Quail aren't laying like they should be

Discussion in 'Quail' started by CountryBoy47, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. CountryBoy47

    CountryBoy47 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 53 quail that are in a colony pen till 9 weeks to be slaughtered /picked for the breeder cage they are 8weeks approximately 56days old today I'm only getting about 6 to 8 eggs a day sometimes not that many. More than half are female, I feed Purina game chow they are outside here's a pic of the pen. Should I add artificial light now?

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  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see several possible flaws.
    First of all, there is no pile of poop under the pen, which could indicate you are moving it daily. Moving the pen causes stress, stress causes reduced laying.
    Secondly, if 'more than half' are female, that must mean nearly half are males. Coturnix should be kept at a 1:4-7 male:female ratio with only one male per cage. A lower ratio and multiple males causes stress - and stress causes reduced laying.
    Also, I strongly doubt that your pen is 53 square feet big. I'm not even convinced it's half. Usually it's recommended to give cots one square foot per bird. Less space = more stress - and stress causes reduced laying. Some get lots of eggs using half a foot per bird, but as far as I know, not in community pens like this.
    Then, of course, as you mention yourself, they should have at least 14 hours of light. If they don't, then yes, add it if you want optimum laying.
    And finally - not all hens mature at 8 weeks. Some do at 6 weeks, some don't lay a single egg till they are 12 weeks. Your hens might just be too young.
     
  3. CountryBoy47

    CountryBoy47 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First off my GROW OUT PEN is 8 ft x 4ft. 32sqft plenty big for 53 quail. My research says 1/2 to 1sqft. per quail. 4ft is enclosed 4ft open. The grow out pen was moved once to its now location at week 4 those pics are right after I put them in right after construction. As I mentioned in the post this is a GROW OUT PEN a temporary home until breeders are picked by weight and those who don't make weight get culled. Before you make assumptions just ask. I knew about the 14 hours of light thanks however it sure seemed like you didn't want to help but just scrutinize my work. Thanks for the critsism anyway . I must give you credit on this, maybe some of the females are just too young.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  4. AustralorpsAU

    AustralorpsAU Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Im sure @DK newbie want trying to scrutinise your work at all. (S)He was just trying to give you some pointers for the question you asked! Take it as constructive feedback! Thats how like to think of it! Even sometimes if i don't like what people are saying i just thank them for their feedback! (S)he did give you some great reasons why they might not be laying at the prime! [​IMG] Good luck!
     
  5. eHuman

    eHuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On habitability:
    I was able to keep 18 males and 24 females together in an 8ft x 8ft pen until 5 weeks, then I opened the connecting door to the other 1/2 where my existing 13 breeders, (2 roo/11 hen) and let them co-mingle. 55 quail in 128sqft. Everything was fine for a week then the hormones kicked in. At first I let it go, they have to get it out of their system before they can calm down. Then I saw 2 boys playing tug-of-war with a hen who was screaming a unique sound not normal to mating or being scared, they were really hurting her. I had to separate out all but 5 roos to calm things down. 15 boys in grow-out cages lost temporary mating rights until the cull, including one of my breeders.

    Moral: If you have them together still and they are getting along, you are lucky and have a mellow group of boys, go with what works for you but always be prepared to intervene for the safety of all.

    On laying:
    I see that you have at least 2 factors keeping your numbers low, both have been identified.
    1. Your hens are maturing at different rates. Last batch my first egg came at 5 weeks and 3 days, my latest-blooming hen took until just over 11 weeks to lay.
    2. Lighting. 14-16 hours a day, enough said.

    Again, stress of any kind can fudge your results even further, your roo/hen ratio may or may-not be a part of the equation.

    I have barn owls attacking my aviary nightly. They can't get in but they try every night. Worst when they pace around on the galvanized roof. My birds are oblivious to them. It doesn't effect their laying at all. But when I muck out the enclosure they go on strike for a week.

    Get in tune with your dynamics, everyone's are different. Environment, weather, temperament/personalities, predators. Some people can safely get away with things that the experts say are impossible.

    Your flock dynamic as a whole can tell you what you are doing right and wrong if you know how to listen, or know what you are looking for.
     
  6. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No assumptions were made. I wasn't trying to talk down about the way you keep your birds - you asked why they didn't lay much and I gave you my best suggestions. I'm aware it's a grow out pen, I was simply pointing out that I doubt you'll get optimum laying like that.
     
  7. CountryBoy47

    CountryBoy47 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your feed back I didn't think the birds where that finiky
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  8. CountryBoy47

    CountryBoy47 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your feedback we have sit and watched them literally for hours and haven't seen any signs of males fighting they are working on the girls though. the girls have alot of hair missing on the tops of there heads. You mentioned they matured at different rates would it be safe/cost effective to wait 11 weeks before culling the light weights?
     
  9. eHuman

    eHuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read that they continue to grow until that point, but anything after 7 weeks isn't cost effective because their rate of growth is much slower after the 6 week mark. That being said, if you aren't a business counting every penny, it's worth it (to me) to wait until 10 weeks to fill out the birds a bit more.

    I will cull as early as 7 weeks if I just can't settle down aggressive males, but will wait if at all possible.
     
  10. CountryBoy47

    CountryBoy47 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would like to apologize for flying off the handle you where right i have to many dang males, 24 males and 29 females I am truly sorry please accept my apologizes. I have quail Egg in my Face.
     

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