Questions of raising quail on the ground

Johnny829

Chirping
Oct 9, 2018
34
22
54
Hi guys!

I'm planning to raise about 10 Japanese coturnix quails more as pets instead of for their eggs or meat. And I got a few specific questions before I actually start this.

1. Building material. I'm planning to build a 9 feet long, 9 feet wide and 6 feet high coop for them. Guess any 1 inch opening chicken wire would do the job? Would 1/2 inch opening wire be better or that's not necessary? Any recommendations of certain brands such as garden zone, keystone or yardgard? Links are also welcome.

2. Bedding material. I'm planning to just put the coop in my back yard. Is it necessary to put bedding materials for them? If so, what would be the best, wood shavings, sand, hays, straws, etc? If not, do I need to get rid of the grass first or just let them "ruin" it gradually?

3. I heard they need some shelter places to hide and feel more secure. Any more concrete or specific ideas of how to build them and what materials to use? Links would be helpful too.

4. I heard the concept of deep litter method. Can someone please explain what it is exactly and what I need to do for my quails?

5. Besides having waterer, feeder, dust bath, shelters in their coop, what else would you recommend to me add or something I did not mention but they'd enjoy a lot?

6. Is there anything that I need to keep in mind to raise quails on the ground?

Thank you, guys!
Johnny
 

CapricornFarm

Chicken addict
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Feb 1, 2010
74,292
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Southern Virginia
I would recommend 1/2" hardware cloth to keep predators from reaching in and grabbing quail. Also i suggest a skirt buried in the ground to keep predators from digging. I would leave the grass as is.
Deep litter is what is often used in a coop with a solid floor, you just keep adding bedding and let the birds stir it up. It breaks down gradually.
 

le_bwah

Crowing
May 1, 2018
1,056
2,709
296
Boise, ID
My Coop
My Coop
  1. 1/2 inch is better (no paws can reach in, no heads can squeeze out). Anything off Amazon should do.
  2. Any grass will eventually be churned into dirt (which is fine). I raise mine on a mix of dirt, wood shavings, straw, and lawn clippings/leaves.
  3. I live near a river, so I've got easy access to great, gnarly pieces of driftwood to make caves. I also lay pieces of bark between two logs for cozier nests. Some people like to build shelters out of wood.
  4. Deep litter works by layering organic material (leaves/straw/woodchips/etc.) over dirt and letting the birds poop build up in it. You have to turn it over at least every couple days to reveal cleaner bedding and aerate, but the birds usually help with this. Eventually, all the bugs and fungi and bacteria in the soil break down the poop and organic matter and basically compost it all.
  5. Mine love patches of bare dirt more than any sand/dust I could provide for them. I gave them a "wading pool" to keep them cool this summer, but they like it so much I'm gonna let them keep it until the first real freeze. Giving them lots of taller things to climb on keeps their environment interesting and helps break line of sight if a fight breaks out.
  6. It's nearly a guarantee that birds on the ground will contract parasites at some point, especially if they have access to bare dirt. This is only a problem if an infestation occurs, which can be prevented if you stay on top of their health and keep an eye out for mites/worms.
Glad you want to raise quail on the ground! They're so fun to watch, digging and fluttering and scampering around.
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Laurasnextstep

Chirping
Mar 25, 2018
16
14
54
Portsmouth, UK
Hi - Mine live on the ground here in the UK.
1) I use 1/2 inch up to a ft off the ground and then 1 inch from there up but we have very different predators here. First thing I did was dug a pit about 12 inches down and lined the pit with paving slabs on the bottom and sides, then put the dirt back in. I built the coop on top of this to stop anything digging under.
2) Let them ruin the grass. For me one of the plus points of giving them the ground is watching them use natural behaviours to dig and find bugs in the soil and grass. I often plant new things so they always have some greenery to hide in or pick bugs off of. They also lean through the bars and help themselves to any leaves from garden plants growing nearby...so be aware that anything near the cage will get scalped if its tasty! My coop is half coverred to protect from rain and half open to the elements. At the coverred end I put a pile of fresh straw in each week. They sit in this pile to rest and lay their eggs.
3 So up the coverred end I have created a rockery from old bricks, paving slabs and blocks, leaving plenty of gaps inbetween and hidey holes for them to dart into.
4) As somebody already said I think thats an off ground concept. That being said I go out every morning to do food and water checks and take treats out. Then I make sure I dig over the earth a little...this makes sure the droppings aren't accumulating and the girls will follow me around waiting to get where I've just dug to forage. Betty got a worm this morning and when I moved a rock a few bugs were uncoverred for the waiting Harriet.
5) I don't have a dust bath bath as such...I just dig out a shallow hole and keep it topped up with sand. I always make sure there is a treat on hand; cucumber, courgette, pumpkin - something like that to give them something fresh to investigate. I have tried water pools and they didn't go much on that. They have access to a cuttlefish bone at all times, which they LOVE and is so good for them. If Im gardening I will add branches and rootballs and piles of leaves in for them to investigate.
6) A lot of people say worms are a concern. Ive not had this issue yet. Im aware they are exposed to more potentially harmful bugs are infections from the soil but it's a small downside when you consider how happy they are living in a more 'wild' way. I give them apple cider vinegar in their water and check them a few times a week for parasites/infections. So far nothing.

Hope this helps
 

007Sean

Face it, Embrace it, Ace it, Replace it
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Oct 25, 2015
32,952
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South Central Texas
You have already been given some good advice on raising quail in a ground enclosure. The only thing I have to add is worming your quail twice a year when raising them on the ground. I use Wazine and Safeguard, and alternate between the two.
 

007Sean

Face it, Embrace it, Ace it, Replace it
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Oct 25, 2015
32,952
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South Central Texas
How long do you wait before collecting eggs again?
All of my quail are seasonal breeders, so I don't have to worry about a waiting period. I don't eat my birds eggs, either...hatching only. I worm my birds before breeding season and after the last egg is laid.
I think the normal withdrawl period for consumption of the eggs is around a week or two.
 

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