Coturnix not hatching - day 17-18


In the Brooder
May 7, 2015
Hey guys,

I read a lot of threads of people with eggs not hatching and what could be causing it. One thing stuck out that isn't clear to me. I thought Coturnix were supposed to take 16-18 days to hatch, but I've seen people say they leave their quail in the incubator for up to 24 days? Are they talking about Coturnix?

I bought 12 eggs off of Ebay and received 18 on Friday. I left them in the box until that Sunday night, April 19th. Could this have killed them all off? One egg seems like it has moved twice. I would align them straight and it would be at an angle and rolled a bit when I got back from work. It is very apparent that the others are not moving at all. I think I'm going to wait until tomorrow then do the dunk test. Currently I have my temp set at 99.5 and trying to keep humidity at 70% (though most of the time it's at 67%). I read this is the "lock down" period so I'm hesitant to do anything. Hovabator Genesis

Thanks guys,
Hello there and welcome to BYC!

As soon as you receive eggs through the mail, you should open the box and inspect them for cracks, funky eggs, etc...You NEED to get them resting, large end up for at least 24 hours before setting. If you left them in the box and they were not large end up, the air cells will not be in the right place for the chicks to hatch. They have to come out of the large end of the egg. The storage temp should be room temp or so during this 24 hours.

Lots of other reasons your eggs may not hatch...The incubator needs to be up and running for about 24 hours before setting. Never set eggs in a cold incubator. If the temp gauge on your unit was off or the humidity gauge as well, this could cause issues. I always put another temp and humidity gauge inside the incubator so I have two gauges going at all times so I know everything is dead on.

Hatch day is just an average day. It is not set in stone and chicks can take 4 days after this guestimated date to hatch. If your temp was a tad low, genetic reasons, etc...can have chicks hatching late.

I would let them go to day 19 and then give them a check.
I went ahead and ordered more eggs. I didn't notice if the others were resting fat side up or not. The guide I read just said stick them in the incubator at ~55% humidity at 101, then the last three days 99.5 degrees at 70% humidity.

How to bobwhites hatch their own eggs? -_- so many conditions
Is this a still air or forced air incubator? Force air, 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, Still air, 100.5 to 101.0 Do not change the temp at lock down. It remains the same all throughout the cycle.

You can't make birds go broody. Many quail have lost the ability to go broody in captivity. Bobs will still set for short periods of time, but rarely if ever do they stay on the eggs full term. Interestingly enough, both the male and the female share the incubation duties.

But on this note, an incubator is your friend when you keep quail. :)
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I did the float test on a few eggs and also candled them. I'm not seeing anything... most of the eggs I tested floated like they should if they're healthy. Some floated too low and some sank. I cracked open two and there were yolks in them, just like if I bought them from the store.
On the float test, you also need to watch for them to wiggle independently. Floating just means the air cell is big enough to float the egg. Let the water settle and watch for the egg to gently wiggle/jiggle/move on its own. That lets you know its alive.
Yeah I waited for that. I only tested 5/18 eggs and none of them jiggled. It's the 19th day today. Should I crack some more open?
Dunked all of them. They all floated correctly. I cracked open another and it looked like it was somewhere between day 7 through 9 on this chart:

The little grayish part that was developed was stuck to part of the shell, it wouldn't just "pour out" like the rest of the yolk after cracking the egg.

None of them were dancing. Tomorrow I think I'm going to start cracking open the rest.

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