Question How to build a 4 yard rotation natural habit for quail

Discussion in 'Poultry, Domestic Livestock, Pets, & Bees' started by Alma Jean, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Alma Jean

    Alma Jean Member Premium Member

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    Hello everyone
    I live in Adelaide S.A. am 74 yrs young and want to put together a 4 yard quail habitat. I will have an offsider some of the time to help with what I can’t do. So! I do have some galvanised roofing, some aviary wire some iron fence posts , fence railings, and some concrete.

    I have watched most of the quail videos and believe the way I ‘d like to go is to build 4 adjoining yards that are mouse/rat proof like Mark did. I have done research on the native grasses and fodders. I understand what is required that for their care and diet. Also I now know where to get these plants and grains.

    I have many drawings made by me after my research; what I don’t have, is the understanding or skill to get this off of paper into reality. Truth be known, I have no idea of safety requirements or the safe ways to begin with what I have. Any ideas will be welcomed. Oh, these quail will be pets and companions with their short life span they are ideal when my current pet goes. My family all live interstate and I need projects and company again thanks for your time
    Alma Jean
     
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi there Alma and welcome.

    Am I reading right that you don't have any DIY skills or practical experience using tools and equipment?

    If so I would not try to learn these skills doing such a project from scratch.
    Instead I would look to source upcycle goods that might help me.

    To begin with, the configuration of the 4 yards could be similar to old fashioned chook pens.

    But first you need to decide how important it is to have head room and walk into these pens.
    If it's not vital to be able to have head room then using IBC tank frames would help you immensely. They are virtually premade for you. They just need to be clad in chicken wire mesh. Although having said that, chicken mesh is not mouse proof. I guess you know how fine the mesh has to be to stop baby mice?

    Also you haven't given any hint to the numbers of birds you wish to keep. A metre by metre cage could comfortably house as many as 20 quail if husbandry was perfect. I assume you wish to rotate the birds from cage to cage to aid biosecurity so that the ground and housing gets a rest period against disease and parasites.

    If each frame was clad in fine rodent proof mesh with 2 doors, then the four cages arranged into a square, there would be access from the outside to each cage and from cage to cage. The birds could be lured from their current cage to the next in rotation by removing water and food from the old one and placing it in the new one. Once the birds moved through, close the door between the two cages.

    Having such fine mesh would prevent you using your hands to open /close doors so drop down doors (squares of treated plywood or recycled fridge or oven shelves) would be best hung up with thin wire or bale twine.

    I envisage a short 300mm tunnel between each of the cages to aid biosecurity and to create a place for a reservoir for grass to grow to maturity and seed without every seed being eaten.

    The cages would sit on concrete strip footings to aid rodent proofing therefore becoming permanent in their location. IBC frames already have a bottom in them but it might not suit your requirements so you might have to turn the frame either on its side or upside down. Once the frames are covered with the mesh and set in place, the whole structure can be roofed over with your corrogated iron or whatever you have.

    Now the issue here is that if you can't see how to convert my words and the drawing to come into a physical thing, then you will certainly need help. You mention having help from someone. I assume that person is a handy person?

    At this point I need to change from using my tablet to write this post, to using my computer so I can make a drawing for you and add some edited photos of IBC tanks. So I will post this now and add the drawing and photos in around 20-30mins.

    Firstly some photos of IBC tanks, then my diagram of how to put 4 together to make a rotational habitat. I have also seen these tanks welded ontop of each other to make head room. The top tank is flipped over so the 2 frames can be easily welded together. Or if you didn't have access to a welder, you might possibly be able to use zip ties, thin bolts or fine wire to join the frames together. So there's another option but would complicate the build.

    ibc frames 1.jpg quail habitat.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Hi @Alma Jean and thanks for joining SSC.

    I think this is an excellent idea! I love the concept of a rotational pen system and it's something that could be also done for other poultry like chickens but on a larger scale of course.

    I could even retrofit my existing quail pen quite easily to accommodate this rotational idea by simply dividing my rectangular pen in half and allowing one side to "regenerate" or sow some fodder crops then swap them over.

    If I were to build again with your plan in mind I would build a square pen with thick aviary mesh dug down about a foot in a thin trench backfilled with concrete to not only set the wire but protect it also.

    Divide the inside of the pen into 4 even sections with the same mesh but this doesn't have to be dug in so it will save time and effort.

    Have an external door on each section to allow proper access for cleaning out the pen and collecting eggs etc but in the centre where the 4 sections meet cut out 4 x small holes to create mini doors about a foot wide and high that can be opened and closed giving the quail access to the next pen when required. The doors could be pieces of marine ply cut to size that slides up and down to open and close or just held into place with a brick - it's up to you how sophisticated you want your build.

    I would also consider replicating 4 x feeders and drinkers rather than just having one set to move each time you rotate the pens - it would just make it an even easier system to operate.
     
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