Coturnix fertility issues

Discussion in 'Quail' started by tumnus, May 7, 2017.

  1. tumnus

    tumnus Just Hatched

    16
    1
    19
    Jan 28, 2017
    Hi bird fam. My coturnix quail have been mating and laying quite prolifically. I have only four hens and sometimes get five eggs in a single day. I didn't even think that was possible! But here's the thing: I can't get anything to develop when I try incubating their eggs. The birds are 14 weeks old, have a very balanced diet with lots of protein, and we're getting about 14 and a half hours of light per day now. The setup for them is a little unusual I think. I have one enclosure with a rooster and three hens and a second enclosure with a rooster and a hen that seemed to pair bond. I didn't think they were supposed to do that, but the two of them were inseparable and stayed away from everyone else in the flock, so I just gave them their own space. They seem happy with the setup. It's so romantic.

    I questioned my incubation technique, which is 101-102 degrees in a still-air incubator with lower humidity. The first round of 12 eggs failed. Then I tried the same temperature with higher humidity. That round of 12 eggs failed as well. I have 12 in the incubator right now, dropped the temperature but kept the humidity higher and it would appear nothing is developing in this round of eggs either. So I don't think it's my incubation technique.

    Any thoughts? Are they just a little bit on the young side still?
     
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,158
    178
    136
    Apr 20, 2015
    They can lay an egg every 18 hours at their prime, so more eggs than hens can be explained. I would however expect at least some eggs to be fertile at 14 weeks, so just to be sure - there is absolutely no indication that your roos are hens, right? They are obvious roos in every single way?
    Even if you incubate at too high or low temp or humidity, you should be able to see some development in the eggs. They might never get to the point of actually hatching, but there should at least be some veins to tell you they were fertile. If there is not, and the roos are in fact roos, then I guess they are still a little young, though I think they should be able to lay fertile eggs at 14 weeks.

    With regards to the pair bonding, I think that's actually the way cots do it in the wild. In captivity the small living quarters/roos being bred to breed prolifically just tend to cause the roos to over breed the hen if it's done this way. I read a research document where they observed relations between quail kept in aviaries and they also found that sometimes a male-female bond formed between two birds. I think this is the one:
    http://evolution.data.unibe.ch/WelfarePdfs/Schmid_AABS1997.pdf
     
  3. tumnus

    tumnus Just Hatched

    16
    1
    19
    Jan 28, 2017
    To answer your question, we definitely have 4 hens and 2 roosters. The roosters are crowing, mounting, and have that telltale rusty colored chests, as opposed to the girls with their speckles. And I guess I'll just try to keep incubating their eggs and hopefully as summer gets going, their fertility improves.
     
  4. Dani xxx

    Dani xxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    225
    44
    66
    Oct 23, 2016
    Farnham common bucks uk
    Crack a few eggs open to see if they have the white bullseye on the yolk signalling that it is fertile if you look at the are my eggs fertile thread a bit further down jeag but a good pic of what to look for ! X :)
     
  5. tumnus

    tumnus Just Hatched

    16
    1
    19
    Jan 28, 2017
    One of the current 12 is turning into a bird. I feel like it's my special miracle baby. My Christ Bird.
     
  6. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

    952
    140
    151
    Jul 9, 2015
    Ontario, Canada

    LOL!! :D that's still a very low hatch rate - if it's not the males or the hens then mayhaps it's the incubator? Have you ever calibrated your thermometer or hatched anything else out of it?
     
  7. tumnus

    tumnus Just Hatched

    16
    1
    19
    Jan 28, 2017
    Yeah. I bought 14 eggs from off the internet and got 7 of them to hatch using this incubator. I did some naughty nonos though, like not letting the eggs sit for a day after receiving them. I have two thermometers in the incubator, one's digital and one's a standard mercury thermometer and they both tell the same story, give or take a degree. I'm using the 1602N thermal air hova-bator. So I don't think it's the incubator. I think the birds are still young and the roosters are bad at sex.
     
  8. paigespeeps

    paigespeeps Just Hatched

    15
    0
    14
    Apr 2, 2017
    Illinois
    Are you feeding them medicated feed? I heard that can cause sterility in the males.
     
  9. tumnus

    tumnus Just Hatched

    16
    1
    19
    Jan 28, 2017
    I feed them a non-medicated, organic feed.
     
  10. paigespeeps

    paigespeeps Just Hatched

    15
    0
    14
    Apr 2, 2017
    Illinois
    That's good. Guess it's still a mystery then!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by