SO many fully developed quail chicks not hatching

Discussion in 'Quail' started by igotchickens, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. igotchickens

    igotchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    240
    6
    103
    Nov 2, 2010
    It seems like the larger the batch, the poorer the hatch rate.

    When I did smaller batches of quail, 3-4 dozen, I had pretty good hatch rates, ranging from 60-80%. I recently started buying larger batches (100+ eggs) so I could sell some of the babies off to pay for the feed. My hatch rate has dropped to under 40%. This time (3rd large batch) I had 41/109 hatch. I immediately carefully opened 6 of the remaining to see what was in there. 1 was just yolk. 5 were fully developed except had not absorbed their organs and they were dead. The temperature must not be the problem or else they wouldn't have developed to that point. My guess is the humidity. I never opened it during lockdown.

    How do I tell the difference between shrink-wrapped and drowned? When I opened the fat end of the egg where there's space between the shell and chick, the chick inside DID have a membrane covering it, but it didn't seem dry. When I peeled THAT back, it did seem slimy and wet, but I didn't have liquid dripping out either. Lockdown humidity was 55-65%, but when the chicks started hatching it went all the way up to 70%. Could that be the reason? What am I doing wrong? Thanks so much.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  2. Rachel96

    Rachel96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    4
    101
    Mar 12, 2012
    South Australia
    I'd be interested in knowing the answer too. I recently tried to hatch 7 quail eggs (I know, I know... but it was the first time I'd tried quail and the incubator is on lone from a friend and very tiny as my usual incubator can't take quail eggs).

    Only 2 hatched on their own. One pipped but didn't turn - it just continued pecking away at the one spot until it had it's head halfway out. Knowing that it was bad to help chicks hatch, I did anyway as it was cheeping quite loudly and struggling... it was much bigger than the other two! I'm amazed it fitted in the egg! I guess it was just too big to turn. It was properly formed and fluffed up quickly and is now perfectly healthy and bigger than the other two.

    One of the other eggs pipped but never hatched and two others rocked for a bit but didn't pip. One never did anything at all, so I assume it wasn't fertile. Almost a day after the other three hatched, I gently peeled back the one who had pipped, which had been cheeping but had stopped quite a while beforehand. It was small and hadn't absorbed the stuff in the shell and was dead. I assume the two that rocked were much the same.

    Any idea why these chicks would form properly but not hatch? I was quite disappointed with the hatch rate, especially as I had been promised something much higher, and the man I bought the eggs from hatched them regularly with a higher hatch rate. Could it have been my incubator?

    from Rachel.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    32,017
    4,693
    581
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Sounds like a humidity problem. If the humidity was not high enough, the embryos may have stuck to the inside shell, or dehydrated. Also improper ventilation can cause late death of embryo's. Most likely it was low humidity.

    I like the humidity at lock down to be closer to 70% for the last 3 days. I don't think yours drowned at your humidity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  4. jbobs

    jbobs Chillin' With My Peeps

    The hatch i did with my new home made bator last fall was the same - I had lots of birds dead in the shell and I know the humnidity was fine, personally i think it was a ventilation problem. Yours might be the same?
     
  5. igotchickens

    igotchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    240
    6
    103
    Nov 2, 2010
    I have forced air, how will i know if ventilation is the problem?
     
  6. igotchickens

    igotchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    240
    6
    103
    Nov 2, 2010
    They definitely weren't dry or stuck to the shell, just very wet and slimy. Also, the inner membrane was around the chick, but the outer membrane still attached to the shell.
     
  7. jbobs

    jbobs Chillin' With My Peeps

    My theory, at least with my incubator which also had forced air, was that there was not enough flow - keeping in mind that hot air rises and cool air sinks, I put holes in the top and the bottom thinking that the hot air will escape out the top and the negative pressure will pull fresh air in from the bottom. I think I just didn't have enough holes.
     
  8. mossypath

    mossypath Chillin' With My Peeps

    126
    6
    91
    Jan 14, 2012
    ohio
    It might not be you at all.
    Just a thought,,,
    You are buying eggs and hoping for good healthy birds.
    If your supplier has not kept up with the feed, age, or pairing of the birds you can come up with quitters.

    Are you marking and setting some of your own eggs?
     
  9. millebantam

    millebantam Chillin' With My Peeps

    698
    9
    141
    Nov 24, 2008
    Little Rhody
    The problem IS ventilation. Everyone, especially people new to hatching are so concerned with maintaining high humidity during lockdown, that they often leave too many vent plugs in, and therefor cut off the oxygen supply to the unhatched chicks. One poster answered his/her own question by stating that the higher number of eggs, the less success. That right there tells you that there are too many chicks competeing for limited oxygen. Pull out all the plugs, and don't worry about humidity dropping down to 55 or 60 during lockdown. Oxygen is way more important during those last 3 days than 70% humidity. Try it on your next hatch and thank me later.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. mossypath

    mossypath Chillin' With My Peeps

    126
    6
    91
    Jan 14, 2012
    ohio
    I know you have, but for others who are having problems with quitters make sure you clean and disinfect the incubator.

    Millebantam,, Thank you now[​IMG]
    I am setting more eggs then usual and will be sure to make more vents.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by