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Quail Babies!

Today is hatch day! We purchased some quail eggs from a local breeder (you can check them out at This also where we got our day old quail and pheasants. Let me walk you through the incubation process. We put 49 eggs into the incubator 18 days ago. Temp is set at 99.5 F (or on my incubator 37.5c just to make me feel stupid) humidity around 50%. It took a few days of messing with the water level at the bottom of the incubator to get that right, so I’m wondering if that was a contributing factor to my low hatch rate. My incubator has an automatic egg turner that turns them every two hours, which is super handy to have for the forgetful person such as myself, but if yours doesn’t have this feature, you can turn them by hand every 12 hours. On day 15, the turner gets taken out and the eggs are put on the floor of incubator, no more turning the last three days. The chicks are getting in position to break out of their shells. Crank the¬†humidity is as high as you can get it. I was around 90%, this helps soften the shell so they break out easier. Last night as I was getting ready for bed I thought I heard a peep, but it could have been my excitement of the next day. Then today, when I woke up, the was the first little chick, still wet was peering up at me with this dazed look. Yay! As the day progressed 21 more hatched. I’m not overly optimistic about the last bunch of eggs, no cracks yet. But, the breeder did give me a trade secrete, submerge the unpipped and overdue egg in 105F water and if it is alive it will want to bust out of there! Put the egg immediately back in the incubator and see if it starts rocking, then you know who you still need to wait on, and which eggs are bad. So I will be trying this tomorrow (day 19 1/2) Quails are the quickest incubation that I have ever hatched out at 18 days, but when you are waiting unsure if the temp is right, the humidity is right, the turner is working.. 18 days sure felt long. I am happy the wait is over and I can enjoy the new babies! They have to be kept at 95f this first week, and then decrease 5 degrees weekly after that. Keeping them warm enough is the trickiest part, plus they are not so bright and will drown themselves in 1/4 inch of water if given the chance. So they will be in the house for the next week or so. They don’t take up all that much space, and the kids like to watch them chase each other around. Our first hatch, was not a total loss, I wish we would have had more, but next time I’ll monitor the humidity better. I have learned a little and will be better prepared for the next time. I’m hoping that we will have our own quail eggs to hatch out in about 2 weeks. Coturnix quail start laying at 5 weeks, so we will be starting this adventure soon!

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