My first Coturnix enclosure idea

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Pineapple, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Pineapple

    Pineapple Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is the preliminary design I imagined in my head for keeping three Coturnix in my back yard. I've never kept poultry before, so I'd appreciate any feedback on the design, its conceptualization, or its utility (or lack thereof). Thank you!

    [​IMG]

    I plan to use wire mesh on all sides of the main enclosure except the bottom. The coop will be some sort of solid wood.

    What are your thoughts? What should I change? What should I take into account that I haven't? I want to do this right...thank you! :)
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Looks like a great design! Good size as well. However, the area you designed for egg collecting...Quail, unlike chickens, don't necessarily use "nest boxes" and will generally lay their eggs anywhere. If you supply some sort of nest making material, such as grass hay, they will construct nests out of that hay and lay their eggs in their small nests. However not necessarily in that nest box. So you might just want to keep that space for the larger size and enclose it for shelter in bad weather, instead of a nest box. The quail will use a shelter area to get out of wind, rain, snow and cold. A three sided, completely walled off so they can get out of all the elements.

    Oh, and welcome to BYC and the quail forums!
     
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  3. Pineapple

    Pineapple Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I didn't know that. Thank you! I knew quail didn't brood their eggs, but I didn't realize they just laid them anywhere. [​IMG]

    One thing a friend of mine pointed out when I showed her this was that the quail won't be able to escape standing water after a heavy rain, so I thought that I could move the nest box up five or six inches and put that section on stilts just in case there was a heavy rain or something.

    I have been reading this forum all day long (shh...I'm a dork) and I see most people keep their quail in cages with wire bottoms. Is this better than bare earth bottoms? I like the idea of a bare earth bottom surrounded by marigolds or nasturtiums, but if that won't work as well, I'm really flexible.
     
  4. Pineapple

    Pineapple Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they need to go off the ground, or if it's better for them, I might do something like this:

    [​IMG]



    (And add a nest box/hiding place, somewhere.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  5. iamkingtim01

    iamkingtim01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Originally, I built a small nesting box for my pen. After finding my first few eggs scattered all over I took it out. They really were laying eggs just anywhere. Several in the feeder, all over the wire mesh bottom, and one in the waterer. I have 3 hens and get 3 eggs most days. I usually have to look around for them because who knows where they will be.
     
  6. Pineapple

    Pineapple Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's an adorable dog in your picture!

    So, could I just leave the nestbox out entirely, and instead use boards to close off one corner of this design?
     
  7. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I gave my quail some hay and they made a 'nest' (more like a pile of hay) and laid their eggs in that. We built a nesting box a week or two later and once one started laying in the nesting box, the other did (though they would kick the hay around and so they pretty much laid their eggs on wood with the hay surrounding it). My adult quail still continue to lay in a nesting box, but I'm still yet to show the chicks the purpose of their box...
    I don't know if I've trained them to lay their eggs in hay, or they just came to that. But I'm just pointing out that quail do have the potential to use nesting boxes.

    So it's entirely up to you, and your quail in a way whether you want a nesting box or not. You could always try using a piece of cardboard that works as a tray, and place hay in that and see if they actually use it and decide if you want to build the nesting box. That's what I'm using for the little quail at the moment.
     
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  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like it. One thing I've noticed about quail is that they won't take care of themselves in regards to the elements (i.e., get out of the rain, get warm, etc.) IF they don't feel safe. Safety seems to be their primary concern.

    So, for instance, they may not go UP into an area above flooding, because quail don't like to be UP. Or they may not go into a shelter out of the elements if other birds are bossing them or if they don't have enough visibility from inside the shelter.

    To combat this, I give my birds lots of options for shelter & so feeding. My enclosure has a dog house, several lean-tos (formed simply by literally leaning a board against another structure--super simple), and a roofed structure that is fully open on one side, fully closed on two, and the third is closed except for a door. They like this structure because it gives them visibility in two directions, and I like it because it gives them the ability to be sheltered from three sides at once. For what it's worth, they ONLY go in the doghouse (closed on three sides with a door on the third) to eat--NEVER for shelter. They really don't seem to like being fully enclosed.

    The exception is, they WILL go almost anywhere if there is sand or loose dirt for dust bathing. They love to dust bathe. So one possibility would be to convert that side box into a sandbox--simply create it in dimensions that allow you to put a cat litter box or similar in there, cut out the side to make it easy for them to enter through the door, and fill it with sand. Then, they will also lay most of their eggs there--they like to lay in sand. They will also use it for shelter if they have sand in there.

    If you will have a large group and/or multiple males, make sure there is more than one option for shelter and laying, etc. Some birds will take charge of a desirable resource (like a sandbox or shelter), and keep others out. They may let some in but not others. This can lead to suffering and even death when unfavored birds are prevented from seeking shelter during bad weather.

    For the same reason, I always provide multiple food and water stations for larger groups of birds.

    In regard to flooding, my recommendation is that you seek a location for your shelter that is well-drained and/or at a relatively high point, so it just doesn't ever get soggy. You can help with this also by providing a deep bedding--wood chips, straw, etc. help with that. I live in a soggy part of the country, and our house is in a depression near a large farm pond. Our dirt is clay under the topsoil. I'm still able to provide a well-drained area for the birds, so I'm confident most people can. :)

    Good luck. Looks like you've got some good plans going! :)
     
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  9. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to add: My quail rarely use any of the structures, and generally seem to prefer semi-open territory, much as their native grasslands would provide them. When it rains, they tend to huddle under the eaves of the main structure, rather than inside it. So that's something to keep in mind too. :) They DO use the structures when it's excessively cold or rainy, though.
     
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  10. Pineapple

    Pineapple Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you guys so much!! This feedback is excellent and I'm taking everything into consideration.

    To be truthful, before I joined this forum I was planning on building something about six feet wide and nine feet long, because I didn't realize quail could live in such a small space. The people I've told that I am going to build a habitat for quail think I'm crazy.

    If the cage I build is stationary (i.e. not moved easily from place to place) do quail benefit from having a separate "tractor" into which they can go and spend a few hours on the grass? I've read mixed messages as to whether quail benefit from this or would appreciate/need it...
     

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