When you receive your celadon quail eggs from us in the mail, they will need some time to settle in and acclimate before you can place them in the incubator. Here is how we recommend you handle your shipped quail eggs to give them the best hatch rate possible.
Carefully remove the eggs from their packaging and place them pointy side down into an egg carton or quail egg tray. Allow the eggs to settle for a good 24 hours at room temperature. If it is hot where you live and upon unpackaging you realize that the eggs are warm to the touch, I would then recommend for you to place the eggs directly into the incubator and turn off the turners for at least 24-48 hours. If hand turning the eggs just leave them be for 24-48 hours. This can help in a situation where the eggs start to develop early from the heat and then stop developing from the 24 hours cool down while resting. To avoid this just go ahead and pop them into the incubator.
Quail hatching eggs will typically take between 15-18 days to hatch.
Your incubator should be at between 99 Degrees Fahrenheit and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit consistently. Temperatures that are too low can stunt the chicks’ growth, while temperatures that are too high can kill them.
As the chicks grow inside the eggs, the air temperature in the incubator may increase. For best results, check the temperature in your incubator daily. Digitally controlled incubators will automatically adjust the temperature for you. However, I still recommend additional hydrometers and thermometers in your incubator. THIS is what we use here on the Farmstead.
Your quail eggs will need to be rotated at least three times a day until about day 14. Incubators with automatic turners will make the job easy for you so you don’t have to worry about it. If you do not have an automatic turner in your incubator, you will need to do it yourself.
In my experience you live in a humid climate a ‘dry hatch’ works best for hatching quail eggs. This means that there is no additional humidity added to the incubator for the first fifteen days. For me a dry hatch is around 45% humidity with no added water.
If you live in a very dry location, you may want to consider adding humidity. If you do add humidity, you will want to keep the humidity around 40%-45% for the first fifteen days. You can do this by adding water to the channels in your incubator, adding a damp sponge to your incubator, or by purchasing a stand-alone humidity unit.
Increase the humidity to 60%-65% percent for the last three days of hatching, starting at days 14-15. If the humidity gets too high in the incubator, the chicks can drown in their eggs before they hatch. If it is too low, they may have trouble breaking through the membrane or the shell, therefore try to not go over 70% humidity.
When you add water to the incubator, especially for the last three days, use distilled water to avoid the growth of bacteria or pathogens in the incubator. Warm your water up until it feels warm, but not hot to the touch. This will prevent any dramatic shifts in temperature during the hatch. Try not to open the incubator any more than necessary to keep temperatures and humidity stable.
Lock down is the period of time from day fifteen until the chicks have hatched. It is especially important not to open the incubator during lockdown. If you do, the sudden shift in temperature and humidity could cause the membrane inside the egg to shrink wrap the chick, making it difficult if not impossible for it to hatch on its own.
When it is time to put your incubator on lockdown, you will need to remove the automatic egg turner assembly from the incubator. Open the incubator, and carefully lift out the entire egg turner assembly if possible. Gently remove the eggs and lay them on their sides in the incubator, one at a time. If you do not remove the egg turner, your chicks could get stuck and become injured or die.
Hatch day is exciting and a little nerve-wracking, even for the most experienced quail hatchers. Your baby quail will hatch any time from day 14 to day 20, although most will hatch between days 16 and 18.
You may hear tiny chirps coming from the unhatched eggs, this means they have likely pierced the inner membrane and you can watch to see when they will ‘pip,’ or poke a hole in the shell with their beak.
After the egg has pipped, you will see it begin to ‘zip’ – this is when the baby quail begins to create a crack all the way around the shell in preparation of hatching. Most eggs will go from pip to hatch in twenty four hours, although it sometimes can take a little longer without issue.
Once the baby quail have begun to hatch you can typically leave them in the incubator for 24 to 36 hours. However, if you open the incubator and other quail eggs have pipped but not fully hatched yet, they may become shrink-wrapped in their eggs and be unable to hatch without assistance.
Some incubators are able to withstand occasional opening without humidity and temperature issues, while other incubators may not. You will have to decide if you want to risk the unhatched eggs by removing the hatchlings, or risk the hatchlings by leaving them in the incubator longer than 30 hours. It may take a few hatches to find out which works best for you and your incubator.
Good Luck with your hatching adventure and don't forget to send us some pictures of your adorable quail!
- Masha at Mockingbird Homestead
Let us know in the comments section below, your experience with hatching quail chicks!