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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Tips If You Have Splayed Legged Chicks

I received a couple of tips if your chicks have splayed legs that I thought would be useful to share.

  • “Its my opinion from many years of hatching, that getting the splayed (spraddled) legged chick on 1/8 inch wire as soon as possible will correct most chicks with this defect. Keith”
  • “My wife has cured splayed legs in quail and chicken by tying the legs together with soft yarn. Like a pair of handcuffs a loop arond each leg just above the feet then joined in the middle. Tie the legs so they are parallel to each other.Not an easy task, but worth the effort.  We have had good results after only five days. The sooner you do this after the hatch the quicker the result. Trevor”
  • “Easiest thing to use is elastoplast. The normal finger ones with the lint in the centre are best. Just trim into thin strips and shorten a bit then apply between the hock and the feet. The centre lint is just the right length. You should only need to leave this on for a couple of days. Sallie” http://farmingfriends.com/splayed-legs-in-guinea-fowl-keets/
  • “If the method from poultryhelp.com is used to correct this problem using bandaids, rubber bands or pipe cleaners as a type of brace, the splayed legged chick should be quarantined to prevent other healthy chicks from pecking the brace. Keith”
  • “Always make sure new chicks have a non slip surface to stand on. Newspaper is too slippery. Towelling is ideal. Trevor” http://farmingfriends.com/litter-suitable-for-brooders/
  • “Splayed legs are typically caused by staying a little too long in the egg at hatching although other incubation problems can cause this to occur. Keith”

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

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Different Coloured Quail Chicks

I have noticed that some of my quail chicks are different colours, but I am not sure of the reason for this. I have some that hatched a dark brown, some cream and some fawn coloured which I didn’t have the first time I hatched quail.

Here is the dark brown and fawn coloured quail chicks.

Brown and fawn coloured Japanese quail chick

Brown and fawn coloured Japanese quail chicks

Here is the cream quail chick.

Cream coloured Japanese quail chick

Cream coloured Japanese quail chick

All of the eggs are from an aviary with japanese quail that are all dark brown so I am not sure why some are lighter in colour. Let me know if you have come across different coloured quail chicks. The quail are now about 5 weeks old and are growing well. They are nearly full size and reach maturity from 6 weeks old when the females can start to lay 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.

If you fancy having a go 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.

Quail Chicks Hatching

I have found that a clutch of quail eggs usually hatch about the same time if the conditions are correct.

Hi Sara, I’m hatching quail and one hatched yesterday about 6 o’clock but I got up this morning and no more have hatched yet. Is this normal? The one chick is still sitting lonely in the incubator, should I leave him till the others hatch (if they do) or move him across to the brooder? Also should this be 12 hours before any others that may hatch? Geoff

Hi Geoff,

It is my understanding that quail have a tendency to all hatch at a similar time although I think that my recent hatch saw the first quail start to hatch at 7pm and then the last quail hatch the following morning. apparanently quail call to one another in their shells so as to synchronise their hatch.

I leave my quail in the incubator for 24 hours so they can dry out. they can last 24 hours without food and drink as they are still absorbing the yolk sac. I then move them to a brooder. Sometimes you need to move the first hatchlings out of the incubator whilst the rest of the eggs haven’t hatched out.

I hope that the rest of your eggs hatched ok and that your first quail chick is doing well.

I have a free forum with a section on quail where people can go to chat and ask questions. http://farmingfriends.com/forums/forum.php?id=3

Kind regards

Sara @ farmingfriends

What is your experience of hatching quail eggs and quail chicks?

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.

If you fancy having a go 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.

Day Old Quail Chicks In Brooder

At Monday tea-time the quail chicks were moved from the incubator to the brooder.

29 Day Old Quail Chicks In Brooder

29 Day Old Quail Chicks In Brooder

There are 29 quail chicks in the brooder and some are dark brown a few are a fawn colouring and one or two are creamy coloured.

The chicks are very lively and quickly found the chick crumbs and started eating them, which they seem to enjoy. They are happy moving about the brooder on the straw and there are no signs of splayed legs.

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.

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.


Taming Quail Chicks

Taming quail chicks requires;

  • Lots of time – frequent and daily contact is needed.
  • Daily contact with the quail chicks – frequently handling, feeding, playing and talking to the chicks throughout the day.
  • Frequent handling of the quail chicks – at least 3 times a day.
  • Hand feeding the quail chicks – placing chick crumbs or lettuce on your hand and letting the chicks eat from the hand.

Japanese Quail Chicks

Japanese Quail Chicks

  • Letting the quail chicks associate you with feeding – call the chick when you want to feed them and then let the chicks feed from your hand.
  • Time to play with the quail chicks – handle the chicks gently, let them get used to your hands and being picked up or stroked.

Do you have any tips for taming quail?

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


Video Clip Of Quail Chicks In Brooder

Here are the nine day old japanese quail chicks in the brooder. The chicks are a couple of days old and they were moved to the brooder after they were 24 hours old.

They have a drinker with warm water and marbles in the drinker to prevent them getting their head immersed in the water. They are eating chick crumbs and have a heat lamp to keep them warm. they are on a bed of straw and carpet to stop them getting splayed legs and getting a draught. The chicks are enjoying chasing around the brooder and eating the chick crumbs.

Hope you enjoyed the video clip.

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

Day Old Japanese Quail Chicks

I moved the day old quail chicks from the incubator after they had been hatched for 24 hours.

Day Old Chicks In Box To Go To Brooder

Day Old Chicks In Box To Go To Brooder

Quail chicks can survive without food and water in the incubator for at least 24 hours as they absorb the yolk sac just before they hatch which provides them with nutirents in the first 24 hours.

Day Old Japanese Quail Chick

Day Old Japanese Quail Chick

I put the quail chicks into a small box to move them to the brooder. The quail chicks are very tiny when they first hatch. They had time to dry off and fluff up in the incubator and once they had been hatched for 24 hours they were very lively indeed. It was difficult to pick them up as they kept trying to jump out of the incubator and my hand!

Japanese Quail Chicks In Brooder

Japanese Quail Chicks In Brooder

The brooder is an outdoor rabbit/guinea pig run and I have placed in on top of an old carpet outside and then put straw in it which will stop the chicks from getting a draught and from getting splayed legs. They have some chick crumbs to eat and a drinker with warm water in it and marbles around the edge to stop the chicks from drowning in the water. There is a heat lamp set up so that the chicks are kept warm enough.

Eight Japanese Quail Chicks

Eight Japanese Quail Chicks

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


Quail Eggs Hatch In Incubator

I have had 19 Japanese quail eggs in the incubator. Japanese quail eggs should take about 17 days to hatch out. Click here for incubator information for Japanese Quail.

Monday night was day 17 and when I went to bed I could see that a few of the quail eggs had begun to pip. By Tuesday morning (6.30am) one of the quail looked like it had just hatched out. By mid morning there were about 4 and then by teatime I have 9 quail.

I am leaving them in the incubator until Wednesday morning so that they are all dried out and that any of the other eggs have a chance to hatch out.

It is fine to leave the quail in the incubator for the first 24 hours as they absorb a yolk sac just before hatching which gives them food for the first 24 hours.

The quail will then be moved to a brooder with a heat lamp, chick crumbs, warm water in a drinker with marbles to stop them from drowning and straw on the floor both to keep them warm and to prevent splayed legs.

Once they are out of the incubator I will get a photograph of the Japanese quail chicks, so watch this space.

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