Switching coturnix from multiple small pens to a large aviary. Tips?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by rachel, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. rachel

    rachel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I currently have 3 hutches that are about 2'X3' each. I have a total of 3 males and 8 females right now. (One male per cage) To hopefully make my life easier and their life better I plan on building an aviary that will be 14' feet long and 4-5' wide. A two foot wide section will be for a "safety door" (so there is a double set of doors to prevent escapes) and to store food etc. This leaves them with about 60 square feet. I know I *could* put as many as 60 in that area, but that seems really densely stocked to me, I was thinking 24... would I still keep a 1:3 or 1:4 male to female ratio with them all in the same area like that?
    How do those of you that have set ups like this go about collecting eggs? I will provide them with nest box areas, but from experience I know they'll only use them some of the time... especially if there are lots of other hidey places for them.
    Are there any other things that have arisen from making a switch like this that I'm not thinking of?
     
  2. peewee

    peewee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know from my own experience that you you should still keep the number of males down to a reasonable number. 1:4 sounds like a good number. I tried to have more males in my flight than that. It is doable but I had way to many fights. Everybody is now happier that I separated some of the boys. With more room and less boys I have noticed less fighting until I exceeded my ratio. Now that that is not an issue I do not have the fights There is still some measuring between the boys but not any of the fighting I had. One will usually back down and go to his own corner.
    24 birds in that area sounds great. Like you said you "could" get away with more but you will have happier birds with less numbers in the flight. As to gathering eggs - your are just going to have to watch were you step. I have tried to give my birds places to lay (hamster igloos) and lots of iris and fern in the run but, they just seem to lay anywhere they please. I do however have one hen who is an egg collector for me. She will go all around the pen and gather up quite a few of the eggs for me and put them in one place. Of course this place changes daily. So I still have to hunt for the eggs.
    Being here in Central Florida with my birds on the ground, I have to worm my birds more often than others who keep them on wire. So if you have quails for egg production, you should check with your local vet to see how many times you should worm you birds, you should keep in mind that depending on the wormer you use you will not be able to eat the eggs for a week or so.
    Also you are going to have to rake and sift the ground to get all the poop piles up, this is the only part I don't like.
    Other than that I really can't of anything else. Good luck with your birds!!!
     
  3. rachel

    rachel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks peewee. The cleaning and potential parasites were the biggest drawbacks for me. I was planning on putting down straw and just raking that all up from time to time, but I'm also afraid eggs will get buried and lost under it! Being in Phoenix, we seem to have less problems with worms than many other parts of the country, but they're still here. I raise them on organic feed, so medication is a bit of a no-no unless it's an absolute emergency. Maybe if I include the chopped pumpkin seeds from the get-go I can stay ahead of them? *crossing my fingers* I appreciate your insight!
     
  4. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Yes, in large groups it is very important to keep at least 5 females for every male. As far as fighting though, you shouldn't have any trouble if you just tossed them all in together. It seems like the only problems with fighting occur when you add new ones to a smaller cage.

    If you have plenty of boxes (preferably covered for privacy) and lots of dust bathing areas, they should mostly lay in those. Otherwise, it seems like they lay their eggs around the perimeter of their pen with mine, they are in a 3'x8' cage, about 25 birds.
     
  5. Frugal Que

    Frugal Que Out Of The Brooder

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    What I have found is since quail naturally scratch when eating, I just occasionally put down sawdust piles in various places of the aviary. Then I just fling raw sunflower seeds or millet seed throughout the aviary and they love it! They scratch any poop lying around right into the sawdust and into the ground. It just naturally works out that the poop gets put back into the ground, the sawdust is spread all around the aviary by the birds dust bathing and scratching and the flinging of the seeds just encourages the birds to wander and scratch.

    I had a bag of peat moss that needed to be used up so I used it the same way as the sawdust. Worked wonderfully. I don't buy peat moss anymore but since we have a bag laying around ...

    The double door feature would be good because there are escape artists. [​IMG] We didn't add a second door but are going to. One interesting thing we have found though is when a bird escapes and we don't see it escape, when we go back by the aviary for whatever reason, the escapee is just sitting outside the door as if to say, "I want to get back in there and can't figure out how to do so?" We were pretty amazed by the number of escapee quail that just sit and wait for us to open the door for them.

    Now we are more careful when entering or leaving the aviary but those small birds sometimes just seem to walk right over our feet.
     
  6. Frugal Que

    Frugal Que Out Of The Brooder

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    One more thing ... we also found that we needed less males in a aviary setting. The 4:1 ratio worked good in cages but in the aviary we found that when one male attempted to mate with a hen, then the other males would line up for the same hen. It was pretty bad for the hens so we now have a 10:1 ratio and everyone is just fine and peaceful.
     
  7. rachel

    rachel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Frugal Que- Do you hatch eggs out of your aviary quail? I'm just wondering how good your fertility is with a 10:1 ratio. Thanks!
     
  8. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Collecting eggs?

    [​IMG]

    Every day is like Easter at my house.

    My only recommendation is to make sure there are not narrow little hidey places you can't get to easily....because no matter how posh the nesting boxes THAT is where they will lay the eggs.
     
  9. GBov

    GBov Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Have to second the no tight spaces! I have a big square pot and three of my girls lay behind it. Its there as it holds the coolth of the night and they love to squeeze between it and the chimney but it takes some interesting contortions to get the eggs out.

    I find that most of mine like to lay in tufts of grass so I keep a cut down flower pot (about 4 inches high by a ft across) full of dirt and shove in a few handfuls of tall grass once a week. The dirt keeps the grass upright so they can hide in it and most of them lay there. It would live just fine in the pot but the cockatiel and his budgies eat it down to nothing by the time its been there a week or so [​IMG]

    Handfuls of hay held upright would most likely work as well.

    Like the idea of throwing seeds round the pen. When I get mine moved into the big pen we are building will give that a try. Any seeds they miss will sprout and they LOVE sprouts lol.
     
  10. Frugal Que

    Frugal Que Out Of The Brooder

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    We have about a 60% hatch rate.

    Our quail also lay their eggs in the tufts of grass around the aviary. The are nice little piles of eggs.

    Once our quail picked a spot near the edge of the aviary and their eggs were being eaten by the crows! We didn't even know that crows ate eggs. It was strange to see. The quail moved from that spot pretty quickly. It was just a strange way the eggs rolled to the edge of the aviary.
     

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