If you’re thinking about raising quails for their eggs, you might be wondering, “when do quails start laying eggs?” The average time it takes for a quail to start laying eggs is 6 to 8 weeks after hatching. However, their egg-laying schedule will be influenced by various elements like the season and how much food the female has access to. Continue reading if you want tips on telling if and when your quail hens are prepared to lay eggs.
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When Can Quails Begin Laying Eggs?
Generally, quail lay their first eggs between 5 and 8 weeks after birth. If you need newly hatched quails by a specific date, consider using an incubator that creates an environment similar to the natural brooding environment. Read our related article where we review the Best Quail Egg Incubator on the market today! These incubators are easy to use and perfect for growing your bevy.
Signs of Adult Quails
You can tell that your quails are getting older and closer to laying eggs when they become more active and spend more time on the ground. At this point, they will also develop a full ruff around their necks and chest. If your quails lack this ruff, it means they’re still young. As the quails mature, they will exhibit certain indicators. Adult quails exhibit the following characteristics:
- They have begun to nest.
- Their wings will be longer and their feathers darker.
- They have become more active.
Read our related article, How Long Do Quails Live in Captivity and in the Wild? We list different quail species and how long they can live!
How to Tell Your Quail is Ready to Lay
The quail’s weight indicates that she is ready to lay eggs, and is generally when they reach 6 ounces. Before they can begin reproducing, these birds need time to mature and get big. When your quails are nearing the end of their egg-laying cycle, they will be found on the ground, their tails splayed and their heads bowed. They quake and make soft chirping noises while waiting for a possible partner. Male quail are generally ready to begin mating at around 7 weeks. The female’s telltale sign of maturation occurs when she loses the feathers from under her breast to prepare for the incubation of their eggs, and after she lays the egg, both parents will take turns sitting on it. Here’s a video that gives some tips and facts concerning egg laying for quails:
Tips for Getting Quails to Lay Eggs
1. Have Secure Housing
Different types of enclosures are available for quails including cages, chicken coops, rabbit hutches, and aviaries. If you have the money, a lovely chicken coop is fantastic, but if you don’t, rabbit hutches will suffice. You’ll want to give your quail the most comfortable home possible. The safety of the quail and the eggs is first and foremost in mind. The goal is to keep the quail from escaping and prevent predators from entering. Each cage requires a roof, but a catch pan or barrier should be added beneath the wire foundation if raised. If your quail’s cage is entirely made of wire, we recommend using logs, plywood, or anything else your quail can stand on in its cage. This will keep their feet protected and avoid the discomfort of only standing on wire.
2. Ensure There’s Sufficient Floor Space
For brooding, the minimum space required for each quail is 1 square foot. When quail are crowded, they become anxious, and their egg production decreases or they won’t lay at all. DISCLAIMER: We are strong advocates for giving your birds enough room to comfortably move about while indoors or caged, as well as plenty of unhindered access to the outdoors and grass during the day.
3. Line the Quail’s Cage With Straw or Hay
Quail species are particular when it comes to their nesting habits. Some quails would rather recline on the ground individually instead of build nests in groups. If the birds want to relax and make a nest, adequate amounts of hay or straw in the cage will enable them to do so. A wooden box for brooding is also recommended.
4. Do Not Interrupt Your Laying Quails
Quail require their cages to be cleaned at least once a week, if not more frequently, to keep them clean and healthy as they lay eggs. You’ll get better results from your quail laying efforts if you perform it as part of your weekly routine and leave them to do their laying for the rest of the week.
5. Place Them in a Calm and Quiet Environment
To ensure your quails lay frequently, keeping them in an environment that is not disruptive and shielded from potential predators is crucial. This also means keeping them from areas where there is a lot of noise pollution, like near machinery, vehicles, or a lot of activity. A lot of noise can make them stressed, causing a lot of anxiety for the birds.
6. Give Them Quality Quail Food
If you want your quails to lay the most eggs possible, you need to give them food that meets their specific nutritional needs.
- Diet for Development: To produce the most eggs, quail between 6 and 20 weeks old require the finest feed, which must have at least 18% protein and 0.5 percent phosphorus. Those nutrients lead to stronger eggshells.
- Layer Diet: Quail must be given a layer diet with at least 19% protein and 0.65% phosphorus after laying for 20 weeks.
- Extra Calcium Supplement: You can increase egg production by feeding your laying quails more calcium from natural sources such as limestone, crushed oyster shells, or a calcium premix. Not only will this help to improve output numbers, but the eggs produced will also be of much higher quality.
TIP: We highly encourage you to feed your quail non-GMO or organic feed and allow them to snack on bugs and wild seeds or grass during the day. Remember that what your quail eats, you eat (even if you’re only eating the eggs!) Read More: How to Care for Quail Babies. Caring for quail chicks is a great learning experience that can be profitable! Here’s how to raise healthy and happy chicks.
7. Make Sure They Have Enough Light During the Day
When quails are laying eggs, they need 14-16 hours of daylight. If the number of daylight hours drops below 12, their egg production will decrease. This is also seen in hens and their egg production. This is why we see a reduced quail egg production during winter when there are fewer daylight hours. If your quail cage isn’t getting enough light, try moving it to a brighter location, or even better, give your birds adequate time to roam outside. Remember that the change should not receive more than 16 hours of sunlight, so the birds get enough rest.
A healthy quail can start laying eggs as young as 6 weeks. As long as they have a proper diet, habitat, and social life they will continue to produce many eggs in their lifetime, up to 200 in one year. So keep them healthy and happy and you’ll see great results!