Quail in tractors?

Lizmom

In the Brooder
Jul 3, 2020
28
33
34
Do any of you pasture quail in tractors? I will not keep animals in small cages. I have seen pictures of some lovely permanent outdoor pens for quail here on byc, but I would like to give them fresh green bedding regularly, and, of course, tractors are easier to clean and more sanitary than pens. I think I have managed to find all the YouTubes of quail in tractors. I think I like best the low ones made of pvc. I would not worry about predators because the tractors would be in a large pasture that is fully electric-fenced with lamas loose in the large pasture. The pasture would have been established with the best grains for quail. Pots of small wooded shrubs would hang inside each tractor for hiding places. There would also be a shelf inside an inch off the ground where trays of tall grasses would be placed and changed when needed. Setting this up would be quite expensive. I wonder if it would work. My biggest question would be "could the tiny quail escape under the edges of the tractor if the pasture was not perfectly level"? Any other problems that you see?
 

RUNuts

Smiling. I'm up to something.
May 19, 2017
5,616
40,119
987
State of Confusion
Yes. This will work. Yes, they will crawl under the edges just like chickens and rats. PVC is good for a year if you use the white, not UV stabilized PVC. Try the gray. PVC is lightweight which is a good thing for us. The Llamas should keep the dogs off. I need heavier material to keep our dogs from lifting up the tractor.

In an open field, I wonder about rats and mice who do hunt ground nesting birds and their eggs. The llamas should keep the larger predators away. Would they bother raccoons?

I kept quail on a garden bed in a 5'x5' tractor. When I opened the top lid, several would flush up and out of the tractor. When I was feeding quail before work, running down a quail made me late. I'd recommend a walk in type hoop house or John Suscovich chicken tractor. Plans are available searching those terms. Get a 6' long handled, small meshed net for quail retrieval. Depending on how overgrown the pasture is, what are your chances of retrieving a quail? In the dark?

Best wishes! Chickens may be easier.
 

Lizmom

In the Brooder
Jul 3, 2020
28
33
34
Thank you for the fantastic information. I had not thought that a net should have a very long handle. I did not take into consideration that lamas might be used to rats or mice and consider them part of their flock. I have watched a good many videos, which seem to be of young quail, who are less likely to fly, I guess. Permanent pens that are rodent proof may be better (deep concrete footers). I can grow flats of quail-friendly seeded grasses to rotate in and out of the pens as they become ragged.
 

FloorCandy

Crowing
Apr 15, 2020
1,725
3,246
251
I have a small breeder hoop style tractor, it’s only 3x3ft with a plastic storage bin attached. I gave it a hardware cloth floor to keep them in and predators out. Quail are actually excellent diggers and all of my main pens have cinder blocks going around as an apron. You can use larger spaces hardware cloth, like 1”x2” for the bottom. As you move it the grasses won’t be as accessible, but the quail will pull it free from the bottom.

Also, you need to chase them all into the coop(for me the bin) because as it slides they won’t move their legs and can get trampled by the pen. This is easy for 5-6 quail, but if it was a larger pen it would be a real chore.

As to open top, the younger the quail, the more likely they are to flush, in my experience older quail are more accustomed to the noises and movements, but they still try to get out sometimes. I clip one wing on each bird before I put them outside. Pens that open from the side are far easier, they are way more likely to flush up then sideways and out. I have about a 6-8 in lip in the doorway, and they rarely try to climb over when I’m there with it open, and when they do, it’s walking, not flying. I have a butterfly net that telescopes, I use it to fish birds from the back corners of the pens and to catch the occasional escapee, and it was super cheap. I also have a telescoping grabber to get eggs from hard to reach places.

Here’s my mini hoop house, I turned a table into a pen, and it’s my easiest pen to maintain tho so I’ll attach a pic of that too.
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4EBAA88B-3C50-408D-83FE-27465A2435E3.jpeg
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79AAEBB1-CC62-4B96-A73F-6E00129BAB18.jpeg
 

CovidtimeQuail

Chirping
Nov 28, 2020
194
329
83
Honolulu, HI
I like PVC too, it's lightweight and durable. For the bottom of the cage, I secure a 3" wide strip of horizontal hardware cloth to the bottom edges of the tractor, then pin it to the ground using landscaping staples like this:
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. The staples are inexpensive and easy to put in place. They're also easy to remove when you're ready to move your tractor to a new site.
 

Livvy0987

Songster
Oct 13, 2020
253
541
113
Colorado
Do any of you pasture quail in tractors? I will not keep animals in small cages. I have seen pictures of some lovely permanent outdoor pens for quail here on byc, but I would like to give them fresh green bedding regularly, and, of course, tractors are easier to clean and more sanitary than pens. I think I have managed to find all the YouTubes of quail in tractors. I think I like best the low ones made of pvc. I would not worry about predators because the tractors would be in a large pasture that is fully electric-fenced with lamas loose in the large pasture. The pasture would have been established with the best grains for quail. Pots of small wooded shrubs would hang inside each tractor for hiding places. There would also be a shelf inside an inch off the ground where trays of tall grasses would be placed and changed when needed. Setting this up would be quite expensive. I wonder if it would work. My biggest question would be "could the tiny quail escape under the edges of the tractor if the pasture was not perfectly level"? Any other problems that you see?
Personally, my quail has a small tractor, he only stays out there during the summers, he always comes inside at night. In the winter he stays inside. He seems pretty happy in there. He definitely could escape. I usually sit out there with him while he's in there. I decided to bury some of it in the ground. It defeats the whole purpose of the name tractor. It is not very deep in the ground. If I wanted to I could take it out easily. I think its a good idea. He reminds me of a rat. He looks like he can't fit through the hole... but yes he can... I hope that helps a bit? 😅 (He is a button quail)
 

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