to a compost bin. I would say you need to move it every day, maybe every other day. If you go three days you are going to have a real mess and the fresh manure will kill the grass below. I'm also assuming you find a way to prevent them from wasting food and dropping it through the cage floor; otherwise, that's going to add to the mess. I keep the feeder an enclosed section of the cage that where there's a solid floor.
 

Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
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Central Texas
Have you considered deep litter instead? It's nicer for the quail (no wire to walk on, bugs grow in the compost to scratch at), it's lower effort for you, and you certainly have the space for it in a 5 by 6 pen.
Plus, I'm not sure moving a garden around is the best idea. Plants don't like change, I don't think they'd like being moved to different light so often.
 

BReeder!

Free Ranging
Mar 12, 2018
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Plainfield, IL
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Have you considered deep litter instead? It's nicer for the quail (no wire to walk on, bugs grow in the compost to scratch at), it's lower effort for you, and you certainly have the space for it in a 5 by 6 pen.
Plus, I'm not sure moving a garden around is the best idea. Plants don't like change, I don't think they'd like being moved to different light so often.
I second this... 5'x6' planter will get heavy too. It will push into the soft ground after rain unless you have it on sleds.
 

Kiki

Coach Kiki - No Excuses Allowed
Project manager
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Jul 31, 2015
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15 quail will produce a lot of poop each day.
Trays to catch poop under a wire bottom cage is the way to go. Cleaned off daily.

I would not hose it off... Wet poop smells much worse than dry.
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
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David, Chiriquí, Panama
I have a section of 'grass' that is wedged between chain link fence and an outbuilding that is about 3 feet from that fence. It used to be nothing more than a home for some really nasty, thorny weeds. I've been dumping used bedding (consists of sand & rice husks) and quail poop on it for a couple months now, building the area up and apparently burning the weeds or smothering them with the rising inches of this material. It works for me, so might work for you if you've got a spot for it. Second the motion on wet quail poop stinking to high heaven. Don't do it!
 

el dorado quail

Crowing
Mar 24, 2019
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Do not let them poop onto your plants or put poop onto them after cleaning. Doing so will fry plants via nitrogen overdose aka nitrogen burn. Like others have said deep litter or compost :thumbsup
 

702Quails

In the Brooder
May 31, 2019
35
44
36
I've worked out the lowest maintenance method to deal with quail manure in battery cages or outdoor open-bottom cages. You broadcast sand then sawdust / mini-wood flakes. For battery cages with poop trays, the sand allows everything to slide off and the wood (carbon) component absorbs moisture, odors and aids composting. The sawdust / mini wood flakes don't blow away as much when the quail flap their wings.

For outdoor open-bottom cages, you'll want to start with 2 inches of pea gravel then 3 inches of sand directly under the cage. This allows drainage of water. You DO NOT want poultry manure in standing water or mud. As others have said, it smells really bad and there will end up being tons of flies if you don't keep the moisture / nitrogen in check. Each time the quail manure is cleaned out, broadcast more sand and then sawdust / mini-wood flakes / leaves. Layer more of the wood component incrementally to cut down on the odors and to aid composting. If you use leaves, crush them up first so they can't blow away.

There's also a 2 in 1 solution for the sand and sawdust / wood chips / leaves combo. It's called zeolite and it's commonly used in cat liter. It absorbs moisture, nitrogen and will help manure slid off trays. It also acts as a slow release fertilizer. A lot of soils will allow nitrogen compounds to drain though them, which minimizes how much nitrogen plants can absorb. Zeolite holds onto nitrogen and prevents it from draining though soils, thereby making nitrogen more accessible to plants. Source: https://www.kmizeolite.com/poultry/
 
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