Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Conversion to Quails Begins

After looking closely at the old quad-plex of rabbit hutches against the house that I was to convert to quail hutches, we realized this particular unit was in worse shape than we thought. This was the first one Mel built. She used what she had on hand for fasteners. This is the main reason we dismantled it this week. There were an assortment of different screw heads and sizes, staples, and nails. It was a hodgepodge of thrown together salvaged materials of this and that.  Mel handles the disassembling the demolition because she built it.

Wasting not wanting not, She saved all the screws and nails. She was changing drill tips left and right between hes, star, straight slot, and star. The outside frame was pretty sound considering it was piece milled for this 8'x 2 1/2'x 8' rabbit hutch. Mel even painstakingly removed all the staples holding the  1/4" and 1/2" hardware cloth in place. The old rusted pieces of mesh were discarded. The staples were discarded in their own plastic container to keep them from littering the ground. Each piece was placed in an orderly fashion in stacks so we could see what we had to build the new quail hutches in place. All the inadequately sized 1" hinges were saved for a future project. What that project is, we have no idea. 😸

For Christmas last year as a gag gift for Mel, I gave her a large boxes of assorted sized hinges. It's an ongoing joke with us that Mel hasn't met a hinges that she didn't like, didn't collect, and save. Even when she goes to an auction or yard sale, she'll grab hinges, knobs, and other such items. I'll ask, "What are you going to use them for?" She'll respond, "I don't know, but I'll find a use for them." She's currently got an 19-gallon tote of them.

I decided to sand and paint all the wood pieces to preserve them better. The rabbit hutches had been through the wringer the last four years unpainted and worked hard with rambunctious bunnies.  They needed some extra love and to make cleaning a breeze. I'd use the leftover primer and paint in the workshop so our cost would remain ZERO.

This was my job. With daytime highs around in the 60s, It will still dry. Later this month, the temperatures would drop below paint the paint drying stage and I wouldn't be able to paint until spring. I wanted it repainted, rebuilt, and ready to go for quail by March. Even though the Coturnix quail, if I hatched them out. wouldn't be ready to go in there until April.

Googled this image
I saw some adult quail at the local livestock auction for $2 a piece. I might just buy them at that price and incubate their eggs at that price. Yes, we got the seller's business card for future reference. He does this regularly and he sells eggs, chicks, and adult brown domestic quail. These full grown 10-week old quail, at the auction.  They were about 5 oz size so they could be butchered or produce eggs immediately. That means I could recoup my expense almost immediately. The cage he had them in was home built so I looked at how he built them also. They would be simple enough to build out of 2x2 and wire. The lid was framed with lathing strips. Talk about an effective, simple, and inexpensive build project!

So as Mel dismantled the old hutch, I sanded and painted the pieces. The doors to the cages were ample size. All we have to do is replace the hinges and latches. Oh, I gave her an assorted sized latches too for that Christmas too. So, it's still using things we have on hand. I'll be using some of the knobs on the drawers I 'm building around the oil drip pans to make them easier to pull out too. If I'm involved with the building of the quail hutches, they'll be built right even if it's with salvaged material. All screw holes will be predrilled to eliminate splitting and level! Mel abhors predrilling and using the level for animal builds. She eyeballs most builds so they come out cockeyed and become unusable like the old dropping pans. Some things building cockeyed doesn't matter, but I want these to be functional for a long time.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Cockeyed Jo


  1. Progress, for sure. I don't know much about quail, so this will be interesting.

    1. I used to hunt quail. Quail=way miniature chickens. LOL Interesting, indeed.

  2. Hi Jo :) I love your gag gift...Alex is also a collector of all hardwares, you should see his nail collection lol...he'll always find a use for them and they definitely come in handy! I'm interested about the quails too! I've only seen quail eggs at the grocery stores rarely, they are very small aren't they?

    1. Every Christmas everyone needs a gag gift. One year, I bought a son in law a popcorn tin full of 365 lighters because he kept losing his.Another son in law got a gallon of ranch dressing because he ate it on everything.

      Yes, quail eggs are very small. It takes 3 of them to make 1 large chicken egg in recipes.


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