An incubator or hatcher is essential for the successful hatching of fertile quail eggs artificially. It is essential that the temperature, humidity, light and ventilation are monitored regularly. In short, the success of artificial incubation and hatching methods depends on how close to the natural environment you can create in the absence of the mother quail.
The hatching quail eggs are gathered and placed in the incubator carefully. A quail egg with a hard shell is considered fertile. The date should be marked on the eggs with a non-toxic pen as they are placed in the incubator.
The incubation period of quail eggs is 23 to 28 days and varies depending on the species. The eggs should be placed in the incubator with the small end pointing downwards.
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The quail eggs should be candled and checked for fertility. After 7 days when a bright light is passed through the shell, the embryo is red in color and light does not pass through after 14 days. This indicates proper growth. Infertile eggs should be removed from the incubator.
Quail eggs should be turned at least 2 to 3 times a day to ensure that there is proper development and the embryo does not stick to the shell. Quail eggs should not be turned in the first 3 days of incubation and 3 days before the hatch date. If the incubator has an auto-turner you should ensure that it is functional.
An optimum temperature of 100oF should be maintained in the incubator. High or low temperatures tend to damage the eggs. The humidity in the incubator should be maintained at around 60%. The water troughs must be filled with distilled water.
The vents should be adjusted for proper ventilation and light. Some incubators have fans that can be adjusted to ensure proper ventilation and warmth for the hatching eggs.
After the eggs hatch, they should not be immediately removed from the incubator. Their feathers have to be dried and then they may be transferred to a hatcher or quail brooder nest box.