Raising on the ground question

Discussion in 'Quail' started by paigespeeps, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. paigespeeps

    paigespeeps Just Hatched

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    So I've read a lot of posts and articles by people who like to keep their quails on the ground. It's more natural and they can scratch and dig, I love the idea. But the hubby won't let me erect a huge aviary so I bought a nice little A-frame portable coop similar to the one pictured.[​IMG] So here's my question... how do I deal with poop AND predators? These lil buggers (coturnix) POOP SO FREAKIN' MUCH that I cannot imagine how disgusting this tiny little patch will get if I set this thing in a permanent spot... but I'm not sure how to keep them safe if I'm moving it every few days. [​IMG] I thought about putting in a mesh bottom, but then they can't really scratch and dig, and I wouldn't be able to put it over patches of leafy ground cover like I would like to. I'll install hardware cloth over the existing wire, and if I stake it down really well that should be enough to keep the racoons out, but what about foxes? Anybody have any brilliant ideas to keep diggers out without me having to dig up a new patch of my yard every few days?
     
  2. ShangoBunny

    ShangoBunny Just Hatched

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    Apr 3, 2017
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    What are the measurements and how many birds do you have?

    I wanted to keep mine on the ground too, but for safety I'm opting to place them on top of a 2 foot raised garden bed and using the deep litter method. Each spring I will rotate the coop to a new raised bed and plant veggies on the last one.
     
  3. paigespeeps

    paigespeeps Just Hatched

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    Apr 2, 2017
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    A raised garden bed is smart! This little coop is just a little over 2'x3'. I have 8 young quails at the moment, but plan to cull at least three. Waiting to figure out who the boys are. I've got them in a reinforced rabbit hutch right now, and I'll probably still use it during the winter and move them into the garage, but I'd like to let them enjoy the summer on the ground a bit. Do you think they would enjoy it or be too stressed out if I kept them in the hutch at night and moved them to this during the day? One idea is I was thinking of was trying to find some kind of rake heads like these:
    [​IMG]
    to mount all around the bottom sides, and stick the whole thing down into the ground every time I move it? Not sure if it needs to be a horizontal barrier though, like a fox would just dig a bit deeper with these. [​IMG]
     
  4. ShangoBunny

    ShangoBunny Just Hatched

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    Apr 3, 2017
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    That might work. Or maybe an apron of wire mesh all around the coop that lies flat on the ground? I know they have chicken tractors. Maybe look into their design and find what they do to deter predators? Or even a 'parking spot' at night that has that reinforcement?
     
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  5. paigespeeps

    paigespeeps Just Hatched

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    Apr 2, 2017
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    Those are both great ideas!
     
  6. JRNash

    JRNash Overrun With Chickens

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    Now THAT is a wonderful idea!!!
     
  7. JRNash

    JRNash Overrun With Chickens

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    Oops. I meant to indicate the raised bed
     
  8. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Love both of your ideas about the raised deep litter / planted bed / something to stake into the ground when moving ground coop around for diggers.

    I thought of similar stuff like perhaps even switching the ground coop to two or more different spots as it gets dirty and the spots always have dig proof around them whether it be patio stones or dug in hardware cloth - was even thinking of a board with huge nails like an underground cage around the coop hehe!

    I decided to go with a raised bed that'll have a plastic barrier so I can fill a few inches with soil and plant some stuff the quail can forage on/feel close to nature, being on the ground in greenery.

    Every week or so I will move the top house part to another raised bed beside it and switch them back and forth to clean them - I can mix up the dirt and plant some seeds that'll sprout in a few days.

    I think this would be the easiest thing for me to have them safe and stimulated - in the winter they are stuck in a long rabbit hutch, I've started to grow some sprouts for them in the meantime :) I have to finish weatherproofing the aviary first before I can do this project, sigh lol.
     
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  9. JRNash

    JRNash Overrun With Chickens

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    I've got a lot of chickens,turkeys and ducks. Last year I did a trial hatch of 25 quail to see what issues I'd run into when I decided to get serious with them. The pen was made along the lines of the ones you can find posted on the quail thread. 2ft wide 12 in high and 8 ft long. It was no where close to being big enough. The low higth interfered with taking the gallon waterer in and out. Another issue was the feed. They love to dig in it and scatter it. I've since went to nipple Waterer's ,the feed I'm working a couple of different angles. Rats are a constant problem. I tried them in an open pen on the ground and lost every bird to a red tailed hawk with babies in less than a week
     
  10. JRNash

    JRNash Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm expecting a 100 eggs from James Marie farms next week. I also have 50 bobwhites coming. I really like the idea of placing moveable pens over raised beds. I was surprised at how much poop the little buggers generate.
     

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