Quail Ranch of Oklahoma 
Specializing in Bobwhite Quail is What We Do!

Ranch Water System

We have tried many different ways to go about watering our Quail. In the beginning this task was very labor intensive, always washing water containers, and refilling daily with fresh water. Then winter would come, and well their water would freeze all the time. Several trips a day to bring fresh water to replace the frozen water was very tedious. There are several products on the market to remedy the freezing problem, but Quail are messy, and the water containers being in the pens with them was still a daily cleaning job. So we put our creative thinking to work. With a little trial and error, and trying a few different versions of our new system. We now think it is by far the best labor saving system, and it provides really clean fresh water for our Quail.

We use this system now on all our pens.

Complete Water System for Flight Cage 

Here are a few comments we have received about our Ranch Water System:

Idaho: "Great idea with the tank in the ground and recycling the water."

SE Oklahoma: "Excellent setup! I tip my hat to you for engineering a solution to an age-old problem."
South East Ohio: "Sounds like a great idea!"
B.C. Canada:  "I am impressed by your problem solving skills! The waterer looks great!  I am going to try it...it would be a Great Help." 


Water System Steps:                    

Step 1: We make drinking troughs out of 3"PVC, each length of the PVC trough is determined by the cage or pen size. On the system shown here, thetrough is 10 foot.  We glue on the end caps after drilling a hole in them for a hose barb type fitting and then we cut with a jig saw a section out of the 3" PVC that is about 2" wide and the length of the trough needed.

Water Trough with 2" Slot for Drinking Access

Trough Hangs on Outside of Cage

Step 3: The Quail can't get in the water; they have to drink by poking their head out through the cage. The trough hangs on the outside of any given pen.  We made the drinking slots out of 2x4's and dowel rods, placing the rods 1 1/2" apart. It is about 4" high where the rods are and placed in a cut out area of the mesh wire on the side of the flight cage. Then hang the water PVC trough on the outside below this. The Quail can stick their head out through the slots to get their drink.
To make sure no predator like a hawk for example can peck their head while getting a drink and also to keep any thing like leaves and such out of the trough. We put 1/2" by 1/2" wire mesh curved up and over the trough from the outside to protect it. This way the water stays clean and the Quail safe.

Inside of the Flight Cage "Quail's Point of View"

Closer View of the Hoses Under the PVC Trough

Little Giant Pump

Step 2: Then we have tanks that we have dug a hole in the ground to accommodate them. We usually use large rubber-maid type 33-gallon cans. We recommend using 2 cans in the same ground hole, that way you can always take the one can out that holds the water and clean it periodically and you won't loose your hole because the other can keeps that intact.

The water is put in the can and a water garden type pump is put in the tank. The proper hoses are attached to the pump and then to one end of the trough. An exit hose is on the other end of the trough or in the middle, which goes back into the tank. The water is then pumped up to the trough and then it drains right back into the tank.

2 Tanks in Ground for Holding Water

View of Drinking Slots Created

Step 4: On this particular set up we put the water incoming on both ends of the PVC trough by way of 3/8 hose on each end and put the output water hose in the center using 3/4-inch hose. This made the water run real fast coming in from both ends and a great out flow.  It worked best because the tank was just below in the middle area of the trough, in the ground. It does take the right pump depending on how far up the water needs to be pumped.  Also, the rate at which the water is pumped in, we use 3/8 hose for water input and 1/2" to 3/4" hose for run out.

The water has to exit the trough at a faster rate then pumped in.

Water Flowing Back into the Tank

This system is a great "labor" saver, you only need to clean it periodically and keep the tank full. In our opinion they get fresh running water at all times.

Note about Pump:

The recommended pumps that we use on our systems are Little Giant Pumps, made right here in Oklahoma.  Little Giant # PE-2F-PW Water Garden Pump or Little Giant PE-2.5F-PW Water Garden Pump, the prices range from $90 to $100 dollars each. The main factor in choosing your pump is the maximum head lift, these pumps will lift the water up to 12 to 13 feet, and this makes sure there is enough pressure to keep your water flowing at a good fast rate. 

You order the pump we use from here:


Please note: This system CANNOT be used for quail chicks, only started and adult birds. We put quail on this water system at 6 weeks of age and up.
We use nipple drinkers for the chicks.