Hatching coturnix quail with a 5% success rate. What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by papagoose, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. papagoose

    papagoose Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 13, 2008
    Milaca, MN
    Hello All,

    My DW is on here and I have been reading topics for a while and getting really good info for my geese. I wanted to start raising coturnix quail for the eggs and decided to expand my breeding stock by hatching some of the eggs my adults have laid.

    On my first try, I had 45 eggs in the bator and got a whopping 7 to hatch. This time I put 22 eggs in the bator and got 1 to hatch. There was 1 that pipped but died in the shell. Right now the bator is going with 20 duds in it on day 19. I am going to shut it down tomorrow if I don't get a miracle hatching.

    I am using a hovabator genesis 1588 with an egg turner. I have put water in the bottom as you would with chicken eggs but I am doing something wrong because I should have a better hatch rate than 5%! Does anyone have any ideas?
  2. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Quail eggs seem to do better at slightly lower temps and slightly higher humidity than chicken eggs in my experience. However many people hatch them the same as chickens eggs and still get very high hatching rates so there must be something else causing problems. What numbers are you keeping your incubator at and when do you stop turning them? Also what day they are hatching on will help determine whether your temps might be too high or low.
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    What temps and humidity are you running the bator? How many times a day are you turning them and how are you turning them? What model incubator are you using?

    These seems to be extremely strong eggs. I got a shipment from Alaska of mixed eggs and every single quail egg hatched but the 2 we knew might be infertile.
  4. CindyS

    CindyS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2008
    Geneseo, Illinois
    Coturnix quail are very easy to hatch so there must be a major problem somewhere. how old are the eggs at the start of incubation? Are the eggs being damaged by the quail before you gather, such as small cracks or indentations which can be hard to see but will ruin the egg. If the quail are developing then dying, it would be a temp issue but should not be a problem with the genesis incubator.
  5. twigg

    twigg Cooped up

    Mar 2, 2008
    Quote:Quail eggs require 99.5 - 100F and 60% humidity for the first 14 days. Get the humidity up to at least 75% for the last 4 days when turning is ceased. Bobwhites, btw, can take up to 24 days.

    However, you should get better than 5% if you added NO water as long as the temperature was correct.

    So .....

    First thing is to check if all the eggs are fertile. This isn't easy as they are hard to candle, but you might open some of the duds to see if any development has happened. If they are mostly clear, you have your answer.

    If they are fertile, but haven't developed much ... blood rings etc. then suspect your thermometer. If they have reached nearly full size but failed to hatch, suspect weak stock, infection or temp and humidity problems.

    The key here is to check viability. So, set fertile eggs, be scrupulous about hygiene and make sure you have accurate thermometers and humidity gauges.

    There are only a few reasons that eggs fail to hatch ..... fertility, hygiene, temperature and humidity and good parent stock.

    Be methodical and rule things out one by one
  6. papagoose

    papagoose Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 13, 2008
    Milaca, MN
    The first hatch I used a still air incubator and tried to have the temp set at 101.5 but it fluctuated so much I thought that was the problem with the low hatch rate. The humidity was about 40-50% and I rolled the eggs gently daily.

    The second hatch I used DW's top of the line Genesis 1588.
    The temp is set automatically at 99.5 and I didn't check the humidity. I made sure there was always water in the channels of the insert. The first time we used this incubator we checked humidity and it ran at 40-50%. DW always used it to hatch her chicken eggs and has had really good hatch rates. The eggs were turned from day 1 until day 15/16 with the autoturner.

    I've had better hatch rates with my home made bator on my geese!
  7. twigg

    twigg Cooped up

    Mar 2, 2008
    Quote:You might want to avoid still-air incubators, esp. for hand-turning. They are difficult enough to set up correctly, without the problems associated with opening them 5 times a day for turning. Others may vary with their views on this [​IMG]

    The Genesis is an ok incubator. It is not an accident that it costs about 1/3rd the price of Brinsea or R-Com. That said, many hobbyists get extremely good results with them, but they are picky about environmental conditions. The room temp MUST be stable, in the 70 to 80F range .... ish. If it isn't, the inside will vary quite a bit.

    Quail do need more humidity that 40 - 50%, but that wouldn't explain all your issues.

    As I said before .... check that you are starting with good eggs. That is critical. Also, make sure they are the species you think they are. I know that is basic, but quail incubation varies between 18 and 24 days, depending on type.

    The temperature can be measured anywhere in the case with a fan-assisted incubator, but go for the middle, and shoot for 99.5 to 100F.

    Calibrate your thermometer first, they can be quite inaccurate.

    Take it from there.
  8. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    I have used both an LG still air (with and without a turner) and a Hovabator forced air with a turner, all with very good results. I keep the still air around 100F and 50% humidity, bumping to 75% humidity after day 14. I keep the forced air at 99.5F and 50% humidity, then bump it to 75%. They are usually pretty tough little boogers, so I'm surprised to hear you're having trouble. [​IMG]
    - Sanitize the incubator thoroughly, and don't set really dirty eggs
    - Keep the incubator in a stable room, no direct sunlight or drafts
    - Double check your temps and humidity
    - Make sure your eggs are fertile (feed for the breeders is key)
    - don't be afraid to open the incubator and let in some fresh air now and again. Turn the eggs 3-5 times a day if you're not using a turner.
  9. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    I would first suspect the fertility of the eggs. It sounds like youre doing everything you should be doing.
  10. papagoose

    papagoose Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 13, 2008
    Milaca, MN
    Hello again,
    My DW, Lilshadow, checked the eggs in question today to see which ones were fertile. There were 22 to start, 1 hatched (later died), 1 died after it pipped, and 3 died at some point during incubation. The other 17 were duds. I waited a total of 14 days from first egg lay to last egg lay and most came from the same male. I got about 7 eggs from a guy I gave some eggs to a few months back.

    I think the problem may be with diet, or I just flat out have a sterile male.

    I may order out for some eggs off eBay or try again after the first of the year with my own stock. What do you all think?

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