Raising Quail Articles

Raising Quail, Incubation Tips Part 2 “Setting the Eggs”

Posted by admin | incubating quail eggs | Monday 30 July 2007 2:54 pm

Things to Keep in Mind before and during Incubating Quail Eggs.

Now that you have mastered the operation of your incubator and it is ready for your quail eggs. You first need to have your eggs ready to incubate. If you ordered your eggs and had them shipped to your door. The first thing you will need to do is open and check them, if there are any cracked or broken eggs just throw them away. The next step is to just let them sit for at least 8 hours at room temperature to give them a chance to settle.

If they are eggs from your flock and you had them in storage. You should let them sit until they reach room temperature (70 degrees to 75 degrees F). Once you have completed which ever procedure fits your situation, you will then be ready to set the eggs in the incubator.

If you are using an incubator without an automatic turner, you may want to take a pencil and put an “x” on one side and an “o” directly on the opposite side. After completing this, then lay the quail eggs in the incubator in their natural position. On their side, with the small end of the egg being tilted slightly down. Have the “x” side facing up, for turning purposes.

If you have an automatic turner you will not have to worry about this but if not, you will have to turn them manually. You will get a lot of varying opinions about how often to turn the eggs. Some will say twice a day, others will say every 4 hours and you will also hear 4 to 5 times per day. You will be the only one who can determine which best fits your situation. I personally prefer the 4 times a day.

This is where your pencil markings come in handy. You started with the “x” side up, so when you turn the egg, it will have the “o” side up. Just repeat this process on each turning.

You can start candling your eggs after about the 7th day. By doing this you will be able to check for embryo development. If you find eggs that are showing no development at this point, you may as well through them away.

Once you have reached about the midway point to hatch out and you have candled you eggs and have seen embryo development. You know that lives are starting to form in your eggs. Once the quail chicks start to form and become living animals, they are obviously going to start generating some of their own heat. You should have a thermometer placed directly on top of the eggs that you have been monitoring anyway. So at this point you should notice the temperature starting to rise in the incubator. This rise will mean that you will need to adjust the temperature on your incubator. You should have to adjust the temperature down on the incubator to maintain the proper incubation temperature.

Now we have come to the last 3 days before pip. Stop turning the eggs at this point and up the humidity to 80% (this is extremely important, it helps prevent the chicks from sticking to the shell). If you are using an automatic turner, remove the turner and candle the eggs. Get rid of cracked eggs and chicks that seem to have not formed properly in the shell. Make sure you have placed the lid on the incubator during this process as to not loose heat. Before placing the eggs back in the incubator, something should be place on the floor of the incubator, such as cheese cloth, shredded paper or even the material that is used in kitchen drawers or cabinets. This is done to help the chicks have secure footing after they hatch. As you know chicks come out of the shell very wet and you want to do anything you can to prevent them from slipping. The slipping could cause “straddle leg” this usually means culling of the chick.

If you are using a cabinet type incubator, you need to level and lock the egg trays to prevent turning or move the chicks to the hatching tray. Do this following the same procedures as mentioned when removing the automatic turner from the table top incubator.

Once they have hatched, they should be left in the incubator or hatchery for 24 hours or until dry. Moving them to the brooder while wet could cause them to get a chill. This could become a big problem.

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Copyright © Gary Ortlieb


  1. Comment by Kera — August 11, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

    Does any one know how to cure straddle leg?

  2. Comment by admin — May 23, 2010 @ 12:50 am

    There is no cure for straddle leg. The most common cause of this problem with quail chicks is, having to walk on a slippery surface.

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