quail eggs

How Many Eggs Do Quail Lay?

If you don’t have the space for chickens but want fresh eggs, quail are your next best bet. They make very little noise, especially if you don’t have any quail roosters, they’re small, easy to care for, and can be kept in something as simple as a rabbit hutch. But how many eggs do quail lay, and are they worth keeping for their eggs and meat? In this article, I’ll talk about my experiences with raising quail and the number of eggs you should generally expect to get from your quail.

How many eggs do quail lay?

Coturnix quail hens

Coturnix quail, also known as Japanese quail, are prized for their rapid growth, tender, dark meat, and prolific egg laying. This type of quail is hands-down the best quail for egg laying, maturing to egg-laying age in just 6 weeks. A Coturnix quail in its first year of life will lay approximately 300 eggs. During its second year of life, that number drops to about 180 eggs. Coturnix quail tend to be short-lived, relatively speaking. Where a chicken or duck can live 7-10 or more years, a Coturnix quail usually dies after 2-3 years. Many homesteaders circulate in younger quail every year and process their older quail for their meat after 18-24 months. Coturnix quail are easy to incubate. In 2 years, a Coturnix quail will lay around 480 eggs, which equates to around 160 chicken eggs.

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Bobwhite quail are a type of new-world quail from North America that is also commonly kept for its meat and eggs, but this variety of quail is less efficient at growing and laying eggs. While Japanese quail begin laying at 6 weeks old, Bobwhite quail take much longer to mature, beginning to lay at around 20 weeks of age, sometimes later. They also lay fewer eggs than Japanese quail, with only about 180 eggs in their first year of life and half as many in their second year. Bobwhites tend to be much flightier than Coturnix quail, are more prone to aggression, and are harder to keep.

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Other breeds of quail, like mearns quail, button quail, and mountain quail have been domesticated, but these are generally not kept for their eggs or meat but are instead prized for their appearance or kept by hobbyists just for the sake of keeping them. I personally have no experience with breeds of quail other than Bobwhite and Coturnix quail.

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Why have my quail stopped laying eggs?

Reduced daylight is the most common reason that your quail hens stop laying eggs. Like chickens, during the winter when the days are shorter, their bodies produce different hormones that cause them to stop laying eggs and instead rest. This can be corrected by providing a few extra hours of light from a lamp in your quail pen. You can also elect to allow your quail to rest during the winter if you like.

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Improper feed is another common reason that quail stop laying. If they don’t have enough protein, calcium, and other nutrients, their bodies won’t be able to effectively produce eggs. Quail should generally be fed a gamebird feed with at least 18% protein, but never more than 22%. Excess protein can cause egg-binding and other problems that may kill your quail.

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Dehydration, even only temporarily, can put a stop to quail egg production for days. Quail are small and their bodies process and excrete water quickly. If they go without water for even just a few hours, it can slow down their egg production. But don’t worry, once you provide them with a steady source of fresh water, they should pick back up again within a few days.

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Old age is another big reason that quail stop laying eggs. Usually, age won’t cause them to abruptly stop laying – you’ll see a slow decline in production with time. Once your quail is 2 years old, they are pretty much considered elderly and won’t be a regular producer of eggs anymore.

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Stress, caused by excessive handling, improper care, or predator pressure can also cause your quail to stop laying eggs. Quail need to feel safe and secure and like to have plenty of hidey spots to go and lay their eggs. Consider creating some spaces for them that will make them feel safe and secure.

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How many quail eggs equals one chicken egg?

Coturnix quail egg compared to a welsummer chicken egg

This is a big question I get: how many quail eggs equals one chicken egg? Above is a photograph of a quail egg compared to an egg laid by one of my welsummer hens. As you can see, the quail egg is around one-third the size of the chicken egg. The general rule of thumb is 3 quail eggs = 1 chicken egg. So if you expect to have 3 chicken eggs for breakfast every day, you’ll want to keep 6-8 quail hens.

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Thomas Nelson
Gardening Expert
Hi! I'm Thomas, one of the founders of The Garden Magazine. I come from a long line of gardeners who used the art of gardening as a way to live long, healthy lives. I'm here to share my knowledge of gardening with the world!
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