I gather from your post that none of your quail (if female) have laid before, either because you haven't had them long, or they are young & haven't yet commenced laying, or they are older hens past laying? If late season bred young hens that haven't yet laid then you may have to wait until the longer daylight hours (spring) before they do. Artificially increasing light hours may see them laying sooner though? Recommended lighting as per the NSW DPI Here
Japanese quail require 14–18 hours of light per day
to maintain maximum egg production and fertility.
This means that supplementary lighting must be
provided in the autumn, winter and spring months
to maintain production.
I'm not sure about the burning out bit. As I understand there is a natural decline in egg laying as hens get older @ any rate. Replacing layers annually is sometimes recommended. I found with mine that once the hens commenced laying they did continue to lay through winter with natural lighting, although not as frequently, or everyday. Areas/states with shorter winter daylight hours than those here may differ?
I don't think your feeding is too much of an issue, as long as the pellets are small enough for them manage. I used to feed mine starter crumbles @ times, although not for extended periods, & they continued to lay OK. A laying mix may be more appropriate for optimal production.