Follow along with me as I build an outdoor quail hutch following the style of the Youtube channel “Slightly Rednecked.” Quail hutches do not take up a ton of space and an outdoor quail hutch is a great way to raise your own meat and eggs.
In the following article (as well as the two included videos) I’ll show you my process for building this quail hutch step-by-step. I show you the entire build process as well as list all of the materials and measurements you will need to build this hutch. I try to make it as easy as I can for you if you want to build one of these for yourself.
Just as a quick side note before we get started: I used to use partridge cages for my quail (I have the Jumbo sized quail) when I kept them in the garage. Here is a link to my video where I talk about these indoor cages https://youtu.be/TQbp5QbL-Eg. This is a good option if you don’t have space to put your quail outside. Keeping them in an outside hutch like I show in this article gives them more room and fresh air. (And it is a much easier way to deal with their poop!) I do still use indoor brooder boxes for my baby quail to keep them in until they are old enough to go outside.
Alright let’s get started with this build! Check out this first video that shows the build process for the first Slightly Rednecked quail hutch that I built. This article will make more sense if you have watched this video first.
Building the Frame for the Quail Hutch
- Three 6’ 2×4’s
- Three 69’’ 2×4’s
- Seven 8’ 1’’x4’’ furring strips (Four for the frame, three for the roof)
- Four 3’ 1’’x4’’ furring strips
- Six 14 5/8’’ 1’’x4’’ furring strips
- 36’’ wide, PVC coated hardware cloth
- 1’’x2’’ firring strips
- Paint (I used two colors of semi-gloss with the primer mixed in already)
- 1 5/8’’screws
- ½’’ staples
- Power drill
- Skill saw
- Miter saw
Step 1: Build two rectangular frames.
Build the frames out of 1’’x4’’ furring strips that is three feet by eight feet long with pre-drilled holes on the ends (to prevent the boards from splitting). These two frames will be the top and bottom of the hutch.
Make sure when you assemble these two frames that the total width ends up being 36’’. That is, don’t nail the 8 foot sections to the outside of the 3 foot long sections. Thirty-six inches is the standard width on hardware cloth so you don’t want your box to be wider than that.
Note: 1’’ boards can be hard to work with. I used 1 5/8’’ sized screws and even though I pre-drilled the holes I still had one screw split the board. Since they don’t make a smaller diameter exterior wood screw (that I could find) don’t sink your screws in (ie, just make sure they’re flush with the wood, not deeper than that), so that the wood doesn’t split.
Step 2: Cut the legs to the hutch.
I cut the front legs of the hutch to 6’ and the two back legs are 69’’. I used a skill saw for these cuts however normally when I make cuts I try to use my miter saw. You’ll need three of each size as the third leg will get attached in the middle of the hutch.
The reason the legs in the front are shorter is that I’ll eventually attach some corrugated plastic roofing that I want to sit at an angle to drain rain off.
Step 3: Paint the boards before you attach them.
Step 4: Mark where to attach the legs.
The base of the hutch will sit three feet off the ground, attached to the legs. So the next step is to mark the leg boards at 3’ to give yourself a guide on where to attach the hutch frame. After you’ve marked off your 3’ spot, make another mark 18’’ above this, and this is where the base of the roof frame will be attached.
Step 5: Attach the frames and legs.
Attach the hutch base frame and roof frame to the four legs that stand on the corners of the hutch. Wait to screw in the third middle leg. I did this with about 4 screws in each leg/frame join.
Step 6: Make the inside of the frame flush.
The six 14 5/8’’ 1’’x4’’ furring strips in the cut list above will next get screwed in vertically on the inside of each of the legs. You can see them in the second video because they are what I set the upper frame on as I am screwing it on.
The reason they were needed is because I want the inner part of the frame to have flush attachments for the doors and everything else I put on the hutch, but with the legs screwed on to the outside of the frames, there’s a little gap next to each of the legs.
Build the Walls to the Quail Hutch
There are essentially six different wall segments on this hutch. The front two walls are doors, but one is a solid door and one has hardware cloth over it. One side wall and one back wall will be hardware cloth, and the other side and back wall will be plywood. There will also be one plywood dividing panel in the middle.
- ~30 feet of 1’’x2’’ furring strips
- One 47 3/8’’ x 21.5’’ (back wall)
- One 34 9/16’’ x 19 ½’’ (middle dividing panel)
- One 36’’x 21.5’’ (side wall)
- PVC coated hardware cloth
Step 1: Cut the side wall pieces.
Cut the plywood to fit the walls of the hutch and paint it! The dimensions of my plywood walls were 47 3/8’’x 21.5’’ for the back and 36’’x 21.5’’ for the side. Screw in the solid walls once you have them cut and painted.
Step 2: Cut the middle wall and the doorway.
There will also be a middle dividing wall that is 34 9/16’’ x 19 ½’’ and also has a small “doorway” cut into it so the quail have basically an indoor “room” and an outdoor “patio.” I put the doorway at the bottom corner of the dividing wall.
The middle panel that separates the “rooms” of the hutch can be a little different from the end panel sizes if there’s any bowing in the wood, or you didn’t square the hutch up perfectly. For this reason I waited to cut the middle panel until last and I could measure the true distance between the support legs.
I just eyeballed the size of the doorway needed. As long as adult sized quail can get through that’s all you need.
Step 3: Cut, paint and attach furring strips.
This is the step that is needed to prepare to put the doors on the front of the hutch. The 1’’x2’’ firring strips will get attached to the inner frame of both of the front door panels, all the way around both sides, and will serve as a backstop for when I put the doors in. You will need to mount them so that about a half inch is attached to the frame, which leaves 1 ½’’ of “backstop” hanging over.
Step 4: Attach hardware cloth to the walls.
Chris at “Slightly Rednecked” added the hardware cloth on the outside of the hutch, but under the leg. You will see what I mean if you watch his video. I didn’t care for the look that left on the back of the hutch and I explain why in the below “Part 2” video.
Instead I attached it to the inside and just made sure there were no sharp edges pointing out from where I cut the wire that would injure the quail. This was a lot cleaner tidier way of doing it I felt. (I did it Chris’ way on the first hutch I built, but did it the way I am explain in the below video for the second hutch.)
Step 5: Attach hardware cloth to roof & ceiling
In the “Slightly Rednecked” video Chris attaches the hardware cloth by basically wrapping it in one continuous piece around the whole hutch. I did mine a little differently and I attached each panel of hardware cloth separately. If you do it my way, you can go ahead and attach the wall panels of hardware cloth now.
In this video below you get to see the entire build process for the second one of these Slightly Rednecked hutches that I built. I made some slight improvements in my process which is why I included both videos.
Build the Doors to the Hutch:
There will be two doors on the front of the hutch, and each will swing down on a hinge. The doors are framed with 1’’x4’’s. One has a plywood center and one has a hardware cloth center. See my second video to see how I built the doors.
- Four 43’’ 1’’x4’’s, with ends cut at a 45 degree angle
- Four 14 ¼’’ 1’’x4’’s, with ends cut at a 45 degree angle
- Flat L brackets
- Plywood, cut to fit the interior of one door
- PVC coated hardware cloth, cut to fit the interior of one door
- Four standard door hinges
- Four standard bolt latches
Step 1: Make the cuts listed above.
Cut the 1’’x4’’s to the sizes listed above and join them together with a flat L bracket on either side.
Step 2: Paint the doors and the plywood that will be attached.
Step 3: Attach the interiors of the doors.
For one of the doors attach plywood to the middle, and the other door will have a hardware cloth screen in the center.
Step 4: Hinges and bolts.
Attach the doors with two hinges each and secure them closed with a bolt. Make sure you attach the bolts so that the bolt will slide down to close, not up to close. Gravity will naturally cause the bolt to fall down, so if you screw it in so that the bolt has to go “up” to close, you’ll have your hutch doors falling open all the time.
Build the Quail Feeder:
The quail feeder is going to sit attached to the frame of the hutch and will be a 30 ½’’ x 6’’ box with 1 1/4’’ holes drilled on the inner side for the quail to reach the feed. I want to be able to put in eight or nine gallons of feed in the box at a time so I don’t have to feed them all the time.
- Two 30 ½’’x 24’’plywood boards
- Two 6’’x 24’’ plywood boards
- One 6’’x31.5’’ plywood board
- 1’’x2’’ strips to attach the plywood together
- 1’’x4’’ scraps
- One 1’’x6’’ board (or a 1’’x2’’ and a 1’’x4’’ nailed together)
- Paint (same colors as above)
- Silicone caulking (as needed)
- Chop saw
Step 1: Make the cuts listed above, then paint the boards and furring strips.
The furring strips will be placed along the bottom and sides but not the top of the 30 ½’’ boards. The sides with the furring strips will face in.
Step 2: Fill any gaps with silicone caulking.
When I screwed the components of my feeder together there was a little daylight leaking through! We can’t have that so I filled it with a little silicone caulking.
Step 3: Build the internal roof to allow the quail easy access to the food.
This little internal roof will sit on the inside of the feeder at a 45 degree angle, angled down, and be attached just above the holes where the quail will access the food. The little internal roof will keep the food from spilling directly out of the access holes. To do this I cut two small triangular 1’’x4’’ pieces at 45 degree angles, and attached a long piece of 1’’x4’’ between the two. You only need to build a roof like this for one of the interior sides.
Step 4: Create access holes for the quail.
Drill some 1 ¼’’ holes underneath the internal roof for the quail to access the feed. I ended up drilling my holes about 3 inches from the bottom of the feeder. But I figured out they really needed to be 3.5 inches.
Step 5: Make a lid for the feeder.
I used scrap material to make a lid for the feeder. Nothing fancy as long as it keeps the moisture out.
Building the Roof of the Quail Hutch
The roof of the hutch has two components. There will be hardware cloth across the top frame of the hutch, and above that there will be a plywood roof to keep the quail out of the elements.
- 8 ½’’ x 3’ hardware cloth
- Five 48’’ 2×4’s
- Two 15’’ 2×4’s
- Two 18’’ 2×4’s
- Three 8’ 1’’x4’’s
- Corrugated plastic roofing
- Clear plastic sheeting (optional)
- ¾’’ Roofing nails
- 3’’ decking screws
Step 1: Attach hardware cloth to the roof.
The hardware cloth can just be rolled out over the top of the roof and nailed down, but if you’re following my design exactly then the feeder will be in the way at one end of the hutch.
To remedy this and make the design cleaner I simply attached 1’’x2’’s and 1’’x4’’s to the sides of the feeder facing the inside of the hutch to create a platform for the hardware cloth that is even with the rest of the frame.
Step 2: Attach clear plastic sheeting.
This is important, because this allows the quail a place to truly get out of the cold wind. Quail can handle very cold temperatures as long as they can get out of the wind.
You want to attach some clear plastic sheeting over the “indoor” section of the hutch to help keep rain/snow out. Make sure there’s still a gap between the plastic and top of the frame to help with ventilation.
Step 3: Build the solid roof.
To do this I simply attached the two 15’’ upright posts halfway between each of the three leg posts on the front of the hutch. I did the same thing on the backside but using the two 18’’ pieces. They are different sizes so the roof will sit with a slight downward pitch which will shed water.
After the vertical posts were installed I screwed in the five 48’’ pieces horizontally from front to back. Then I screwed in the three 8’ 1’’x4’’s, one along the front, one along the back and one in the middle to give the plastic roofing a little more to be anchored on to.
Finally I laid the plastic roofing on top and nailed it in with standard roofing nails. You can also use metal roofing—whatever suits your fancy.
Build the Floor for the Quail Hutch
One half the hutch will have a plywood floor and the “outdoor” half will simply have hardware cloth as the floor.
- One 33’’x 38’’ piece of plywood
- 8 ½’ x 3’ hardware cloth
- 36’’ 2’x4
- 1/2’’ staples
Step 1: Screw in hardware cloth for the entire floor.
Yes, the entire section of floor even though there will be a plywood panel on the indoor section. The reason you want hardware cloth on top of the plywood floor is that if the sandbox gets too dirty, you can remove the floor and the quail will still have the hardware cloth to stand on.
Step 2: Create an anchor for the plywood floor.
Screw in the 36’’ long 2’x4’ as an anchor for the plywood floor at the end of where your plywood floor section will sit.
Step 3: Screw in the plywood floor underneath the existing hardware cloth.
The floor section will only go under the enclosed section of the hutch. In the first hutch I made I had the plywood floor extend across the entire enclosed section. However on second hutch I decided to have a few inches of the enclosed floor section be hardware cloth to help with ventilation. So you can choose how much plywood floor your quail get. For the second hutch I used a 33’’ x 38’’ piece of plywood.
Step 4: Filling the Hutch with Bedding
The type of bedding you use on the “indoor” section of the hutch will affect the health of the hutch. At first I used mulch but the quail didn’t seem to be scratching in their poop very well. Sand seems to be a better option for quail.