Making an Indoor Quail Cage -- please help!!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by OhItsKay, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. OhItsKay

    OhItsKay Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 18, 2012
    I'm planning to make an indoor quail cage for button quails from scratch and keep it in the house. I'm most likely making it out of wood and hardware cloth, but I'm having a hard time finding resources on making an indoor quail cages... is there anything I should keep in mind?

    I know for button quail it can't be more than 12" (1 foot) tall.
    The spacing for the wire can't be more than 1/2 inch wide.
    It can't be made out of cedar, but it can be made out of pine.
    The cage has to be off the ground -- I have a dog who sheds massive dust bunnies that need to be avoided!

    Even if the cage is only 12"-14" tall, do they still need padding at the top to avoid "boinking"?
    If their cage has multiple levels, is it possible that they'll hit their head on the upper level?
    Can button quails push unlocked doors open? How strong are button quail at knocking things over?
    I've seen people line the bottom of homemade rabbit cages with linoleum or vinyl tiles, can I do this with quail too? (and use bedding of course)
    Is water based paint safer than milk based paint for animals? Quails in particular?
    Do button quails like bird toys?

    Please help, and thanks so much in advance!!
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  2. bfrancis

    bfrancis Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2010
    Okmulgee Co, Oklahoma
    First, [​IMG]

    You've asked a ton of questions, go here for a lot of your answers these can be found at the top of the quail section and normally people will call them "stickies"

    Specifically for housing. Solid floor is a must for these little dudes. What I have done to make economical housing (which may or may not work for you) I have several pair so had to create something to house the pairs giving them max amount of room, but taking up least amount of space.

    I went to Target in the office section, bought a plastic desk drawer organizer. It's solid, it's easy to clean and has a 1" edge to keep bedding in. I used 1/2" hardware cloth and made a box that fit perfectly inside the plastic base. For a top, I used door screen material. It's soft and allows for head boinks, but durable to prevent escapes. I used "safety wire" you can buy in any hardware store that was .020 in diameter and used it to "tie" all the parts together...kind of like sewing the pieces.

    For a door used my wire cutters and cut an opening then cut another piece to over lap the opening. You can use the safety wire to make the hinges, but I used cage clamps...and believe it or not a bread tie to "lock" the door.

    Bedding is equine pine pellets. Great absorbent and smells good. Easy clean too.

    I'll post a pic later tonight...but you can start getting your materials together

    good luck!

    Edit for the pic adds:

    Partial battery of pens. Plastic base, screen wire top, 1/2" hardware cloth sides (9" tall)

    Close up of door assembly, bread ties and cage clips. no predators inside, so very rudimentary door..but it works! You can see the pine pellets too. For "toys" I just put a small square flower pot on its side and wired to the side so it doesn't go anywhere...the buttons go inside and will jump on top of it too.

    Close up of a corner, screen top and laced into the hardware cloth, as well as the corner wall is laced together. I used a single piece of hardware cloth cut to 9" tall and the length to wrap the whole base. This way I only had one seam to lace together instead of 4 at each side.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  3. jbobs

    jbobs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here is what I have my indoor coturnix in, it would work great for buttons too:


    All I did was take a clear tupperware that is exactly 12 inches tall, cut out the top of the lid, use a gluegun to glue on some hardware cloth (window screenor that door screen seen above would actually be better for buttons because they will be less likely to skin their heads on it) and I used those little Command clear hooks to string some hay wire on the side to hang the dishes. Works great, easy to make, really easy to clean, and looks decent too. Dust bunnies won't be an issue because it has solid sides.

    When I paint a wooden cage I just use latex based paint. They don't chew on stuff like parakeets do. If you make a similar cage out of wood it will be heavy and awkward compared to a tupperware one or one of the ones that bfrancis has. Even a larger type hamster cage would work.

    They really like dust baths, dirt baths, sand baths, etc and little hidey holes and artificial plants are great for enrishing their environment. Pine pellets make nice bedding because they don't blow around as much as shavings do - plus if you buy them at the hardware store, the ones for pellet stoves, they are super cheap.

    ps bfrancis I love your setup!
  4. Wyogirl

    Wyogirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2010
    Cody, WY
    Love it !!! I am making one this week-end
  5. TheWeeBee

    TheWeeBee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2012
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Here's the one I made for mine: Used a 99 liter (?) Rubbermaid storage bin. Cut out the long sides with a sawzall and attached 1/4" hardware cloth. Used a spray adhesive to affix a chunk of 1/2" foam to the underside of the lid so my hen doesn't split her head open again (lesson learned!). Can you spot the Bee amongst the pine needles? LOL She now shares her digs with her younger bro, Scooter (not pictured). Perfect-sized home for two buttons :)


  6. jbobs

    jbobs Chillin' With My Peeps


    Yeah I like them even better when I cut out the sides like you have - makes for more ventilation etc. The one I have Brita in now was actually the brooder I used when they were chicks so the sides are solid and the roof is mesh so the lamp could penetrate - but if I were to make another one I would cut out the sides like this one instead of the top!
  7. TheWeeBee

    TheWeeBee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2012
    St. Petersburg, FL
    It was a real pain in the butt but I agree that it's much better for them :)

    Because the plastic was so hard, I wound up having to drill tiny holes all the way around the sides, and I used hemp twine to "sew" the mesh tightly onto the plastic bin. What was supposed to be a half-hour project turned into two hours! But they love it.

    I keep the older quail in an extra-large collapsible dog crate from Walmart. I cut out the fabric on the top and hot-glued window screen so it lets in light from the top and two long sides. It was supposed to be temporary but has worked out so well that I made it permanent! I think it gives them roughly 12 sq. ft to be silly in, not bad for 4 wee buttons :)
  8. jbobs

    jbobs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yeah I usually use a hot glue gun to glue the mesh on but I use A LOT of glue sticks - the nice thing is that you can cover the sharp edges with glue. I once took one of those Hagen rabbit cages, the kind with the deep tray and the hatch door on top, and took some 1 inch foam and sewed a cover for it and tied it onto the top, that worked -retty well, but I would only use it for coturnix because the bars are rather far apart.
  9. OhItsKay

    OhItsKay Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 18, 2012
    Thank you all for all the help and resources! -- and sorry for not answering right away, exams are exhausting...

    I guess I should've specified a bit; I've done a lot of research on button quails and up until recently I thought I knew what I wanted to do for their cage, but then I guess not. I was originally planning to get an aquarium or a storage bin as you all did, but then I read A Closer Look at Button Quail which mentioned how the humidity in habitats like that can get pretty high without air filteration... And considering that I'm planning to put it near (beneath, but not directly next to) a window and that I live in southern California (where heat is almost always an issue), I was afraid of the humidity getting really bad. Then I thought about getting a hamster/rabbit cage, but then I realised that most of them are higher than the recommended 1 foot (most hamster cages are narrow but tall these days) and I was afraid about the whole ceiling-meets-head-full-force situation and that I wasn't sure how to go about padding the top part. That's why I was thinking about making it out of wood and hardware cloth/mesh/whatever works well so it could be ventilated as much as possible, and then I could make it just the right size and out of good materials that would resolve the boinking issue.

    Plus, I can make it as pretty and customised as I like if I make it myself :p /horribly shallow I-like-pretty-things! girl logic

    I was kinda hoping for something like this but then I wasn't sure if I could do it exactly the same way, which is why I asked about the paint and the tile and such. With the addition of a kickplate around all of the sides (to avoid dealing with bedding all over the place), do you think that's doable?

    I think I'm definitely going to keep the window screen and the hot glue around the sides in mind though. I was afraid of hardware cloth being too hard for their heads, so thanks for that!
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  10. Mibotsu

    Mibotsu Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2011
    Balbriggan, Ireland
    thats totally do-able. I would line the bottom with just some tile or w/e, its gonna be covered with bedding anyway. but you can do an all wire cage in a wood frame. of course you already know it doesn't need to be that high. usually one floor does the trick.

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