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Day 18 for broody button quail, and no pips?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by AlyssaJane22, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. AlyssaJane22

    AlyssaJane22 Just Hatched

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    Feb 2, 2017
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    Hi, everyone,
    I'm brand new here, and also new to button quail. We came into a mated trio (one male, two females) that some fool was planning to "let go in the wild" here in northern Oregon. The three get along really well, and the two hens were getting broody and possessive with their eggs last month, so we decided to try letting them hatch some kids. The two hens started joint-incubating (taking turns or sometimes both at once) a clutch of about 8 eggs 18 days ago. I think there were only 5 eggs when they started sitting, but I'm not positive. No idea when the last three eggs came into play.

    Most everything I've read has said that 16 days is the standard for natural incubation, though it can take longer in an incubator. Has anyone had successful hatches of button quail chicks past the 16th day? How long should I let them keep sitting? At what point should I be certain that none of these little guys are going to hatch? So far, no pips, no audible peeps, and no visible egg rocking.

    Thanks!
     
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2015
    Counting the day after the hen first spent the night on the nest as day one, my last two natural button hatches have been on day 18. I've never had one before day 17. I could swear one of my first hatches was on day 21, but theoretically I could have just looked at the nest every time the hen was there on that occasion and she could have moved away afterwards. The hen behind the last two hatches lives in my living room so I KNOW if she spends the night on the nest and I then start counting the next day.
    If you find that they are doing a good job - covering the eggs well and not being away from the nest for long periods - then most likely they are, and I wouldn't worry to much. There could be fertility issues or other things, but there is nothing you can do about that now. Just let them do their job and be ready to make the cage more chick friendly if they hatch :)

    If nothing happens, I'd remove the eggs at day 23. I'd candle them just to make sure there is nothing in there before tossing them.
    Good luck and [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. AlyssaJane22

    AlyssaJane22 Just Hatched

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    Thank you! That makes me feel so much better.

    My current plan was to move the babies to the brooder once they hatch (and are dry and up and moving) as we were hoping to be more hands-on with these guys while they're still young--our grown-ups weren't handled much by the previous owner and aren't very tame. Have you ever done this? Are there any downsides that I might not be considering, like--will my hens be devastated when I take their babies?
     
  4. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never hand reared button chicks no, but from what I've read, if you want them to accept your touch past 4-6 weeks of age, you need to be willing to spend a couple of hours cuddling with each chick every day - and even then, only some of them will remain tame.
    I'd let the parents keep them if they are doing a good job. Feeding treats like little bugs might make both parents and chicks more calm around you, even though they most likely still won't let you touch them.
     
  5. AlyssaJane22

    AlyssaJane22 Just Hatched

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    UPDATE: WE'VE GOT BABIES.
    Last night I had a wildly vivid dream that the eggs had hatched. This morning (day 21!) I found an eggshell right outside the nest box, and a fuzzy little yellow head peaking out from under mom!
    One egg had been pushed out of the nest during the night (first time for that), and was almost completely cold--I warmed it up in my hands for a few minutes, and float-tested it to see if there was any movement--after about a minute of nothing, the egg started rocking back and forth a little. Then, the little guy actually pipped while he was still floating in the water (out the top side, thank goodness!) and is now back under mom. Fingers crossed, but he was doing a good deal of peeping, so we're optimistic that we got him in time.

    We did end up moving the nest box into the brooder, mom and all. Our other hen (Lucy) was behaving VERY badly--first, she pulled a still-hatching baby out of the nest (out from under mom) and started pecking him. We moved him to the brooder while we tried to figure out if it would disturb Ethel (momma) too much to move the whole nest--we didn't want her to abandon the rest of the clutch. Within minutes, Lucy (the naughty hen) had grabbed the first chick and flung it out of the nest as well. Moving the nest box went smoothly (really glad I made one that could be picked up and moved, now) and Ethel is still sitting patiently, though she seems a little befuddled by all the squirming going on down there.

    So far, we have three fully hatched and fuzzy under mom (including the poor kids who got flung by Lucy), one almost fully hatched, and two more pipped that I could see when momma stood all the way up for a minute. Thanks again DK newbie, for your advice and encouragement to wait it out. So glad we did. I can't wait until they're up and scooting around the brooder--will post pictures then.
     
  6. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yay! Congratulations! Hope mommy does a good job with them. Were there more than 8 eggs in the end? As the other hen was aggressive with the chicks, it sounds like she wasn't truly broody - maybe she was just on the nest to lay eggs. Or perhaps she just thought it was nice to lay on the warm eggs ^^
     
  7. AlyssaJane22

    AlyssaJane22 Just Hatched

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    I missed this reply the other day!
    We ended up having to pull the mom from the tank we had set up as a brooder--we didn't realize how much it would bother her to be able to hear her mate calling, but not be able to respond. She grew exceedingly agitated and started pecking at the babies. Then, we ended up having to actually move the whole grownups cage into another room, as once mom was removed, she wanted to be back with her babies and wouldn't stop calling to them. Fickle Ethel. It was making both her and the chicks miserable--they were peeping back at her incessantly, and kept running to the far (cold) side of the brooder which was closest to mom's cage. The other hen and their mate seemed to hate her calling to the babies, and ganged up on her until we moved their setup. Now, the three grownups are happy in the livingroom, and the three babies are happy in the guestroom (now referred to only as The Bird Room).

    Final egg count: 11
    7 eggs pipped. Of those 7, 3 hatched unassisted.
    One got shrink wrapped with a 90% completed zip, and I helped her out of the shell. She--Sunny--is fat and sassy and doing well. She likes palm snuggles (where I lightly curl my fingers up around her body in my palm), and is very jealous of her siblings getting palm snuggles when she isn't (she will try to squeeze in through the cracks in my fingers)

    One got just his butt stuck in the shell--no idea how. Plucked it off and he was fine.

    One pipped the wrong end, and I went for the assist with that one, too, as the exposed scrap of membrane was white and papery. The hatch was a success, but the little guy was not meant to make it, I'm afraid. He looked to have some fluid build up on the back of his head--can quail get hydrocephalus? because that's what it looked like--and he only lived for about 15 minutes before he seized and passed

    One pipped internally after it was abandoned by mom in the nest and had gone cold--I only found out it was still alive when a day later I decided to float test the leftover eggs one last time before getting rid of them. One wiggled, so I rigged up a very improvised incubator in a tupperware with damp paper towels in the brooder. I'm afraid this one got TOO humid--the next morning, there were no signs of life in the egg, and the entire membrane was filled almost to the point of bursting with fluid

    Of the four successful babies--3 unassisted and one assist--three made it though the first night. The other got himself stuck under an item I was SURE was too heavy for them to move--lesson learned.

    We were almost down to two for a minute, but it looks like our runty chick is catching up to the others in terms of growth and energy.

    Eggtopsy results of the non-pippers showed 1 partial embryo and three new eggs--I think this confirms your suspicion that our second hen Lucy was not truly broody, and was just cluttering up the nest with new eggs.

    We are so in love with these little buggers. They are truly the cutest living thing I've ever seen. Sorry for the long posts! I am very, very excited about all of this
     
  8. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Too bad you had to separat mom and babies. But you might be able to get tame babies that way :)
    Baby quail are good at finding ways to die. I have a tunnel in one of my cages - about 20 cm. long, made of willow branches. Last time the pair in that cage had chicks, I removed the tunnel, because I've seen chicks being attracted to dark objects and going cold because they don't realise this object isn't a parent. All 6 chicks lived. This time I left it there. There were 5 chicks. One was a runt and dies for other reasons, 4 were big, nice chicks. On day 2 or 3 I found one of the big ones dead in the tunnel.. It wasn't stuck - it was a simple matter of going to either end of the tunnel and locating the parents, sometimes they just don't get it.
     

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