Help with hatching quail eggs

jae1July 12, 2008

Hello, If anyone could help me with my 1st time incubating California Valley quail eggs, I'd really appreciate it. I got the eggs from a friend whose dog caught the hen while she was on the nest. I've had them in an improvised incubator for 24 days, with some problems initially with temperature fluctuation of 2 degrees. I don't have a hygrometer, so I'm uncertain if I've been able to keep the humidity level high enough. Because of that, I expected that if the eggs hatched, it'd be a bit late. Last night, the eggs began making "jumping" movements and faint pecking sounds. That went on for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, then stopped. It's now approx. 13 hours later, and there's been no more sound or movement. A worker at a feed store here said it's okay for the chicks to start to hatch, then take a break of up to 12 hours. Is this common? When should I be concerned that there's a problem?

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Hi, If anyone's available to help with my previous post, I'd really, really appreciate it! I don't know if the quail chicks are okay, or if they're dying inside the shells because the shells are too hard to crack. If you have experience or knowledge in this area, will you please advise, asap? Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 7:09PM
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That doesn't sound to good. Valley Quail are ussually pretty east to hatch but not knowing the start date of incubation in addition to the temperature problems throws a loop into things.
I wouldn't worry to much about the humidity as Quail are a dry weather bird so it doesn't seem to make as much difference.
The temperature was a problem, but it's to late to worry now.
Yes it is common for chicks to take a while to hatch, leave them alone and leave the cover of the incubater down. If they can't do it alone, you are wasting your time trying to help them.
I think you may be in for a poor hatch, if any, but lets hope for the best. Give them a day or two.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 7:39PM
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Thanks for responding, cpp6318. You say humidity's not that crucial to hatching these birds? That's encouraging. But I'm very concerned because this is already the 24th full day of incubation. Someone at one of the feed stores said that if I could see the air space in the egg on candling it,it means that the chick hasn't yet broken through the internal membrane and into the air space, so it's not yet ready to hatch. Is that true? I can definitely still see the air spaces at the large ends of the eggs. But I've seen absolutely no movement, and heard no sounds from the eggs since last night. Could the chicks still be viable, and still resting? Thanks so much for answering. I was online and on the phone for hours today, trying to get some advice. It's not looking very promising, is it?
I really wish I knew more about incubating and hatching eggs!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 12:08AM
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JAE1, for future reference, there is a book called "A Guide to Better Hatching" by Janet Stromberg. I ordered it years ago from Stromberg's Hatchery, It covers the process of incubating and all of the different types of incubators as well as the times and troubleshooting for different types of chicks. I refer to it a lot.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 11:53AM
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Hi Bonnie,
Thanks for responding. Yes, I read the "Guide to Better Hatching" on the Stromberg website, and printed it out for reference. I've been following all the guidelines. But, I don't know my humidity level because I don't have a hygrometer or wet bulb thermometer. I'm afriad I may have lost this whole clutch of eggs. I think maybe the shells were too hard for the chicks to crack? It's now the 25th day of incubation, and I see and hear no signs of activity. Heartbreaking, especially to see signs that they were going to hatch, and hear them trying. Everybody advised me to leave them alone and not assit, but I'm wondering now if that was the right course to have taken. There were some specific instructions and detailed photos online on how to do an assisted hatch. Too sad! Wish I could have afforded a commercial incubator. Tried to borrow one, but the woman hadn't calibrated it in awhile and didn't know how to make it work. I couldn't find anyone who could take the eggs to incubate them. So sad! BTW, do you know if the info I was given re. the air space was correct--that if it was still visible inside the egg, it meant that the chick had not yet broken through the internal membrane into the air space, and wasn't yet ready to hatch? I'm just trying to learn what I can in case I'm every thrust into this situation again. I'd like it to turn out better. Thanks for responding. I'm grateful for any feedback you can give.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 3:19PM
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jae1, I have never heard that about the air space. I read quite a bit about it at /life20.html. They explained a lot about the air space that I never knew. Just FYI. I have "helped" an occational hatchling, and every time I have I wish I hadn't. There is unfortunately usually something wrong with a chick that can't get out of its shell and I've regretted helping most of the time. It is distressing to have heard them peeping and not get them to hatch. Good luck with future endeavors.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 7:03PM
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Hi, I've got a pair Californian quail in a large aviary. Three days ago, I noticed a few eggs (possibly 10-12)behind one of the purpose built nesting spot. two days ago i tried to remove another ground bird (partridge) from the aviary so that it don't fend the quails from laying and then hatching, and during my attempt to catch partridge, there was a bit of disturbance in the aviary. I haven't seen the hen/quail going in her nest for the past two days. have i disturbed/scared her or am i just being paranoid? i am reluctant from going inside the aviary, in case i further scare the bird. my question is: do Californian quails abandon their nests/eggs if they know that someone has seen their nest? Any information will be appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 2:05PM
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I'm not familiar with CA Quail, but most quail will not raise chicks in captivity. You can collect their eggs and incubate them yourself.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 10:47PM
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hi but does anyone know where i can buy some valley quail eggs??

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 7:15PM
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how long can you keep the eggs from the time they are laid until you incubate them and where should I keep them:

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 8:16PM
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I have been on quail therapy for sometime now and its very good for my health.
I want to start rearing of quail birds and its eggs hatching,can someone tell me the necessary thing i should know about quail and its egg and how i can start because i have no idea at all. Please help i'm waiting

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 1:59AM
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i need to know more quail rearing and its egg hatching. pls help

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 1:15PM
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treasurificgal(z8A CA)

Agreeing with oberhasli that chicks that are having difficulty hatching should not be helped. I know it is sad, but I have done it in the past with chickens and turkeys and have always regretted it. For the next time, invest in an incubator like the Hova incubator with fan and automatic egg turner. It also has special holders for quail eggs. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:07AM
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I tried hatching out quail eggs from an incubator several times mostly unsuccessfully. I did hear that humidity is important. Also I heard you should NOT touch the eggs with your hands or fingers. I had numerous chicks that couldn't make it out of the egg, and also numerous times I tried to help them out of the egg, and they were never healthy. I also had quit a number that hatched, but had deformed legs and couldn't walk right. It was very heartbreaking. I did have 2 occassions where the hen actually did hatch out a couple babies (out of many eggs) and they are the cutest things on earth. I call them bumblebees! Even the other quail in the pen would sit on them to keep them warm. I really enjoyed them. I don't have them anymore and do miss them.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:06AM
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treasurificgal(z8A CA)

We had some California quail that laid eggs and we found them and incubated them. When the chicks hatched and grew, we released them to the wild again. We often have California and Mountain quail come into our yard. They are so cool!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:32AM
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