Setting Up The Quail Brooder

Excitement would be a great word to describe the arrival of new quail.  After placing my order over a month ago the bobwhite’s have finally arrived.

Today I’m sharing how to order quail online, what to expect and how to set up a quail brooder.  A brooder is like a nursery for chicks, it’s where the birds live prior to heading outdoors.

It’s difficult to imagine but day old quail are about the size of a 50 cent piece.

They’re precious, full of energy and can use their wings at a day old.

I’m fascinated while watching their activity; nothing stops them from discovering their inner strength.

Ordering Online

I purchased one hundred bobwhite quail from WR Hatchery; they’ve been hatching game birds for 25 years and were very helpful when I called to place my order.

I was able to get a discount because I ordered prior to hatching season which was a nice perk.

The birds were hatched and shipped May 12th and arrived at the USPS the following morning.  This is when I received my friendly phone call telling me my birds arrived for pick -up.

The birds arrive in a cardboard box with plenty of air holes.  They actually sent me 103, which is customary business practice.

One died during travel time, this happens and normally why they send along a few additional.

Setting up The Brooder

I highly recommend setting up your brooder a few days in advance.

These birds will need the warmth of a brooder, fresh water and feed as they acclimate to their new surroundings immediately.

Set Up Checklist

  • Large plastic Containers – Durable plastic is good and easy to clean.
  • Feed Dish – Long open trays establish easy access for all the birds.
  • Water Dish + Marbles – The marbles keep birds from drowning.
  • Bedding – Clean hay is always my first go to option.
  • Light Fixture + Orange Bulb.  Use a 250 watt bulb – decrease temperature as birds mature.
  • Lid – These birds can fly – a lid is absolutely necessary. (example below)

The Brooder Set Up

I’ve set up two large brooders with 51 quail per each container.  In a couple days I will expand my brooders as the quail grow.

Expanding containers will keep the birds from overcrowding and fighting.

Right now I want the quail to establish body temperature, get plenty of liquids and begin eating feed.  We’re off to a great start; they’re extremely active.

The Lid and Lights

These containers are about 2 ft high allowing plenty of space between the birds, lid and light.  We built our lid using scrap wood and chicken wire.

I improvised with this lid; it was built for a different container that I mentioned in Quail Getting Started. The lights lie on top of the wire and the birds are moving around like happy little campers.

Things to Remember

Make sure food and water dishes are always clean and add marbles to the rim of all water dishes; this will keep the birds from drowning because they love to get in their food and water containers.

Feeding newborn quail involves a non-medicated wild game bird starter feed.  You’ll want to take some of those crumbles and blend, so they’re a little finer the first couple of days. This will make it easier for them to digest their food.

Keeping your brooder containers clean is extremely important, clean the containers every two days and increase the number of  tubs as the birds grow.

Quantity of tubs will depend on how many birds you begin with; because I started with 100 birds I will need at least 4 or 5 additional containers before these birds head outdoors.

Your goal in the early stages is to establish a strong immune system within your flock at a young age. This is really important so constantly keep everything clean.

You’ll notice that setting up a quail brooder is very similar to a chicken brooder.  ‘

For the next 24 hours it’s a good idea to keep an eye on these little ones to make sure everyone is getting along, so check on them about every 2 hours and it’s my hope your brooder experience is a positive one.


Get simple steps to ordering quail and setting up their brooder. #Homestead, #quailbrooder


  1. WOW! Quails are such beautiful birds!
    What will you do with so many of them?
    Looking forward to seeing more photos of them as they grow :0)
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Suzanne – Later this month I'll be writing about raise to release. We've had a huge quail decline in Texas so I'm raising half of these naturally on the ground for several months to release back to nature. The other half I will raise for eggs and meat and continue to the cycle. They are neat birds.

  2. Ashlyn says:

    I had no idea you could order quail online, not to mention over 100 at a time!! I was gonna ask what you planned on doing with them, but I see you answered that in the previous comment. Very interesting!

    1. You can also purchase chickens online too the same way but in smaller batches. I happen to get a good price break by ordering so many. After the brooder stage I will grow them out in a 60 ft sanctuary. Love these little birds. -Carole

  3. Randi Sheets says:

    I love this post. I am looking to into getting chickens for eggs so I love learning about other birds that I might want to have.

    1. Hello Randi, I raise chickens too but I prefer the quail, the have a shorter life span and they're just really neat birds. Less time consuming and you can leave them for several days once they're living outdoors. I started with the Coturnix last year and had a great experience. Check out my Backyard Quail page I've written several articles you may enjoy. – Carole

  4. daisy g says:

    Aren't they sweet? How wonderful that you are going to release many of them.

    1. Thanks! I forgot to add that when the sleep they look like they're dead. So weird… They are neat little birds and have grown a lot in just the last couple of days. Hope you have a nice weekend. We still have rain here. -Carole

  5. Douglas Griggs says:

    I need some of these birds

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