This is going to turn out badly, isn't it? [Egg hatching]

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Pandapop, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Pandapop

    Pandapop In the Brooder

    Aug 7, 2018
    First of all, let me start by apologizing for this really long post...

    I'm a first-time egg-anything hatcher. Never hatched an egg in my life, and never been around hatching eggs. I've only dealt with pre-hatched chicks that Tractor Supply sometimes sells in the late spring. So I've done some research (okay, a lot of research) and I still feel like I'm doing everything wrong. I feel like I'm getting mixed information all over.

    I ordered button quail eggs from two different breeders. The first breeder, the eggs took much longer to arrive to me than they were supposed to. That wasn't his fault though, the mail carrier isn't reliable at all (at least in my case). Ordered 20 eggs, got 5 (I think?) extra. One arrived cracked and spilled when I lifted it (good lord that smell), and two or three others had VERY tiny little holes/indents in the shell. I only tossed out the one that cracked.

    Second batch of quail eggs, again, I ordered 20 and he sent me 36. They came in a couple days later than the first order, but right when the seller shipped and expected them to arrive. So very well packaged, but the box had a huge dent in the bottom corner (thanks again to the carrier) so I figured the air sacs were jostled for sure.

    I followed the instructions to keep these eggs for 24 hours minimum undisturbed, pointed end upside down at room temperature (there is no cool area in our home, so unfortunately "room temperature" is at 76-80°F most days...).

    I made sure to have my incubator (still air) and hygrometer ordered and in my possession before I ordered my eggs. No problem there... until I realized, oh crap, I need an auto egg-turner, don't I? Might also be a smart idea to get an egg candler as well. So I ordered those... well, order didn't go through. Had to re-do that order. I'm still waiting for them to arrive, which SHOULD be tomorrow. If not, I'm going to raise hell. I paid extra for 2-3 day shipping and they're already two days late.

    So I've got my eggs in the incubator. First batch in, then the next day, second batch goes in.

    I'm having a VERY difficult time keeping the temperature at a steady 99.5-100°F. Originally I read somewhere that the eggs should be at 95.5, or maybe I misread it. First batch was in there for a solid 24 hours and then some at that temperature, before I fixed it. Temperature goes up and down from 97°F to 103°F. Since my stupid egg turner isn't in, I have to hand turn these eggs 3-4 times a day, and that takes time because I'm being careful. Temperature drops dramatically and slowly builds back up.

    Humidity won't reach the 55% I need it at, without going over. Hangs around 40-45% instead.

    Originally I wanted my incubator in our furnace room, it's the warmest room in the house. Humidity was WAY too high and I couldn't lower it in there. So I moved the bator into our living area (unfortunately I live with my mother; boyfriend and I live in the lower half of the house, which is a renovated basement more or less).

    Three days ago I tried the float test (probably way too early to do that, huh?) on the first batch of eggs and misread information, going by whether or not eggs are still good for eating and NOT whether they're fertilized and growing... stupid me. I kept the sinkers and tossed the floaters. They either sunk like a rock or bobbed like pingpong balls. A couple floated for several seconds, and then sunk (I kept those). Was it too early to tell? Are my sinkers duds? Did I end up tossing the good ones?

    I'm freaking out over here. I want things to go right, and everything seems to be going just the opposite.

    Any advice?
    KikisGirls and Pugsabi like this.
  2. Pugsabi

    Pugsabi Free Ranging

    Jun 5, 2018
    Arlington, Texas
    Deep breath. Okay, I'll try and help you a bit before some of the regulars wake up. Don't do anymore float tests. All a float test will tell you is that the air sac is big enough to flat the egg or not. There's no way of knowing if the ones you tossed were viable or not without cracking them open and double checking. Candling is the best way to go.
    A damp sponge can help raise humidity and clean stones, either in the water or along the bottom, can help retain heat and keep it from fluctuating as much.
    What day are you on? Quail eggs are hard to candle because of the spots but they have a shorter incubation time so it won't hurt to just leave any questionables in there, especially since it seems you you are doing a staggered hatch. If they smell bad or have cracks, chuck them out otherwise leave them in.
    I'll call in @KikisGirls because she's hatching quail right now too and she knows a lot more than I do.
  3. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Quail Hatch TBD

    I'm just waking up....I'm here!

    No more water testing.

    What incubator do you have?
    What day are you on?

    Do you have a bright flash light?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
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  4. Pandapop

    Pandapop In the Brooder

    Aug 7, 2018
    Thank you, both of you, for responding.

    I have the Hovabator 1602n. No fan, no turner as of yet (but hopefully will change today). I ordered the IncuTurn Automatic Egg Turner and Incu-Bright Cool Light Egg Candler. Everything has been ordered from the Incubator Warehouse (

    It'll be day 4 at roughly 5-6pm EST for the first batch, and day 3 at around 12:00pm for the second.

    I have a small LED flashlight, but couldn't get it to show much inside of the eggs. First batch of eggs were heavily speckled and dark, but the second were mostly clear of spots? So candling them might be a bit easier.


    It figures that once I make my panic post, the humidity and temperature are right where I want them... 56% humidity and 100.1°F. But this is before I go turn them in a few minutes...
    ChickNanny13, KikisGirls and Pugsabi like this.
  5. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Quail Hatch TBD

    Do you have calibrated humidity gauge and thermometer in the bator...ones that you bought separate from the bator itself?
    If not get them today.

    Day 3 or 4 you aren't going to see squat.
    I would actually lower the humidity to closer to 40 if I were you. Don't worry about trying to lower it right now just don't add more water until it lowers by itself.

    100F is perfect.

    Do not worry about the temp dropping for the minute or so that you are turning them.
    That quick drop is fine. Just be quick and CAREFUL.
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  6. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Quail Hatch TBD

    I can tell you that you will need to watch the bator good for a few hours after you add a turner...the tuner will probably raise the temperature a little.
  7. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Quail Hatch TBD

    I'm looking back through my pictures...I think by day 8 I for sure knew which ones were developing and which ones were not.
    Just leave all the eggs in for now.
    Don't worry about taking anymore out they will be fine even if they are not good.

    Day 8, see how this egg is glowing red?

    Compared to this one glowing green/blue...
    The first red egg is the good one...the second one is not even fertile.
    BUT you won't see this just will need to wait a few more days and get a bright flash light (at least 500 lumens) to see this.
  8. 007Sean

    007Sean Enabler

    Oct 25, 2015
    South Central Texas
    @KikisGirls has given you some very good advice.
    If incubating with still air bator, the temperature should be 102°F at the top of the eggs. Also, if I read correctly, your hatching button quail eggs? Button quail have a 16 day incubation period. Their so tiny, it's almost impossible to see anything when candling, especially only on day 3-4, wait until day 8 to candle.Then all you be able to tell is if they are developing or not...if clear not fertile, if dark, their developing.
    You will want your humidity at 40 -45% Rh during incubation. Raise the humidity to 60 -65%Rh on day 13 and stop turning.
    If you have further questions don't hesitate to ask, we're all here to help you to succeed. HTH Good Luck! :jumpy
  9. Pandapop

    Pandapop In the Brooder

    Aug 7, 2018
    My turner came in! I installed it, and I'll be nearby so hopefully I'll hear it work? Other than plugging it in, there's no other indication that it's running/working.

    My candler came in as well, and I figured I may as well candle the eggs before placing them into the trays. You said I shouldn't be able to see anything at this stage, which was mostly true. But there were at least 4 eggs with absolutely nothing in them, just like your glowing green-blue egg (second image), and two that 100% have membranes in them -- I saw the blood/nerves. The rest of them I could see the air sac. Most had a little dark blob that kind of moved around as I turned them, but no idea what that is. A few had REALLY small air sacs, so I'm assuming those are bad eggs.

    I didn't toss any out. I kept them all and I'll see what happens in a few more days...

    One egg did kind of "explode" though. This is the second time it's happened. I'm guessing they had cracks in them, and the heat + humidity pushed the insides out... looked like sap gathering on the outside of the shell, and smelled HORRIBLE.

    To answer the question about the gauge, yes I bought a new one. It displays temperature and humidity on a digital screen.

    I periodically check the gauge throughout the day and make any small changes if the temp gets too high or too low.
  10. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Quail Hatch TBD

    Great..I am glad your tuner made it in.
    I hope you don't have anymore exploders. :sick

    I don't think you should be seeing a blob of anything right now so keep an eye on those.
    That doesn't sound good.
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