I recently built some homemade feeders as the food waste was getting unacceptable. I tried a few designs I found online and settled on this one. It utilizes a "Cheese-ball" container as the main vessel. The key to the design is the PVC rings mounted in each feeding hole. Quail like to thrash around in the food with their beaks and tend to sling food out of the feeder. The rings prevent them from scooping food toward them. I started out with a three inch food tube in the middle and changed it to a four inch that stuck out six inches above the feeder. It extends the time in between reloads by a couple of days. With eight birds in the cage it easily lasts a week now.
The first image above shows the material list for the feeder. The small pipe rings are one and a quarter inch schedule 40 PVC by three quarter inch in length. This size seems to accommodate most bird sizes. The inner tube is 3" in diameter and comes to the top of the container. The thinner wall of sewer/drain pipe is sufficient for strength and holds more than schedule 40 would. The second image shows six equidistant holes which I cut out carefully with a razor knife. They were about four and a half inches apart and traced with one of the rings. The bottom of the holes are about two inches from the bottom of the container. I cleaned the marker lines off with rubbing alcohol. Next I hot-glued the rings into the holes getting a good bead all the way around. It helps to have a snug fit for this. If your holes don't grip the ring very well you can put a few tacks to hold the ring in place. Later, I found it was easier to tack all the rings in place then go back and fill in around them. The "drain" holes at the bottom of the food tube were made with a hole saw. You want the food height to be about an inch below the openings. A thin cap used for temporarily covering the pipe in construction finishes the feeder. These feeders work great with absolutely no loss. They hold twice as much as the modified rabbit feeders I was using before.
These are inexpensive food storage containers which are 6 x 9 x 3 inches and have snap -on lids. The holes are 3/4 inch in diameter the bottom of which is 3/4 inch above the base. You could probably fit one more on each side but 12 seemed to work well. I used these after two days and up to three weeks old. In the third week I stopped using powdered food and used a container with 1 inch holes. I positioned these holes as high on the container as I could to give it some depth and reduce waste. After four weeks the birds are big enough to move up to the big feeder. This is also when I remove the water bottle and let them drink from the orange cups exclusively. At about two weeks when they can reach the edge of the orange cups I manually fill them whenever I am working with them. This gets them used to drinking out of them at an early age. Change the feeder size according to the size of your chicks. If they can crawl inside, they need a little longer on the smaller holed feeder. The pictures below show the next size feeder.
I decided to increase the size of the food tube to 4" diameter from the original 3" design. The above picture shows the difference in size of the food tubes. The second image shows the final feeder. You can use this design no matter what container you choose. The key is the rings which prevent the birds from "scooping" the food out of the hole. The finished height of the feeder is 17 inches. I have to tilt it slightly to get it in the cage. A friend of mine who also raises quail and has wire cages uses this design with the tube protruding from the top of the cage. He only has to remove the cap and add food to the feeder. It's heavy enough to keep them from moving it around the cage and large enough to last for several days without refilling. They also clean up well when needed. Be careful and don't lift them by sticking your fingers in the feeding holes. You can dislodge the ring and would have to hot glue it back on
Feeding the chicks as they grew required different types of feeders to minimize waste and be effective in the cages. I finally settled on a modified feeder I found online.
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