Another question! What does the hen do when eggs begin to hatch?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by crimsonmama, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. crimsonmama

    crimsonmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Does she leave the nest or remain sitting as they start to pip zip and hatch??Does she remove empty egg shells at some point?? When hatched does she continue to take them back to the nest or does she move around and they follow and sleep wherever she does? I've added another corner of hay as the box she is nesting is will be too high on the sides for chicks to get in and out of once hatched...

    Sorry for all the questions. Wasn't expecting my coturnix quail to sit on her eggs!
     
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I only have buttons, but as far as I know, most of it applies to coturnix as well:
    Usually they hatch in the evening or during the first part of the night - at least I assume so, as they are usually dry when I first see them and that is nearly always in the morning. Mommy might have stayed on the nest during the hatch even if it happened during the day - I don't know, but for all I know she stays there when it happens at night. Or leaves and finds her way back to the nest in the dark without me knowing - strictly speaking that could happen, I don't have surveillance on her. But I assume she stays put.
    Occasionally I've had late hatches that were not dry in the morning when the rest were ready to leave the nest. I've found those dead in the nests later when I went to remove shells, unhatched eggs and such. It seems the mother decides to leave the nest to care for the ones that are ready to start feeding even though she can probably hear the distress calls from the wet chick.
    I don't think she actually removes the shells, but most of them tend to be laying around the nest in the morning when the chicks have hatched. Maybe it's more like she's not gathering them under her anymore when they get displaced from her moving on the nest.
    She might return to the nest even after all chicks have left it for the first time, but it will be a random occurrence - she'll most likely just sit in the different corners of the cage or near food and water. Don't underestimate quail chicks though. I find it highly likely that they can at least get out of that nest box. Getting in might be stretching it, but you never know. Actually the nest box might pose a danger as a chick could get out of it before the rest are ready to leave, and be unable to get back in.
    Beware of corners they could get lost in - if they can't find their mother, they can go cold and die very quickly during the first few days.
     
  3. crimsonmama

    crimsonmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the advice! It's so tricky! Part of me wants to just take the eggs and do the hatching in an incubater! But I'm so proud of my quail going broody... She's called Molly...It wouldn't be fair unless she gives up on them first! I think once the hatch is done and she's caring for the chicks I'll just remove the nest box. Be safest!

    I'm guessing I should replace her food with chick crumb too ready for the chicks? Or still offer game bird feed that she currently has as well??

    It's nerve wrecking now wondering how well she will look after these chicks!! My incubated ones are doing well but I lost one today with pasty butt. I was at work so by time I found him not was too late. Have checked the other nine chicks and given their butts a little wet wipe just in case!
     
  4. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I basically feed the same feed to chicks and adults. It's already crumbled. Some pieces are too big for the chicks, but there is plenty they can eat. I do use a different dish for the chicks though - a very low one - but I don't add that before the chicks are actually there as the adults make a mess if I feed them in such a low dish. As long as you make sure to check on her every morning and evening and give the chick feed as soon as you see the chicks, it should be fine.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's so close to hatching time [​IMG]!!

    Hmm I think I would switch out her feed with game bird starter crumbles (or crumbled pellets). I am thinking that it would be more harmful for the chicks to be on lower protein with calcium in it (if she's on layer feed?) than the hen to be on a higher protein starter feed :)
     
  6. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I might take back the hatch during evening thing. It's 7:20 PM here, I just got home from work and I'm pretty sure I hear chicks. I haven't seen them yet, mom is still on the nest and I suspect she'll stay there till tomorrow morning. I think daddy hears them too, he was standing a few inches from the nest when I came home and that's unusual during incubation, but last time he was sitting next to her in the morning when the chicks had hatched. So either I just want it so much everything sounds like a chick, or they are actually there :p There are no visible egg shells around the nest yet though, so maybe they are actually still hatching and I was right to say the hatch during evening..
    Edit: They actually haven't hatched yet, so maybe I was just hearing things or they were peeping from within their eggs :(
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  7. crimsonmama

    crimsonmama Out Of The Brooder

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    How exciting ... Or should I say EGGciting lol.

    Maybe evening or night is good as the dark maybe keeps the chicks wanting to stay under mama and helps others catch up hatching?
    My first incubater egg started at 10pm and finished hatching near midnight. The second was very early hours like 5-6am and the rest followed early morning all except one who hatched late but sadly died of pasty butt yesterday.

    I've no clear idea when my nesting hens chicks will hatch! Could be tonight or any day over next few days!
     
  8. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hehe!! Good luck you guys [​IMG]
     
  9. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 chicks this morning ^^ All dry and fluffy and mom just took them with her from the nest - which means they crossed a roughly 1 inch high barrier, as seen on the picture. Daddy was there too, but he left when I opened the door to grab a pic. So they hatched somewhere between 7 PM last night and 8 AM this morning and already left the nest. I didn't see any pips last night but I could have missed them - didn't want to disturb too much. Hope your hatch goes as well as mine!
    [​IMG]
     
  10. rita2paul

    rita2paul Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i love your photos of the babies, she has done really well. are they friendly little quail. i have bobwhites and they are wild.
     

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