Helping Quail Chicks

Do you have any advice on helping quail chicks hatch out? There is a lot of debate about whether you should help a quail chick or any chick out of their shell. I believe it is up to the individual to assess their own situation and decide if they are going to intervene or not. We have had an email about helping a quail out of the shell.

Hi, I have just had to help a Quail chick out of it’s shell. It had cracked a hole and I could see it’s beak, but then nothing else happened for a good 3-4 hours, and normally quail don’t take that long to hatch. I was worried it would dry out inside the shell so I carefully peeled back only half the shell, then it managed to wriggle out of the rest. It is now not walking properly and it’s feet are curled round, it is just lying on it’s side trying to move.

Have I caused this or will it get better?
Thanks Nicole x

Hi Nicole,
I hope that your quail chick is ok. It sounds like the chick could just be exhausted.
Chicks often wriggle about trying to move when they have been helped out. Let me know if
the chicks feet are still curled as you can help to uncurl them. Did any other chicks
hatch?
Just to let  you know that I have a free forum with a section on quail and incubating
http://farmingfriends.com/forums/ where members can chat and ask questions.
Hope all well with the chick.
Keep me posted.
Kind regards
sara @ farmingfriends

All the books and research says that you shouldn’t help chicks out of the shell and that opening the incubator can affect the rest of the eggs hatching.

I have not had to help quail hatch as they managed to all hatch at the same time and relatively easily.

I have however had to help many a guinea fowl and more recently ducks out of their shell. In fact I have 7 ducklings that are now 4 weeks old and if I hadn’t have helped them out of their shells then I would only have one. All the ducklings are growing well and are healthy.
From experience I have found that if a chick has not hatched itself within a few hours then I have found that they often die in the shell as the heat in the incubator dries up the shell and membrane and makes it difficult for the chicks to hatch.
If you do decide to help the chick out, remove the egg from the incubator quickly and cupping the egg in your hand to keep it warm carefully start to pick off the shell from where the egg has pipped as this is where the chicks beak is.

I have always had to work quickly although you have to be very careful that the blood vessels in the shell don?t bleed as this can kill the chick.

When I help a chick out I try to pick the shell off the head part first and work my way down. I never take all the shell off as the chick is attached to the shell at the base.

I usually take the top off and try to make sure that the chicks head, wings and body are free.

It is important to make sure that the chick can move about because once it goes back in the incubator the membrane and shell dry out and can get stuck to the chick.

I then put the chick and attached shell back in the incubator and let the chick wriggle free in it’s own time.
Sometimes the guinea fowl keets have made it and sometimes they have still died.
Another thing to consider is once you have opened the incubator the temperature and humidity will be affected and this could stop other chicks from hatching.
If you decide that you are going to open the incubator I would just check that you can see movement from the chick otherwise you will have affected the incubator conditions and the chick could already be dead.

Let us know if you have any tips for helping quail chicks out of the shell.
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Incubating, Hatching & Raising Guinea Fowl eBook Review

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Incubating, Hatching And Raising Guinea Fowl Keets eBook will provide you with information about:

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  • hatching guinea fowl eggs,
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Fluctuating Temperature In Egg Hatching Incubator

I have received an email from Jenny asking for help regarding the temperature fluctuating in her incubator.

Hello,

My name is Jenny, I have an incubutor.. but I can not get it to hold it’s temperature… it’s up and down like a yo yo..

Can you help? I have now tried it twice and got nothing each time.

Regards Jenny

Hi Jenny,

Sorry to hear that your incubator temperature is fluctuating. Where do you have your incubator positioned? Incubators are most reliable if kept in a room with a constant temperature. The kitchen is not a good place fot an incubator as the fluctuating heat as the oven is used can affect the incubator. The incubator needs to be kept away from draughts and also away from a window where the sunlight can warm up the incubator in the day and then the incubator will get colder at night.

I have read that “The bulb of the thermometer may be placed inside a blob of Plasticine or similar to reduce changes in readings due to minor fluctuations and give an average reading.”

Is the thermometer working correctly? Can you check it against another thermometer? New thermometers should be checked against one known to be accurate.

Do you have the thermometer placed near the eggs? In a still air incubator the temperature varies vertically within the incubator and there may be a difference of several degrees between the bottom and the top of the incubator. The temperature should be kept at that required by the eggs at the level at which the eggs are kept. In order to monitor this, a thermometer should be placed at the same level as the eggs.

I am sure that you are aware that the temperature will alter when you open up the incubator, the temperature will fall when the door is opened to add, remove or manipulate eggs. So turning the eggs needs to be done quickly and carefully.

For normal development and good hatchability, eggs must be maintained within a narrow temperature range. Both too high and too low temperatures maycause problems with the hatch.

Here are some useful links regarding reasons for problems with hatching:
Reasons for a poor hatch rate or no hatching eggs in an incubator
Reasons for eggs hatching late
Reasons for pipped eggs but chicks not hatched
Reasons why fully formed chicks may not hatch out

Hope you can get your incubator to give you good results. Good luck with future hatching.
Kind regards
sara @ farmingfriends

Do you have any tips for Jenny to help her regulate the temperature in her incubator?

If you keep poultry or are interested in keeping poultry then visit the farmingfriends forum for the latest chat.

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Duckling Hatched Early And Yolk Sac Not Absorbed

Had an email on Friday night letting me know that a duckling was hatching early and then this morning I heard that the yolk sac hadn’t been absorbed.

Hi Sara, just to update you on our eggs. It is not due to hatch until Wednesday next week but it actually started to break the shell yesterday at 5pm and now (26 hours later) his beak has come out completely – he doesn’t seem to be doing much more, as of yet, so we are keeping our fingers crossed he is strong enough with hatching early. Will keep you updated and send you photos when he has hatched completely.
Chantelle

Thanks for your speedy reply! I can see this being a long night Im so excited I wont be able to sleep! I have helped him a little by breaking off some of the hard shell but he is still very ‘gooey’ inside so don’t wanna break too much off incase it bleeds. Been reading things on the internet about how they can bleed to death if you break a vein so need to be careful. The children did see him popping his beak out today and opening and closing it- they were amazed! The are so excited for Monday morning when I take him back into school!
Thanks again for being so helpful and kind!
Kind regards
Chantelle

Hi sara, our little duck finally came out completely about an hour ago after I used some damp cotton wool to moisten the egg. He has a huge yellow lump attatched to his tummy with a gooey piece of string going from the lump to his back. I’m guessing this is the yolk still attatched to him but it is really big 🙁 poor little thing. He’s warm in his incubator and occasionally trying to move so it’s just a case of waiting now to see what happens to this lump. I’ll keep you updated
Kind regards
Chantelle

Does anyone have any advice for Chantelle?

This was the advice I gave to Chantelle

I hope your duckling is ok. Yes it sounds like the yolk sac as the duckling is early. It’s now important that the duckling doesn’t get an infection via the yolk sac.

I have read that , “when a bird hatches with a yolk sac still outside the body, it is usually due to one or two things. Too-high humidity during brooding will cause this, as will an e.coli or staphylococcus infection during incubation. Sometimes the duckling will survive, but more often than not, bacteria gets into the sac through the duckling’s bellbutton and the infection gives the duckling septicemia, a body wide acute infection, and they die. Giving very potent antibiotics, like baytril, will help ward off infection, but it won’t necessarily save the bird.”

A reader of my website a year ago had a duckling hatch with the yolk sac still attached.
“His yolk sack was not quite absorbed. I am sure we panicked and were too quick to
intervene. We have raised the humidity level in the incubator (70%) and keep a wet paper towel wrapped loosely around him.”

Click on this link to read more about this duckling.

Hope he is ok.
Kind regards
Sara

Sarah one of the farmingfriends forum members said,

“The duckling sounds a little premature. Keep it warm and dry and encourage it to drink and have wet mash. it will soon dry out. It may have a herniated umbilica, which should be ok and still heal on its own if it is hardy enough. Sarah”

I am very sad to say that as of Sunday afternoon the little duckling passed away. It is always really sad when a duckling doesn’t make it. This duckling did well to survive as long as he did as his yolk sac was still so big and he was nearly 6 days early.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

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If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Water In Incubator

I have been asked about water in an incubator.

“Hi there I was wondering if you put water in the incubator when eggs are incubating ? Thanks write back asap. Ekram”

When incubating eggs the eggs need to have a level of humidity in the incubator in order to hatch. One way to attain the correct humidity levels for the eggs is to put water in the incubator during the incubation. Click on this link to learn about the different humidity levels for different types of eggs.

You can raise the humidity levels in an incubator by adding more water to the water trays in the incubator. You can also try to increase the humidity levels in the room in which the incubator is.

Other ways to increase the humidity levels in an incubator include:

* add a jar or tray of water
* add a wet towel

I believe that low humidity is caused by high temperatures which dry out the water trays in the incubator and help the humidity in the atmosphere evaporate.

Some people will do a dry incubation or dry hatch which means that they don’t put water in the incubator or put very little water in.

If you keep poultry or are interested in keeping poultry then visit the farmingfriends forum for the latest chat.

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Muscovy Ducklings Struggling To Hatch Out

I have just received an email about muscovy ducklings struggling to hatch out.

Hi Sara I have a muscovy duck that hatched out two of her babies, she still had alot of eggs but did not sit on them for a day so i took them away as they were ice cold. Just before i wanted to throw them away i heard a peep, so i rushed to get them warm, i left them for a day and still peeping. So i then just made a small hole where i know the head is as i dont know if they lost to much energy to break through, the embrio started to dry out a bit so i got their heads out and left them, one is out and doing fine but two others are still half way in their eggs, peeping and moving a little, should i just take them completly out to see if they will survive as i dont know how long they have been struggling to hatch, so far it is their second day with me. Arnold

When I receive an email like this I always try to reply swiftly as this is a matter of urgency whether a duckling will hatch and survive or die in the shell having struggled to get out.

It is always a difficult decicion for the person incubating whether they should intervene and help or let nature takes it’s course, but in this instance I would say that these ducklings deserve a little bit of help.

My advice to Arnold was,

Hi Arnold,

Thanks for visiting farmingfriends website and leaving your comment.

My advice is if after a couple of hours once the eggs have pipped an the ducklings are not hatching out themselves then you I would be inclined to help.

I had to help 6 of the 7 khaki campbell ducklings I have and they are now over a year old and doing very well and all laying eggs of their own!

If you decide to help then you need to work quickly to keep the egg warm. Peel the shell and membrane a little at a time making sure that you don’t make the duckling bleed. I usually try to peel as much of the shell and membrane except for cup shape at the bottom of the shell as this is where the duckling will still be attached.I then put the duckling back into the incubator so that it can wriggle out of the remaining shell in it’s own time. I always make sure before putting back in the incubator that the ducking can get it legs free of the remaing shell and it’s just a case of wriggling out or even just leaving it for the duckling to break the cord that links the duckling to the shell.

It is important not to leave membrane as this will dry onto the duckling and make it hard for the duckling to get out of the shell.

I hope you find this information useful.

Let me know how your ducklings get on and best of luck.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

[eshop_show_product id=’4319,4326,4368,4372′ class=’hilite’ panels=’yes’ form=’yes’]

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular email updates of the farmingfriends website posts:

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Quail Egg Fertility Rate October 2009

When breeding quail and incubating their eggs it is important to keep a record of fertility and to calculate the percentage fertility because this will help in evaluating incubation  and breeding efficiency. I have recently incubated some quail eggs from quail that were hatched themselves in 2007, so two years on it is important to check their fertility. You can calculate fertility in the following way;

% fertility = number of fertile eggs/number of total eggs produced or set.

23 fertile quail eggs divided by 31 quail eggs in the incubator = 0.7419354 X 100 = 74% fertility.

This is a good  fertility rate for this time of the year as the male quail’s fertility is effected by cold temperatures, thus breeding quail in October when the weather is colder can effect the fertility rate of the eggs.

If you keep quail and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your quail then why not join the free farmingfriends quail forum.

Check out the following books about keeping and raising quail.

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Quail Egg Hatch Rate October 2009

When breeding quail and incubating their eggs it is important to keep a record of the percentage of total eggs hatched because this will help in evaluating incubation and hatch efficiency. I have recently hatched some quail chicks and wanted to share the hatch rate with you. You can calculate hatch rate in the following way;

% hatch rate = number of eggs hatched out/number of eggs set in the incubator.

This October I placed 31 eggs in the incubator and 20 hatched out. So 20 divided by 31 equals 0.6451612 times by 100 equals 64.5% hatch rate.

Pigeon Egg Shell Turns Transparent

Many readers of the farmingfriends website often find pigeon eggs and try to incubate them. I have recently been asked about the shell becoming transparent on the pigeon egg.

Hi, I have recently been able to take care of pigeon eggs. I have kept them in a shoebox with a 100watt bulb and a hot water bottle. But, just a hour ago 1 of the eggs turned transparent on the sides suddenly and I am not sure what this means. I would really appreciate to hear your response soon. Hana

Hi Hana,

Thanks for your question. I hope that your pigeon eggs are still doing ok. Unfortunately I don’t know much about hatching pigeon eggs. I have read in this article http://www.internationalmodenaclub.com/Online%20Library/Articles/M-P/PigeonEggsPg1-6.pdf that if the shell is transparent then this is a sign that the embryo is dead in the shell. I do hope that this isn’t the case and that your egg hatch.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.
Kind regards

Sara @ farmingfriends

If you have experience of hatching pigeon eggs and know what it means when a pigeon egg shell turns transparent then please leave a comment.

Click on the image below to visit Amazon.co.uk to find out more about this incubator or visit one of the Farming Friends Bookshops.


Japanese Quail Chicks Hatching

Yesterday the 42 japanese quail eggs that I had in my incubator where due to hatch. I had been away in the caravan on Saturday night and when I returned on sunday afternoon some of the eggs had pipped and I could definately hear cheeping.

At about 7.15pm one chick hatched by 7.45 there were about 16 and at 9.30 there were 20 with more still pipping. It’s just amazing how quickly they all hatch out. By this morning (Monday) there were about 30 chicks although it was hard to count them.

Apparently quail chicks will call to each other in the shells to synchronise their hatching. I have taken a video of the hatching and some photos and will post them soon.

Tonight I have taken the chicks out of the incubator and put them into a brooder. The chicks were in the incubator roughly 24 hours before moving to the brooder.

The brooder consists of a guinea pig/ rabbit run with a carpet on the floor and them straw on top of the carpet to stop the quail chicks legs from becoming splayed. They have chicks crumbs on a feeder plate and then warm water in a drinker with marbles around the edge to stop the tiny (bumble bee sized) quail from falling into the water and drowning. There is also a heat lamp rigged up over the run to keep the chicks warm.

I have moved 29 chicks out to the brooder and left one of the chicks in the incubator as the chick doesn’t look as lively as the others and seems to have been attacked by some of the chicks as it has some blood on it’s vent area. I am not hopeful for this chick but will keep my fingers crossed. I’ll keep you posted.

If you fancy having ago at incubating and hatching and if you live in the UK then I  have  quail eggs for hatching for sale.

Click on the image below to visit Amazon.co.uk to find out more about this incubator or visit one of the Farming Friends Bookshops.