Turning a dog kennel into a quail coop, need advice and suggestions please


5 Years
Jan 29, 2014
Hi there,

We (my husband and I) recently moved from Toronto to rural New Brunswick. There is a what was a "dog kennel" next to our home which we are renovating into a quail coop. I'm posting a link to photo bucket so you can get an idea of what we are working with.

Here is the link: http://s46.photobucket.com/user/kosher_pickle_1/library/Quail Coop?sort=3&page=1

I am reaching out to this community as I have a couple of questions and concerns. If anyone has any advice please send them our way.

First off, the floor is made of 2 " thick wood. I know that this can rot and may cause mites. There is also the worry of a predator digging under and through. What would be the best way to tackle this? We don't want to remove the wood, because the structure is built over top. Could we perhaps lay a sheet of hardware cloth over the wood, then add a layer of vinyl flooring with sand over that?

We are in the process of affixing hardware cloth all around the outside fencing. We are attaching it to the wood framing by using a staple gun and then adding screws with large washers to the wood. Where there is no wood (at the seems of the hardware cloth) we are weaving metal wire around both the fencing and doubled up hardware cloth. I hope that made sense. We will also be draping the hardware cloth down into the ground...but would that still be necessary if we go ahead with a layer of hardware cloth over the floor of the coop if we made sure it it attached to the fencing at the bottom. (if the wood should rot)

Roofing will be tuftex. The quails have additional shelter from the sun because there will be a raised platform centered in the coop.

The plan is to build an exterior building for the coop. It will have a door and ramp opening into the outdoor section of the coop. It will be built closest to the side of our house against the fencing's exterior. What is the best height for the addition? Would you agree that 3 feet is too high or good for a raised building ? We will ensure that the structure will be predator proof with hardware cloth reinforced at the hole where the door and ramp connect and any air vents made.

We really appreciate your taking the time to read this post and welcome any suggestion or ideas.

Kindest regards,

Tracy & Ted
That looks like you will have lots of room! :) I have no idea about the floor. There are a lot of people here who can give you better advice than I can.

I wanted to comment on the raised platform and shading. Many people on this forum say that quail are ground-dwelling and won't go up ramps. Mine do go up a short ramp that is 2 feet above the floor. It has roofing shingles on it for traction. They figured it out because I often put the food up at the top level. I suspect that if the ramp was much longer or if there was not food up there, only a few would go up there. They have short attention spans and probably won't go up a longer ramp- they would probably go up partway out of curiosity, then forget about getting to the top and go down again.

I hope you share photos of the final result of your project!
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Personally I wouldn't worry about wire on the bottom. As long as the kennel is secured to the ground they aren't getting in that way anytime soon. It looks like pressure treated 2x10s or so and it will last for decades. Even if it did rot out in a spot or two the odds of them lucking up and finding exactly where the hole is would be astronomical. Also I would not put any floor covering down.
The slats will aid in water escaping if blowing rain or snow enters in. Also if covered with a moisture proof barrier like vinyl flooring there is a good chance of the wood buckling and bending, where as now it can dry and looks to have stayed pretty straight over the years.

A few suggestions I would have. The first would be to put something on the inside of the pen to make a deeper sand bed. I'd suggest pressure treated 1x6 deck boards, as in the flooring to a wooden patio. Have them pushed up to the sides just like that shelf or whatever it is on the floor to the left in the pen, just completely around the interior for a 4-6" sand bed.

For the coop that would just boil down to how low you want to bend. My suggestion would be no coop though. Just a big plastic tote in the pen with a removeable lid. Cut a hole for entry and face it towards the side with the hill to hopefully prevent sun, wind and rain from coming in the door. Have the door about 4" up the side to allow for pine shavings to stay in. Put a brick on the ground in front of the door to provide a step. Heck if you like have it suspended to give access under it and have bricks stacked to make steps.

With the fencing the first 1-2 feet should be hardware cloth to prevent something from reaching in and grabbing them. The remainder to the roof could just be 1" poultry wire. With the strong fence and wooden bottom, really no need for buried wire either.
Have a nice day.
I would put sand down on that wood floor. But you will need to add something around the exterior to keep the sand in. Sand stays dry when wet and is very sanitary. No stink and keeps the flies down. Natural grit as well. Sand will also help to keep diseases and mites down because it is so dry. My quail don't use a ramp either, but their coop is about 2 feet higher than the aviary. I use cement blocks and they just hop right up and in.

Only took me two years! Here's a video of the coop and aviary today, after all the renos! I created the video to help someone who wanted to see my set up.

Thanks for watching :)

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