Added light but quail aren't laying. Ideas?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by suburbfarmgirl, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. suburbfarmgirl

    suburbfarmgirl In the Brooder

    Sep 24, 2013
    Hi there!

    I have nine coturnix quail in a run/pen with an attached coop in my backyard. I gave them about two months of very slowed down laying then about a month of no laying to have a break, but I wanted to get them laying again through the winter. I added a strand of pretty bright Christmas lights all around the inside of the run (which shines into the coop since it has a pretty open front) about three weeks ago. I saw that quite a few people on the forums use those for winter lighting. I started them at 12 hours, then 13, now they've been at 14 hours of light per day for about a week. I didn't know if it would stress them out to go immediately to 14 so I decided to ramp it up more slowly.

    They have not laid any eggs yet. Does it take a few weeks for their bodies to adjust? What have you experienced? Is it harder to get them started since they had time off? I've seen that some people say they just just as many eggs through the winter as the summer and I want to know how that's possible! Our temperatures here are not very cold (its only been in the 30s so far) and they have a ton of hay and boxes to shelter in even inside the coop if they really want to snuggle up. The whole things is covered with a tarp to keep wind and rain away if we're having bad weather. We're wondering if it is worth keeping them through winter, or if we should just use them for meat and starting with a new flock in the spring...

    Thanks for your insight!

  2. qlicer49

    qlicer49 Chirping

    Aug 20, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    My Coop
    They don't lay fall through winter due to Moulting and Seasonal egg shut down. My covey didnt start laying until I had them for about 5 weeks then I got 2 eggs a day now I'm seeing how many I'll get a day in the coming year!
  3. James the Bald

    James the Bald Songster

    Jan 6, 2013
    SFG, welcome to the quail forum on BYC. I found out the hard way that having lights within the cage/setup will stress out the hens. Too much light will stress them out. At the end of the summer, I knew the days would get shorter until there would only be 9 or so hours of daylight, so I added lights directly above their cages that were set to a timer for 12 hours. For the next week, ZERO eggs, after getting 22 every day (I have 22 hens). After I unplugged the lights, a few days later, 22 eggs a day.
    So, having an artificial light source is good, but too much of it too close to the hens is bad. You may have to remove the lights. Once you've done that, and since already established a covey of quail that are getting along, just give them time and they should start laying when they are ready. If you have a 1-4 ratio, then hatch a few of the eggs next spring and let the chicks grow into the freezer, if you know what I mean.
    I hope this helps
  4. marksouth

    marksouth In the Brooder

    Jul 11, 2013
    UC Davis recommends .05 to 2 foot-candlelight. Standard being the light of a twenty five watt bulb seven feet above the birds, or bright moonlight. The bright light hurts their eyes and confuses them and they get stressed over it. Hang your christmas lights higher or further away but not where they would shine in their eyes.

    I use warm white led strips turned over so I only get a warm glow from the back of the strip and the bulbs of the strips dont shine in their eyes. I have this connected to a digital 12 volt timer, 5 volt solar panel and battery. It will take a couple of weeks for them to start laying again.

    Like James I learned the hard way too much light makes them crazy..

  5. suburbfarmgirl

    suburbfarmgirl In the Brooder

    Sep 24, 2013
    Thank you for the replies! Sorry it took me a while to get back on here, I didn't get my email linked up to this yet. I will try moving the lights farther away from the birds. Maybe it is too close and stressing them like you suggested. I'll let you know how it works out! I have seen people make little towers or globes with their Christmas lights and place them outside of the pen to the side. Maybe something like that will work. I really appreciate it - trying to be the best quail keeper I can be ;)

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