APRIL FOOLS! Just kidding, I'm seriously sharing a DIY quail coop, bet ya'll didn't know I'm turning into the regular backyard farmer chick, seriously! I found my first eggs today, from my endangered Welsh Harlequin Duck... I have to say if your going to be a small farmer/ homesteader you should start by checking out my favorite forum backyardchicken.com and get endangered animal breeds, they may or may not cost more but you know your helping out!
Now before I share with you my quail coop let me preface by saying some states do NOT allow you to keep quail, mine does but only 6. Quail are great because they require little space (1 sq ft each), are fairly quiet, and are ready for processing in 8 weeks or you can eat their eggs. I haven't ate a quail yet so I'll let you know how it is, anyway on to the cage building.
Here is the cage. Notice the different colors of wood? The frame is an old shelf I picked up at a yard sale for $1! That is right one dollar! All I had to do was move the middle shelf down to the bottom and then I had two wooden sides and a spare shelf. Using wood for some sides will save you money on hardware cloth. I used two different sizes of hardware cloth 1/4 on the sides and tops and 1/2 on the bottom. 1/2 on the bottom is important so the poop can fall through. You will also notice the cage is on 2x4s, that is to prop it up and leave room for a cat litter box $4 underneath to catch poo and pee.
My husband and I haven't built much with wood, so for us it was much easier to get a wooden frame than build one. We also used staples to secure the hardware cloth, in was very easy with a staple gun. The most difficult part of this project was cutting the hardware cloth.
Since this picture I have made a few additions. I got bird feeders at walmart for $1.50 each, I got two one for food and one for water.. I have found they don't work great however so I still manually feed and water them. I also got them a cuttlebone and gave them a plastic dish filled with sand for their enjoyment.
Cost for the Project?
Litter Box $4
Hardware Cloth 1/4 $12
Hardware Cloth 1/2 $14
Although my total was $34 yours may be more or less, I could have saved money by using 1/2 all over thus eliminated the extra $12. I had already bought the 1/4 size and didn't want to deal with returning it, although I bought two of the 1/4 so it appears I have one to return regardless... GAH!
The only other advice I have it PAINT! Hopefully you will be using you cage a long time so you want it to be attractive!