Quail Pens and Housing
With all the care entailed by incubation and hatching, a quail breeder would certainly want to see those quail chicks survive through maturity. A little more work and a closer watch would follow in a process called brooding to make sure that quail chicks are kept within safe and controlled quail housing.
Brooding and housing: Newborn quail chicks continue to require constant supplies like food and water as well as adjustments in temperature, space, and air while they’re brooding. This temporary housing would be communal and equipped with an electric thermostat to regulate temperature and a low-watt light bulb to keep them warm while they’re still feathering. There’s something about the effect of white light which provokes quail to peck each other, so either blue or red light would be recommended for heating. Most practices call for temperature to be reduced gradually by five degrees each time until the quail get used to a room temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To pick and peck: Within the first week, young quail are encouraged to learn to peck of food instead of on each other. Pecking is purely instinctive and a matter of survival to them. They learn to explore and identify food from useless matter, friends from enemies. Teach them by sprinkling small amounts of chick mash on the bottom of their brooders, and then feeding them their first greens like spinach and lettuce.
Moving out: Once the quail become fully feathered, they’re ready to move out from their heated environment into the world of quail pens. These are growing pens when they learn to search for other sources of food and scratch the ground for small insects. Adult quail are further nourished with vitamin-enriched water, game bird mash, and finely-ground seeds.
Quail pens are rectangular wire structures without a bottom, since contact with the ground would be healthy and energizing for them. Multiple pens are arranged side by side with openings for breeding among quail families. Some pens also have a square lifting door on one end or at the top for breeders to open and retrieve quail. They are always wire-grounded to prevent predators like foxes, rats, and squirrels from burrowing and hawks and owls from hovering.
Brooders and adults are also housed in quail cages provided with a manure tray or dropping pan for easier cleaning. These cages may be layered in two to five tiers with a sloping floor where quail eggs can simply slide down safely for gathering.
Confining plastic and glass pens would be difficult for adult quail because these containers lack ventilation and become toxic with waste unless they’re cleaned often. However, quail which need to be transported or shipped out may be temporarily carried in conveniently stackable quail coops which are made of lightweight but heavy-duty plastic. These compact coops have top and side doors and are of a low height between four to five inches to prevent agitated quail from jumping up and injuring themselves or each other during travel.
These are some kinds of quail housing designed for the purpose they serve. Some are for warming and growing young chicks, others are for protecting and transporting them, and larger compartments are for breeding and egg-laying adults.
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