Hatching quail eggs under a broody HEN..

All4Eggz

Doorbell Dummies™🌵
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Our relatives do not have an incubator, so they asked if we could hatch their quail eggs for them.. under one of our hens.
We had a broody bantam cochin (but not very bantam sized...) and gave her almost 40 quail eggs. Throughout the "natural incubation" process, she broke at least 10 eggs, which is understandable, since they are quite fragile.

Later, hatching day has come. Out of around 30 fertile eggs, we got 3 quail chicks. She killed at least 8 live babies, and some were squished while in the egg or while in the process of hatching.

She was a GREAT mother for our chicks, the most reliable broody (out of our 40 hen flock), in fact.

If we were to do this again, would anyone recommend how we could go about this in a smarter way?
Maybe use a broody sebright, instead of a cochin? \

Any comments, questions, and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I'll keep you updated.. for now, only 3 live chicks, and it is 2 days passed the hatching date.

One more question:
The quail are not really attracted to the mother hens calling... how could I teach them that she is in fact, their mother? Will they learn on their own?
When she calls them to eat food, they do not come.

Thanks again in advance for responding.
 

bhaugh

Songster
9 Years
Aug 6, 2013
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I wouldn't do it again. Quail eggs are so crumbly and fragile after they have been cooking for 2 weeks. Tell them to buy a second hand incubator and grow the chicks out themselves. I raise quail. They hatch in about 17 days.
 

All4Eggz

Doorbell Dummies™🌵
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I wouldn't do it again. Quail eggs are so crumbly and fragile after they have been cooking for 2 weeks. Tell them to buy a second hand incubator and grow the chicks out themselves. I raise quail. They hatch in about 17 days.
Thanks for your response.

They are not able to get an incubator at this time, but they would like to hatch quail yearly. We are their only hope.

Would it work better under a sebright (very small - less than half the size of the cochin) with about 10 eggs?
 

All4Eggz

Doorbell Dummies™🌵
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UPDATE:

Bad news. She killed all of them. They are much too fragile. :(:hit

Oh well:idunnoIt was worth a shot
 

yakitori

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i read quail chicks scatter, rather than run to the hen when spooked. That frustrates the hen. They are also apparently very susceptible to diseases chickens carry but are fairly immune to.
 
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FloorCandy

Crowing
Apr 15, 2020
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Quail and chickens have very different care methods. Next time, take the chicks away from the hen as soon as they hatch. Quail chicks climb further into the mothers feathers and the mother quail will even carry a few around in there as she goes about her business. I imagine having tiny quail climbing around in the feathers is probably an odd feeling for the hen and she probably pecked at them as they tried to climb around in there. Quail don’t pluck their stomachs, I think the layer of feathers between the quail hen and eggs offers some cushioning to the fragile quail eggs. In general the tiny quail chicks can not withstand being stepped on by the hen. I was looking at the chickens at an auction recently, and even the tiniest bantam breeds, that are not much bigger than a quail, have much larger and thicker feet and legs than quail do.
 

All4Eggz

Doorbell Dummies™🌵
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i read quail chicks scatter, rather than run to the hen when spooked. The frustrates the hen. They are also apparently very susceptible to diseases chickens carry but are fairly immune to.
Yes, I know they are very susceptible to diseases chickens carry. I was planning on letting the broody raise the quail (for 1.5-2 weeks, when they don't need anymore heat), then separate the quail in a little pen until they are full grown and healthy to be with the older quail.

Clearly that didnt work out. I'm dissapointed, but then again, I knew something similar could happen.
 

All4Eggz

Doorbell Dummies™🌵
Premium Feather Member
Apr 23, 2021
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Quail and chickens have very different care methods. Next time, take the chicks away from the hen as soon as they hatch. Quail chicks climb further into the mothers feathers and the mother quail will even carry a few around in there as she goes about her business. I imagine having tiny quail climbing around in the feathers is probably an odd feeling for the hen and she probably pecked at them as they tried to climb around in there. Quail don’t pluck their stomachs, I think the layer of feathers between the quail hen and eggs offers some cushioning to the fragile quail eggs. In general the tiny quail chicks can not withstand being stepped on by the hen. I was looking at the chickens at an auction recently, and even the tiniest bantam breeds, that are not much bigger than a quail, have much larger and thicker feet and legs than quail do.
Yeah I saw one of the quail was inside the mothers neck feathers (saddle?) and when we picked her up, the quail fell out.
 

All4Eggz

Doorbell Dummies™🌵
Premium Feather Member
Apr 23, 2021
5,946
24,689
811
Massachusetts
Quail and chickens have very different care methods. Next time, take the chicks away from the hen as soon as they hatch. Quail chicks climb further into the mothers feathers and the mother quail will even carry a few around in there as she goes about her business. I imagine having tiny quail climbing around in the feathers is probably an odd feeling for the hen and she probably pecked at them as they tried to climb around in there. Quail don’t pluck their stomachs, I think the layer of feathers between the quail hen and eggs offers some cushioning to the fragile quail eggs. In general the tiny quail chicks can not withstand being stepped on by the hen. I was looking at the chickens at an auction recently, and even the tiniest bantam breeds, that are not much bigger than a quail, have much larger and thicker feet and legs than quail do.
But I do not think she actually 'pecked' them and killed them that way, because they were found flat, so I realized, she must've squished them.
 

bhaugh

Songster
9 Years
Aug 6, 2013
676
439
231
Las Vegas, NV
Homemade incubators can be made for cheap. There are some pretty cool videos on you tube. Like a cooler with a bulb and socket. As long as they turn the eggs and monitor the temp with a thermometer and with a wet sponge and water, they are good to go.

Whatever breed of chicken, she would have to be about the size of a quail. A serama maybe?
 

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