Keeping Egg-Laying Quail

ChanP

Songster
Jun 10, 2021
38
112
104
Just for those of you who are thinking of keeping adult egg-laying coturnix quail here's exactly what I do...
It work well for me and I have never had any serious problems.

I keep 13 quails outside in an aviary: 12 females and one male. I hatched all of them so they are quite friendly and eat out of my hand. Also I can catch them with hardly any trouble. Two females are younger - been laying for about 1/2 months now and are different coturnix varieties. The older ones are about 7/8 months old and are half and half Japanese (brown) and Italian (white with speckled), and they all get along perfectly as they were raised together. The older ones all came from a brilliant website: moonridgefarm, who sell the hatching eggs and also older POL (point-of-lay) quails, as well as a lot of other poultry.

The aviary has an mostly open 6-foot tall run, which is very open to the outdoors except for two sides and some shading from a plant outside. It doesn't get as hot - or cold - as the rest of the garden and the quails are never uncomfortable. The run is 8 x 4ft, with an attached inside area (shed) that is about 2 x 2ft. They have plenty of space each and the only time they have ever fought has been when I added another male that I raised, but I got rid of it and they're fine now.

The base of the outside area is a thick layer of bird sand, which has grit in it to help digestion, and this not only keeps cool, but provides them with sand baths most of the year round. The inside has straw, which I rarely have to clean out as they prefer to spend time outside, but they do lay eggs indoors which keeps them clean. I've also planted some bamboo and some other small plants for shade and there are some rocks which they love to go under. Their food and water is outside too.

They way I know that they are all very healthy and happy is that I currently get 10/11 eggs a day from 12 laying females, which is brilliant! I kept the male with them because if they ever get startled he calms them down. When I first put them in the cage they would startle when I went in there and fly up and hit the wire netting, but now they are very calm and come to me for treats!

I've never had a problem with any sick or poorly quails, and when some females did get pecked from the new male, I found that the best cure is a bit of TLC. I moved them into the garage where I kept the injured quails separate in dog crates with some fresh bedding, food and water, and they healed very quickly once they weren't stressed.

For those of you who are having trouble getting your coturnix quails to lay - don't worry. My quails laid pretty late, and I think it was due to them moulting in November/December, and then the winter months when they didn't have enough sunlight hours. To lay, your quails need a stress-free environment. Not too many males to females (note: I only have one to keep the peace as I'm hatching the eggs), enough space (at least 1 square foot per bird), enough shelter so that they aren't completely open to the weather, and food and water always available. They can lay once they are 6 weeks, but if you just bought and settled them, don't expect them to lay until they have got used to their new environment. Also, give them time. It took my quails a few weeks to lay well, and the number of eggs gradually increased until I was getting 10/11 out of 12 eggs every day.

I feed them Heygates food - chick superstarter crumbs from 0-4 weeks, growers pellets 4-8 weeks, and layers pellets from then on. Brilliant food, and at about £17 per 20kg if you get it delivered. This lasts just under 2 months. You could probably get it for around £10 if you had the time to collect it as many different shops stock it.

Hope this information is helpful, and please feel free to ask any questions about my quails, although I can't promise that I will answer quickly. Hope you find it as enjoyable and rewarding to raise quails as I did.
 
Last edited:
Jun 28, 2021
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I stumbled on your post after writing one myself asking some questions. This actually answers several questions, are you keeping roos to grow out somewhere else? I have a great spot that I'd love to turn into an aviary. I was going to use a coop/run but I don't think that will work. I've hatched 12 jumbo wilds 1.5 weeks old. I have a Hatching Time set up to get me started but after having them I don't think that will work, I like them too much. Rethinking my whole set up and outside is the way to go. We live in San Diego California so weather will not be a problem just worried about their safety. Would you mind posting a photo of your aviary?

Also you mentioned "bird sand, which has grit in it" are you referring to regular sand? If you look at Amazon they sell small bags for guanine pigs and small animals. I'm assuming this would need to come in bulk. I'm assuming feed store or local big box.

Thank you again for putting yourself out there.

Tammy
 

ChanP

Songster
Jun 10, 2021
38
112
104
Hi :)

Good luck with jumbos - I haven't tried them but they are very pretty!

We had some trouble with cockerels and weren't too keen on getting rid of hand-raised ones, but in the end we let some out in a field nearby. It was too noisy too keep more than one as we're surrounded by neighbours. They were absolutely fine all together though until they started crowing - no fighting at all.

I definitely think that outside works best. Sorry I haven't got a picture right now, but our aviary was bought online. Basically quite expensive, but very good quality. Obviously you could make one but we didn't have to time and knew this would last. Here's where we got it from: gardenandanimalstructures:
1625776720295.png

Ours is 12x4ft, the inside section being 4x4, half for you to walk into the run, and half for the animals (we made a hole at the bottom so that the quails could walk indoors from the run). Also, we made a wooden base on top of an old flowerbed so that we could fill it with sand. We used bird sand from a nearby pet store - literally called bird sand - in 20kg bags. Cost about £6/7 per bag so added up to a lot! You could use normal sand, but we only tried this as it meant they had a constant supply of grit (we have finches too). The sand is a lot cheaper if you collect it.

No worries :). Hope this helped. Feel free to ask if you have any more queries.
 

ChanP

Songster
Jun 10, 2021
38
112
104
You could definitely use normal playsand or something - it may be cheaper and grit is not really a problem with quails, I just like to make sure they have it in case.

Just a note - finches are a great addition to an aviary of this size :)
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
Premium Feather Member
May 15, 2019
10,788
68,461
1,126
Klamath County, OR
You could definitely use normal playsand or something - it may be cheaper and grit is not really a problem with quails, I just like to make sure they have it in case.

Just a note - finches are a great addition to an aviary of this size :)
Play sand isn't the best. It tends to clump. Construction sand or plain old garden dirt works very well and is a lot cheaper.
 
Jun 28, 2021
15
56
61
Hi :)

Good luck with jumbos - I haven't tried them but they are very pretty!

We had some trouble with cockerels and weren't too keen on getting rid of hand-raised ones, but in the end we let some out in a field nearby. It was too noisy too keep more than one as we're surrounded by neighbours. They were absolutely fine all together though until they started crowing - no fighting at all.

I definitely think that outside works best. Sorry I haven't got a picture right now, but our aviary was bought online. Basically quite expensive, but very good quality. Obviously you could make one but we didn't have to time and knew this would last. Here's where we got it from: gardenandanimalstructures:
View attachment 2752158
Ours is 12x4ft, the inside section being 4x4, half for you to walk into the run, and half for the animals (we made a hole at the bottom so that the quails could walk indoors from the run). Also, we made a wooden base on top of an old flowerbed so that we could fill it with sand. We used bird sand from a nearby pet store - literally called bird sand - in 20kg bags. Cost about £6/7 per bag so added up to a lot! You could use normal sand, but we only tried this as it meant they had a constant supply of grit (we have finches too). The sand is a lot cheaper if you collect it.

No worries :). Hope this helped. Feel free to ask if you have any more queries.
Thank you yes it does. Appreciate the link, I'll check on the bird grit. I'm sure I can locate. I'll have to measure out the space I have. I may swing back with more questions once I figure out what I'm going to do.
 

FloorCandy

Crowing
Apr 15, 2020
3,804
7,688
451
Hi :)

Good luck with jumbos - I haven't tried them but they are very pretty!

We had some trouble with cockerels and weren't too keen on getting rid of hand-raised ones, but in the end we let some out in a field nearby. It was too noisy too keep more than one as we're surrounded by neighbours. They were absolutely fine all together though until they started crowing - no fighting at all.

I definitely think that outside works best. Sorry I haven't got a picture right now, but our aviary was bought online. Basically quite expensive, but very good quality. Obviously you could make one but we didn't have to time and knew this would last. Here's where we got it from: gardenandanimalstructures:
View attachment 2752158
Ours is 12x4ft, the inside section being 4x4, half for you to walk into the run, and half for the animals (we made a hole at the bottom so that the quails could walk indoors from the run). Also, we made a wooden base on top of an old flowerbed so that we could fill it with sand. We used bird sand from a nearby pet store - literally called bird sand - in 20kg bags. Cost about £6/7 per bag so added up to a lot! You could use normal sand, but we only tried this as it meant they had a constant supply of grit (we have finches too). The sand is a lot cheaper if you collect it.

No worries :). Hope this helped. Feel free to ask if you have any more queries.
Please do not release domesticated animals into the wild, and please don’t recommend this to others. It is illegal in many places, and unethical and inhumane to the animals. They have no survival skills, and letting them out to survive alone is just making them targets for predators, stray cats and dogs, and a nuisance to others. If you are unprepared or unwilling to rehome, cull, or separately house your males, do not buy hatching eggs or straight run chicks. Releasing your pets and livestock into the wild without protection or food is never the right answer.
 
Jun 28, 2021
15
56
61
Please do not release domesticated animals into the wild, and please don’t recommend this to others. It is illegal in many places, and unethical and inhumane to the animals. They have no survival skills, and letting them out to survive alone is just making them targets for predators, stray cats and dogs, and a nuisance to others. If you are unprepared or unwilling to rehome, cull, or separately house your males, do not buy hatching eggs or straight run chicks. Releasing your pets and livestock into the wild without protection or food is never the right answer.
Appreciate the warning, I would never do that. I am prepared for my quail, just may change to a larger set up more natural. Thanks for looking out.
 

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