We have been keeping quails for three years, and caring for them is no more difficult than for another bird. The only difference is that the quails, at home, have lost the instinct for incubating eggs. Therefore, an incubator is needed to hatch the young. Let’s consider how to grow quail in an incubator. In this article, we will give you a complete guide about how to hatch quail eggs without an incubator?
Conditions for keeping quail at home for beginners
If ducks, geese, and other birds in the yard conditions are easily mastered and can be raised using grazing, it is tough to tame quail. Therefore, this type of bird is kept in cages.
The room for keeping quail in the country is chosen dry, ventilated, and warm, but at the same time reliably protected from drafts, which birds cannot withstand.
To actively develop and maintain bird egg production, they need lighting. The optimal daylight hours of 17 hours can be considered:
- If you light the cells longer, the number of eggs will initially increase, but the bird will quickly burn out.
- A short daytime hour without additional lighting will not give the desired results for laying hens and young animals. In the dark, birds are reluctant to feed, which leads to feeding savings, but at the same time inhibits growth.
However, in residential premises, the breeding of a large number of birds is undesirable:
- due to the risk of developing diseases that are dangerous for both birds and humans;
- the difficulties in creating adequate conditions for lighting and ventilation;
- due to an imminent violation of the rules for the use of housing in apartment buildings.
In the country house or as a whole, a poultry farmer can grow a couple of generations of quail in one summer season and get healthy and tasty eggs from them.
The only thing that may require additional costs is raising and maintaining quail in the winter. Still, a video on organizing the process will help understand the nuances of preventing mistakes, even for novice poultry farmers.
Hatching Egg Quality
For quail eggs to be of high quality, they need to be fed with exceptional quail food. This food is balanced – it contains vitamins, trace elements, mineral supplements necessary for the productivity of quails. For the eggs to be all fertilized, four quails are placed on one male.
Collection and storage of hatching eggs
Eggs for incubation of quails are collected for up to 7 days. They need to be stored at a temperature of 8-12 degrees.
Select them of the correct shape, with a smooth shell without growths. Before laying them, they must be brought into the room where the incubator is located. The temperature in the room should be at least 18 degrees.
Before laying, the incubator should be warmed up to 38 degrees. And then fill it with testicles. If your incubator has trays with turns, then the eggs are laid vertically – with a blunt end up, and if you have an incubator without trays with turns, then lay horizontally.
Only high-quality eggs are suitable for incubation. It depends on:
- how the breeding stock is kept;
- what kind of food do males and females eat;
- what age of parents;
- what is the sex ratio in the herd
Therefore, if you want a quality hatching egg, you need to keep the mother flock.
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When quail breeding, it is necessary to immediately determine what type of product (meat or eggs) the company will rely on.
The choice of the breed depends on it. Like any other poultry, all quail breeds can be divided into four large groups:
- breeds with high egg production;
- meat breeds;
- breeds of meat and eggs;
- decorative breeds.
Types of breed selection:
Texas White Quail (White Pharaoh)
The breed was bred based on the quail of the Pharaoh breed in Texas, it differs from the progenitor by a dazzling white color of the feather, so this breed is still called the white pharaoh.
This is the most giant breed of quail – the weight of the female reaches 400 grams. Also, due to the white plumage, the bird’s skin is lighter.
This gives the carcass a more colorful presentation. Quail of the Texan breed, due to the wide back and mighty breast, looks very large.
The meat-and-egg breed headed by the pharaoh was bred in the United States. The color of the bird’s feather is variegated.
The mass of an adult bird reaches 300 grams, egg production – 200-220 eggs per year. The disadvantage of the breed is the dark color of the carcass, which negatively affects the presentation.
Golden Quail from Manchuria
In appearance and monochromatic heterogeneous coloring, the breed resembles the Japanese quail. It differs from them in a lighter yellowish plumage.
The species is considered universal: the weight of a female quail reaches 300 grams, egg production up to 220 eggs per year. Another distinguishing feature of the breed is that the eggs are almost a third larger than the rest of the quail.
Decorative quail breeds
Decorative quail breeds are distinguished neither by large bodyweight nor by high egg production. Their dignity is a bright and colorful coloring of the body.
The shape of the body, the color of the feather, the number, and the position of the colored spots of plumage are very different. These breeds include California, the Virgo, the Chinese painted breed, and many more.
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Incubation Mode At Home
During incubation, you must strictly monitor the temperature and humidity.
From 1 to 15 days, the temperature regime is 37.6-37.7 degrees, and humidity is 50-60%. Turning should be started 12 hours after laying the eggs in the incubator.
And take turns at least four times a day. Otherwise, the chicks stick to the inner walls of the egg. You need to cool them two times a day – in the morning and in the evening. To cool down, remove the lid from the incubator or open the door.
On the 16th day of incubation, the temperature decreases to 37.2 degrees, and the humidity increases to 68%. In order to increase the humidity, I spray the quail eggs two times a day from a spray bottle, combined with cooling.
Two enamel bowls fit under the incubator. Their size should be the same. Eggs are laid on the bottom of one of the bowls covered with something soft.
For the convenience of turning them over in the future, one of the sides is marked with a felt-tip pen.
A jar filled with water is placed at the bottom in the center. Then this structure is covered with a second bowl, in the bottom of which a hole is drilled.
A wire with a socket for screwing a 40 W lamp enters it. At the junction of two cans, insulators are placed, the thickness of which is about one centimeter. They will provide ventilation to the structure.
This option will require more time and money than the previous one. According to it, it is proposed to make a rectangular box without a bottom.
Sandwich technology was used in the manufacture of the walls. That is, the foam is sheathed with cardboard or fiberboard, and the walls and ceiling are made from such sheets.
An observation hole is made in the ceiling, covered with glass, and lamps are installed in the corners. They must rise and fall.
By changing the height of the lamps, the temperature in the incubator is regulated.
To prevent rapid cooling of the eggs when the light is accidentally turned off, or the lamps burn out, bricks are used as a heat accumulator. And to maintain the required humidity, containers with water are placed under the grate.
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In an old refrigerator, only a refrigerator is used without its electronic and electrical filling. If desired, you can lay it on its side.
Lamps can also be used as heating elements in it, equipping it with the same elements as in the previous case.
If you are electronics savvy, you can complicate the design by putting together a thermostat circuit and adding a digital thermometer. But this is all extra time and additional costs.
The advantage of the refrigerator is its impressive size. Several trays can be installed in it, thereby increasing the number of hatching chicks.
But whatever the design of the incubator, it must be kept clean. During the incubation period, remove eggs with dead embryos and damaged shells.
And after its completion, wash, clean, and process the device with potassium permanganate. Allow to dry and illuminate with a quartz lamp.
How to raise quail at home?
The more quail, the faster the egg production grows. Therefore, many owners of newly produced mini-farms want to learn how to breed such birds properly. There are two ways:
- The first is to colonize males and females in the cells initially. This method is the simplest and most popular. It is important to remember that the male to female ratio should be between 1 and 2.5. For ten chickens, there should be 4 quail roosters. But it must be borne in mind that such a method of birds breeding sometimes leads to fighting, misunderstanding inside the cage, and even low productivity of the hens due to such an atmosphere.
- The second method of increasing productivity: chickens and roosters are housed in different cells. Males run to females only at a certain time for fertilization. This method is more complicated, but it allows you to control egg production better and avoid the nervous atmosphere in the cells.
Advantages of the first method:
- Regular “deliveries” of chicken eggs.
- Clear production control.
- The optimal atmosphere inside the cells and the absence of fighting and other misconceptions among the birds.
- Stable income from the production of products that are always in demand.
Which option suits you best? They will only show experience and practice.
Breeding Nursery Quail At Home
Domestic birds often lose their instinct to hatch. For owners wishing to increase production, it is necessary to purchase an incubator.
Each mini-farmer should take into account the basic rules for storing eggs designed for incubation:
- The eggs must be collected 4-5 times a day. This reduces the risk of infection.
- Each egg should be carefully checked for cracks and damage to the shell. It is possible to check the eggs by transmission on an otoscope. This method will not only help to see all the cracks but will also analyze the size of the yolk, the size of the airspace, etc.
- Quail eggs should not be washed. Otherwise, you will remove the protective coating from the shell that protects against infection.
- Egg trays should be in a dry place at a temperature of about + 12 … + 15 degrees. A sufficient level of air humidity is important for eggs – at least 70-80%.
- Do not allow the temperature to rise to +20 and above. It is forbidden to store quail eggs for incubation in the refrigerator. The temperature is too low.
- Only eggs laid 7-9 days ago are used for hatching.
If you follow these simple rules after 17-18 days, the quail has hatched.
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When hatching chicks, it is not always possible to immediately get a large healthy brood. There may be several reasons for this:
Lack Of Nutrition
If the parental individuals received an insufficient amount of compound feed or the latter contained an insufficient amount of protein, then the egg also lacks nutrients and moisture for the full development of the embryo. Accordingly, the embryos die, or the chicks appear weakened.
The insufficient activity of males or too old females leads to the appearance of a large number of unfertilized eggs. And it is impossible to determine this indicator during otoscopy;
Violation Of The Temperature Regime
The embryos cannot be supercooled or overheated, and in either case, they will die, so the temperature must be monitored;
Violation Of The Humidity Regime
A lack of moisture is detrimental to the embryo. With a lack of moisture in the early stages, the embryos die. With insufficient moisture at the last stage, the chick cannot get out of the egg due to the drying out of the shell;
At a certain stage, the embryo begins to absorb oxygen from the air and not from the air chamber. If there is not enough oxygen in the air, he will die from suffocation.
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