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Quail not laying eggs.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have about 45 Coturnix quail (both male and female) in a 8'x7' cage and none of them are laying (yet). I feed them a layer crumble and give them adequate nutrition. But what puzzles me is that I also give them light 24/7 and they still aren't laying.

 

Is this normal and if it is, what can I do get them laying.

 

Thanks in advance. 

 

P.S. This is my first post, so it might not be clear. 

post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdRanger View Post

I have about 45 Coturnix quail (both male and female) in a 8'x7' cage and none of them are laying (yet). I feed them a layer crumble and give them adequate nutrition. But what puzzles me is that I also give them light 24/7 and they still aren't laying.

Is this normal and if it is, what can I do get them laying.

Thanks in advance. 

P.S. This is my first post, so it might not be clear. 
Welcome! how old are they?
post #3 of 7

My quail experiences have shown them to be finicky layers. It seems they need a lot of things to be able to lay. Most importantly is that they are mature enough to lay. Then there is the amount of light, the season and temp, the right feed, stress and environment, a personal trainer.....the list goes on. Let me know if you find the secret because I keep going back to coturnix quail only to be disappointed in the lack of egg laying. At least I can put them in freezer camp if the laying doesn't work out :barnie

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

 I didn't specify the age. These quail are a couple months old. But I think it might worth noting that before I added them in the 8'x7' cage, they were in a cage outside in the cold weather. Which varied from 20' F to 60' F and there wasn't any light in that cage. I did add 3 laying "hens" in with them, but after 3 days they stopped laying. So my thought process is that if I added light, heat,proper nutrition, and wind protection, they would start laying again - they aren't. 

 

I hope this opens the playing field a little more.

post #5 of 7

Any change will likely result in them stopping laying for a while.  The first thing I'd do is drop the light to 14 hours a day.  24/7 has definitely messed them up.  They could also be stressed by so many birds in an area, but that may not be an issue at all.  Do you know how many males and females you have?

 

I'd make any changes you're going to make all at once because you might as well stress them just once.  Drop the light to 14 hours and decide if you need to split them up.  With light 24 hours a day, it'll likely take 3 or so weeks before they start laying.  Four weeks ago I bought 3 laying hens and they went from 12 hours a day to 14 for light, from a cold barn to a heated space and I give them a higher protein ration.  All three things are better for them, but they stopped laying and just started again this week.  They are very finicky.

 

Be patient, they'll eventually start laying again.  If you house them in smaller groups, you can more easily track who's laying and who's not.  They have the potential to lay an egg a day but there will always be some that just aren't good layers.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Okay. That makes sense. But I'm curious why 14 hours is better than 24 hours a day. I have 20 some other quail hens that are laying with light 24/7 without any problems. Although, they are in a heated greenhouse, but besides that, they have the same conditions as my other quail. I guess you are right on the factor of stress, I mean, I wouldn't want to lay my eggs in a strange place either. ;) 


Edited by BirdRanger - 3/3/16 at 7:55am
post #7 of 7

I think that 24 hours of light is another stress factor.  Quail can lay with just 12 hours a day and I've read a study where they lay just fine with 2-15 minute periods of light 12 hours apart.  The light/dark cycle is what triggers the egg laying and, while I'm sure they can adjust to it, I don't think it's optimal.  It's used to stimulate appetite in growing birds, which can be justified (and it's hard not to give them 24 hours of light with heat lamps, though it's red light), but in layers it'll result in higher food consumption for no benefit and can lead to more fighting.  It definitely stresses them out more. 

 

You need dark time every day.  Sure, you can sleep under full light, eventually, but you sure won't get the sleep quality you'd get in the dark.  The more I learn about animals, the more I realise that reducing stress should be our primary goal, be it through handling, diet, housing or environment.  Animals perform so much better when we can reduce or eliminate stress for them. 

 

If your set-up works for you and you don't want to change it, don't.  There are many, many ways to raise animals and, in the end, how you raise them has to fit your goals and lifestyle.  I'm sure many others would disagree with how I raise my animals, but I'm OK with that because I think I'm doing the best I can for them and I'm happy with what I'm doing.

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