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The Great Quail Fail of April 2016

Well, as you maybe read in my previous blog post from 4/27/16, we managed to get some eggs into the incubator. We had very mixed hatching results. We hatched about 30% of 120 eggs, which is not very good at all. To that point though, we did set about 20 undersized eggs, and half of the eggs we set were purchased on facebook, which yielded poor results. That's why all of today's quail eggs incubating are all at least 14 grams and are from our own stock.

This is our first time hatching quail. Previously, we had purchased all of our quail from a lady who did an excellent job hatching huge birds, and sold us only females so we didn't have to deal with slaughtering. We frankly don't have the time to slaughter.

On day 17 the eggs started shaking, as was our experience with ducks. On day 18 the eggs promptly started pipping, and hatching. We had about 12 on day 1. Over the next 5 days quail continued to hatch, until finally on day 23 we called it after we had one tiny bird in the morning, and no more for the rest of the day. We have always let our incubators run long and always will. But, here is where we made mistakes:

1. Minor Mistakes: Take the empty shells out as you remove the hatched birds. We did this, but apparently not enough as there were two quail that failed to break through what was essentially a double shell after the egg they were in rolled into another empty shell and they basically fused together. And, you though the world was hard on you?

Also, don't isolate newly hatched birds in a small container too close to the heat lamp. They dehydrate fast. We thought this was a good idea to give them a chance to get their legs under them, but we left them there a hair too long and we lost some.

2. Major Mistake: We put all the quail in together, in a tote, that was probably too small as it was. This caused piling, birds getting crushed into the corners, and worst of all we found out eventually that the smaller birds and late hatchees were probably not getting to the feed. This is a rookie mistake in my book and as an experienced poultry guy, I should have seen this coming. But, for some reason, all of my experience goes out the window when we try something new. This is something I need to work on. The result was we lost almost all of the smaller quail about 6 days later, slowly to what we think was malnutrition. this was a total bummer. But, it gets worse.....

3. Catastrophic Mistake: I did the smart thing and separated the remainder of the weak and small into their own brooder on the 8th day after first hatch. A few more didn't make it, but I stabilized the remainder....

Then after a long day of planting 75 trays of microgreens, I was ready to turn in. So, I shut off the basement light and went to bed......

Which turned off the heat lamps.

So, I killed all of the remaining small ones. We now have 18 super strong healthy quail......

Here's to the next round!

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