If you plan to keep quail, you will need a place for them to live. Although they are gaining in popularity, quail are not yet mainstays on most farms, and buying a quail hutch for your new flock might prove difficult in your area. You can find them on Amazon, but if you enjoy weekend projects and want to save a bit of money, you can make a quail hutch yourself!
To build our quail hutch, we used the following:
(2) 4x4x8 heat-treated wood posts, each cut in half
(1) 9-foot corrugated tin roofing (top)
(1) 8-foot corrugated tin roofing (back)
(6) 1x4x8 heat treated wood planks
25 feet ½”-inch hardware cloth
Roofing nails (for the tin)
2” wood screws (for the wood)
Heavy-duty staples (to affix the hardware cloth to the wood)
Building a quail hutch doesn’t take any special design skills, and we easily made ours with repurposed lumber and tin, as well as some purchased lumber and hardware cloth. When it comes to raising these tiny birds, I strongly recommend using hardware cloth in your quail hutch design. Not only will it keep them safe from predators, but it will make cleaning up after them a snap and yield a better home for them.
A chicken roosting bar is a necessity in a chicken coop, but quails don’t need them. They prefer to lay on the ground, so when you’re raising quail, they can easily become smeared in poop and other dirt. They also lay their quail eggs on the ground, and not in nesting boxes, so the eggs can easily become very dirty.
Using ½-inch hardware cloth on the bottom of the hutch will allow their manure to drop through (and give you great compost). If you don’t design your coop with a hardware cloth floor, you will have to clean it out daily to remove the manure and believe me, it will build up fast.
If you plan to keep your quail in a shed or garage, placing a container below the coop makes daily clean up quick and easy. One option is to use plastic pans you usually place under washing machines to catch any leaking water. They’re cheap, easy to source at any big box store, and large enough to realistically catch any manure that drops. You can also repurpose old newspaper to catch their droppings.
For the roof and back of the quail hutch, we used salvaged corrugated tin left over from a large barn fire on our farm. You can find this type of tin at most construction stores or on Amazon.
You can repurpose pallets to build your quail hutch, but make sure it’s safe for you to cut. Some older pallets are made with harmful chemicals, although heat treated pallets are generally safe. Here is where you can learn more about identifying pallets that are safe to reuse.
Designing Your Quail Hutch
Quail require 1 square foot of space each, so keep this in mind as you build your quail hutch. Ours is able to house 12 quail, and we currently have 9 in there. Plenty of elbow room for each! You will also need space for a door, and some way to clean it out if it becomes dirty enough inside (this is less of an issue with a hardware cloth floor).
To build our quail hutch, we knew we needed to house 12 quail, so we made it 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. Like building a chicken coop, the more space your flock has, the happier it will be.
We assembled the skeleton of the quail hutch by first cutting the 4×4 posts in half, so we had 4 posts that were 4 feet tall. I’ve learned when it comes to wood posts, you typically save a few dollars by purchasing a longer post, then cutting it yourself. Be sure to buy heat-treated lumber that does not have any chemicals in it if you’re concerned your poultry might ingest some of it.
We also cut two of the 1×4 planks so we had 7 pieces, each measuring 2 feet long. Three of these pieces were used to support the bottom of the quail hutch, while the other 4 became part of the sides. The remaining intact 1×4 planks were used as part of the skeleton of the quail hutch as well, as the top and bottom of each long side.
Each 1×4 plank was screwed to the wood legs in their proper place. After this was assembled, the hardware cloth was stapled every inch to the skeleton on the inside, so predators would have a hard time getting it off. We used it for the bottom of the coop, making sure to staple it to the support beams as well.
Tin was nailed to the back of the quail hutch using the roofing nails to offer a windbreak and protection from the cold. We found that the roofing nails went through the tin easier and were less expensive than other nails. If you don’t want to use tin on the roof of your quail hutch, corrugated PVC roofing works as well.
If you plan to keep your quail indoors, you might opt to skip this step and use hardware cloth on your quail hutch instead. If you live in a warm climate, I still recommend using something on the back in order to provide extra shade and relief from the rain.
Finally, the roof was added by using the roofing nails to affix it to the 1×4 skeleton and the legs. Our quail hutch was kept short on purpose. Since quail are easily startled and like to shoot straight up when scared, they can easily break their necks if they gain too much momentum. To counteract this, we opted on a short but wide quail hutch.
To create the door, we cut three slits in the hardware cloth stapled to one of the long sides. We can open and close it easily, and it remains closed by hooking the top to a roofing nail. This door works for us, but you might opt for a more formal opening.
During the coldest months, we place straw in portions of the quail hutch so they have a warm place to sit and to reduce drafts. This does create extra work, but it’s better than having cold quail.
We chose to keep our quail in the same hutch. If you’re interested in breeding quail and are concerned about a pecking order or ensuring genetic diversity, you might want to section off parts of this quail hutch into smaller homes; you will need to add more doors as well.
The total time spent building this quail hutch was about two hours. We did have to purchase the 1×4 planks and the hardware cloth, but we spent less than $50 creating a very serviceable home for our quail.
Are you interested in raising quail?