Few questions about hatching Bob whites.

Discussion in 'Quail' started by wildwings, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. wildwings

    wildwings Out Of The Brooder

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    I didn't know if I should post this here or in the incubating and hatching forum let me know if I should switch. Any how here goes. Any how my father is the one with the bird farm and My wife, kids and I got 3 bob whites and raised them all summer. (We are Rookies !) All the sudden the quail started to lay eggs so after a week we thought what the heck and picked up about 28 eggs from the quail (couple were cracked to begin with) and started to incubate them. After about 10 days I candled them and about 16 were fertile. So now comes the questions at what point do I stop rotating the eggs ? Monday will be day 21. Next question is we will be gone most of the day they are suppose to hatch. Will that be an issue if we are not there to see them hatch. Then when they get to the brooder stage at what temp should I keep the brooder ? I am planning on using a lamp do you use a regular bulb or a heat lamp bulb and what watt.? Last question is during the winter we keep all of our birds in insulated building because we are in MN. At what age in weeks do you think they will be fine to go in the pen with the other quail. Thanks in advance !
     
  2. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Stop turning on day 20 or 21. Raise humidity up to around 70% and try not open the door again unless you have to. When the chicks hatch leave them in the incubator for 12-24 hours. If there are pipped eggs try not to open the incubator or you'll shrink wrap those chicks. It can take them 24 hours or more once they pip to exit the shell so don't help them. Hatching is Darwin's first test for them.

    After they hatch move them to a large plastic tote (the big rubbermaid ones) Cut about half the center of the lid out and cover the hole with wire. Use a 60-90 watt flood lamp and hang it over the wire hole (you can buy the fixture and light at home depot).

    You want the brooder to be 95* (put some thermal mass like a brick or square plastic bottle full of water directly under the lamp to help keep temp steady). Don't let the temp on the floor under the light be above 101/102*. Every week you can lower the temp by 5 degrees until the birds are 4 weeks of age or have all their adult feathers. After that they can be taken off the heat lamp and put outside.

    Fill their water font with marbles to the point if they walk over they can't get wet but they can reach water to drink between the marbles. Don't worry they'll work for their water a little but if you don't put enough marbles they can drown or get hypothermia. Put their water away from the heat lamp, they won't drink it if it's too hot. Never refill their water with cold water, try to fill it with room temp or above water, they can die of shock from the cold water.

    Sprinkle food around the floor of the entire brooder to promote them to start eating. Never let them go without food or water for more than an hour or so or it will affect their development.

    In winter they don't need heat as long as temps are above zero, but you will need to block out the draft all around the pen with plastic sheeting.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Stop turning your eggs at day 20. Generally Bobs can start hatching at day 23, although this is just an average day. On day 20, as DC has stated, get your humidity up to 65% or 70%. Use damp sponges in the incubator if you have to to get the humidity up. Place your eggs on some sort of nonskid material. That rubber shelf liner with the tiny holes makes a great surface for the chicks to hatch on. You don't want them slipping on plastic or any slick surface as they can develop splay leg.

    They can stay in the incubator after hatch up to about 30 hours, but no more. Unlike chickens, quail need to eat and drink a lot earlier. Have your brooder all ready before they are ready to be transferred from the incubator. Use a red or infra red bulb only. Bobs are highly excitable and white lighting is very excitable to them. It also does not allow for a normal sleep pattern and Bobs are known to kill each other if they are in the least bit cranky. Keep the heat source off to one side. Place a good thermometer directly beneath the lamp on the floor. Start them at 97 degrees. Bobs are slow to mature and need a bit more heat than other quail breeds.

    Keep the food and water on the other side of the brooder. Your brooder needs to have 1 square foot per bird. You will want cool spots along the edges and on the other side with the food. Babies cannot regulate their internal temps, so they need to have places to cool off and warm back up. Do not cover the lid of the brooder with anything but a screen or wire.

    Cover the bedding with paper towels. You will need to crush the feed for the first week or so with Bobs. They are too tiny to eat standard crumbles.Sprinkle the feed all around on the floor so they can find it. Use chick waterers or jelly jar lids with tiny stones for watering them. They are as small as bumblebees and can drown in standard waterers. You can use the standard waterers but you will need to put marbles in the base so they can't fall in.

    When transferring the chicks to the brooder, dip everybody's beak in the water so they know where it is at and get their first sip of water. Place them down in front of the water. Tap with your fingers at the feed so they know where it is as well. Quail are not very smart. In the wild, momma would show them all these things. You can remove the paper towels in a few days when you know they have found where the feed is stored. Dip the beaks a couple times that first day so they know where it is.

    Lower the temp by 5 degrees each week for 5 weeks. If at any time you have aggression in your brooder, lower the temp 3 degrees and then work it down from there. Give them things to do. Put some branches in the brooder, a low box with some crushed leaves, alfalfa leaves, chick starter and sprinkle it with some grit or sand. Just keep them amused. A small mirror is fun for them to see more Bobs on the other side. Bobs are known to kill each other in the brooder, so keep a close eye out. Never crowd them in, even as babies.

    You can sex them at 12 weeks of age. They are not mature enough to lay until they are 6+ months of age and are fully mature at 1 year old. They mate for life with one bird. The female picks her mate.

    Good luck with your Bobs!
     
  4. wildwings

    wildwings Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the help when I have a few more mins I will reply. :)
     
  5. wildwings

    wildwings Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok here is what I have going right now. I had all the quail eggs in the tray and was rotating them. Yesterday was day #20 so I looked in my house for the rubberize stuff twocrows was talking about I know I have some but could not find. However I had plastic screen so I cut that out to shape. So that should take care of the quail not slipping or breaking a leg in the bigger mesh. I don't have a way to check the humidity at the current time I will for next time thou. So I filled the water tray up and added a sponge loaded with warm water. I hope that gets it close. I know they are on lock down now but is there anything else I should have done for this part ?



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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Do you have a lid on top of this hatcher? It should be fairly enclosed. If it does have a window, you can judge humidity levels by how much the window steams up. It should be pretty wet and drippy.
     
  7. wildwings

    wildwings Out Of The Brooder

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    Yup the lid has the heating aliment in it I just took it off to move stuff and took 2 fast pictures. It does have 2 small windows on the lid.
     
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Ok good. You should see some steam on the window. I would get another sponge just like that one and keep two in there. Don't wring them out completely, but not dripping wet either. Somewhere in between. It is the surface area of water that adds to humidity, not necessarily the amount of water on a small sponge. I would think that two wet sponges would be enough for this area.

    Keep us posted! :)
     
  9. wildwings

    wildwings Out Of The Brooder

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    Just giving you guys a status report. We just got home and I really expected to see little quail running around. So far none have hatched BUT at least 4 have started the pecking thru the egg process. I don't know if I was suppose to do this but 1 of the sponges was dry so I lifted the back corner 1/2 inch grabbed the sponge and re wet with warm water and put it back in there. I will keep you guys informed.
     

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