Hi Kasey, mine are outside also. I have them in a 4x8 wired wrapped dog run on sand/sweet PDZ. From what I have always heard Coturnix Quail only lay when they get 14 hours of light. It makes survival sense, in the wild it would be the best time for them to raise a brood of chicks. Warmer, more light for foraging, lots of seeds and grain, plentiful vegetation and active bug populations. The shortening days would signal to their bodies that the lean times of winter were coming and the time to make babies has past. They are one of the oldest domesticated breeds, if not the oldest, but this light trigger hasn't been completely lost. In my experience, if I forget to set up a light when the days are shorter, the eggs production starts to fall off, than stop. It also triggers a hard molt and they spend a lot of energry reserves regrowing all of those feathers. My hubby Poo Pooed the light thing at first, but stopped when we saw the same results, time after time. When we added light they started laying again, sometimes it took awhile. This is just my experience, hope it helps.
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Okay thank you. If they need a lamp they will not stay. I spent $400 a month during the winter for power bc I had a heat lamp outside. Im not doing that again. I do like them so maybe they will start laying soon without it.
I am lucky enough to be able to get game bird Startina from Purina, and I grind it in the food processor. Its gave me huge birds, and really gets the chicks started well. I have around 50 breeders now, am loving the egg production.I usually get 2 or 3 bags, toss 2 in the freezer until I need one.
What some folks use is a plastic shoebox, with a lid. Cut holes along the sides just big enough for them to get heads in there to eat. They scatter the feed inside the shoe box but not wasted on the cage floor. For the chicks I feed small amounts frequently throughout the day. I am retired though, not everyone can do that.