Originally Posted by Heyruthie
OK, so if there's no old thread on the "A to Z" of collecting your own Coturnix Quail eggs to hatch them, then let me just double check:
-I can collect the eggs daily and put them straight into the incubator that day. But *can* I hold them for a day or so, so they go into the incubator in batches--like every 2-3 days instead of every day?
-Can anyone chime in on their favorite entry-level (budget) incubator? I still need to get one.
-Any other tips?
You can collect eggs and store them until you're ready to put them in the incubator. You can store them for up to 10 days, but 7 days is probably better. Do a search for proper storage of fertilized eggs. You want to keep them cool and humid, but you'll want to read what people who do it say.
Pretty much any incubator can work if you keep on top of temperature and humidity. The problem with asking that question is that most people have only used the incubator they have, so can't compare it to any others. There will be a few people who've used two different incubators, but probably not many who've used more than that. If you're at all handy, you can build your own from a styrofoam cooler, a thermostat, a fan (optional) and a lightbulb with holder. There are many DIY bators on the site and it's really not hard. In the end, unless you get a high end incubator that you can just set and forget, it's going to come down to you.
After you get your temperature nailed down, humidity is your biggest challenge. I think it's harder than temp, because there's very little debate on the right temp, but opinions vary greatly on humidity. I think the best approach to humidity is to weigh your eggs before they go into the incubator, weigh them again at 7, 10 and 14 days. My opinion is that you should target a 12% weight loss at day 14 and then go into lockdown. If you're on track for that at your weighings, great. If not, you'll have to adjust the humidity. I've found that keeping my humidity between 30% and 40% keeps my weight loss on target. If they haven't lost enough weight by day 14, run dry for a day, but be aware that you may get early birds on day 15. Tracking on day 7 and 10 should keep you on target for day 14, though.
Keep reading. You won't find much specifically geared towards quail exclusively, both because far more people raise chickens and other birds, and because it's all applicable to every bird species, except for incubation time. The link I gave you above doesn't mention quail at all, but it's all really valuable information.
Good luck with everything, read everything you can, and post when the answers you've found are clear as mud.