Master thread on how to collect & incubate your own eggs?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Heyruthie, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. Heyruthie

    Heyruthie Out Of The Brooder

    39
    0
    34
    Nov 1, 2015
    Virginia, USA
    Hi, all! I'm sure there are threads on how to collect eggs from your own quail and to incubate them, but I can't find those threads that truly give me an A-Z overview. I am TOTALLY uneducated about how hatching works. For instance, I thought eggs started to develop from the minute they were laid, and that they had to stay warm the entire time. I know now that I am totally wrong, but I don't know what the correct procedure is (when to collect, how many days to wait, when to put them in an incubator, etc.) I saw a bunch of threads about incubator management (temps, humidity, etc.) but not about the whole process, starting with collecting the eggs. Someone please point me in the right direction. I do have males and females, so the eggs are fertilized :) I know that much has to happen, LOL!
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  2. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    503
    57
    136
    Aug 17, 2015
    Ohio
    If the eggs are shipped, give them 24 hours to sit. So that any air bubbles will settle and you will have a better hatch rate. For your own eggs, check for cracks. Also, do not wash your hatching eggs. Even if they are dirty. Do not put very dirty eggs in the incubator. If they are close to clean, put them right in. After about two weeks, candle your eggs to check for developing embryos. Get rid of any eggs that do not have embryos. Chuck them. They will be gross and no good. Keep candling every week to check on the developing embryos. The ones that die, chuck as well. If you keep the bad eggs in the incubator, they will "explode" and splatter your good eggs with a bacteria bomb, which will infect your good eggs and kill the living ones. The gestation period for the time into the incubator and hatch is 21 days. Never "help" a chick hatch. It is very sad to see some of them die at hatching. Believe me, I know. But you need to let nature take its course. Hope that helped. Any more specific questions on this, ask away!
     
  3. Em Ty

    Em Ty Chillin' With My Peeps

    258
    24
    98
    Oct 3, 2013
    St. Clements, ON
    If you've got coturnix quail, the incubation is 18 days, not 21, though some people get them as early as 15 days. Button quail are 16 days, I believe.

    Some breeders don't bother to candle and many people have found that candling can cause you to throw out viable eggs. With an 18 day incubation and a stronger shell than chickens, you run less risk of exploding eggs.

    Some breeders feel that, if you know you have a good, hardy line, it's OK to provide help at hatching. If you don't know the parent's hardiness, I'd avoid helping any hatch to ensure you are culling potential weaklings. If they're expensive eggs, you may decide otherwise.

    This is a really good thread:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/577310/a-guide-to-humidity-weighing-and-lockdown#post_7493364

    It doesn't specifically address quail, but otherwise I think it's the most comprehensive I've seen.
     
  4. Heyruthie

    Heyruthie Out Of The Brooder

    39
    0
    34
    Nov 1, 2015
    Virginia, USA
    OK, so if there's no old thread on the "A to Z" of collecting your own Coturnix Quail eggs to hatch them, then let me just double check:

    -I can collect the eggs daily and put them straight into the incubator that day. But *can* I hold them for a day or so, so they go into the incubator in batches--like every 2-3 days instead of every day?
    -Can anyone chime in on their favorite entry-level (budget) incubator? I still need to get one.
    -Any other tips?

    Thank you!
     
  5. Em Ty

    Em Ty Chillin' With My Peeps

    258
    24
    98
    Oct 3, 2013
    St. Clements, ON
    You can collect eggs and store them until you're ready to put them in the incubator. You can store them for up to 10 days, but 7 days is probably better. Do a search for proper storage of fertilized eggs. You want to keep them cool and humid, but you'll want to read what people who do it say.

    Pretty much any incubator can work if you keep on top of temperature and humidity. The problem with asking that question is that most people have only used the incubator they have, so can't compare it to any others. There will be a few people who've used two different incubators, but probably not many who've used more than that. If you're at all handy, you can build your own from a styrofoam cooler, a thermostat, a fan (optional) and a lightbulb with holder. There are many DIY bators on the site and it's really not hard. In the end, unless you get a high end incubator that you can just set and forget, it's going to come down to you.

    After you get your temperature nailed down, humidity is your biggest challenge. I think it's harder than temp, because there's very little debate on the right temp, but opinions vary greatly on humidity. I think the best approach to humidity is to weigh your eggs before they go into the incubator, weigh them again at 7, 10 and 14 days. My opinion is that you should target a 12% weight loss at day 14 and then go into lockdown. If you're on track for that at your weighings, great. If not, you'll have to adjust the humidity. I've found that keeping my humidity between 30% and 40% keeps my weight loss on target. If they haven't lost enough weight by day 14, run dry for a day, but be aware that you may get early birds on day 15. Tracking on day 7 and 10 should keep you on target for day 14, though.

    Keep reading. You won't find much specifically geared towards quail exclusively, both because far more people raise chickens and other birds, and because it's all applicable to every bird species, except for incubation time. The link I gave you above doesn't mention quail at all, but it's all really valuable information.

    Good luck with everything, read everything you can, and post when the answers you've found are clear as mud.
     
  6. Heyruthie

    Heyruthie Out Of The Brooder

    39
    0
    34
    Nov 1, 2015
    Virginia, USA
    Excellent. This info gives me what I need to get started, in terms of researching all the details. I'll get reading! Thank you for responding, and being so helpful.
     
  7. Em Ty

    Em Ty Chillin' With My Peeps

    258
    24
    98
    Oct 3, 2013
    St. Clements, ON
    No problem. I forgot to mention that I think the best incubator is a free one, with cheap running close behind. I try to buy anything I need used if possible; I've saved so much over the years doing that. So, if you can find a good deal, or if you can make one, that's the way to go. Buying one (that works) can save you quite a bit of time, though.
     
  8. Heyruthie

    Heyruthie Out Of The Brooder

    39
    0
    34
    Nov 1, 2015
    Virginia, USA
    You and I think alike! I always say, "Free is my favorite price!"
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by