You can’t do much better than coturnix quail for producing eggs on a small or urban homestead where space, noise and regulations might be a problem for you.
Space: You can have more than enough coturnix quail in a 2 foot by 4 foot cage to provide a family of 4 with enough fresh eggs for an entire year. See “The Numbers” below.
Noise: I have my quail in a shed that is about 20 feet from my house. I cannot hear them when I’m inside my house at all. When I’m outside I might hear them scratching here or there, but that’s because I’m listening. If you have coturnix quail in your garage, your neighbors would never know they were there unless you told them. Coturnix quail are very quiet birds.
Regulations: So your oppressive HOA doesn’t allow “livestock”. OK, how about pets? You have 10 pet birds that happen to lay eggs every day. And they are inside your garage, shed, etc. and not causing any noise or smell issues whatsoever. What’s the problem? They’re “pets”. Chickens running around in the back yard would be a different story.
Each coturnix quail hen lays “about” an egg per day, so you won’t get every single bird to lay an egg every day. I have found that about 80% of my quail will lay an egg each day on average.
Let’s crunch some numbers here. Say you have 10 hens. That’s 8 eggs per day on average, which is 2920 eggs per year, or 243 dozen eggs.
8 eggs per day X 365 days per year = 2920 eggs
2920 eggs / 12 = 243.3 dozen eggs
If 4 quail eggs equal one chicken egg, that’s the equivalent of about 60 dozen chicken eggs. Most families probably go through about a dozen eggs a week, so just 10 quail hens will provide more than enough eggs for the whole year – and they are the freshest eggs you can get.
Another thing to consider is that quail start laying eggs when they are about 6 to 8 weeks old. It takes chickens 5 or 6 MONTHS to start laying. You get 3 or 4 months of eggs being laid with quail over chickens. With the 10 coturnix quail hens, you would have almost a thousand eggs before a chicken laid one! Add up the feed cost for the chickens for those months and you can see why you just get more value from raising quail for eggs over chickens, especially if you are limited on space.