My first foray into avian livestock - Quails! Progress thread!

MeganM

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
14
0
22
Heelo everyone! New to BYC and new to birds in general other than VERY GENERAL bird care (My grandma raised canaries and I helped). I had pet chickens as a kid but I didn't do any of the actual maintenance with them.

I am getting day-old Japanese quail chicks on Monday. We are keeping them inside for the first 4 weeks under a heat lamp and all, while we finish building their coop and run. I am doing this more as a project and learning experience than anything else, so we are starting with just 5 quail chicks straight-run. We will cull any males we get this time around until we get more females.

Their coop is a repurposed medium-size dog house. I removed one of the roof panels and added two hinges and two hooks for latching it closed. I need to add one or two small nestboxes and a perch on the inside, as well as drill a hole in the top of the other hole to add a vial of water to make a natural light. But it's raised up off the ground and the floor is removeable for cleaning too, but I will be using aspen shavings inside the coop for litter.

The area that will be their run is 11'x15' (The pictures always make it look much smaller than it is! ) and it'll have a small pomegranate tree inside along with several dead trees and branches I have been saving for perches and brush piles. Their area will include a sand pit and an area where I will be placing mats of wheatgrass that I'll be growing in trays. I would like to include a small shallow pool for them however I'm not sure how safe, needed, or recommended that is. The water would be about an inch deep. and a foot square I am also going to plant some lemon grass and lavender inside/around the pen to help deter insects from gathering around them too much.

We are taking our time building the run, since I am working on a $100/month budget and that includes all my other projects. I've spent my budget for this month but thankfully I already had most of the things I needed. The only thing I DON'T have that I really need is hardware cloth. The area they're going in is the SAFEST place on my property (My dog lives on the other side of the fence, and my house and garage surround the other side) so the only real predators I need to be wary of in this space are hawks but I will be using bird netting as well. That being said, hardware cloth is pretty expensive for the size I need. Do you think it would be safe to double-layer the chicken wire (one layer on the outside, one on the inside?) and add bird netting to the inside? There's no large predators that would be getting at the quails so my main concern is keeping the quails inside the coop. I already have the chicken wire from previous projects so that is the cheapest and easiest option for me.

When we make our actual coop for our chickens we will be using the 1/4" hardware cloth since they won't be in such a protected area.

The run will be large enough for us to walk into it to clean.

Opinions on my plan so far?

Here's the area!


 

dc3085

Crowing
7 Years
Jan 6, 2013
3,288
331
251
SF Bay Area, California
Heelo everyone! New to BYC and new to birds in general other than VERY GENERAL bird care (My grandma raised canaries and I helped). I had pet chickens as a kid but I didn't do any of the actual maintenance with them.

I am getting day-old Japanese quail chicks on Monday. We are keeping them inside for the first 4 weeks under a heat lamp and all, while we finish building their coop and run. I am doing this more as a project and learning experience than anything else, so we are starting with just 5 quail chicks straight-run. We will cull any males we get this time around until we get more females.

Their coop is a repurposed medium-size dog house. I removed one of the roof panels and added two hinges and two hooks for latching it closed. I need to add one or two small nestboxes and a perch on the inside, as well as drill a hole in the top of the other hole to add a vial of water to make a natural light. But it's raised up off the ground and the floor is removeable for cleaning too, but I will be using aspen shavings inside the coop for litter.

Coturnix are ground birds and will not use a perch like chickens. They will hop onto objects like rocks or logs but they won't actually perch on anything. Japanese quail only fly when they are afraid.

The area that will be their run is 11'x15' (The pictures always make it look much smaller than it is! ) and it'll have a small pomegranate tree inside along with several dead trees and branches I have been saving for perches and brush piles. Their area will include a sand pit and an area where I will be placing mats of wheatgrass that I'll be growing in trays. I would like to include a small shallow pool for them however I'm not sure how safe, needed, or recommended that is. The water would be about an inch deep. and a foot square I am also going to plant some lemon grass and lavender inside/around the pen to help deter insects from gathering around them too much.

I wouldn't do the pond. Wet soil is the cause of several diseases and infections in game birds. In the wild they live in arid environments with dry well drained soil, so their immune system is adapted for those conditions.

We are taking our time building the run, since I am working on a $100/month budget and that includes all my other projects. I've spent my budget for this month but thankfully I already had most of the things I needed. The only thing I DON'T have that I really need is hardware cloth. The area they're going in is the SAFEST place on my property (My dog lives on the other side of the fence, and my house and garage surround the other side) so the only real predators I need to be wary of in this space are hawks but I will be using bird netting as well. That being said, hardware cloth is pretty expensive for the size I need. Do you think it would be safe to double-layer the chicken wire (one layer on the outside, one on the inside?) and add bird netting to the inside? There's no large predators that would be getting at the quails so my main concern is keeping the quails inside the coop. I already have the chicken wire from previous projects so that is the cheapest and easiest option for me.

Put plywood or something around the bottom 8-12" of the cage. A raccoon can pull a whole jumbo coturnix through chicken wire with ease. If they can't get it through whole they will tear it into chunks. Coturnix will not hide from predators they will get nervous and run back and forth, so the raccoons just put their arm in the cage and snatch them as they pass by. I know you think you won't have predators problems but I have 3 dogs and I still lost 21 birds to a family of coons in two weeks. They have thumbs so they can open some latches pretty easy too.

When we make our actual coop for our chickens we will be using the 1/4" hardware cloth since they won't be in such a protected area.

1/2" hardware cloth is sufficient, it's hard to see through 1/4" wire unless you are right next to it.

The run will be large enough for us to walk into it to clean.

Opinions on my plan so far?

Here's the area!



This is the sticky section, it contains the threads other members found most valuable, read through it if you haven't yet. Good Luck, keep us posted.
 

Chicken-Farmer

Chirping
8 Years
Jan 12, 2012
143
9
81
Your dog run looks very spacious, which is both a blessing and a curse. When your birds get startled and flush they will get too much speed and crash into the other end of your run. They could break their necks or at the very minimum knock their heads. But don't freak out yet, the solution is pretty simple. Hang loose netting or bug screen along the edges of of your run so that when they do hit the end the net takes up most of the energy and slows them down. Another solution would be to limit the height of your run to about 12" which will not allow the birds to flush up high and gain speed in forward flight.
At the very minimum I think you need to cover your run or you will have no birds left. Your run looks pretty large so before long your birds will be flight conditioned and may be able to fly out. Hawks and owls will make short work of your birds as well. Also you don't want wild birds eating your quails food or mingling with your quail. Diseases can be transmitted to your quail.
Your Coturnix Quail have been domesticated for so long that they have lost their wild instincts. They really don't need all the extra stuff in their pen, but it certainly won't hurt them to have it. I personally wouldn't put the little bath in there for them. They will love the sand, but probably shy away from the water bath.

Chicken-Farmer
 

MeganM

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
14
0
22
Thank you both!! I'll nix the water area from the plans. I've never ever seen a raccoon here but we do have long-tailed weasels, but they never come into this area, they stay to the hill away from us where ground squirrels and rabbits give them plenty of prey. Yes sorry, I meant 1/2" not 1/4"! I'll set up a plywood border and consider making the run a bit smaller/shorter so they don't have a chance to run.

One thing I am now thinking about..we have huge flocks of wild california quail. They do NOT come into this area because of the dog and the fact it's extremely close to the house.

My original plan was to use pallets to build up the back and side walls, and use bird netting and chicken wire over the top and 2x4's + wire netting in the front. I scrapped that for a more open plan but with the new considerations it might be best to go back to that,. It'll cut down visibility to all areas.

The green square here is the space in the pictures. The blue squares are my house and garage. The red area is the fenced in backyard where the dog hangs out. There's not a single tree or bush (well, there's three baby trees we planted) and nowhere for predators like raccoon to live..I live in the high desert. The yellow lines indicate where there's a cemented ravine (drop-off into a drainage canal) We DO have snakes. That is one of my concerns because they frequent around the house. The plywood around the base seems like it would be the best deterrent. I'm definitely enclosing the whole thing with netting over the top as well or the hawks would just take off with my birdies on the first day lol. Non of the run has been built just yet, the wood in the mile here is for the start but I am waiting to pick up some pallets before I begin.



What precautions should I take about the wild California quails?
 

dc3085

Crowing
7 Years
Jan 6, 2013
3,288
331
251
SF Bay Area, California
I grew up on a ranch with livestock everywhere. When you raise livestock it draws predators you never had problems with before. Weasels are the worst of them. I've never seen a bird left a live in a coop a weasel got into. They aren't going to keep working their butts off for wild prey when you have a cage full of cupcakes that can't get away from them.

Surprisingly black crows and ravens are some of the worst airborne predators of domestic quail, so add them to your list of airborne concerns.

With the wild quail as long as they don't have physical access to your birds or their feces it should be fine. Most avian diseases are spread though contact or the consumption of infected feces.

For snakes basically any physical barrier should stop them but if something else makes a hole they can fit in they'll find it for sure.
 
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