Small air sacs? Large number of infertile...getting some nerves

enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
We are at day 10 with our first ever quail and I'm starting to get a little nervous about them. Firstly we started with 30, three ended up cracked (one was accident, one came that way and one cracked mysteriously in the incubator), we just candled them all tonight and a whopping 7 more appeared completely infertile. Two look like they gave up early (but they're in the incubator for a couple days just in case).

I also noticed when candling the air sacs were small, like quite quite small which really surprised me because I'm doing a dry hatch and the humidity has been around 20-30 generally I'd say. They look way smaller than my quail book says they should be at day 6 much less 10.

I'm not sure if this is all normal or if I'm doing something wrong, the eggs are from Myshire farm and they're in a magicfly incubator set at 37.6 celsius with separate thermometer reading in the 99'sF.

I'm definitely getting pre-hatch jitters and I'm surprised that I'm already down by almost half, only 18 chicks likely still alive of the 30 eggs. Is this normal?
 

Kiki

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First...cut the string if it's too long.
DO NOT pull on it at all.

Heat plates don't work well for quail do you have a regular old light bulb in a table lamp around?

I am thinking your humidity has been too high throughout which might be why they aren't hatching.

I open my incubator and take freshly hatched quail out while others are still matching all day long. It would not hurt to take the one quail out quickly.

It is going to complain whether it is in the incubator or in a warm brooder... Just because it's by itself so be prepared for complaining.


Make sure the waterer has rocks or something in it so the quail cannot get in the water and drown. Quail babies are dumb.

Make sure the floor of your brooder is flat with nothing the quail can get underneath or behind and get stuck.
 

enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
You guys are amazing, I'm so thankful for all the advice. We took that one out quickly and put it in the brooder, it calmed WAY down and has eaten quite a bit, I tried to put its beak in the water but I'm not sure I've seen it drink anything yet.

I had no idea how fun quail babies are, they act like puppies!

Five more have hatched (I've only actually seen one come out they do it so quickly!) I do have one though, I watched it zipping last night probably from around 2:15-2:45am and it looked like it was doing fine but this morning it's made almost no progress, lots of chicks are hatching around it but that one is losing some momentum it looks like. I can see the membrane on the zipped area is dried out but I don't know enough to know if it's in trouble or not. I'm hoping it's just resting and will be fine but how long before I should intervene?
 

007Sean

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We are at day 10 with our first ever quail and I'm starting to get a little nervous about them. Firstly we started with 30, three ended up cracked (one was accident, one came that way and one cracked mysteriously in the incubator), we just candled them all tonight and a whopping 7 more appeared completely infertile. Two look like they gave up early (but they're in the incubator for a couple days just in case).

I also noticed when candling the air sacs were small, like quite quite small which really surprised me because I'm doing a dry hatch and the humidity has been around 20-30 generally I'd say. They look way smaller than my quail book says they should be at day 6 much less 10.

I'm not sure if this is all normal or if I'm doing something wrong, the eggs are from Myshire farm and they're in a magicfly incubator set at 37.6 celsius with separate thermometer reading in the 99'sF.

I'm definitely getting pre-hatch jitters and I'm surprised that I'm already down by almost half, only 18 chicks likely still alive of the 30 eggs. Is this normal?
For shipped eggs, yes, about 50% is not unusual.
 

enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
That's encouraging, I didn't think so many would be infertile but I guess it makes sense, they can't know when they send them out.

So today is day 14 and I candled them all before moving them to the hatching shelf. I noticed most were extremely dark with very VERY small air sacs (basically looked like they did at day 10 when I checked last) and a few had lightened up considerably, were redder altogether and had vastly larger air sacs. These lighter ones were clearly moving and alive whereas the dark ones with small air sacs did not appear to move (but I did this very quickly to avoid them getting too cold so they may have, the others just moved obviously right away).

Are some of the chicks just way ahead of others or is there some reason a bunch still have extremely small air sacs and haven't seemed to progress since day 10? I did a dry hatch, humidity usually in high 20's. The Magicfly incubator has seemed to hold nice even temperature, 99.7 according to my thermometer most often.

I know I'm supposed to up the humidity tomorrow for any that may start pipping but I don't want to give the majority with tiny sacs no chance to make them any bigger...not sure what to do here. 🤷🏻‍♀️😩
 

Ebony Rose

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Personally, I'd not add humidity with a small air sac.
The chicks could also be so big that there's simply no room for a large air sac, it happens, and that scenario comes with a whole different set of things to consider.
If the ones that look normal to you hatch out and the ones with small air pockets don't... consider at that time putting a 'safety hole' in those eggs for breathing. Sooner rather than later, as the other chicks hatching will dramatically increase the humidity in the incubator, and you don't want drown chicks in the shell.
 

enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
Personally, I'd not add humidity with a small air sac.
The chicks could also be so big that there's simply no room for a large air sac, it happens, and that scenario comes with a whole different set of things to consider.
If the ones that look normal to you hatch out and the ones with small air pockets don't... consider at that time putting a 'safety hole' in those eggs for breathing. Sooner rather than later, as the other chicks hatching will dramatically increase the humidity in the incubator, and you don't want drown chicks in the shell.
I did notice that the bigger eggs were the ones that looked better, more active with bigger sacs. It was generally the smaller eggs that were just dark.
I wish I had read your comment first...My incubator is a disaster with humidity. I saw a video with a guy saying if humidity had been too low the chicks could get dried out and stuck to their shells so I added a little bit of water to the incubator, not enough to even cover half the floor...the humidity shot up to like 75% and there's no way to bring it down but to take the eggs out and dry out the bottom of the incubator with a towel. I'm so mad I did that (had to get the whole incubator back up to temp again) and unsure what the heck to do to try to keep any kind of control over the humidity for days 15-19. There's barely any water left in there and the humidity is still around 55%.

Since writing the above I have had my hubby very carefully drill a hole in the side of the incubator under the hatching tray that I can fit a straw through and that way add strawfuls of water if it's too dry or tightly rolled paper towel to wick out water (which is what I've been doing). Of course it can be covered with tape when not in use.

I've noticed that now my thermostat and thermometer are disagreeing drastically whereas they were in reasonable agreement before. My thermostat says 37.7C and my thermometer says 98.4F. It must be because now they are on the bottom shelf but I'm not sure which to believe, one says it's too hot and one says it's too cold 😖
 

NatJ

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That's encouraging, I didn't think so many would be infertile but I guess it makes sense, they can't know when they send them out.

They eggs might all be fertile when they send them out. Being mailed is hard on eggs, as they get bumped and bounced and jiggled around, so it's common for the hatch rate to be poor because of that.
 

enigmachick

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
72
62
81
Central Illinois
Wow I didn't realize! I guess it makes a lot of sense, poor things are bounced around so bad, I've wondered about shipping chicks and how they make it.

If I can see the dark ones have an air sac on the big end can I assume they did not have the air sac detach?
 

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