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Larger eggs have lower hatch rate?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by cookiesdaddy, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. cookiesdaddy

    cookiesdaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2007
    California Bay Area
    Don't know if you've experienced the same thing. I started raising quail last Summer with a good pharaoh stock from JMF. They were doing great and I've had fairly successful hatch rate with their offspring. I set only eggs that are 14 to 15 g. Recently I got greedy and wanted to breed for larger birds, putting the largest hens with a huge roo in a cage. The last 2 batches I set eggs that were mostly 16g, a few 17g. I noticed a much lower hatch rate. Many of them died in shell because they could not get out. The last batch yielded 10 chicks, and I had to "help" 9 of them. They all seem healthy now.

    So I'm wondering if the egg size made the difference. Maybe bigger chicks just have a harder time in the cramp space and more difficult to pip out? The only other factor I could think of is the last 2 batches were winter hatching, whereas all of my previous hatches were in the warmer Summer and Fall months. We live in California so it doesn't get too cold, and I pick up the eggs every evening before they get too cold.

    Any insight?

    Maybe I should just be happy with the general stock from JMF and not worry too much about breeding for larger birds. Read somewhere that bigger birds tend to have more health issues. True in your experience?
  2. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2013
    Tempe, AZ
    I hate to ask the obvious but are you making sure the larger eggs you set aren't double yolkers? Those almost never hatch because the chicks can't get into the proper position to pip and drown in the egg. I have noticed that larger eggs take longer to hatch than smaller ones, but not any that needed help getting out of the egg.
  3. cookiesdaddy

    cookiesdaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2007
    California Bay Area
    That's a good question, and no they are not double yokers. I did the autopsy afterward and found single dead chicks inside.

    Incidentally among these large eggs I commonly see them start pipping out middle or smaller end, not the larger end, which probably means the head got stuck in the middle and can't pop out. That's why I had to help.
  4. quailmann

    quailmann Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 8, 2014
    I have a friend who used to breed jumbos. She said once that she had only 65% hatch rate on larger eggs some of her hens reached 600+g

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