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Help with giving baby button quail away - Page 2

post #11 of 16

I don't know exactly how long the eggs can be expected to survive if she is not sitting on them, but my guess would be 2-3 hours, maybe a little longer if it is relatively warm where they are. If they have been left alone longer than that at any point, I don't think they'll hatch, even if she is sitting on them now.

I can't say exactly what your hen will do, but mine would care for the chicks they already have, rather than continue laying on something that might not even be able to survive if it did hatch. Evolutionary speaking, I guess staying around the nest too long is bad - both because wet chicks, broken egg shells and possibly rotten eggs or dead chicks might smell and draw the attention of predators, and because the vicinity of the nest in the wild might not have enough food for the chicks that already hatched. So to avoid placing them at risk, it is best to leave the nest as soon as possible. Any chicks hatching late might do so due to being weak or slow to develop anyway, and even if they did hatch and prove to be as strong as the others, being a day or more behind the others would cause them to be much slower.

Anyway, last time I found a wet chick in the nest when the hen had left, it was still alive and I put it under a lamp to heat it. When it was fully dry and had had a little to drink, I put it back under the parents. No chicks died the next day, but the day after that, one chick died. As they were all wild colored, I can't tell for sure, but I am convinced it was the late hatcher that couldn't keep up.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Oh... well now she is sitting with the babies right next to the eggs. I wish I could incubate the remaining eggs, but I have no incubator and I don't know how old each one is (older ones don't turn anymore, newer eggs do turn them, humidity and temperature differences for older and newer eggs, etc.). I'll wait a week. And yes, southwest florida is pretty warm, 86 degrees now. Since buttons lay about an egg a day, wouldn't their chicks hatch as late as a week or two apart from first to last? I would think that after many years of domestication they wouldn't worry about predators much. I may be wrong though. Thanks for the replies. 

post #13 of 16

If they don't hatch in a day or two at the most 3 days I would remove them as chances are the chicks inside are not alive. The hen knows what's going on. You can try listening to the shell/egg to see if you hear peeps or try candling.

post #14 of 16

Again, I can't say for sure in your case - but my buttons don't lay eggs while they are incubating them. They lie till they have about 7-12 in the nest (sometimes there are 3 hens laying in the same nest, otherwise I think they would stop laying at 7-9 eggs). When they go broody, they stop laying. So I would think all of your eggs have been incubated for the same amount of time.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

I meant when the chicks hatch. I did float test them, they all were low floaters. They were mostly submerged with a bit of the egg above the water's surface (about the size of a peep pouch). I could candle them. I would be looking for a shadow and a peep pouch, right? Or is there something more specific to help tell if they're alive?

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Candling revealed that one egg was all yolky. Five possibly viable eggs. I put them where the quails like to sit.

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