Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DIY Button Quail Brooder

If you just hatched or are looking to hatch baby button quails, you WILL need a brooder to keep them in. A brooder is a safe, clean place where the button quail chicks will spend at least the very first three weeks of their lives. At this time you will also need to maintain a "safe" temperature. The suggested temperatures are one hundred degrees for the first week, ninety five degrees the second and 85-90 the third. At about the third week for quail I start turning the heat lamp off during the day (provided the surrounding ambient temperatures are at least 70 degrees) and back on at night. Unlike chickens, quail feather out rather quickly.

There are a ton of great brooder ideas you can find on the Internet. For my coturnix quail, I use a larger permanent one that show off all the birds to my potential buyers. In this brooder, I do not regulate the temperature but it's large enough where if they get too hot they can quickly move from the light spot. For my button quail I did the following:

Find a 10gallon aquarium tank. Sanitize it. Measure and cut a piece of 1/2" plywood to fit in the lip surrounding the top. This lip is usually used to hold the tank hood. On one side, drill a hole to fit the socket portion of a small clamp light through and from the other side screw on the reflector. On the other half of you plywood, cut approximately a 9"x 9" square opening and cover with screening. This opening allows fresh air to change in and out, excess heat to escape yet small enough where any drafts won't touch the baby buttons.

To regulate the recommended temperature, you can purchase an outlet style dimmer switch (like the one pictured) for around 10$ at your local big box store. After a little while of adjusting the temperatures, you will find the dimmers sweet spot.

*Very important: because of how small most quail chicks are, I do not use pine shavings for bedding. This is just personal preference. I cut a piece of rubber drawer liner material for them to walk on instead.
Baby Button Quail enjoying their brooder!

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