Easy to Build Quail Shelters

Easy to Build Quail Shelters for raising quail on the ground in a natural environment.

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How to Build a Quail Shelter

When I started raising quail I had to figure things out on my own through trial and error because the majority of quail breeders were raising their birds in cages.

Through months of observation I was able to figure out what worked and what doesn’t; this leads me to these easy to build quail shelters.

I shared them a couple years ago but failed to include building plans. You can view the originals here.

Back then I was trying to learn if these birds would even use nesting boxes which was a quick no but when it rains or when it’s really hot they like to hide for shelter, even if tall grass is available.

I’ve used these shelters for Coturnix and Bobwhite quail and in most of my articles you’ll notice them mixed throughout their terrain. I absolutely love these shelters and so do the birds.

Supplies for Building a Quail Shelter

Quail Shelter Supplies

This project can be modified in the blink of an eye by building small or large.  Our shelter for today happens to be 2 ft. x 1 ft. and I have others that are 3.5 x 2.

The building plans are the same which makes this project a breeze to duplicate.

Instead of focusing on the measurements we’ll direct our attention towards supplies so you can construct these shelters to fit your quail coop.

  • Eight ft. 2 x 3’s for frame (You could also use 2 x 4’s)
  • Plywood for Roof
  • Cedar or pine Fence boards for walls
  • Screws
  • Drill and Saw
  • Stain and Brush (or use exterior paint)

Building an easy Quail Shelter

Let’s Begin

We’re basically building a box, well part of a box beginning with the frame so we need the following pieces customized to size for your coop or sanctuary.

  • 4 corners for height
  • 2 ends
  • 2 width

Start by connecting the ends and width pieces to make a rectangle. Drill one pilot hole in each corner before connecting the frame with screws.

Learn more about pilot holes here. 

After this is completed follow through by adding a leg in each corner.  You’ll need two screws for each corner.

Stand the frame upright to make sure everything is level then add the walls with screws.  I did some overlapping with the walls on this shelter using cedar fence planks, I was focused on creating additional ventilation.

Connect the bottom piece first, the top last, then come around the front and add two more pieces in the entry.

Quail Shelter Roof

Adding the Roof

Use plywood for the roof because it’s easy to work with.

Cut the wood with a table, circular or jig saw; I chose a jig saw because I wanted a swirled roof.

If you’re seeking a straight edge then go ahead and use a table saw as it offers a clean cut..  Once the roof is shaped correctly go ahead and screw it into the frame.

Note – The roof can have an overhang adds character and is a nice addition when it’s raining.

Adding Stain to a Quail Shelter

Finish with Stain

The shelter is completed which leaves us to finish with stain.  I’ve used paint in the past but I’m here to say the stain lasts longer.

Leave the interior of the box natural and apply the stain with a brush to the exterior, let the wood soak it right up then air dry outside.

The stain will project the wood from rotting, making your shelters last longer.

Building a Quail Shelter

These shelters have been a hit with the quail, myself and they’re easy to move.  They work great in a natural ground environment because they provide protection year-round for all types of weather.  Additional explanation for incorporating these shelters can be viewed in the following posts.

This project was made from scrap wood so if you have additional building materials in your workshop use these instructions and come up with something similar or duplicate this easy build.

If You’re thinking about raising quail check out my book Quail Getting Started. it was written for beginners who want to raise quail in a natural environment.

Give these shelters a try, they’re easy to build and perfect for Bobwhite and Coturnix quail.

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West


How to Build a Quail Shelter


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  1. Suchi says:

    Hi, I am thinking of getting some quail, but I have a pine tree with hawks in it right next door and I am wondering how to keep them safe. The hawks have circled my big indoor cat when she does go out (I go with her). Also my dog runs around quite a bit but I think she would be okay with the quail. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep them safe, in particular when I am indoors? Thank you!

    1. Carole West says:

      A lot of variables here and the first step would be to decide how you plan to raise quail. I have always placed mobile and stationary housing in a fence area. A fenced area is additional protection from dogs and predators and take note quail cannot be free ranged, they’ll fly away… With your situation coop housing should be lined with chicken wire or galvanized wire – the same stuff used for rabbit cages – holes are small squares. It’s stronger and a pain to work with like most cage wire. Secure tight wire covering will keep the hawks from breaking in.

      As for your dog – depending on the breed it will need to be trained. This isn’t impossible but I’ve heard enough horror stories and I have my own, that you can’t assume a dog will behave perfectly, especially when you’re not around. This could be different if you’re already raising birds like chickens and your dog already has an understanding of what stays and what doesn’t.

      I have many blog posts that can help you from here and also recommend if you plan to raise quail on the ground like I do, then you’ll find my book Quail Getting Started Helpful.
      It’s the basics to beginning with a housing options.

      Hope that helps – Carole

  2. Mary Jo Meyers-Barnes says:

    Last year a Chucker appeared in my yard near my chicken coup. I think it escaped from someone who raises them nearby. “Choo Choo” was so very cute and although we did not let him (?) in with the hens, he hung around and dust bathed with them whenever they were out in yard. He even came when you called for treats. Very sadly, we think a hawk got him….. Anyway, a an interested friend got some chucker eggs and insisted I take some. In January, I became mom to 7 chuckers we kept in a covered, protected dog kennel in our backyard. Recently, one escaped and we just let the others out. I thought they were gone into wooded areas but 6 of them have returned and are living in my yard! Your shelters are great. I plan on building some to place around my property for their use and hopefully preditor protection.

    1. Carole says:

      What a neat story and thank you for sharing. I love hearing about other peoples experiences and these shelters are great. When I released my first batch of quail a few years ago they didn’t leave right away so I put these shelters out for them and do believe it kept them safe from sky predators before they took off. They’re so easy to build too and I make most of mine out of scrap wood. Have a great day!

  3. Nina says:

    I rescued around 8 baby quail today. They were trapped in our garden right under my home office window. They were inside plastic “deep drain” pipes, described below. Last year at this same time, I rescued one that was trapped in a different location. Today, we covered them with pot trays topped with rocks to hold in place.

    How did I know the babies were trapped? Instincts. I could hear the daddy quail nearby calling and calling; he remained by the window for at least 5 minutes calling; his vocal cords sounded raspy. Sure enough, I slowly went where he was and to my horror saw a drain pipe I hadn’t known about. I bent down reached in and gently collected the babies, two times. They happily scattered to the dad. Our home is in a development in Roseville CA.

    Warning to homeowners who install “plastic corrugated polyethylene Drain Pipes” around their yard. Their purpose is to deep water trees or tomato plants. They are sold at Home Depot and made by Advanced Gardening Systems. Photo: http://www.ads-pipe.com/en/product.asp?page=single_wall

    I want to look more into your quail shelter. Real exciting project to think about.

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks for sharing – very interesting.
      Unfortunately I think raising quail in California is illegal or you’d have to get a permit. Best bet is to research the laws before getting to excited about raising your own.

  4. I have the worst luck with snakes. Like the commercial says, they’re everywhere I want to be. We used to have a problem in the hen house, but I have less chickens now and we keep those eggs collected.

    If we ever raise quail, I’m afraid we’d have to build them a super tight pen.

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Maria – I actually have a snake post too and I’ve never had a problem with snakes on our farm or with quail. Haven’t seen any at our new property either and this last weekend we went on a superb nature walk which I thought for sure we would encounter some and nothing, I guess I’m covered by the scent of our dog because it’s the only thing I can figure out. You can successfully raise quail on the ground also you just need to remember a few things. Read more here > https://www.gardenupgreen.com/2016/04/protecting-quail-from-snakes.html

  5. Jane says:

    Hi Carole, so cute! You’re so creative and one busy gal! We often talk about getting ducks or chickens and I’m afraid of them being eaten….yikes! I read your other post on snakes…thanks for all the info.

    1. Carole says:

      I’ve been hearing this lately, that I’m busy, have a lot of energy and so on. I get restless and just like to keep moving forward I guess. Ducks are fun and even better if you have a pond.

  6. Patti says:

    They are super cute too!! You are so clever and handy with a saw. One of these days……

    1. Carole says:

      Power tools are just fun and open so many doors to additional creativity. Start with something simple like a small drill and work your way up from there. After I move I hope to do some video tutorials to inspire..

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