When thinking about building a quail hutch there are many different designs out there to choose from. The reason I chose the design from Chris at the “Slightly Rednecked” YouTube channel, is because it offered quite a bit of space for the birds and a chance for them to get off the wire when they wish to.
To build this quail hutch is quite simple. In this article I am going to go over the building of this quail hutch and fill in the important details you will need to know to save you time wasted by mistakes. My version has a built in feeder I designed that is different from Slightly Rednecked’s hutch, so I will go into all those details as well. I will keep it as brief and to the point as possible to make the process simple.
Video Of Me Building This Quail Hutch
I am writing this article from personal experience. I personally built this quail hutch. The image above is the hutch I built. The video below is one I did for my Emergency Prep Guy YouTube channel showing the building process. If you watch the video and then read this article, this article should fill in some missing details for you that will be helpful.
The Part 2 video below shows my build of my second one of these Slightly Rednecked quail hutches. In this video I give the measurements to all the boards used in the hutch build.
Put Together The Floor And Roof Parameters
What I mean by parameters is the two 8′ by 3′ rectangles that form the outer frame of the floor and the roof in the hutch. Below is a picture of one from the hutch I built.
You will need to build two of these for your quail hutch. The two long sides are two eight foot long 1″x4″ furring strips. The two ends are also made from 1″x4″ furring strips that you cut to exactly 36″ long. It is important that the ends are exactly 36″ long because you will be attaching 36″ wide hardware cloth (the cage wire) with staples. If it is wider than this you will have to buy wider hardware cloth. If it is narrower you will have to cut the hardware cloth to fit.
I recommend cutting the 1″x4″ furring strip ends with a miter (chop) saw so that you have really square ends.
Pre-drill Your Holes & Use The Correct Screws
The best 1″x4″ lumber can split on you if you are not careful. Pre-drilling will make it so much easier to put in the screws without splitting the lumber. Also just screw the screws in so that they are tight. If you try to sink them in too far you will split your wood even if you pre-drill.
You will want to use decking screws no longer than 1 5/8″ (as narrow in diameter as you can find) and pre-drill your holes before putting in the screws.
Be sure to put the 36″ boards on the end so that your floor and roof of the hutch are exactly 36″ wide. In other words the screws will go first through each end of your 36″ boards and then into each end of the 8 foot long side boards. (If that didn’t make sense please re-read until it does. Very important.)
If you reverse this your floor and roof will be 37 1/2 inches wide, rather than the 36″ you need for the 36″ wide hardware cloth to fit correctly. Hopefully that makes sense.
Measure & Cut All The 2x4s (Legs & Rafter Supports)
I recommend cutting all these with a miter saw so each of your cuts are as square as possible.
You will need to cut three 2×4 boards down to exactly 72 inches (6 feet) for the front legs. Then cut three more three inches shorter (so 69 inches) for the three back legs.
For the extra rafter supports you will need to cut two 2x4s 18 inches long and two 15 inches long. These will be your extra rafter supports that you will need; two for the front and two for the back of your hutch (you can cut these out of some of the small boards leftover after your previous cuts).
Measuring Lines On Boards After Cuts
Once these are all cut to size you need to measure from the bottom of each leg (both front and back legs) up to exactly 3 feet (36 inches) and mark it. This is where the bottom of the quail hutch floor parameter frame will sit that we will talk about in the next section, so accuracy is important.
Then on each of the legs (both front and back legs) measure from your three foot mark up exactly 18 inches more and mark it. That is where the bottom of the quail hutch roof parameter frame will sit that we will talk about in the next section.
Attach The Floor & Roof Parameters To The Legs
This part is easier if you have a second person to help you hold things. I didn’t so I laid the first two legs down on the ground and held the floor rectangle on it side exactly on the 3 foot line I had drawn on the legs.
Once I had the first two attached to one side’s legs, I was able to stand them up and clamp the other two legs on in the correct 3 foot line so that I was able to attach them with 1 5/8″ decking screws. Again this would be so much easier with an extra set of hands.
Then once I had the floor rectangle parameter screwed to the four corner legs, I stood it all up on the legs. Again this was tricky with one person.
Then I put clamps at the next mark (18 inches higher) and set the hutch roof rectangle parameter on those clamps as I show in the above picture.
With the second (hutch roof) rectangle sitting on all those clamps it was pretty simple to just go around and screw them all to the legs. That was how Chris from Slightly Rednecked showed how to do this step in his YouTube video as well.
Once you have them all attached now it is time for the next step.
Painting The Basic Frame
At this point you are going to want to paint the part of the frame you have put together so far. It is important to do this before you put any of the hardware cloth on or it makes a tacky mess. So you need to paint it whatever color you want first.
Put Back Wall Hardware Cloth On & Middle Legs On
Whichever side you want to be your open side, now is the time to put your hardware cloth on it. You need to put it on before you put the two center legs on because the back center leg is supposed to go over it.
Below is a picture where you can see the hardware cloth on the back wall of the open side of the hutch. This picture was taken when more of the hutch was put together, but I show it so you know what hardware cloth I am talking about.
Simply cut the hardware cloth to size and fasten it with either 3/8″ or a 1/2″ staples every inch or so around its parameter.
Once that is done it is time to attach the two middle legs just as you did the other legs. Be sure to line the base of the floor and the base of the hutch roof with the lines you measured (at 36″ & 54″ from ground end) so that they are even with the other legs. For this I also used 1 5/8″ decking screws.
Install 1″x4″ Board Supports
This photo shows what I am calling a support board. This is a picture from Slightly Rednecked’s quail hutch build video where Chris is inserting the 1″x4″ support boards. You just measure the distance between the hutch roof and floor parameters (the two rectangles we built earlier), and cut your 1″x4″ board to that length.
Since the base of the floor parameter is sitting right at 3 feet high, and the base of the roof parameter is supposed to be exactly 18 inches above that, the measure of the board you cut will be approximately 14.5″ long to fit between the two parameters. Hopefully that makes sense. However you should measure the distance between the two parameters to get an exact measurement before you cut each board.
You will want to screw these support boards on as you see in the above picture between the floor and roof parameters on each leg. This gives you a flush surface to attach your door stops. It also fills gaps. It just makes each leg flush in between. Remember to pre-drill the holes before you screw the boards on so you don’t split the boards.
Install The Door Stops
You just need something to support your doors so that when you close them they don’t fall into the hutch and hurt a quail. To do this measure the lengths you will need for each side of the door frame and cut 1″x2″ boards to that length. Then screw them in place.
You can either paint them after you cut them to size and The above photo shows the inside of one of my doors showing the door stops all in place and painted.
Build The Two Quail Hutch Doors
Building these doors are super simple. You just cut your 1″x4″ boards the length you need at a 45 degree angle. If your hutch is exactly 8 feet long, and your center legs are exactly in the middle, then both of your doors will be the exact same size.
I recommend measuring the distance between the two front legs where the door will sit, both top of the door and the bottom, and write those measurements down. Then subtract from that measurement enough so you have about a 1/4 of an inch gap on both sides. You don’t want the doors too snug because the doors will expand and contract with humidity and temperatures, so you want to allow room for this.
You will also want to measure the left and right distance between the floor and roof parameters where the door will go, and reduce the measurement by enough to allow the same gap at the top and bottom.
Cutting The Door Frames
Here I recommend using a miter saw if you have access to one. This will ensure an accurate 45 degree angle. If you don’t have a miter saw you can use a framing square (as shown above) to easily measure a 45 degree angle on the end of each board.
To get an accurate cut be sure to clamp your board down to a table so that it won’t wiggle as you saw it. Then just be careful to cut along the 45 degree line you drew so that your cut is accurate. A miter saw is much easier and quicker.
Once you have them cut, paint the boards and let them dry. You will need them painted before you put the doors together. Once the paint has dried simply lay them out like they are supposed to go and secure one side of each corner with cabinet corner brackets as you can see in the above image.
For the solid door you will want to cut a piece of plywood large enough that you can place it over the hole in the door and have about an inch, to and inch and a half overhand where you can screw the plywood to the door frame.
Be sure and paint the plywood before you attach it and let it dry. Use screws that are long enough to secure the plywood to the door frame without going through the other side. My plywood was 3/8 inch plywood. The door frame is about 3/4 of an inch thick, so I used 3/4″ long screws. I screwed from the plywood and into the door frame.
For the open door you will cut a piece of hardware cloth about the same size as the plywood and just staple it over the hole of the open door, on the side of the door facing the inside of the hutch.
Once you have both doors completely built, then attach them to the hutch opening with some small cabinet hinges and barrel bolts. Be sure the barrel bolts latches are positioned as shown in the above picture. They need to point down so that gravity will tend to keep them closed rather than always trying to open them. Hopefully that makes sense.
Add Plywood Walls & Divider
The most important point to get out of this section is to be sure that before you put the divider piece of plywood in, make sure that the distance between your two middle legs, both where they attach to the floor parameter and the roof parameter, is exactly 36 inches.
Cut your divider plywood so that when installed the two middle legs in both places will be exactly 36 inches a part. That is what it needs to be to fit the hardware cloth. I cut my divider plywood too wide and it pushed the middle legs about 1/2 inch further apart which was almost too wide for me to attach the hardware cloth.
It would be smart to paint the divider board, back wall and side wall before you install them. As you can see I didn’t. And I ended up having to touch of my blue legs from the white paint from when I painted these.
Again in an ideal world you hopefully mounted your legs an equal distance a part. And hopefully your floor and roof parameter rectangles are both mounted level and the exact distance from each other on all legs. Mine were close but not exact.
That being the case I cannot give you the exact measurements for each piece of plywood. It is safer to just measure the hole you need to fill and cut a piece of plywood to fill it. You need to do the side and back walls as well as the divider piece that divides the two halves.
You will want to make them flush with the bottom of the hutch floor parameter as well as with the top of the roof parameter. You will also want to cut a door in the divider so that the quail will be able to get through. A track saw or a table saw will make cutting your plywood easier. I don’t have either so I just made my measurements, clamped the board to a table and did my best to cut straight with my circular saw. I am seriously considering getting a table saw however because my cuts were not perfect even though I measured so carefully.
Attaching Divider Plywood
Chris and I did this a little bit differently. In his quail hutch Chris just screwed from this side (as shown in above image) of his divider board through the edge of the plywood into (at an angle) the back wall plywood he had already screwed in. If you go watch his YouTube video you can see how he did this.
I wanted a little more support for the screws, so I just screwed this piece of 1×2 you see in the above image into the side of my hutch. I then put the divider plywood up against that and screwed it in.
Chris’ way was probably just as good. And his way would have been faster. But this is how I did it. And I did the same thing on the front side of the divider board as well.
Again the more of these things you paint before you screw them in will save you having a lot of touch up work to do later.
Add The 2″x4″ Sandbox Divider
This is an image again from Chris at Slightly Rednecked’s hutch build video. I show you his because he did not put plywood across the whole bottom of this side of his hutch, so his 2×4 divider was not right next to the divider wall like mine is in my above video.
The 2×4 that you see in this image is the side of the sandbox. He put it 33″ from the side of his hutch, whereas I put mine right next to the divider plywood. If I were doing it again I think I would put it away from the divider plywood like he did, but a little bit closer to the divider plywood than he did. I would want my sand box to be a bit bigger than his is. But I now agree with him and don’t think the box should include this whole side of the hutch, because having a wire bottom on part of this side will add a bit more ventilation to this side of the hutch. I hope that all makes sense.
Building The Feeder
The feeder that I build was 30.5 inches wide by 24.5 inches tall by 6 inches thick. (Next time I will only go 24 inches high. It just needs to stick out far enough so that you can put a lid on it.) So basically it takes up six inches of the end of the hutch and holds about 8 or 9 gallons of feed. It works amazing. The quail stick their head in a 1 1/2″ diameter hole to eat.
They can throw the food to their hearts content but it stays in the feeder where it is supposed to. They waste pretty much zero food as far as I can tell. They can have all the food they want and I hardly ever have to fill it up because it holds so much. I am very happy with how it turned out.
So basically it is a plywood box with the dimensions I mentioned above. Simply cut the side pieces of plywood as 24 inches by 6 inches. Cut the bottom as 30.5 inches by 6 inches. And cut the front and back at 30.5 inches by 24 inches. Use 1x2s as the frame inside to screw the plywood into like I show in this below picture.
Back & Sides of Feeder Assembly
Just assemble it as shown here with everything put together but the wall that will have the holes that the quail will stick their heads though.
Set this in the end of the open side of the quail hutch and screw the back of the feeder to the roof & floor parameters so that it is securely attached. If you can see daylight anywhere through the joints of the feeder seal them with silicone. Leave enough of a gap on both sides of the feeder so that their will be room to put the lid on the feeder, and so that you can run a automatic water pipe or hose through the back side.
Building The Feeder Front
This is what I call the feeder shelf. It blocks most of the feed but allows enough to come around for the quail to eat it; but not too much.
The triangle piece at each end that the shelf is attached to is just a 1×4 board cut at a 45 degree angle. The shelf its self is a 1×4 board and a 1×2 board side by side (I didn’t have a 1×6). I cut the side edge of the 1×4 (the side that touched the plywood) at a 45 degree angle, so that it fit flush to the plywood. To hold the two together I screwed on a short piece of 1×2 at each end. I also pre-drilled an put a few short screws in through the 1×4 into the plywood.
With the outside thickness of the feeder being the 6 inches, this shelf allows just enough food to come around to feed the quail as they eat it. The red circles are where you would drill the 1 1/2 inch diameter holes for the quail to stick their heads through. Once the shelf was complete I screwed the remaining side onto the feeder.
Last Touches Around Feeder
I put this board to block the large gap on the back side of the feeder so the quail wouldn’t have a cubby hole they could go hide in. I purposely left the gap between the wall and the feeder so that I have plenty of room to run a future automatic watering pipe or hose into the hutch. All I have to do is drill whatever size hole I need in that board I blocked the gap with to run the hose through.
If you notice I left this board just short enough on top so that I could put a 1×2 across the top. I put that 1×2 across the top along the feeder so that I have something to staple the hardware cloth into on this end of the roof.
This image shows that 1×2 along the feeder from the top angle. Chris from Slightly Rednecked did not have a built in feeder in his hutch to their was no feeder in the way when he ran his hardware cloth. He simply ran it all the way across the top, down the end, and then along the bottom and stapled it in as he went.
Since I have the feeder in the way I simply cut the hardware cloth in a straight line at the feeder, and stapled it onto that 1×2 as well as along the rest of the roof parameter.
There is no need for hard where cloth on the end of my hutch because the feeder creates a solid wall.
Run The Top Hardware Cloth
Simply cut a piece of 36 inch wide hardware cloth the length that you need it. It will be around 7 inches shy of 8 feet in length, but do your own measurement of your hutch so you know exactly what yours is for sure.
I simply stapled on the hardware cloth along the opposite end from where my feeder is, and rolled the wire out towards the feeder. Then I just cut it off along the feeder and stapled it all in.
It is really handy with this hutch design that the hardware cloth comes in 36″ wide rolls. Just make sure all your measurements are correct so your whole hutch is exactly 36 inches wide the full length of the hutch.
Bottom Hardware Cloth & Plywood
I didn’t snap a picture when I had my coop flipped over upside down. But that is about the only way to be able to staple the hardware cloth on and screw the bottom piece of plywood on. Do this before you attach your doors, put food in the feeder or put your rafters and corrugated roofing on. It will be lighter and you won’t scuff up anything but the tops of the legs.
Be sure to put a bunch of staples around the hardware cloth on the bottom. Like twice as many as you do on the top. This has got to hold the weight of the birds. Flipping it over is much easier (to not scuff anything) if you have a second person to help you.
Build Feeder Lid
This lid is 33 inches by 8.5 inches. It is just a piece of plywood cut to those dimensions with 1×2 boards screwed on around the parameter.
This lid fits perfectly over the feeder and is very easy to get on and off. And since it is painted it should be water tight.
I am going to buy a piece of plastic corrugated roofing to match the top and put on this that sticks out a few inches just to shield the feeder better from sideways moisture. I will just cut it to size and screw it onto the top of the lid.
Staple 4 Mil Plastic On Top Of Cage
I bought some 4 mil plastic from Ace Hardware that came in a 36 inch wide role. I just rolled enough out to cover the closed side of the hutch and stapled it on over the hardware cloth. Easy Peasy.
This picture reminds me again you should paint your rafters before you screw them on (if you plan on painting them) or you will drip on your finished painted hutch below.
Put On Rafters & Corrugated Roof
I cut each rafter exactly 4 feet long. (Cut them on your miter saw if you have one.) Then I painted them.
Once they dried I measured six inches from one end of each and drew a straight line that was square using the square I talk about above. This is for the six inch overhang in the front of the hutch.
Then set the back of the rafter on the top of the back leg of the hutch as you see Chris from Slightly Rednecked doing in the image above. (Here is a link to his hutch build video too so that you can watch it if you wish to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-FjnYMV1-c&t=823s.)
Be sure and line up each front leg with the 6 inch line you drew on each rafter and make it flush with the top of the hutch leg. Then screw in one 2 1/2 to 3 inch decking screw. Then go back and line up the other end of the rafter so that it is flush with the top of the back leg. Then put secure it with the same size decking screw.
As you can see Chris didn’t paint his rafters. I did. Either way is totally fine. It is just personal preference.
Next screw down three 8 foot long 1×4 boards along the rafters as shown in the above image. This allows adequate places to screw your corrugated roofing to the 1×4 boards.
I pre-drilled my holes and used 3 inch decking screws to attach the 1x4s to my rafters. Then I used standard corrugated roofing screws to screw the roofing sheets on to the 1×4 boards.
For the corrugated plastic roofing sheets I just purchased two 8 foot long pieces and cut them in half. That covered the whole roof.