Keeping quail for the benefit of your family or even just for the fun of it is definitely a great idea but where to keep quail will be the next question right after you decide to go for it.
If we’re keep Japanese quail for eggs on a small scale we have pretty much 3 options as to where to keep them. The first two options are maybe fancier but these will produce the least amount of eggs for your family.
We won’t discuss them in detail here but we’ll mention them anyway.
As Aviaries are for flying birds this option is ideal if you already have an aviary in place and you keep some flying birds.
Benefits of an aviary
Like I’ve mentioned above the egg production in an aviary will be very low. Your biggest profit of your quail will be the fact that they’ll collect the mess that your flying birds produce.
They will be throwing feed out their feeders at high level and your quails will eat that. This way you save on feed costs and keep the bottom of your aviary cleaner for longer.
Disadvantage of an aviary
The disadvantage is that you will have to walk into the aviary at least a couple of times a day to collect the quail eggs. That will disturb and stress out your birds in there.
Keep them safe from the elements
In addition you’ll have to make sure to provide your quail a draught and wet free area at ground level. This is so they can hide from the elements (I’m thinking UK weather here) otherwise your quail will just die on you.
Your second option is to keep your Japanese quail in a pen. An easy solution if you have a barn or a large shed.
Make the area safe
All you have to do is to wrap the area round with welded wire mesh to make it safe from various pests and of course to prevent your birds from flying away.
Easy on cleaning
The cleaning is a piece of cake. You just add some wood shavings every now and again and their manure will turn into dry dust/crumbs. It is enough to clean out once a month or even less often.
Your birds will feel good but again, the egg production will be poor.
Keeping quail in cages
This is the one you want to go for if you want to see eggs on your table.
Basic DIY skills
Making a quail cage will require the most input from your end but if you have basic diy skills you’ll get through it in no time.
Quail doesn’t mind living in cages
Your quail will not mind living in cages as long as you don’t squash them in there like herrings in a tin. On a 4’ x 2’ floor area you can keep around 12 Japanese or Jumbo Japanese quail and they will feel just fine.
Example of a quail cage
The picture below shows you an example how a quail cage should roughly look like. I built this heavy duty cage in 2011 and this is actually my mark 5.
A good cage design comes with experience
I went through 4 previous cage designs throughout the years. They all worked fine but this one has proven to be the most practical one.
Iused to make these cages from a single tier through 2, 3, 4, and all the way to a 5 tier tower block design. Initially I’ve had a design drawing with dimensions but after a while I’ve just made them from the top of my head. I didn’t need the paperwork anymore.
The result was that the drawing got lost and now I cannot remember the details anymore as I haven’t built one for over a year.
However, I’ve found my old materials list for the 5 tier quail cage on my computer so I’ll share it with you below
|WBP Plywood 9mm 8′ x 4′ sheet||3|
|WBP Plywood 12mm 8′ x 4′ sheet||1,25|
|Welded Wire Mesh 19g (8′ x 4′ piece of a roll)||1|
|Welded Wire Mesh 10g (8’x 4′ sheet)||1|
|Timber 4 x 2 x 4.8m treated||2|
|Timber batten 2 x 1 x 3.6m treated||6|
|P-clips galvanized with rubber inserts||20|
|Fixings – Timber screws 80mm, 50mm, 30mm, 12mm||250 app.|
|Wood stain – Cuprinol fence care||2 L|
As to material prices they change constantly so you better check in your local building suppliers store or online for example on b&q’s website. It will give you a rough idea on costs.
I personally never try to save on the quality of the materials and even though these cages are for internal use, I’ve purchased treated timber and WBP Plywood sheet materials to build them to make them last as long as possible.
Low Budget Simple Cage for 12 Japanese Quail
As I’ve mentioned above I can’t remember exactly how to build this heavy duty cage anymore but I’ll show you my last lightweight single tier cage design which is suitable to keep up to 12 Japanese or Jumbo Japanese quail.
This one below is a heavy duty single tier cage but it looks very similar to the one that you’ll be making if you follow my plans.
If you are interested in building a cage like this for keeping quail I have good news for you:
I’ve made a detailed building guide including a material list for building a cage similar to the one above (well, with lighter materials and without the bottom shelf to keep the costs to the minimum). However, you can add that to the cage at any time and by the time you build it you will definitely have the skills to do that.
It is totally free so just click here if you are interested.
Or click here to read more about how to keep Japanese quail.