Inside: Are you ready to start hatching Coturnix quail with our comprehensive guide? Learn the tips and tricks to ensure a successful hatch!
Have you ever seen newly hatched coturnix quail? They are adorable, they are speedy and tiny, and everything is cute. Hatching Coturnix quail is very similar to hatching chicken eggs. But everything is sped up a little with every aspect of quail.
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How to Incubate Coturnix Quail Eggs
The first thing to know when you want to hatch eggs is that you need a male quail and a female quail, multiple females, about 4-5 for one male. Quail hens will lay eggs without a male.
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Collecting Egg for Hatching
Quail start to lay eggs young, typically 6-8 weeks of age. They are fertile at about seven weeks. This is about 12 weeks sooner than chickens. Not only do they have a small footprint on your property, they are producing for you so much earlier.
You want to store the quail eggs in a cool, dry place, points down just as you do with chicken eggs. These are just much tinier harder to stand up on their pointer end in a chicken egg carton. Collect for up to a week.
I don't collect eggs for longer than a week as you start to lose fertility. Some will say you can collect eggs longer, closer to 10 days, but again, I do not collect longer than seven days.
Do not wash your eggs as you collect them for your incubator. Avoid excessively large or small eggs. Overly large eggs hatch poorly and small eggs produce small chicks.
Jumbo Coturnix eggs weigh about 12-16 grams, so that is what I aim to hatch.
Before you put them in your incubator make sure that you have had your incubator running and have it up to temperature when you put them in. You want it at 99.5 – 100F.
I don't use an automatic egg turner, so I make an X on one side of each egg, and an O on the other side so I can keep track of which egg has been turned and how much of a turn I do, when I do turn them.
You want to turn your eggs 3-5 times a day. This is important for the development of chicks. The easiest way to keep track of turning them is to turn them at meal times.
You also want to make sure you have water in your incubator for humidity.
Hatching Coturnix Quail
Quail only take 18 days to hatch, everything with quail is sped up a little. This means you will need to stop turning the eggs are day 15 and make sure that the humidity is up for hatching, humidity should be between 50-60%.
When quail hatch, they run. These little guys have a strong flight instinct. They run all over the incubator even with the egg still attached sometimes.
I highly recommend putting down a non-slip mat in the incubator for them.
Quail chicks that have just hatched are nasty towards each other. They peck and pull at the other chicks. They are trying to get the other chicks up and moving in case of danger too. You might get eye injuries fresh from the incubator.
Make sure that the quail chicks are fluffy and dry before moving them to your ready-and-waiting brooder.
It can take a while for all your eggs to hatch, some may not hatch until day 20 so be patient when you are ready to clean out your incubator after the hatch. You can wait up to 48 hours before moving them out of the incubator into the brooder.
More Tips & Tricks
I just recently learned that there are apps you can use to help you as you incubate and hatch eggs. I have one that is no longer available through Google Play – Hatchabatch but it was recommended to me by someone who has a lot of experience hatching eggs and uses it herself.
Using an app can be helpful just to remind you when you should candle, or when to go into lockdown.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for Coturnix quail to hatch? Coturnix eggs have an incubation time of 18 days. Humidity level at 50-60%, keep that humidity constant.
Are quail eggs hard to hatch? Unlike chicken chicks, ducklings, and other types of poultry, quail chicks complete the hatching process surprisingly quickly. They will pip their shells, unzip, and pop right out within 30 minutes to an hour in most cases.