Hatching coturnix quail eggs Successfully
The biggest mistake people make with hatching quail eggs is to add to much water to the machine, humidity is a big issue but I would strongly suggest adding no water at anytime during incubation. I certainly have favourable results by not over moisturising the incubator units.
The next consideration of incubation is temperature, for a still air machine you need to have the thermometer level with the top of the eggs set the temperature at 38.8c - 39c 102 fahrenheit, for a different type of machine with a fan that circulates the air or with coolers it is a good idea to keep the thermometer level with air at the top of eggs set at 37.8c 100 fahrenheit check these temperatures at least twice a day, but try not to be constantly adjusting the temperature once the eggs are inside, run the machine for several days beforehand to acheive a steady enviroment.
When you get the eggs let them get to room temperature (approx 20c) and stand for a few hours before introducing them to the incubator.
Turn the eggs regularly, at least 3 times a day (morning, afternoon and late evening is adequate) if you have an automatic turning machine, remember to make sure it is working! You should not turn the eggs after day 15 of their development
You can check the fertility after 6 days, using a candling lamp the embrio should be red and clearly visible through the shell if they are not fertile the color wil be a looking through the shells with a candle lamp will produce a clear light very pale light yellow, if you are not sure leave the eggs in the machine you can test again later, by day 14 light will not pass through at all with the eggs that are fertile, be careful not to overheat the eggs whilst testing them and remember if they are fertile it doesn't mean they will all make it out of the shell we expect a 60% hatch if you get more things have been good.
If you were the use of correct temperature with humidity constantly throughout the setting period the broke of the shell by the foetus the latter part of day 16 would happen with a 6 hour acclimatization before hatch out during the start of day 17
another 8 hours will suffice to get them strong in their new world, before brooding.
From day 15 it is important not to open the incubator, no matter how tempting it is until the eggs have fully hatched, as mentioned the baby chicks have dried out and are fluffy. This is a very important susceptable time the eggs need the humidity generated by themselves to assist hatching shell membrane flexability, once they have the ability to live stage established during point of initial broke of shell.
When they are all bouncing round with dry feathers you have the job of opening the lid or door they will run fast, on a hobby basis depending on your incubator it can be a good idea to stand it in a tray with 100mm sides the chicks can stay in the incubator for up to 12 hours after the first one is out of the shell due to their yolk sack containing enough nutrients for 30 hours from initial broken shell
Always make sure you clean the machine thoroughly after each hatch.
Copyright text by Bridgegroup UK 1st January 2014
One of our smaller incubators the capacity of it holds 600 eggs