Low Hatch Rate

rhmcdowell

In the Brooder
Nov 13, 2017
8
2
29
I'm fairly new to quail and have been raising them since October. I bought 6 young Coturnix quail (5 hens and 1 rooster). I've had 4 hatching so far with the first at about 30% and the last three at under 10%.

I'm using a forced air incubator from Farm Innovators. It's a Pro Series Incubator Model 4200. When I'm accumulating eggs I bring them into the house and immediately put them in an automatic egg turner pointy side down. After 7-10 days accumulation I float the eggs and cull any floaters and load the pre-heated and sanitized (99-100 deg F at egg height and 40-50% humidity) incubator. At 14 days I remove the eggs from the automatic turner, place them on the wire mesh and increase the humidity to about 70%.

My last three hatching's were all early (16 days) with few survivors after that. Autopsy of the unhatched eggs showed mostly (>70%) what seemed to be health embryos that just didn't hatch.

I've double checked temps and humidity reading with two digital temp/humidity monitors from Walmart and they read pretty consistently, varying only a couple degrees and maybe 4% humidity.

Anybody have any idea what I'm doing wrong?
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Sep 29, 2014
8,052
23,958
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New Zealand
It doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong. The only thing I want to check is that your vents are open so there's a good exchange of air going on before/as they hatch. My only other thought is that it's genetic - perhaps your adult group is too closely related, but then that generally just results in smaller offspring. But there could be some other genetic element going on, or lethal genes (silver x silver is lethal as is manchurian gold x manchurian gold).

Can you get your hands on some hatching eggs from somewhere else? It would just be interesting to incubate ones that aren't related to yours and see if the results are better, because you've got your incubator set up perfectly there.
 

DK newbie

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 20, 2015
1,786
1,084
251
Without knowing much about incubation - only what I've read on here - I would also suggest not float testing the eggs before incubation. As far as I know, the eggs have a natural protective layer on the outside of the shell, which helps prevent micro organisms from entering the egg. When you float them, the water might remove some of this layer and if you wipe them afterwards that might be even worse.
 

feedman77

Crowing
6 Years
Jun 10, 2013
2,933
2,469
281
I don't see anything wrong with what your doing.

I prefer to keep my humidity 20 to 30 percent during incubation. Then raise to 70 for hatch.

Why do you float test before you set them. I just candle at day 7 to 10 and toss clears. That' s a variable I don' do so unsure if it has an impact.

My eggs incubate vertical that' how I try to let them hatch. I seemed to have not as good of a hatch rate when I laid them down.

Your early hatches could be incubator running a degree or 2 high. Or a hot spot
 

007Sean

Face it, Embrace it, Ace it, Replace it
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Oct 25, 2015
33,343
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South Central Texas
@DK newbie is right! The eggs have what is commonly called "bloom" on them, it's a protective covering that prevents microbes from entering eggs pores. Don't wash or float the eggs.
Have you calibrated your hygrometer? Using the salt test is the easiest way to calibrate your hygrometer. If you don't know how there's plenty of sites that can explain how to preform the test...just Google it. I sometimes use the Accurate thermometer/hydrometer from Wally World. When I calibrated them, I found a 11% to 16% difference in accuracy. They should read 75% humidity after 8hrs in a sealed plastic zip lock bag. You can then adjust your humidity by knowing if it's reading high or low and allowing for the % difference. This could be partly the reason for low hatch rate, as your hygrometer isn't reading the "true" level of humidity. HTH
 

rhmcdowell

In the Brooder
Nov 13, 2017
8
2
29
I'll try next time not floating them. I'll also Google how to check my hygrometer. Thanks for the suggestions.
 

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