There are as many different ways of brooding your chicks as there are people raising chicks, and what works well for one may not always work well for another. The ultimate goal is to provide the chicks with plenty of fresh warm air in a clean and safe environment.
The Brooder Box
The goal here is to provide a draft free environment for the chicks. Any solid sided container from a cardboard box to a plastic tote to an aquarium will make an excellent brooder in most cases. You will want to avoid a wire or mesh sided cage as a brooder, especially for baby button quail as it could subject the chicks to excessive drafts, in addition to the fact that most quail chicks can escape from even the smallest openings.
A lid or cover is essential, especially with game birds as they can usually fly out of the box in as little as seven days. Just be sure the top provides good ventilation while still keeping the chicks secure.
The Heat Source
The most common source of heat for a brooder is the good old fashioned light bulb. They are inexpensive and generally pretty reliable. The key is to get a bulb of sufficient wattage to provide the level of heat required for the size brooder box you are using. In other words, you do not need a 250 watt infra-red heat bulb if your brooder box is a 10 gallon aquarium.
In our experience, sufficient heat can be had from a 25 to 40 watt light bulb if placed just above the level of the chicks heads. It is advisable to use a colored bulb as opposed to a white or clear bulb to reduce the glare on the chicks eyes. Red seems to be the preferred color, although we have had equally good success with green and blue bulbs as well. Always keep a spare or two handy in case one burns out or you need to provide additional heat.
Always place your heat source at one end of the brooder box so the chicks can self regulate the heat they need and can move away from the heat if they are too hot, or get up close if they are too cool. Just watch and listen to your chicks for signs of discomfort. If they are peeping loudly, huddled around the heat source,they are too cold and need additional heat. If they are huddled away from the heat source, they may be too hot.
If everything is just right, some will be running around, exploring their surroundings, eating and drinking, while others will be laying under the heat taking a nap.