Pen confusion? Placement?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Bluemonster107, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Bluemonster107

    Bluemonster107 Songster

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    i have looked through so many post on the “show me your pens”... and so many different opinions all over the internet on “pen preferences “.
    I am a newbie and am getting my materials together to build a pen... in my mind I thought “okay... so should be like a rabbit hutch... above ground and about 6 feet long with a closed end bin “.... then I run across post where the recommendations are that the pen be on the ground and more “natural “.... oh boy... I have no idea what more natural even would be???
    I think I finally narrowed down a space in my yard that has a fence behind it and two redwoods on each side.... as we get hot summers... should stay fairly cooler in that location (no direct sun)...
    And figured that would be perfect for the raised wood/wire pen... but also can construct on the ground as well ..... soooo I am confused which way would be best to go!! Looking for suggestions !! ANY!!
    So basically my situation is... I live in a city/suburbs and I plan to house about 6-10 coturnix quail as pets and use the eggs occasionally (depending what’s produced) to feed a reptile. Our winters occasionally get about 36deg at lowest.. summers can get about 113, but usually 106 most days of high heat... we don’t get much rain and wind is rare. Thanks again for the help and suggestions/opinions in advance .. including pics of the 3 areas I had possible placement (trees being top and the other two get more sun heat.. but still showing if others think it would be better)... bbq would be moved and the gazebo would be cleared of stuff under it.
     

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  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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  3. le_bwah

    le_bwah Songster

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    I highly recommend raising them on the ground.
    • Having a substrate other that wire is great enrichment for them and is less harsh on their feet.
    • Look into the deep litter and deep bedding methods to find out which works best for your situation.
    • Flights pens/aviaries can be planted with grasses—this simulates a more "natural" environment and gives the quail something to do.
    • Can give them lots of cover to ensure they have spots to lay (easy collecting eggs each day).
    Honestly, if I were you, I'd try turning that gazebo into your quail pen—saves on lumber and doesn't take up any more space than it already is. Plus, having a pen you can walk into makes tending to the birds much easier, and it's fun to be able to get in there with them.

    Here's the aviary I just planted. The grasses should get bigger, but the birds already spend tons of their down-time resting at the bases.
    P4080070.JPG
    It doesn't have to be this big for it to benefit the quail, but size does matter. A good aim is for something at least the size of a rabbit hutch, with at least 1-2 square feet per bird.

    Heat is worse for them than cold. Hottest it gets in my region is just over 100 for a few days at a time—give them pans of water to wade through, constant access to fresh water for drinking, deep shade, and maybe even a mister (they love it once they learn what it is).

    To me, wire-floored cages are analogous to tiny dog runs—an animal could be fine in them for a day or so, but forcing them to live in one is inhumane. Glad you're looking at all your options.
     
  4. Bluemonster107

    Bluemonster107 Songster

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    That is soooooo very helpful!!! And your walk in is amazing and the picture really helped me visually see the “natural “ environment look.. so really I could have the cement ground in a walk in and just have little planters for plants and lots of play sand???.. as well as maybe hay in an area?
    I too liked the gazebo idea, however.. worried as it gets sun pretty much all day... not a problem with some roof coverings... but with sun comes HEAT.. in a few months... HOWEVER... you got me thinking.. I have another gazebo area that a honeysuckle vine grows all over... so it is always shaded (not sure if that’s a problem)... but in the summer it is way cooler. What do you think about that area? (Picture but would move the playhouse obviously... it’s on wheels)
     

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  5. le_bwah

    le_bwah Songster

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    If the base layer is cement, the bedding you'll want to use is sand—bare cement isn't as enriching and would require more thorough cleaning. Sand will eventually need changed out, even with spot-cleaning/raking/washing, but it works well in a hot, dry climate.

    If you build in a spot on bare dirt, try the deep litter method. It's basically a way of slowly composting the birds' poop with organic material like straw, wood chips, and other yard waste.

    Yes, potted plants might be the way to go in your situation. Bird-safe native grasses would be a good choice, or anything bird-safe that takes well to being potted in heat/low water/potential shade.

    That spot under the honeysuckle could work, too—depends on the height of the structure you want. Shade is a must-have, and it looks like it's got plenty. What looked good about the other gazebo spot is the bare dirt around it. As long as it's not on a cement pad, you could uncover the ground and use deep litter. I'm a fan of that system for the ease of upkeep and the lack of smell.
     
  6. CoturnixComplex

    CoturnixComplex Crowing

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    If I had the option, I would always keep the birds on dirt! They're much much happier and their chances of contracting things like bumblefoot are much, much lower.
     
  7. Bluemonster107

    Bluemonster107 Songster

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    Unfortunately... both gazebo locations are over solid cement... just one is cooler because of the vine plant and the other more sun... but good sizes.. the honeysuckle one is about 15’x15’ and 10’ high... the other sun gazebo is a 10x10
     
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  8. le_bwah

    le_bwah Songster

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    Then I'd go with the honeysuckle spot, for the shade-factor. Deep litter could still work there—if the pen's base is tall enough you could mix dirt with organic material and probably still get some decomposition. Kind of like a raised garden bed topped with walls and a roof.

    The shade shouldn't hurt egg-laying and molting cycles, but if it does, you can always supplement to 12-14 hours of "daylight" with electric lights.
     
  9. Bluemonster107

    Bluemonster107 Songster

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    Okay... so I watched the areas and checked the feel of ambient heat all day yesterday in my possible build areas (was already in the 90s !).... my first selection is the honeysuckle location now.... as it stayed cool majority of day and as sun moved it had areas where sun was directly on the area but the rear of the structure stayed cool and shaded. I noticed though that the honeysuckle plant attracts many big fat black bees and other bees.... is this a problem for the birds?
     
  10. CountryFried

    CountryFried Songster

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    I read about raising quail on the ground and it said they have to be wormed? Can you tell me more about raising them on the ground? I’ll be started my quail pen soon and was planning raised like a rabbit hutch but would love to learn more about raising them on the ground.
     

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