Raising backyard Quail seem to be the flavor of the day. While I’ve been raising them for several years, lately, word has spread about the simplicity of raising them.That’s a good thing for several reasons – it becomes more socially acceptable, it increases the availability of breeding stock, it allows folks to raise some of their own food on a scale small enough for just about any household, and it makes for some GREAT eats.
Popular or not, I’ll be raising them for as long as I’m able to do so. The expandability makes rabbit look celibate. At the first of the year, I had 8 quail. My first hatch almost doubled that. My second hatch has doubled those numbers to around 34 or so, after only a couple months. If I get a decent hatch rate for the currently incubating batch of eggs, I should be almost doubling again, to around 50 birds. And at that time, the culling will start. Hello Freezer Camp!
I recently needed another cage for my expanding numbers, so I documented building it.
Since quail do not chew like rabbits, I opted to use 1/2 inch PVC for a frame to add a bit of rigidity to the cage. I was able to build a very serviceable quail cage with only a handful of the PVC fittings, a stick of PVC, some wire, some cable ties from Harbor Frieght, and a coroplast sign I picked up along the road (“I will buy your house TODAY”, hand written”. Our county considers them trash, and pays workers to pick them up on a regular basis. The one I picked up had fallen over, and wasn’t helping anyone.)
I also picked up a roll of 1×1 inch square wire from Lowes while I was getting the PVC. I already had some leftover 1 inch x half inch (1 x 1/2) floor wire from building rabbit cages. I was all ready to build.
I wanted a 24 x 24 inch cage, about 12 inches tall. I would slope the entire cage to get the eggs to roll towards the front. I have other cages with a sloped floor, but they are a pain to build, since the cage wire is all right angles, sloped walls never join up properly. Since I started with a roll of wire that was 24 inches wide, this plan should be straightforward.
My first step was to split the wire in half lengthwise, giving me two strips that were 11 inches wide, and about 9 feet long.
When you cut wire, you will lose the width of one space, in this case 1 inch. Keep this in mind while planning.
With 11 inch wire, 9 feet long, I opted to run the wire on the inside of everything except the bottom panel. This would allow the eggs to roll out, and important factor for my quail cages. Therefore, I needed a frame that was about 12 inches tall (11 inches of wire plus the 1/2 inch of PVC. Since the 1/2 fittings add about an inch, I needed four 9 inch lengths for the uprights, and eight 22 inch lengths for the top and bottom frame.
I assembled the top with the legs first. I wanted to make sure I had a good fit on the bottom, so I did that part separately.
Then, I built the bottom square and placed the floor wire on top of it. Since the fitting took up part of the overall space of the floor, I needed to cut out the corners for a better fit.
Here it is completely laid out. The wire was secured with cable ties that were then trimmed short. Unlike rabbits, quail do not gnaw on everything, so the nylon ties work fine.
I then placed the top assembly on top and pressed each leg into the corresponding corner. Please note that at no time did I use any glue. This makes for easy disassembly for future project should I ever retire this cage. It also allows me to adjust the cage if needed without buying more parts. Friction and the cable ties do a great job of holding everything together.
The rest of the project was simply wrapping the 9 foot section around the frame, using cable ties to attach it to the bottom with the cable ties going around the PVC and bottom wire in a single loop. At each vertical corner, more cable ties were used to attach to the PVC. At the starting point, the wire was overlapped by an inch of wire and again attached with cable ties, with the excess wire trimmed off. The bottom of the wire was left long, to help deter any predators. Not sure if it helps, but that is a better excuse than, “I was too lazy to trim off the long wires”.
The top was simply a piece of the 24 x 24 wire attach with more cable ties. Over that was the coroplast that I had painted green on the underside, and left white on top. It didn’t quite cover the entire cage, so I opted to push of off to one wide, leaving room for a light and the hanging waterer on the side without a roof.
For the door, I took a scrap piece larger than the opening I wanted. This was placed inside the cage and attached with more cable ties. Gravity keep it in a closed position, hopefully keeping the birds in, should there ever be a latch failure. In the picture, the door is outlined in red, the opening outlined in blue. Click the image for a better view.
You will notice a strip of wire at the bottom of the front of the cage. This will act as a one way door for eggs once the birds start laying. A catch tray will be put in place to collect the eggs as they roll out.
That’s it. I promise it took longer to write up than it did to actually do.
I’m sure I left out a lot of important details, its a failure of mine that I recognize. Most mechanical things come very easy to me, and I tend to leave out what is obvious to me. I apologize, and ask that if you have a question on how I did something, PLEASE ask!
This cage was simple to make, and should last a long time. If predators weren’t an issue for you, other than the flooring, you could even make this from plastic netting or screening, even chicken wire. There is room for improvement on the design, I’m sure, but you should have a good idea on how simple it use to make one of these.
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