How Rotational Quail Runs Work

Raising Quail in a Rotational Coop System
Raising Coturnix quail on the ground began with a journey of experimentation.  Finding the right way to house this breed was a little tricky because I wasn’t sure how they would adapt to living on the ground.  Each set up I used offered a variety of perks and the quail thrived in all of them which was really exciting.
I wasn’t expecting such great results but what I knew for sure, Coturnix quail had no problem adapting.

Two of my favorites were the the following:

  • The Sanctuary Large set up offered so many perks, if you have the space go for it.
  •  Mobile coop.  Another favorite because it’s perfect for small flocks and backyard set ups.

Between these two examples I also built the Quail Run that could work as a fence.  My original plan was to extend this structure to the end of our pasture but changed that concept after we decided we wouldn’t be staying here long term.  This run was established in two sections that allowed implementing a rotational concept.

What is a Rotational Quail Coop?

A Rotational quail coop is much like rotational grazing.  This is when the land is allowed to rest and repair while the birds or animals are living and eating in another paddock.  This is the ideal situation for farming as it allows you to work the land naturally.

I believe this is why I’m always seeking mobile options or extremely large spaces for raising quail because it’s better for the land and birds.

This particular coop is where I raised coturnix quail, consisting of two 8 x 16 ft. runs covered in chicken wire with a door dividing these sections.

When do you Rotate?

Rotation occurs about every two weeks, this may vary depending on flock and run size; don’t forget coturnix quail require 1 square foot per bird.

Once the interior door is opened the quail travel to the new space, my job is to move their food and water ahead of time because it allows for a quick transfer.  The birds enjoy discovering their clean space and once again the door is closed shut. During those two weeks, the grass has the opportunity to repair and any sign of parasites from feces die off because their host is no longer available.

Many times, it will rain during this period which washes waste back into the soil working as fertilizer, the process is really neat and there’s no chemicals involved because you’re allowing nature to work for you. If rain doesn’t occur during the resting period then water down the grass with a garden hose.

In the wild animals and birds naturally rotate their living spaces.  When farmland becomes over crowded there is little space for animals to rotate; this can cause a number of health issues due to unclean living conditions.  A rotational system allows you to manage the land and raise healthier animals without chemicals.

Placing the quail on clean grass also helps deplete the concern for parasites because coturnix quail do have a tendency to mess where they nest and they’ll stay put if there’s no desire to move. For that reason, it’s also necessary to move their shelter boxes about every two days forcing them to explore the rest of the run.

Amazing Grass Repair

When you allow the ground to repair you can expect amazing results. This grass is an example of a resting paddock that has had time to revive and now ready for birds.  Isn’t that great?  This is what you want the ground to be like when it’s time to move your quail to a clean run.

 

Once the quail are settled into the new rotation they begin hunting for bugs while searching for new nest areas, corners and areas close to walls are always a hit.  Before long their back into a routine and enjoying their new surroundings.

This set up was a very simple build, assembled with 2 x 4’s, pine fence boards and chicken wire.  The style is very similar to a traditional chicken run with a few changes to provide safety.

With rotational quail runs there is an increased opportunity to enhance the life of your flock while being raised on the ground and the best part, it’s easy to implement with basic building skills.

Rotational Quail Run Learn how it works.

 

4 comments

  1. Patti says:

    Totally fascinating. I never knew there was so much to raising these little cuties.

    1. Carole says:

      Most people just raise them in cages which means a lot less to consider because it’s more of a production based system. I just couldn’t do that so I implemented all types of on the ground options to learn as much as I could and discovered these birds are beyond awesome. Thanks for sharing…

  2. Judy Krieg says:

    Do you move all their little hiding spots (like tipped over pots, wood boxes,…) also or just have some in each side. I really like this idea!

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Judy – That would be optional but if you provide shelters in both it would be less labor in the long run. The rotational set is really awesome and the quail love it because it offers that opportunity for new discovery.

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