Simple DIY No Waste Quail Feeder

Piefoot

Chirping
Mar 11, 2019
32
143
89
Oregon
For anyone interested in a very simple and inexpensive feeder, I thought I'd share one I recently made, similar to the larger version I made for my chickens. First, I'm just getting started with quail and I'm keeping my adults in a hutch like cage. The feeders sit on the floor of each cage taking up minimal floor space. Here's my hutch so you can see what I'm trying to describe.
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To start, I found these 16 cup Rubbermaid food storage containers at a local department store for about $7 each. I was looking for something that would hold enough food so I wouldn't have to refill it every day, something I could see how much food was inside without removing a lid or having to open it up to see, and something that would fit inside each of the three sections in my hutch.
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Beyond that, the price didn't break the bank. I bought three. I also picked up 9 PVC elbows. I used 1.5 inch diameter 45 degree elbows. I noticed they were selling two types of the 45 degree elbows, one being longer than the other. I bought the shorter ones. My plan is to prevent the quail from throwing the food out of the feeder. Sticking their head in the elbow to reach the food will accomplish that goal. This container stands at just over 10 inches tall and about 8 inches wide at the center. It tapers a little to a smaller base.
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Using scientific techniques I developed in my lab, I carefully positioned one of my quail (Jumbo Coturnix) next to the container and measured to position the PVC elbows at the proper height. In this case, the center of the PVC elbow was secured at 2.5 inches from the bottom. The elbows are positioned facing down inside the container as shown in the pictures.
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The base of the container is only about 3 inches deep (front to back) where the elbows are located. This will help to direct the food to the bottom of the elbows where the quail can reach it. I used a hole saw to drill (or cut) the holes for the elbows. The elbows are held in place by a silicone kitchen caulk. The silicone is white when applied but is clear when it has dried. After applying the silicone, I allowed the feeders to rest overnight to ensure they were completely dry. Also, one of my goals was to be able to see the food inside without having to open it up. As you can see in this picture, you can easily see inside.
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I wanted to add this picture to show the quail can see the food as they approach the feeder and using the shorter PVC elbows, it is not too far for them to reach through. To introduce the feeder the first time, I put a pinch of food on each of the PVC elbows at the front lip. The quail had this thing figured out in a matter of seconds. I'm keeping 1 rooster and 3 hens in each cage. This feeder allows 3 quail to dine at one time. I've never seen more than 2 eating at a time so it seems to be working as I had hoped.
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Here's a shot of one quail eating. The food inside is quite visible. Since introducing these feeders, there is no food falling to the ground through the hardware cloth floor. I am filling the feeders once each week and they have been about half full at that point. All things considered, this feeder is perfect for my hutch. My residents appreciate the fine dining experience as is evident by the fact that they continue coming back for more. And the price was right. I already had the silicone. The Rubbermaid containers were $7 each, and the PVC elbows were $1.50 (rounded up) each. Each feeder costs less than $12 to make.

Last weekend, the quail in the picture above was actually taking a nap in front of the feeder and was resting his head on the lip of the PVC elbow. I tried to get a picture but by the time I had my phone camera ready, he woke up and started eating again. Anyway, I am happy with this feeder and if anyone might be looking for something similar, I highly recommend it. I even put one of these in the brooder for my last batch of quail chicks at 3 weeks of age. They loved it and figured out how to get to the food as quickly as their parents did. Good luck!
 

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DickMidnight

Songster
Oct 23, 2021
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you might want to consider a cut to make the bottom of the elbow level with the bottom of the feeder.

it’ll accomplish the same thing and make
it easier for your birds to access the food.

ive got pvc elbows in my feeders and that’s how i did mine.
 

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Piefoot

Chirping
Mar 11, 2019
32
143
89
Oregon
you might want to consider a cut to make the bottom of the elbow level with the bottom of the feeder.

it’ll accomplish the same thing and make
it easier for your birds to access the food.

ive got pvc elbows in my feeders and that’s how i did mine.
Not a bad idea. I might try that on my next one. I'll be making 2 more after the winter. Thanks for the heads up.
 

NY Coturnix

Songster
May 12, 2020
405
559
146
New York
Not a bad idea. I might try that on my next one. I'll be making 2 more after the winter. Thanks for the heads up.
Love the idea. Let me know know how the elbows work as I was thinking the same thing about being able to reach the food. Any other of these type feeders are usually a hole cut above the food. This would allow for a lot more food.

Good luck
 

Piefoot

Chirping
Mar 11, 2019
32
143
89
Oregon
Love the idea. Let me know know how the elbows work as I was thinking the same thing about being able to reach the food. Any other of these type feeders are usually a hole cut above the food. This would allow for a lot more food.

Good luck
To be clear, the quail have no problem reaching the food as it is currently set up. If you look at the 5th photo showing a closeup of the elbows from the bird's perspective, the food is really right there just inside the curve in the elbow. I positioned the center of the elbow at a height of 2.5 inches making it perfect for the size of my jumbo size quail. They stick their heads in and eat with no struggle to reach the food at all. So, to answer your request, the elbows work perfectly as they are in these feeders. No modifications are needed. I trimmed the bottom of an elbow in another feeder I'm making today and test fitted everything. To be honest, it really doesn't make any difference in the quail's ability to reach the food as food is directed into the bottom of the elbow from the back wall of the feeder. Trimming off the front wall doesn't make a difference with these short elbows.

I made similar feeders for my chickens but having longer necks, I use 90 degree elbows that are larger with a 3 inch diameter. I did account for the shorter necks on the quail and that's why I used the shorter 45 degree elbows. With 4 quail using the feeder, they empty it on average just a little more than half way every week. I've refilled this one in the picture now 3 times in 3 weeks. There is no food being thrown out and wasted at all. It's been working great.
 

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