Quail pen details......advice please!

Discussion in 'Quail' started by TarheelBirdy, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. TarheelBirdy

    TarheelBirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have 20 bobwhite quail that are now three weeks old. They have been moved to an outside pen that is plenty large for them right now, and are adjusting well (of course we still have a brooder lamp on them, and there is a roof over them. We turned over two five-gallon buckets and put hay in them, and they love them. My husband is raising these quail to hunt them, and plans on hatching more gradually over the years.

    In the meantime, he is building a larger pen for the quail. It's probably 20 ft long, 15 feet wide, and 12 feet tall, completely enclosed. It has a covered half. It is built with one side up against the wall of the barn. He wants to put a bunch of boxes in there. What are your thoughts on the nesting boxes, and the pen in general? Do they use nesting boxes? How many quail will do well in that size pen?
     
  2. jbobs

    jbobs Chillin' With My Peeps

    I havn't had any experience keeping bobwhites in a flight pen before, but in a ground pen I would not be surprised that you have to go searching for eggs sometimes. I think they wil try to find private places to lay. In a breeding pen the reccomendation is at least 1 sqaure foot per bird (correct me if I'm wrong, bobwhite people out there! :) But if you aare raising birds for release and want them to be good flyers they will need a really long pen
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,123
    5,073
    601
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    The recommended space for Bobs is 3 or 4 square foot per bird. However I have found that they need a lot more than this as they are large, hyper and full of energy. You will have about 300 square feet in the new pen, so I would say that you might be able to keep 60 Bobs in there comfortably. Some folks cram their bobs in together and it can be done. I prefer to give them as much room as possible to keep the aggression down.

    Now during breeding season, things can change with territory needs. First year layers will tolerate each other a lot better than older bobs and they older they get, they will require more room for breeding. During the off season, fall and winter, bobs enjoy being all snuggled in together for the most part. One big covey for the winter months. Yours being only 3 weeks old will not be breeding till fall, if at all this year. So you have plenty of time to work this stuff out.

    All my bobs range from 2 to 5 years old and do not tolerate each other at all during breeding season, the older ones are tiny terrors. I keep them in an aviary style setting, litter floor, and still they feel cramped. So each breeding season I keep each breeding pair in extra large wire dog crates to keep them from killing each other.

    I do not know where you are located, but if you are in an area that gets a ton of rain and the dirt tends to clump, you might want to consider a roof over your pen. I do not allow my aviaries to get wet and roof them all. Disease, worms and other assorted nastiest tend to grow in wet damp conditions, along with mud/poop balls stuck to feet, which will cause loss of toes and or feet.

    Oh...edit to add: Bobs do not use nest boxes. I use the over turned buckets also for nesting, and they do enjoy using them. But sometimes they still use a corner or even lay them where ever. So don't bother with nest boxes.

    You should, however offer them a place to get out of the elements, a coop of some sort so if it is raining or snowing, windy and such, they have a place to get out of the elements.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,123
    5,073
    601
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Oh..and another idea...Bobs don't like to be exposed and need to feel secure. So you might want to add brush piles to your pens. The birds will spend a great deal of their time lurking under the piles and be happier and feel safe. I used to cut branches for my bobs and just pile them around bare branches, on top of them, so that the bobs could wander around under them and I could also see them under there. However I have stopped bringing in the natural stuff as I was bringing in mites and the birds were having constant problems with leg scale and other mites. So I switched to artificial christmas trees. Cheap stuff from walmart. At first the birds thought these things were real!! LOL I never have to change them out and they are not buggy.

    Also, make 100% positive that the night time or day time critters can not burrow under, over and get inside the pens. These night time critters have a LOT of time on their hands and you want to make sure you have a Fort Knox built for your bobs.

    Good luck!
     
  5. TarheelBirdy

    TarheelBirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for all the good info! I was totally mistaken with regard to the laying boxes - I assumed they would like them. Saves us some work.

    Our pen is wire floor, raised off the ground about three feet, and covered with a metal roof. We had planned on adding brush, but the artificial christmas tree is a GREAT idea. Can't wait for my husband to get home today to share all the new info!
     
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,123
    5,073
    601
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Make sure to keep some sort of baffle type thing underneath the pens so that coons and such can not bite off toes in the night or reach in thru the sides of the pens. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by