New to BYC and quail


5 Years
Apr 24, 2014
Hi folks. Have learned much from reading your posts and appreciate all the knowledge I gleaned. I just hatched my first quail eggs yesterday. I built an incubator from a Styrofoam cooler and with fan and used a modified water heater thermostat. I kept the temp at 100 and humidity at 60% for the first 13 days. (I figured out after the fact that I counted wrong) and then raised the humidity to 80%. There was a vent hole on the side and the top each about the size of a pencil.
Day 18 (the real one) I woke at 5:30am to one hatched, still partially wet A&M quail. Luckily, I had the day off and filmed a lot of the second chick hatching. Several were fully developed in the shell but didn't make it so I ruled out damaged in shipping and I assumed that I didn't have enough vent holes. Then when moving the chicks to the brooder I saw movement in one of the un-hatched eggs so I promptly made too many vent holes and then fought the temp and humidity armed with packaging tape.

Before I try again I thought I'd ask the forum if they can tell by watching the video what the issue might be. Maybe there is a tell-tell egg wobble that I don't know about. lol. I just want to give myself the best chance at a respectable hatch rate. I set 12. I tossed two at the premature lockdown and 2 hatched. The rest are still in there and was curious how long you would give them. You can see a couple in the video that are moving then which was over 24 hours ago and they are still not hatched.

Welcome to BYC! I'm not an expert, just hatching my first set of eggs yesterday myself. But I'll respond to join this adventure with you

From what I've been reading here and elsewhere, it seems your humidity is too high. There's a debate whether to keep the first 14 days dry (25%-30%) or humid (40%-50%), and the lock down at 60%-70% (I think most people agree on this). But your set of numbers (60% and 80%) seems much higher than the range I've seen recommended. One tiny vent hole could be a problem too, but I don't know enough to say anything about that. It's possible that you have what some people here call "drowning" with too much humidity, and the one small vent hole probably doesn't help ether.

In my situation I think I had the opposite problem. I had 14 eggs hatched out of 25 fertile eggs. But in the attempt to rescue those already hatched, I opened the incubator and allowed the environment to cool down and dry up too long I think. I had 4-5 more eggs pipping for hours but could not open, to the point they were weak and dying. So I thought to experiment anyway by "helping" them. I found out that they were too dry inside, probably from dehydration (too low humidity) and they just could not break loose from the shell. My speculation only.
Thank you much! Guess I am lucky to have gotten the two. Back to the drawing board.
Did much better the second time around! I set 15 eggs and had 9 hatch yesterday on day 17 which is a big improvement. Thanks for the guidance!

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