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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:28 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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What have I done wrong? I have 4 coturnix that have the spotty chest so I believe are girls. I feed them Vella game starter mixed with Vella backyard layer pellets. They like the game starter pellets more so they get more of that. The have plenty of straw and wood shavings to lay their eggs in. It's just not happening! How do I make them lay eggs!? I know about artificial lighting but I was told they will die from exhaustion. Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:39 am 
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Assist Admin
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Hi Jayden
Have a look at this post and see if some of Winglets advice might help you with quail laying
Click Here

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:43 am 
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Superior Bird
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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 (p. 4).
Quote:
Light requirements
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.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:44 am 
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Dapper Duck
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Ive looked at Winglets advice. Im still stuck. LOL.

Rollyard: I got the birds not long ago. They are 6-9 months old. Is that too old?

They are school pets so I cant really go and put artificial lighting if it is going to kill them quicker, then I have to worry about grief counselling and everything.

Thanks for your Advice. I think now it is just the decision as to whether I put in the artificial lighting or not.

Im thinking they may be a bit too old?

Thanks
Jayden


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:59 am 
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Phoenix
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If they really are 6 to 9 months old, then they're not old at all. My older hens are about 2 & a half years old now, and laying well.

Extending the hours of light to 24 hours a day may well 'burn them out' as they'd have no hours of darkness to rest.

Extending the hours of light up to 18 hour a day won't do them any great harm. It's just as if they were being raised near the equator.

Identifying them by colour is not something I do for sexing hens.... it's easier to work out sex from their cloaca region.

I'll take some photos later today of both male & female cloaca areas & add it to my thread on laying... and to this one.

The other things I'd consider are:

1. How long have you had them? (Stress from a move to new premises for any poultry can put them off the lay).

2. Do they have any 'safe' areas in their enclosure that are fully protected from rain/wind/predators... preferably one complete solid side to the enclosure.

3. Have you checked in amongst the straw? They can bury their eggs.

4. Do they have access to the food & fresh, clean water 24/7 ?

5. Are there any boys in amongst them? If yes, a ratio of too few hens to one cock can cause so much stress to the hens that egglaying reduces or stops.

6. Is it constantly noisy where they're kept? ie. are there school children around them a lot? That can cause stress to them & put them off the lay if they're not used to children.

I wouldn't worry about having to do grief counselling if they don't live forever... Japanese quail are not very long lived birds anyway. But, as said before, up to 18 hours of daylight won't cause the a problem.

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"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid." - Mark Twain


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:10 pm 
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Phoenix
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Here's a hen's cloaca... this hen is about 2.5 years old & laying regularly.
Image

And here's a cock's cloaca.... without foam... note the large 'pouch' where the foam comes from.
Image

And a cock's cloaca... with foam. The volume of foam is often WAY MORE than shown here.
Image

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"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid." - Mark Twain


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Hi Winglet,

Thankyou so much for your reply.

1. We haven't had them long. Maybe 3 weeks. They don't seem to be stressing at all!

2. They have lots of "safe" areas. They have fully enclosed areas they can go to.

3. We go through the straw all the time searching for eggs and cant find them.

4. YES! That is my number 1 priority. No matter where they are in the enclosure, they are within 3 feet to a food or water source. They have a poultry drinker in the bedroom, and 2 large water bowls outside which are cleaned and replenished daily. They have The same situation with food bowls, however we also put lettuce and other veges around the enclosure and I occasionally throw some pellets around.

5. I don't know. I will have to sex them tomorrow when I see them using your pictures (THANKS!)

6. No, not really. There is the obvious school bell every hour but it doesn't seem to disrupt them. The nearest classroom is a senior science lab which is generally quiet. Students aren't near them unless they are caring for them. They are hidden away 200m from plain sight.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:48 pm 
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Phoenix
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Based on your answers, the one thing that I can see as a possible significant factor is that you're adding in vegies. They're very small birds & eat next to nothing. The addition of anything over & above their usual feed will reduce the amount of that usual feed...as their little bellies will be full. For now, until you see eggs, don't give them any extras at all. Too much lettuce for most animals & birds can cause diarrhoea, too. Too much for a small animal or bird isn't all that much really.

On a secondary note, it's good for them to run about to remain fit & healthy. I completely understand you putting feed & water within 3 feet of them throughout the enclosure... but I'd do the opposite... one feed container, and have that near the door that you enter, so you can see if it gets low easily. Nothing but their complete feed until they lay. Water is better too much than not enough. If they're not in a spot where they'll get hot, then I'd limit their water to just one container, too. Not too far from the feed works well so that it's easy to get to & refill or take out for a clean. The less of their enclosure that is disrupted daily from refills of feed & water, the more comfortable they'll be.

Once they're laying, then very small additions of vegies is fine. I consider one 'loose' adult-sized handful of greenpick (grass, broadleaf weeds, silverbeet, lettuce etc) is plenty once a week for about 8 adult quail. More than that can mean too much filling up on greens & not enough protein. Hard vegies I no longer put in there, only because those rarely get past the rabbits & chooks ! I used to leave hard vegie scraps in for a few days in cooler weather, as the quail will pick at that over several days. Any scraps that look limp at any time should be removed immediately... and are a measure that they're getting way too much.

I hope that some of that helps get them on the lay... if you're desperate for them to lay before spring & the change of diet doesn't work, then I'd recommend lights being brought into the equation. If you haven't heard them 'sing' yet, then you're almost certain to have hens !

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"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid." - Mark Twain


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:14 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Thanks so much for all your help!

I sexed them again today, based on your pictures. All 4 were female.

I will be taking the extra food and vege scraps out as soon as I see them tomorrow morning, and will be putting signs to make sure nothing else gets put in there.

They seem to be really tame and happy when we go there. When we walk in the coop they all come running out to us, and they like being held and patted. I will limit this but they don't seem to be phased by it one bit.

Ill let you all know how I go after the diet change. I hope it works!

Thanks Winglet and everyone else for all your help, I really appreciate it!

Ill let you all know how it goes,

Thanks Again!

Jayden


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:19 pm 
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Phoenix
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If they're really tame & run up & enjoy being handled, then I wouldn't limit that at all. .. but I would perhaps put a sign up about not handling them too roughly... if someone were to squeeze a hen a bit too hard where the egg is formed, then the egg may crack & cause infection inside the hen. Not a highly likely scenario, but worth warning about at a primary school, I think.

To discourage 'extras' being put in the pen, you could get the children to make up a poster that explains that giving extras to them is the equivalent of the children filling up on their favourite food, and missing out on a mix of different types of nutrients. For example, if they were fed lots of lettuce & filled up on that, they'd have no room for meat, other vegetables, fruit, carbohydrates or dairy. Get them to explain that the quail's complete feed has the right combination all the things they need, so any extras are a 'treat' & should only be given by one allocated person... that way that one person can keep track of how much they're getting as 'treats' & be sure that they stay as healthy as possible.

A sign saying to look out for eggs on the ground before going in would be good, too.

:thumbs:

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"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid." - Mark Twain


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:00 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Just to put everyones mind at rest about the quail being in a primary school with little kids pestering them etc. - they are are at a high school and are looked after by year 9 students ;)

Thanks
Jayden


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Phoenix
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Sorry jayden... I did THINK of going back & checking your posts re: whether it was a high school... that'll teach me (pun intended). :hiding

I'm crossing fingers for you that the few changes will see an improvement in egg numbers.... I'd give it two weeks & if no eggs are laid, either;

1. Wait until Spring & the naturally increasing daylight hours
2. Put artificial lighting in to increase daylight hours before Spring
3. Give them a one-off boost of protein in the form of tinned tuna in oil... between the four of them a couple of tablespoons will be PLENTY... & then give them another week to see if any eggs appear


One more thought... do the hens feel sort of round & 'full'? Or can you feel their breastbones? Hens should feel rather 'plump' in Jap quail once they're fully mature (over about 12 weeks - ish.... prior to that they may still very light compared to fully mature birds). If you can feel breastbones and/or they don't feel sort of 'plump' then there is a chance they may have coccidiosis and/or worms... I don't get either of those things affecting my Japanese quail to the point that they're not laying, but reading tells me that they're just as affected by those things as chooks are.

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"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid." - Mark Twain


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:33 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Ok, thanks for all your help!

They have this weird thing they do, sometimes the stretch out and we feel them and then others theyre are plump. They have been wormed, too. I did this as soon as I got them.

Ill see how I go,. Thanks for your help!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:51 pm 
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Phoenix
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jayden wrote:
Ok, thanks for all your help!

They have this weird thing they do, sometimes the stretch out and we feel them and then others theyre are plump. They have been wormed, too. I did this as soon as I got them.

Ill see how I go,. Thanks for your help!


Aim for 'plump'. :thumbs:

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"Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid." - Mark Twain


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:45 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Hi guys,

Thanks so much for all your help to get my jap quails laying, they are laying like crazy now!

Anyway, I took 12 eggs and popped them in the bator. They are due in between mon-fri. They where put in over 5 days.. Some Monday, some Tuesday, etc..

Anyway, one hatched and was running around the incubator, I let it go and it was in there for 12 hours. I moved her out but noticed as I did that she has pecked an egg open. I know she pecked it as the chick isn't moving, peeping, or rock and rolling,.

I looked that the egg and there Definatly is a chick in there but it's not ready and I'm really worrying!

What do I do? It is back in the incubator now. It is open right through the membrane. Please help!

Thanks alot guys!

Jayden


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