I tore out and rebuilt my quail cages. Instead of two large cages I now have 4 smaller ones. Each cage is approx. 2 feet wide and 2.5 feet deep. This will be more than enough room for 4 or 5 hens and one rooster in each cage.
I had a few disappointing hatches and figured that I had too many hens per male in the cages. This lowers the fertilization rate. Four or five hens per rooster is about right.
In fact I just hatched 22 new chicks and it was my best hatch rate yet. All of these eggs were collected after the new cages were built, so success! It was worth the effort.
The new quail cages are almost complete. Of course they are taking longer than expected, like any project. All I have to do for the cages now is get the watering system installed and tidy up how I’m going to latch the doors closed. I’m using bent nails right now. Hopefully this will be done tomorrow.
I decided to leave the feeders inside the cages instead of suspending them outside of the wire. It’s easy enough to fill my current feeders every few days and I didn’t feel like fabricating totally new feeders.
The quail seem to be getting used to the new cages since I got a few more eggs today than the last few days. They’ll settle in and be happy here soon.
I’ll post a new video of the upgraded cages shortly.
Yeah, my wife Jenny thinks I’m crazy, but I decided to tear out my quail cages and rebuild them. The original cages were OK, but I needed to change the size of the cages to be more efficient. Plus, I have 11 chicks in the brooder in my second bathroom that are about ready to go into the big bird house, so I needed more cages. Moving the chicks out will please Jenny greatly.
Instead of the two fairly large cages, I will have four smaller cages. Each cage will be about 2.5 feet deep and just over 2 feet wide. Each cage will house 5 coturnix quail: 4 hens and 1 rooster. Once these 4 cages are complete I will build more just like them underneath them. Eventually I should have 4 or 5 levels of cages.
Of course tearing out the old cages meant tearing out the watering system too, but that’s OK. I wanted to change how the water was plumbed into the cages anyway. I may also set the feeders on the outside of the cages instead of placing them inside.
This is all a work in progress still. The cages are pretty much built – in fact the birds are in them. The only thing not complete are the doors (I have temporary doors on there now). I’ll dive into those tomorrow. The key thing is to plan how I will plumb the water in and how I’ll stage the feeders. This will determine how I build the doors. I have learned a ton from the initial cages, watering system, etc. Time to upgrade.
Something interesting happened during this project. I took the birds out of their cages and put them in huge plastic storage bins with straw on the floor of the bins. I figured the birds would love the straw, but it seems they didn’t appreciate their temporary housing situation at all.
Egg production plummeted almost immediately. The 13 hens were giving me 11 to 12 eggs per day like clockwork in their cages. Once in the big storage bins they gave me no more than 4 eggs per day. When I put them into the new cages they laid 6 eggs in just a few HOURS!
I’ll post pictures of the new setup soon.