It is nice that you are interested in hatching quail eggs. Because the quail suffered from population decline in Europe for many decades after 1960.
The reason for this was the destruction of the habitat by intensifying agriculture with fertilizers and pesticides. But also an increased hunting pressure of the quail already brought some populations to extinction.
Therefore, I wish you a high hatching success with this guide!
Here’s what you need to hatch quail eggs:
- Fertilized quail eggs
- An still air incubator or a forced air incubator
- A candling lamp
- Print out the hatching plan for quail eggs
You only need an extra digital thermometer if you want to be on the safe side when checking the temperature and your incubator does not have a fan that swirls the air in the incubator. Because without air turbulence it is colder in the lower area than in the upper area of the machine.
A digital hygrometer if you want to measure relative humidity and your incubator does not have such a function.
The incubation parameters when hatching quail eggs
If you use a forced air incubator to hatch quail eggs, the temperature of the incubator should be set to about 99,5 °F.
If, on the other hand, you are using a still air incubator (no air turbulence), the temperature at the top of the egg should be around 100 °F. This is best measured with a digital thermometer.
If there are major temperature fluctuations during the breeding phase, this always has a negative effect on the breeding result.
The most efficient way is to insulate the incubator, for example with polystyrene sheets in a box.
Insulation protects against external influences such as drafts, direct sunlight, temperature fluctuations, etc.
However, regularly provide a fresh air supply to ensure CO2 and O2 exchange. For this purpose, open the insulation or the thermobox regularly for some time.
In addition, it is recommended to install a few vents in the thermobox.
This allows air exchange to take place better and you still benefit from the insulation.
Also note that Mother Nature does not always have a constant 99,5 °F available either! However, for quail eggs hatch the following applies :
If the temperature is too low, the incubation period will be prolonged, and if the temperature is too high, the embryo will be damaged.
Up to and including day 15, the relative humidity in the incubator should be 45-55 %.
From day 16, you should increase the relative humidity up to 90 % or slightly more.
Get fertilized quail eggs and check for fertilization
Find fertilized quail eggs; fertilized quail eggs, can be found at the poultry farmer or many farms, look around your area.
The best way to find out if the quail eggs are also fertilized is after day 8 of incubation by shining a candling lamp through the quail eggs.
To get a feel for when an egg is fertilized as a novice, you can give the fresh fertilized eggs a once over.
You will then see that the inside of the fresh quail eggs is very clear under the candling lamp.
In successfully fertilized quail eggs you can clearly see from day 8 that an embryo is developing. This can be recognized by the dark structure and the blood veins, which should be visible after the 8 day.
Do they not see anything after the 8 day candling?
What you should do then:
If you candle the quail eggs after 8 days, but you notice that there is nothing there in some eggs, then give these eggs another 2 days. Mark them!
If the presumably unfertilized eggs then after 2 more days in the incubator still do not develop an embryo, please dispose of them immediately! Because otherwise these quail eggs will start to go bad and bacteria or fungi will form.
Instructions to hatch quail eggs
Get quail eggs and mark them for turning
Have you found fertilized quail eggs and transported them or had them transported?
Then mark them with a pencil for future turning in the incubator.
It is best to make a circle or dot on one side. On the opposite one, make a cross.
Thus, you get a good overview during the incubation process whether the eggs are also turned correctly, if your incubator does this automatically.
But even if you will turn them by hand.
Storage of fertilized quail eggs
You can also store fertilized quail eggs for some time.
Fertilized quail eggs can be stored up to 3 weeks.
The temperature range for storage of quail eggs should be 50-68 °F.
However, for the best breeding results, do not use quail eggs stored for more than 1 week.
It is best to store the quail eggs on the top of the egg.
To turn the quail eggs during storage on the top from the egg from experience you do not need.
The longer you store the quail eggs unnecessarily, the lower the hatching success may be in the end.
Incubator – Preparation of the incubator
Bring your incubator to temperature 1-2 days before.
A temperature of 99,5 °F is recommended for quail eggs.
Is your incubator cleaned and disinfected? How best to clean your incubator, you will learn later in this article.
Put the quail eggs into the incubator
If you have transported or ordered and received the quail eggs, please let them rest on the tip for between 24 and 48 hours beforehand.
Thus, the hailstring inside the egg has enough time to straighten the contents inside the egg after all the shocks.
In addition, you should also give the quail egg time to acclimatize to the ambient temperature after probably cool transport.
Now put the fertilized and marked quail eggs into the incubator.
Make sure your incubator is securely set up.
Furthermore, the incubator should not be exposed to drafts or direct sunlight.
If the quail eggs are now in the incubator, the temperature of 99,5 °F and a humidity of approx. 50 % are given, then do not open the incubator for the first 2 days!
Because the first two days are at the same time the most critical!
Quail eggs incubation period
The turning of the quail eggs
Do not forget to mark the eggs!
Turn the quail eggs by 180 degrees 3-4 times a day until the 15th day of hatching.
From the 16th day the quail eggs must not be turned!
Do you turn the quail eggs by hand?
Then wait to turn until the 3rd day of brooding.
Because the quail eggs are most sensitive on the first two days! The incubator should therefore not be opened for the first two days!
Does your incubator have an automatic turning function?
Then you can also use them from day one!
During the incubation process – just be patient!
During the incubation process, keep an eye on the temperature and humidity in between.
It is best if there are not large fluctuations in the parameters.
From day 16
If you have an incubator with rolling and hatching trays, you must now place the quail eggs from the rolling tray down onto the hatching tray on day 16.
The hatching tray is the fine grate or grid where the chicks are then to hatch.
Some incubators, especially the smaller ones, do not have rolling and hatching trays. Instead, they consist of only one level. Here you do not need to do anything else.
The quail chicks hatch – after the quails hatch.
You can let the hatched quail stay in the incubator for up to 48 hours to recover and dry.
After that, you can put the chicks in a brooder box, which should be at least 15 inch high, so that no quail chicks escape.
After 2 weeks at the latest, the chicks should move to a larger enclosure.
Large rearing box (Amazon.com)
Brooder for quail chicks
Would you like to build a brooder box for quail chicks yourself? For this you do not need much!
You need a container with enough space.
For quail chicks I would recommend at least 1550 in² for a maximum of 25 quail chicks for the first 2 weeks.
For example, you can build something yourself out of wood, use a pet habitat cage or simply a large moving box.
You can line the bottom with kitchen paper or use pine shavings for chicken bedding, which are excellent for raising quail chicks.
As a heat source, use a heating plate for chicks.
The chicks then go to the heating plate on their own if necessary.
As feed for the quail chicks you can use the Manna Pro starter feed.
A drinking trough for the quail chicks to drink.
If you build a brooder box yourself, please make sure that there is sufficient ventilation.
Provide light in the brooder around the clock for the first 7-10 days, because the chicks need to find food. In the evening you can dim the light a little. If you turn off the light, then the chicks may panic.
Some quail chicks are not hatching? – What you can do – troubleshooting
Provided most of the quail already hatch:
Here, unfortunately, you only have the option of spraying the quail eggs that do not hatch with water and leave them in the incubator for another day longer.
High humidity is extremely important in the last days.
Whether you eventually help isolated chicks, which do not break the eggshell properly even after a long time, remains your decision!
Every now and then one is always late! Have a little patience with late hatchlings!
If some quails are not able to survive, then that is unfortunately the case!
However, if there are many eggs that do not hatch or many quail that die shortly thereafter, then the following may be a possibility:
- The parents were sick
- Brood temperature too low or too high
- Humidity too high in the first 15 days
- Humidity too low from day 16
- Poor storage before the start of brooding
- No acclimatization before the start of breeding
- Quail eggs not left to rest for at least 24 hours after transport
- Not turned often enough up to and including day 15
- Incubator not cleaned and disinfected
- Incubator opened too often and allowed to cool down
To clean the incubator, you can use a cloth moistened with warm water.
Afterwards, you should also disinfect the device once. This cleaning agent from PureGreen24 is suitable for this purpose.
Allow the incubator to flash off for some time until everything has dried.
Use hatching plan for quail eggs
A hatching plan can help keep track of things during the hatching process.
In conclusion, I would like to tell you that experience is essential when hatching quail eggs.
I hope I have been able to provide you with some assistance with this guide.
With that, I hope you have fun and enjoy hatching quail eggs!