The incubation of quail eggs can be a tricky process. It is possible to be done by the bird or the use of a device to ensure more control over the process. If you are going into rearing quails for business or as a hobby, the incubation process will dictate your chances of success. Incubation ensures that the eggs develop fully into chicks in a specific type of environment. It essentially means putting the eggs in an environment that would ensure the eggs have proper temperature, humidity and aeration. This article will provide you with the go-to guide on how to incubate your eggs so that you get the best results
The beginning – The fresher, the better
Like the old question of whether the chicken comes before the egg, does the incubator come before the eggs? We propose that you purchase your incubator before the eggs. This is for one major reason - so that the eggs are fresh during the incubation period. It is possible for newly laid eggs to remain fresh for up to two weeks, however, if the incubation can begin earlier you should consider it
What to look for in an egg
Make sure the egg if fresh and healthy. If the egg is deformed, of abnormal size or has a weak shell or worse, a cracked shell, it probably will not incubate properly and hatch. Do not store the eggs in the fridge before putting it in the incubator. The temperature of a fridge is too low for the eggs to develop. If the eggs are delivered by post, it will be best to leave the eggs to rest for about 8 hours with the pointy end facing downwards, before putting it in the incubator. Make sure the eggs are clean but do not wash them
The middle – Working with the incubator
Again, make sure the eggs are fresh. You want to have an incubator that can contain as a many or all your eggs, that can maintain a certain temperature and humidity level, and can provide adequate air circulation. For a quail egg, the temperature should be kept at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of up to 55% during most of the incubation.
The eggs should be placed with the more rounded end of the egg slightly elevated. Monitor the temperature and humidity with a thermometer and hygrometer respectively and the humidity can be maintained by adding water to the bottom of the incubator but be careful not to allow and water get on the eggs.
Some incubators provide a digital monitoring of the temperature and humidity and even a control to regulate the temperature. It is important that the eggs are regularly turned, like 4- 5 times a day to make sure the eggs have a well-rounded development. This should be done carefully and with clean hands. In the alternative, an automatic egg turner installed into the incubator will do this
To check if each egg has been fertilized and will grow into an embryo, hold it up against a light and spot the cloudy mass of embryo through the shell. This is called candling and can be done after day seven of incubation
The end – Hatching
The number of days it takes to hatch a quail egg depends on the type of quail but it is between 22 and 25 days, however, the Pharaoh quail egg can take only 17 days. When reaching 3 days before your quail eggs are due to hatch, stop turning the eggs and raise the humidity to 80%, this helps the chicks from sticking to the shell. The temperature should be reduced to about 99.5 degrees. If using and automatic egg turner, remove it.
Try not to lose heat from the incubator, the eggs should be removed and placed on the hatcher on their side. Leave the chicks for 24 hours after incubation so that they are dry before coming out into the real world. It is rare to have a 100% hatch success rate so there is no need to worry if not all the eggs hatch. There are a lot of different factors that can cause eggs not to hatch, what is important is that most eggs hatch and they are healthy
TOP 5 of the Best Quail Egg Incubators
An incubator as already explained will provide a conducive environment for the development and hatching of eggs and this applies to both reptiles and birds. It is not important to get an incubator for each specific egg type but rather one that can contain a broad range of eggs. We have therefore reviewed 5 of the best incubators, all of which can hold several types of eggs including quail
1. Hova-Bator Preset 1588 Genesis Egg Incubator
It comes with an inbuilt digital thermometer and hygrometer and has a see-through cover for observation. The temperature comes preset to 99 degrees Fahrenheit and this can be adjusted. When humidity changes, water can be added by opening the incubator and pouring it in, although there is the possibility to drill a hole at the bottom to prevent opening the incubator and losing heat.
It also comes with a soft-air fan which ensures air circulation for the eggs without forcing air directly on the eggs. It’s 18 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches and can fit up to 130 quail eggs. It has most of the required features of a fully functional incubator at an affordable price and it is easy to use. However, it does not come with an egg turner but one can be purchased and fit into it. It also has Styrofoam lining which is not easy to clean
2. A&I 56Q Quail Egg Digital Incubator/Hatcher
It can hold up to 56 quail eggs. It has a built-in thermometer, hygrometer and day counter. It has inbuilt water systems so you do not have open the incubator and might not accidentally pour water on the eggs while trying to maintain humidity. It also has a fan to ensure aeration. It is 21 x 11 x 20 inches and weighs 13 pounds. However, the top covering is not transparent and therefore does not a provide a clear view of all the eggs and only a side view of those by the sides
3. Fall Harvest - Circulated Air Incubator
It has large viewing windows, built-in circulated fan and a plastic cover. It is 18.9 x 18.3 x 6.8 inches and 5 pounds. The main problem is that the temperature regulation has been faulty but this issue can be fixed by getting a thermometer and hygrometer. This incubator is made of styrofoam lining which is not as easy to clean as plastic. It also does not come with an egg turner although one can be fitted in.
4. IncuView All-In-One Automatic Incubator
This incubator has plastic constructing, transparent viewing and built-in humidity usage and automatic control, and a built-in tracker to keep track of the days. It can also fit in about 35 to 40 quail eggs. Although the temperature comes preset at 99.5 degrees, it can be adjusted. It has a digital display to allow temperature and humidity monitoring and an inbuilt egg turner that gently rolls the eggs six times a day. It is easy to use and easy to clean.
5. Brinsea Products USAF35C Ovation 28 Eco automatic egg incubator
This incubator has an accurate digital control system which displays the incubators temperature, humidity and the status of the eggs being turned. It comes with an egg turner and has a plastic construction which makes it easy to clean. All the controls are adjustable to suit the needs of the type of eggs which includes quail eggs. The incubator is well aerated with a dual airflow system and ventilation control. Unlike other incubators that need to be opened to regulate humidity by adding water, it has water trays that can be changed without the need to open the incubator as well as a water level indicator. This is more of an upscale incubator but well worth the cost
Incubating quail eggs maybe tricky business since the temperature, humidity, aeration amongst other things need to be virtually perfect. With the right device, you will have a stress-free incubation and a high number of successfully hatches. We reviewed some of the best on the market and Hova-Bator is the safest option to go with considering the functionalities and cost. However, choose what suits you best, just make sure to use the instructions and this article to ensure a successful incubation