Quail pen setup question - can they use a tunnel?

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OzJody
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Quail pen setup question - can they use a tunnel?

Post by OzJody »

Hello

Newbie (and probably silly) question.

I have not bought quails yet but I’m hoping to get 4-5 in due course. Just trying to nut out an appropriate set up for their habitat.

I was wondering if i could potentially use something like the Omlet Zippi tunnel to link up a regular (short) guinea pig/rabbit hutch to a larger run sitting on my lawn, or would the quails probably not work out how to use a tunnel, even if i shorten it?

See my yard is pretty small, but there is enough room to do a smallish run, however i live in Brisbane Australia, where the summers are brutally hot and humid, so i think it would be necessary to keep their housing up on the adjoining bricked landing, which has a small balcony overhead to give protection from rain and sun.

If they will learn to use a short tunnel to access the run, happy days, but if not then it’s back to the drawing board.

Thanks for your time.

Jody
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Marigold
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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Quail pen setup question - can they use a tunnel?

Post by Marigold »

Hi OzJody, and welcome to the Forum. It's great to have a new member from about as far away as you can get from the UK. We do have several international members and it's so interesting to compare notes. Over here we're all very sorry over what is happening in your beautiful country, and I agree that keeping any kind of poultry in fierce humid heat is a big challenge.

Quails aren't like chickens, they don't seem to want to go to roost at night in a coop or on a perch. They are by nature ground-living birds and just go to sleep on the ground wherever they can find cover. They do fly upwards like powerful little helicopters when alarmed, so you have to have some sort of mesh or cover on their accommodation, but don't usually fly very much when calm. I used to put mine in a rabbit run on the lawn for much of the year and move the run on every few days, as they do poo quite a lot and it's quite smelly stuff - but good fertiliser for the lawn when hosed in. It wouldn't be so good if you had your outdoor run permanently fixed to the indoor house, you'd need to have the length and flexibility to move it when the run moved on. Could you send the link to the tunnel you're thinking about? They aren't very keen on ramps, at least people who've bought a chicken coop with a ramp to a top 'bedroom' have found they don't use it, but I think they would get used to a tunnel OK. Maybe you could keep the food indoors and dry, and give them access to the outside as well?

I kept mine in cages in a summer house in winter, and although the front of the cages didn't get direct sun, I found they became distressed and panted with open beaks when the temperature got much above 25C in early summer, so then I moved them outside and they were OK in the shade of trees, so I'm not sure how you would get on with keeping them cool. It's important to give them several little hut-type refuges to shelter in, and although they lay their eggs all over the place on the ground, they do use these shelters as well. In winter here when it got down to minus numbers they seem to huddle together in the huts, but thats probably not your main problem!

You didn't say whether you're going to get Japanese quails, i.e, coturnix, the kind that lay eggs (Italian quails are similar but bred to be a bit larger and they come in lots of pretty colours.) Or maybe Chinese quails, the little 'button quails' which are more sociable and family -orientated and may rear chicks, but of course their eggs are very tiny. Coturnix lay lovely eggs, every day for years on end, but can be rather aggressive to each other unless you only keep females. Maybe browse this section for more info if interested. Do let us know how you get on.
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