Raised Quail Cage Hutch Made From Kids Swing Set With Auto Drinker

General Information

Raised Quail Cage/Hutch

Keeping quail for eggs and meat isn't as popular in western society as keeping chickens but many people don't realise just how much easier than chickens it can be to farm quail small scale in the backyard.

My showcase is of my quail cage/hutch which is raised off the ground by using the frame of an old children's swing set. I've used recycled materials where I can including the base frame and mesh where the hutches are mounted. Even the tarp (draped over at night) is a hand down from my grandfather and is over 30 years old!

Purchases - I purchased the guinea pig hutches from eBay pretty cheap flat packed and they were easy enough to assemble. Also, the nipple drinkers were bought from eBay (German made good quality) and the actual water container is a standard plastic box I fitted with taps/hose all were bought from my local hardware (Bunnings). Oh yeah, I needed a whole bunch of zip ties too.

Base and hutches - Basically, the wire mesh base acts as a mess free floor with the 10 x 10 mil squares allowing for poop to fall through onto the ground or to a collection area below. The 4 x hutches act as the shelter and contain the quail and I personally wouldn't fit more than 10 birds per hutch. I sometimes throw some straw in the hutches for the quail to play with.

Feeders can be held within the hutch but I modified the sides on all but one of the hutches and placed a home made pvc feeder on the outside. This allows for more space on the inside of the hutches and keeps the quail from messing up their feed.

Drinker - The drinker system is simply gravity fed with the 30 ltr water container situated central and above with a tap on either end attached to irrigation hose. The hose is weaved through the top of the hutches and has a drinker nipple attached about every 15 cms.

More about how it works in the next tab (top)...

You can get the hutches on eBay there's tons of them and the prices are reasonable.

Edit: Here's a video I made about the Quail stand

Specifications (if any)

Quail are typically kept in cages commercially but Google quail cages and you'll soon see examples of overcrowding and cages designed for easy operation and not welfare for the birds. The hutches enable the quail to feel safe and hide if they want.

Egg collection - The quail usually lay in the dark enclosed area (behind the little access door) which makes it pretty simple to collect the eggs daily.

Rats will attack quail - The hutches need to be rat proof and this includes covering the outside feeders so the quail aren't ambushed as they stick their heads out through the holes in the mesh to eat.

Tarp - The tarp is kept down at night and also in bad weather - it's secured to the frame, held on by plastic clamps and works perfectly to keep the quail (and feed) all dry in the biggest of storms. Naturally, the tarp is raised throughout the day so the quail can relax in the sun. I situated my set-up under dappled shade so it wouldn't get too hot in the middle of summer.

Manure - Overtime, the manure builds up underneath the cage and about every 6 weeks I shovel it up, compost it and use it on my garden as fertiliser. A sprinkling of sawdust or hay every now and again under the cage helps to keep it cleaner.

See the next tab...


  • The use of recycled materials.
  • Low maintenance - feed and drink easy to re-fill and lasts a long time.
  • Clean - Cage stays clean and that's good for the birds, eggs, and general workload.
  • Small footprint - Can be used in any small backyard.
  • Reasonably humane - Look, keeping birds in cages isn't optimal but this method is much better than the commercial way of doing business.
  • Low cost.
  • Easy access - Easy to collect eggs and catch birds.
  • As good as it is, it's still a cage and a large outdoor pen is always better (if you have the room).
  • Took time to build and refine the design - I had to pull the swing apart first as well.
  • Had to remember to open the tarp daily and replace it at night (especially in bad weather).
Overall, I was extremely happy with my raised quail cage and it works/worked perfectly. Nevertheless, I have since built a large quail pen so my use for the quail cage has diminished. However, for people just staring out backyard farming quail or for smaller properties, this cage setup is a low cost easy design that works well.

Any questions just ask in the discussion thread.

I've written quite a bit about quail in the past if you'd like to read more go here.
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Reactions: JenM and Greyyowl

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Pros: lots of info there
Cons: now you've got me thinking I should get some Quail, not sure if that's good or not! :-)
Excellent article


I think this is brilliant.
I , well my daughter, put an ad up at her work at 6.30pm and I got a phone call at 7.00pm about an old children's swing set someone wanted "removed".
"Removed" it this arvo and am seeking a 2nd set to bolster it, make it a bit more permanent. Put an extra set of uprights in the centre.
I am pretty sure my neighbour can weld that type of metal with Satin rods.
I have all the extras worked out but what I need to know is what type of quail do I get.
If someone can leave a link to a handy site it would be a great start and I would really, really, like to keep a pair of pheasants in the bottom.
I know I could go look for a site myself but let's get the SSM community involved.
I have a perfect space for a set as shown in your pics but another 3rd longer.
Thanks for the idea, the people I got it off said "I would never have thought of using it for quails". Kudos for the original idea.
The Owl.
ps: Raising parrots I always knew never to have metal perches as it caused arthritis in birds. Would the gal mesh cause any problems or would the quails be scooting about to quick to be in any danger of feet problems.
I'm back. After a health enforced layoff, I have begun construction of my Quail/Pheasant run. More to the point I sit on my butt and advise carefully the wife and girls on how to do it for me. I am using the same type of design as this but am reinforcing it with more legs and bars. I have obtained 3 swing sets, had them totally deconstructed, bolts, nuts the lot, retained and it is all going back into the run. I want to stay with the self sufficient way of rebuilding. Hope all have been well in my absence and I look forward to showing you my results. (wife & kids hard work ). Advise needed. best type of bedding and best laying system, aka, hens use boxes, what will quails lay in? Or do they lay on dirt?
The Owl
Good to have you back Owl - I hope you're OK... At least get well soon.

3 swing sets hey! That's a really great way of recycling - love it. Sounds like a real family effort :)

Coturnix Quail will sometimes lay in a group nest but it's rare and more often they will drop an egg wherever they get the urge all around the pen. They do sometimes bury their eggs slightly under the surface of straw or litter so be careful when walking around the pen if you have a ground pen and not a raised one.

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