When to candle/float test quail eggs? Also when is lockdown for coturnix eggs?


7 Years
Oct 10, 2012
I'm on day four of incubating my quail eggs. It's my first time EVERRRRR!
They're in a styrofoam incubator, forced air, temp ranges from 36 - 38 degrees (sometimes goes all the way down to 34 - 35 when I open the lid to turn the eggs). Humidity normally ranges from 40% to 45%.
I hand turn them three times a day, by just flipping them, because there's an X and I on each side.

Temperature and all that is steady, but I'm just wondering when should I candle or do the float test on them?
And if candling, any tips on how to do so? I know quail eggs are hard to candle because of the brown blobs.
But I'm more likely to do the float test though.

Another thing, I've marked on my little diary that day 14 is lockdown day, but according to some other person on the internet from a previous asked question by another person, lockdown is day 15. I'm really confused, and really don't want to screw this up.
First of all, good luck with the hatching! I am also hatching Coturnix Quail eggs for the first time. I'm on day 15, and I went into lockdown on day 14. I read through lots of websites and a few told me 13 days, I guess it can be between 13th-15th day. Just make sure when you go into lockdown you raise the humidity (you probably already know)
. The earliest they can hatch it 14 days and the latest is 19 days.
You can see when candling at about day 8, but this depends on some eggs. Mine for instance, I kept on candling them but the dark spots on the shell manipulated my vision, so I gave up candling them. Day 13 I candled them all and they had a huge dark lump inside.If you happen to see their head in the air sack, it means they may hatch in 24-48 hours

I've never done the float test, because when I heard about it, my eggs were already in lockdown.

This is all from what I've read on many sites! I like to research a fair bit, so if you have spare time just have a look!

Another tip when candling..
If they glow, they are infertile!

Hope I helped

Good luck on the hatch and I hope you get gorgeous little babies. Keep us updated
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Oh, thank you!
Problem is that I know for sure at least half or a quarter of the eggs are not fertile, since it wasn't until later on when my other hen started to lay fertile eggs (she finally gave in to the male), so now I know a dozen or more of my eggs are fertile from both my little hens. :]

So I might spend a few moments candling regular eggs instead of the ones with chicks inside.

Alright, so I'll place them on lock-down on day 14 then.
Ugh I'm just too excited, and I'll have to wait till the week after this week to have them on lock down, THEN hopefully see if they'll hatch!

I've already planned out the brooder and should start to set it up this weekend or next weekend.

But once again, thank you!
And good luck to you too on your coturnix hatching! You gotta take pictures of the little chickies and post them!

Glad I could help!
The time flies really fast, I got mine from the animal nursery I was working at nearly 3 weeks ago, and the days went so fast! Now I'm in lockdown and the last thing I remember was putting them in the incubator. Haha!
Thanks, I will post some pictures, if they happen to pop out.
Day 9 so far, temps still going steady, humidity the same. ^-^
Oh! I heard your eggs hatched (well two so far), how are they??

Soon to be in the brooder I believe?

For me, I'll have to do lockdown on Sunday afternoon, since I started incubating on Monday afternoon. So I'll get one more chance to turn the eggs and make sure the eggs have enough room to pip, before they officially go on humidity rise and leave the life of an egg.
Yes, 2 have hatched, A bright yellow noisy one and a quiet blacky/blue colour with yellow bits randomly placed.
I will post pictures soon, when they enter the brooder.
Their eggs were very close together, and I've heard quail syncronise hatching, so these 2 must of communicated. Because about 15 minutes after the first one hatched, the second one started pipping!
Soon after they pipped, they hatched, really fast, thank goodness I recorded it.
The third egg has a very slight crack in it, so hopefully it will hatch sooner or later.
They're so adorable, I want to eat them (not literally though!)

Hope you little eggies hatch on the preferred date, unlike mine...

Update: All my little eggies have hatched now, one deciding to hatch at 4:15 am! Ah they're adorable.
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Ugh, turning 30 small quail eggs three times a day with limited time before the tempt drops down is annoying. :l
But worth it.
Some feel a bit heavier than the others which in my own head I believe it means that the lighter ones are infertile... Heavier ones are hopefully developing.
Eh, but I guess I'm just anxious about the eggs and so excited!

Might candle one or two tomorrow, day 11, yay!
Though I've cracked 4 eggs so far (before I incubated), because I'm clumsy like that, hence why I'm nervous about candling.
Aw I hope you get some lil bubsies soon!
Maybe carry them in a old egg carton with paper towel in the little sockets, then place the eggs,
They can stand 15-30 mins away from the incubator, cause it's just like the mother getting off the eggs for food and a drink, although, Coturnix Quail never get broody! Haha.

Oh don't worry, I've cracked some of mine on purpose because I thought I killed them with a temp of 104 F! So I cracked one open and found a 9 day old baby inside. Actually made me quite sad. Then just a few days before hatching, the temp got to 110 F, and yet, they still survived and are here today.

Leg problems can occur in quail, I think it has to do with humidity dropping. You'd have to do more research.. But one of my little babies has a curled foot and splayed legs, and I think this was due to the humidity levels being low at some stages. Luckily it has a brace and a shoe and it's not running around stupidly..
Just thought I'd warn you, but I don't know much about it.

I have a weak little baby quail that was the late one that hatched, it's doesn't seem to want food, but it will drink when I hold it close to it's mouth, just fingers crossed that it makes it, and it's still tired from hatching. But then again, I have a jumpy one that wants attention 24/7, and love the rabbit water bottle. So funny :)

Good luck with candling, and you haven't got many more days to go before hatching!
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Oh, great idea!
I'll try that next time I incubate eggs - thanks!

Haha, the eggs were tasty when I ate them (they were un-incubated, but fertilized.), though I was saddened to find that I lost 4 potential chicks.

Leg problems is what I'm worried about -
When we start to build the brooder, we're probably going to put that non-slip mat on for the first few days (according to various websites, it's good for them to learn to walk), then move onto wood shavings. Apparently chicks will believe the wood shavings are food, and I really wouldn't want them to digest such things.

Also, I float tested the eggs today, 25 out of 34 are developing!

73% made it!
I believe the other 9 are probably either slow at developing, infertile or just not going to make it. Mainly I think that they're the infertile ones.
Even better is that the eggs that are laid from one hen are developing, and so are the ones laid by the other, which means better bloodlines! Though the father would be the same.
I'm so excited! To think in at least one week I'll hear the pitter patter of small tiny feet...
But the smell of poop will begin... (My breeder + egg supplier coturnix are kept outdoors, yet still smell) So we're still yet to decide where to put the brooder where it won't smell or be dangerous to the chicks. Pooey, most of my house is carpet.

I'm a little confused though, my older eggs (like my second egg I had received from my hen) is developing, yet my newer and fresher ones seem to have no signs of any chick. Weird.

Also, I heard about the quail that had a delayed hatch - I'm so sorry.
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