when to cover coturnix quals' cage?


9 Years
Feb 27, 2010
Northern Alabama
We keep our three Coturnix quails in a cage outside (49"*36"*36"), we use hay for warmth (although I am wondering how am I ever going to find eggs in all that hay?) My friends suggests that I should add even more hay to keep them warm. The temperature is dropping to 20F-29F at night and is in the 40s-50sF during the day, do we need to cover the whole cage with the tarp? if not, at what temperature do they need cover? do they need additional cover during rain (we have a roof and two sides covered)?
I do not have a lamp or a heater. I live in Northern Alabama.

Here is a cage we fixed today (our first cage ever). Back side, left side, and half on the front are covered with tarp:

Please leave your comments about this cage.
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Looks like a great start on your cage!! IMHO I would wrap the bottom of your pen with some type of wire (kinda like a skirt) so raccoons can not pull their little toes out threw the bottom of your pen. Had one do this to some baby chickens once.
As to the weather as long as your birds are fully feathered and fed well the temperature should not bother them. What you have to look out for is the wind / breeze. So I would say yes that you would have to cover your whole pen with a tarp. And since I can not see a solid bottom on your pen I would take the tarp all the way to the ground. I am sure that someone will tell you that they do not need a heat lamp for 20F but I personally would put some sort of heat for them.
As for the rain - going by your pictures it looks like you have the tarp half way across the front, across one side and then down the back. With the roof this should be enough to keep them dry in the rain. One thing you could probably do if you still think that you need more cover for them in the rain is to get them a hamster igloo. Mine absolutely go nuts for them.
I live in central (Montgomery area), Alabama and I have my breeders in a barn with lights and heat. This is done so they will lay year round not because they need it. But with all that said I do have a flight pen that is 1/4 covered with a tarp and has a plastic crate on the floor with entrance holes and a heat lamp. I do this just to allow the one that wish to under the heat to do so.
I will caution you to make sure you have enough heat to floor space for the number of quail you have, if not they will stand on top of each other to get to the warmth and kill the ones on bottom.

Cover them if you must but provide plenty of ventilation for them and light.

Have fun.

I live in So. Kentucky, and my birds are in open cages inside a 3-sided building. They each have boxes to sleep in, which have a little bit of shavings in them (whatever they haven't kicked out). I would say yours will be fine, they probably don't even think they'd need the hay, though I'm sure they like it. As for finding eggs, are they laying now? With temps that cold, I doubt it, and once it gets warm enough/light enough to lay, they won't need the hay.
Thanks to all!!!!

We have wrapped tarp around four sides, bottom is wire though... i added more hay and they look happy
. I will keep hay until temps go into 50s.

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