I bought two male buttons a while ago and then I bought two more a bit later! The two newer ones are white so I never knew which one was male and female! Now I'm certain I have 3 males and 1 female! I know this is a horrible ratio. I divided the aviary floor with a plastic mesh so now I have one male with the female and they have started mating! But the thing is the female has never laid any eggs as far as I know! Could mice have taken them because they sometimes get in at night but I'm busy fixing the mesh so the mice cant get in any more! Why do they mate if the female doesn't lay eggs? She is old enough and when he tries to mate she lays down on the ground and doesn't resist or anything! Winter is just over now and spring is slowly starting.... could this be the cause o no eggs?
Mating but no eggs????
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I bought my quail at around September when spring was just beginning, I received no eggs from the two females for the first few weeks. My male started to mate with one of the females in early October, then a few days later came the eggs. Then my other female started laying a day or two later, even if the male didn't mate with her.
I have had already moved their food to higher protein (game bird finisher - 22%) which is required for egg laying. Plus, since they live outdoors, and it's spring, they get more sunlight. Yet I've heard of button quail that pick up seeds off the floor of avaries yet still lay eggs...
Those could be some factors that cause your quail not to lay;
Just make sure that they're getting at least 12 if not 14 hours of light (natural or artificial), getting the right amounts of calcium (very important for egg production), and eating foods of the right protein. If all those factors are going good, you should expect eggs soon.
My male mounts both females nowadays, both have no hesitation or resistance with what's happening.
Spring is already mid-way for me, it wasn't until the middle month of the season was when my hens started to lay, so if Spring's just starting for you, you probably should wait another month or so.
(I own coturnix quail, so I'd look up on the feed to give for buttons..)
Thanks for the great info The only problem is that we don't have game feed in Namibia... here the packets of bird food we buy also doesn't show how much protein or calcium etc is in the feed! :/ Most people just feed them budgie seed but I know that that's very bad since it has no protein! I give them chick starter/grower and they get a lot of mealworms! And they eat all the food that my budgies drop and I give them hard boiled egg sometimes with some salad! I guess all I have to do now is wait for warmer weather!
Haha, no worries.
When the male mates with the female, he pulls at the feathers on the female's head to make her sit down, so he can do, you know, do it.
Hence the baldness on her.
Budgie seed is good enough, though protein would be only around 10% - 15%, as I used to feed my quails canary mix as well before I moved onto game-bird finisher.
Quails are also used in aviaries, where if a bird drops their seeds when eating, a quail would normally pick it up off the floor - in a condition like that some still lay eggs (I believe). So they can live off seeds.
I understand if you can't give your quail gamebird finisher, BUT I suggest trying these out:
- Boiled egg = good protein supplement.
- Boiled egg SHELL = excellent source of calcium, good for when they lay eggs. (Make sure you break it up into small pieces! You don't want them choking on a piece.)
*** Don't use raw egg shell, I suggest either using boiled egg shell (peeled from a boiled egg) or put the shell in the microwave to kill off the dangerous bacteria.
- Mealworms = good protein (remember, only give them 6 a day per quail as a maximum.)
- Oyster shell grit = important, since birds don't have teeth, it helps them digest the food. (They can also eat small stones or sand, apparently, look up on that though.)
But, please note, if you see a male quail bald and it's not moulting season, then I would be a bit concerned about that.
Edited by SeptemberQuail - 11/1/12 at 12:17am
OK, basic biology lesson. Female birds lay eggs regardless of whether a male is present or not. When a male is present and mating, some of her eggs may be fertile.
One thing I've learned with quail is the phrase "same same same." Meaning: anytime something changes, the laying will be affected. Change in pen, change in bedding type or food type. Quail seem to like things to just stay the way they are no matter what. If your female isn't laying, look to nutrition first and environment second.
My hen has never laid any eggs yet! She was hatched at the beginning of winter and I got her right in the middle! So I think that's the main reason since they have good food, huge space and lots of plants, grasses etc for hiding! But I'm very sure that she'll start laying soon! Thanks for all the info people! This is why I joined this site!