Steves tips for - 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 don't and have favourable results.
The next consideration in incubation is Temperature, for a still air machine you need to have the thermometer level with the top of the eggs and set the temperature at 38.5c - 39c (101.3f -102.2f), for a machine with a fan that circulates the air, it is a good idea to keep the thermometer level with the eggs and set at 38c (100.4f) Check these temperatures at least twice a day, but try not to be constantly adjusting the temperature once the eggs are in. Run the machine for several days beforehand.
Let the eggs get to room temperature (approx 20c) and stand for a few hours before placing them in the incubator.
Turn the eggs regularly, at least 3 times a day (morning, afternoon and late evening is best) if you have an automatic turning machine, remember to make sure it is working! You should not turn the eggs after day 15.
You can check the fertility after 6 days, using a candling lamp the Embrio should be red and clearly visible, if you are not sure leave the eggs in the machine you can test again later, by day 14 light will not pass through if the eggs 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.
If you have had the correct temperature, the eggs should pip late on day 16 and hatch on day 17.
From day 15 it is important not to open the incubator, (no matter how tempting it is) until the eggs have hatched and the baby chicks have dried out and are fluffy. This is because they need the humidity generated by themselves to aid hatching, once you have opened the lid they will run, so depending on your incubator it can be a good idea, (when they are all ready to take out) 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.
Always make sure you clean the machine thoroughly after each hatch.
Copyright by Stephen Bonnett 8th January 2005