When Do Quails Start Laying Eggs?
Quails are excellent layers that start laying earlier compared to other birds. These birds mature at around six to eight weeks when they start laying. Although quails will continue laying consistently until old age, some factors like stress because of overcrowding, predators, and poor diet can reduce quails’ egg production.
Quails can lay 300 eggs yearly. Nonetheless, their egg production starts to diminish as they age.
At What Age do Quails Start Laying?
Most quail species start laying at about 6 to 8 weeks when they reach maturity. The laying age can vary depending on the quail species. For instance, Coturnix quails start laying when they are six weeks old. Your female quails will lay a single egg per day once they start laying. However, the number of eggs will continue declining as the quail hens age.
How Often Do Quails Lay an Egg?
Quails produce a single egg per day. In rare incidences, female quails can lay two eggs daily. On average, quail hens will lay one egg daily throughout their fertile years. After two years of laying consistently, your quails will start laying less frequently until they stop laying anymore because of old age.
How to Get Your Quails to Lay Eggs?
As a devoted quail keeper, it can be frustrating to see your quails start to slack off when the laying season is at its peak. After all, why keep quails for eggs if your birds can’t lay consistently? As frustrating as this can be, you can do some things to encourage your birds to lay when they aren’t laying. Here is what you can do to get your quails to lay eggs.
Keep Them in a Big and Secure Cage
Quail keepers have many housing options for their birds. For instance, they can house their birds in cages, hutches, and pens. Although you don’t need a fancy cage for your birds, you have to ensure the cage is spacious and secure enough for your quails.
Small cages aren’t ideal for quails because they encourage overcrowding, affecting your quails’ egg production. A big cage will provide the quail hens with ample space to lay without disturbing each other.
You also have to keep the cage secure to guarantee security for your egg-laying quails. Therefore, ensure predators can enter the cage. Most importantly, keep the cage safe so the quails won’t fly away.
The cage should have a protective barrier to keep out predators and to ensure the birds can’t fly away, ultimately making you lose your quail hens. Add plywood or logs if your cage consists entirely of wire to make it secure for the birds.
Having a bigger cage for the hens ensures they have enough floor space. Each hen in your flock needs around 1 square foot of floor space. If the cage doesn’t provide your hens with ample floor space, the birds will feel stressed and confined, ultimately impacting adversely on their egg production.
Your quails’ egg production risks coming to a halt if the birds suffer from stress because of inadequate floor space.
Feed Them Quality Food
Diet is vital for quail hens because it directly affects egg production. The healthier the diet is, the better since your quails will lay more consistently. A poor diet can bring your quails’ egg production to a halt.
It helps to provide your egg-laying quail hens with quality food to maximize their egg production. Ensure the food you provide to your hens can meet their nutritional requirements.
Your quails need a layer developer feed a couple of weeks before they start laying. The best developer feed for young quail hens should have approximately 18% protein. Furthermore, it should contain at least one per cent phosphorus to help the hens produce quality eggs.
Besides protein and phosphorus, the best developer feed should contain adequate calcium levels to ensure the quail hens lay eggs with thick shells when they start laying. A balanced developer feed for quails should have other nutrients such as mono-unsaturated fats and crude fiber.
You can switch from a developer feed to a layer diet when your birds start laying. The best time to introduce layer feed to your hens is when the birds are at least 20 weeks old. At this time, the layer feed you introduce to the hens should have more protein, calcium, and phosphorus. Ideally, the best layer feed for egg-laying, mature quail hens should have around 19% protein, 0.6% protein, and significantly high amounts of calcium.
You can also supplement your hens’ diet with calcium if their egg production is low. Some excellent sources of supplemental calcium for quail hens include crushed oyster shells, limestone, and crushed eggshells, preferably from chickens. Supplemental calcium isn’t only essential for maximizing egg production in quails, but it’s also vital in helping the hens lay high-quality eggs.
Your quails shouldn’t consume commercial feed only because the feed might not help the birds meet their dietary requirements. Quails also need other foods to increase their egg production. The more quality food items you provide to the hens, the more the birds will lay consistently. Foods such as vegetables are also essential for maximum egg production. Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach will give the quails additional nutrients to maximize their egg production.
Furthermore, the nutrients in vegetables will keep your hens healthy. Unhealthy quail hens are less likely to lay. Again, sick hens have a high risk of illnesses which stops them from laying consistently.
Apart from quality food, egg-laying quail hens also need water. Your hens will experience dehydration if they don’t get enough water. Dehydration can suppress the egg formation process, making it difficult for the hens to lay. Water is crucial for quails because it makes it easy for their bodies to absorb the nutrients they derive from everyday foods. Without water, your hens won’t absorb the nutrients in their foods, making them unlikely to lay even when you provide them with high-quality food.
Reduce Stress and Disturbance
Stress and frequent disturbances in the coop can affect your quails’ egg production. Like chickens, quails appreciate peace and calmness while laying. They don’t like disturbances because they affect their egg-laying process.
Male quails can cause disturbances in the cage while fighting over the females. Such disturbances will distract the females, making them less likely to lay. The ideal ratio for quails living in one cage should be one male quail to three hens. This ratio can help reduce fighting and disturbances that affect egg production in quail hens.
Subjecting your quails to stress will also impact their productivity, significantly reducing their egg production. Some of the things that can stress the hens include predators. Your hens won’t lay accordingly when they sense the presence of a predator. Predators can also make your hens restless, denying them the calmness and peace they need while laying.
Coop fights also affect quail hens’ egg production. Like other birds, quails also adhere to a pecking order, whereby senior quails in the flock establish dominance over their junior counterparts. Young quail hens may stop laying when their senior counterparts start bullying them. It’s best to separate the bullying females from other females in your flock to avoid constant fights and bullying that will subject the younger hens to stress.
Loud noises can also stress your quails. Quails don’t lay well when there are loud noises within their environment. Keeping your birds in a peaceful environment with no loud noises is crucial. Simply put, eliminate anything likely to stress your quails to the point where they cannot lay consistently. Place the cage away from noises and other loud movements that stress quails.
Provide Enough Light for Them
Light exposure is crucial for egg production in quails. Ideally, quails need between 14 and 16 hours of light per day. Your quails’ laying mechanism risks shutting down if the birds get below 12 hours of light per day. That’s why quails don’t frequently lay in the winter months because there are fewer daylight hours in the winter.
The easiest trick to ensure your quails meet their daily light requirements is to place their coop in a sunny place. You can also place artificial lighting inside the cage during winter to give your quails enough light to help them lay. However, your birds shouldn’t get more than 16 hours of light as much as they require light to lay.
Avoid lighting the coop at night because it won’t help your birds lay. The quails will confuse any lighting at night to daytime. Therefore, the birds won’t roost as usual at night when you put some lighting in their cage. For that reason, your quails won’t get adequate sleep during the night, which can make them experience fatigue the next day.
Do Quails Lay Eggs in Winter?
Quails can lay in winter but less frequently during this season. It’s almost impossible for quails to meet their light requirements in winter because winter means fewer sunlight hours. Your quails, therefore, require supplemental lighting in winter to help them lay.
The ultimate way to meet your birds’ light requirements is by having artificial lighting in their cage. The presence of artificial lighting will encourage your female quails to continue laying in winter.
Do Quails Lay Eggs Without Males?
Yes, quails lay eggs without males because their laying mechanism doesn’t depend on mating. Therefore, nothing will hinder your female quails from laying if they aren’t males in the flock. Nonetheless, your quail hens will lay unfertile eggs if they don’t have males to mate with.
What to Feed Your Quails to Lay Eggs?
Providing your quails with quality foods is the surest way to encourage them to lay eggs. Besides commercial game bird feed, some good foods to feed your quails are protein-rich foods. These foods include bugs, worms, fishmeal, and mealworms.
Seed-based diets also help quails lay eggs because they have vast amounts of nutrients. Grains such as wheat, rice, barley, and oats are also good for egg-laying quails since they have the nutrients your quails need to lay eggs.
Quails also need to eat calcium-rich foods to boost their egg production. You can provide your quails with crushed oyster shells to increase their calcium intake.
Quails usually start laying much earlier than other birds. That’s why these birds are reliable layers. Furthermore, quails will lay up to 300 eggs annually, making them some of the best domestic birds to keep for eggs. However, you must provide your quails with the best foods and living conditions to help them lay eggs.