Pacific Northwest - Quail Laying questions

TeePants

Songster
10 Years
Aug 11, 2011
370
310
231
Hey all! The girls (and boy) have finally for the most part settled in (I had to break up one more inexplicable altercation but was able to successfully reintegrate the quail in question), and I managed to make a thrown-together “sidecar” pen for the lone female that they always seem to pick on. It’s officially fall, which means it’s time for it to be overcast and wet nearly everyday.

I managed to solve the moisture problem by putting a camping rain fly over the pen, which seems to do a handy job of keeping the bedding dry - the very bottommost layer seems to get wet no matter what, but the center of the pen stays dry.

However, I’ve noticed the girls have really slowed down on egg production. It’s gotten to the point that I have been removing all their toys/hides/etc every OTHER day, instead of every day, to rake and look for eggs. Today I only managed to find 4. Is it time to introduce artificial light already? Additionally, the little female in the sidecar isn’t really laying anymore at all. I THINK it’s because the rain cover for her pen is very opaque, and makes it super dark in there when it’s on, as it’s fitted unlike the rain fly on the big pen.

How bright does the light have to be? I was thinking of just grabbing some outdoor string lights or something. Should I also give them supplemental heat? Today it dropped down to 36 outside but warmed up to 50 F by the afternoon, but they’re predicting we’re going to get a very cold, very wet winter this year.

Diet wise, they get the pellet someone else recommended here (Hudson Feeds gamebird feed), in addition to grubs or mealworms, oyster shell, and leafy greens whenever I make a salad or parrot chop. If there’s something else they should be getting please let me know!

Honestly, if it’s better for their little bodies/health to take a “laying break” over the winter, I’m not totally opposed to giving them just enough supplemental light to get a couple eggs every other day or something - they have until recently laid faster than we can cook them up.
 

FloorCandy

Crowing
Apr 15, 2020
3,636
7,401
441
I started lighting mine last week or so, my eggs had really dwindled, I should have lit a couple weeks sooner. I tried string lights last year and they didn’t work, I use these:
https://www.amazon.com/SUNVIE-Landscape-Waterproof-Spotlights-Decorative/dp/B07ZZ3K3XN

With this:
https://www.amazon.com/Plusmart-Waterproof-Mechanical-Programmable-Christmas/dp/B07G129BH2

They say laying year round shortens their lives, but tbh I only have 1 hen and 1 roo of my originals. Mihawk the hen is a year and a half and lays every day and seems healthy, she brooded and hatched 6 chicks this summer with no problems. Her feathers are healthy and she seems youthful for lack of a better term. The rest of the OGs were sold, and a couple were killed in my post flood predator attack. So since I didn’t have them for a long life anyway, lighting them up didn’t really affect their lifespan in my case. If they’re pets that you will dearly miss, give them a break, if they’re livestock you treat well in exchange for meat and eggs, light em up and let them earn their pricey feed and snacks.
 

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