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Date Posted: 19:27:16 06/01/10 Tue
Author: Jennifer Kagemann
Author Host/IP:
Subject: Any tips for incubating?

Hi again!

We purchased our first pair of Buttons about a month ago. The female laid 8 eggs over the first 10 days. We bought a Little Giant still air incubator and managed to hatch two of the eight eggs, despite making every possible mistake along the way. My first question is, when do you toss out unhatched eggs? I'm sure it's a personal choice, but I want to make sure I don't leave them in the incubator until I have rotten eggs exploding, etc. I've read that incubated eggs often take several days longer than the estimated 17-21, but our first egg has now been in the incubator for 28 days. The two eggs that did hatch were each on their respective "Day 17"s.

Encouraged by the two that hatched, I wend ahead and ordered 20 eggs on eBay. I'm very new to this and didn't even know that eggs can sit out for several days prior to putting in an incubator. But, I assume it will work out fine since it appears to be standard practice for breeders to collect eggs for a few days and then ship the order Priority Mail. Eggs really are amazing.

While we wait on the package, I was hoping for any tips that might improve our success rate with this next batch of eggs. Unfortunately, we can't afford the circulating air kit, the automatic egg turner, or quail rails that our Tractor Supply store carries. But, is it worthwhile to buy a humidity reader?

Here's what I have learned so far:
Let the eggs sit at room temperature for several hours prior to incubation. Cover the hardware cloth flooring with nonskid surface and incubate the eggs on their sides, small end pointed down, at 102 degrees (for still air incubators). Turn eggs over 3 to 6 times daily and keep the water reservoir filled for humidity. Stop turning on day 14. Don't open the incubator or touch the eggs except to add water or remove fully dried chicks.

Is there anything else I should be doing or not doing? Has anyone developed their own techniques to share regarding still air incubation?

I read the thread on "Helping a Hatch and Bleeding" which I found to be immensely educational. It is amazing that our two chicks came out OK with all of the beginner mistakes I was making. :) Don's comment, "I have never been a fan of the "float" test or candling, or any other reason to remove perfectly good eggs from the incubator simply for curiosity's sake" was especially helpful. I failed miserably when I tried candling the last batch of eggs, so its great to know that this step is not, necessarily, required.

Thanks so much! One last question for the day: Is there any other forum I should be visiting to learn how to competently raise and care for Button Quail? The backyard chickens forum is great, except there do not seem to be many quail people there.


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