We raise Jumbo Coturnix Quail as pets and to provide our family of four with fresh eggs. We live in a residential area and our city does not allow chickens. The quail are very quiet, are not considered livestock (they are game birds) so I'm technically not violating the rules. They are great pets but very messy eaters and they waste a lot of food. I've tried every feeder available with no success, so I decided to create my own. The quail love to fling the food around with their head as they eat, so I figured they would need a feeder that would contain the food but still allow enough room for them to put their heads inside to feed. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so I used mainly repurposed items. You will need a large pretzel container (or similar), 1 1/4 inch PVC sprinkler pipe, 4" ABS pipe (or similar tube), a 1 3/4 hole saw (or exacto knife), and a hot glue gun.
Step 1: Cut Parts
Cut 1 1/4 PVC pipe into 3/4 inch rings. These will be the collars for the feed ports. Cut 4 to 6 of these, depending on how many ports you want in your feeder.
Cut the 4" abs pipe to the height of your barrel. This will be the feed hopper. Cut slots or drill holes at one end of the hopper as shown. This will allow the feed to spill out into the bottom of the barrel. I painted the outside of mine grey, but it could be left black.
Use the 1 3/4 inch hole saw to cut the holes for the feed ports in the barrel. I cut them a few inches from the bottom. Drill 4 to 6 equally spaced holes. If you do not have a hole saw, you could use the PVC ring as a template and draw around it on the barrel with a Sharpie pen. At that point you could carefully cut a hole in the barrel with an exacto knife or a box cutter. Since we will be glueing in the ring in the next step. the cutout doesn't have to be perfectly smooth.
Step 2: Assemble Feeder
Apply a bead of hot glue to the outside of the PVC ring, and then carefully lower it into a hole that was drilled in the barrel. Make the outside edge of the ring flush with the barrel. This will create a lip inside the barrel and prevent the feed that is thrown by the quail from exiting the hole while they are feeding. Hold in place while it cools. There is about a 1/8" gap between the hole and the PVC ring, but the hot glue fills it nicely. If there are any gaps in the glue, just fill them in with the glue gun. Repeat for the other rings.
Place beads of hot glue on the bottom tabs of the feed hopper you cut from the 4" ABS pipe. Carefully lower it into the barrel and center it on the bottom.
Step 3: Fill and Enjoy!
Fill the hopper with feed and place in the pen. It took them a few minutes to learn how to use the feeder. They first started pecking at the food through the clear barrel, but found out very quickly that they could put their heads through the holes to feed. Even though they fling the food around inside the feeder, it isn't able to get out through the feed holes. With the other feeders I had, at least 25% of their feed would end up in the droppings tray. There is virtually no waste with this feeder.
This might work for chickens as well. I imagine you would need at least 2" PVC for the feeder ports as chickens are much larger than quail.
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