Our first batch of hatching quail eggs went into lockdown mode on the afternoon of Good Friday. One of the problems mentioned in SJF Blog post 008 was our difficulty with maintaining proper humidity levels during this critical time period. A soaked sponge was placed directly under the circulation fan to aid in the effort. Despite these difficulties, it generally only took four hours for each hatched chick to clean itself and regain enough strength to be moved to the brooder. In an effort to ensure that nobody was alone in the brooder, we initially waited for at least two chicks to be ready to move before doing so. After that, they were moved once they were ready.
We hovered with great anticipation each time one of the chicks started to break through its shell. To be honest, it was extremely difficult to restrain ourselves from helping when we saw one struggle to escape its confinement. The last one to hatch had the most difficulty, so we did end up having to assist it. But, what really got us excited was the fact that the hatch day was on Easter! This was completely unplanned. The date did not register when the eggs were set, only once they went into lockdown mode did we notice the coincidence. How fun it was to praise the resurrection of Christ in the morning and witness the chicks’ birth in the afternoon!
We started our first batch of hatching quail eggs with 21. Three were removed at candling on day six because they were not fertile. Two failed to pip and never made it to the brooder. Three more gave up the ghost in the first week. In all, 16 hatched successfully and were moved to the brooder. Originally, we were ecstatic with an 89% fertile egg hatch rate. Ultimately, 14 of the original 21 eggs made it to week two. That is a 72% fertile egg survival rate. Not too bad for our first hatch, considering all of the difficulties we had to work through with the desktop incubator/hatcher.