Quail Hatching – Housing, Management Guide

Quail Hatching Guide

Quails are small-sized birds and their rearing system is easy and simple. Quails are small-sized poultry birds belong to the Phasianidae family and there are approximately 95 species of old world Quail birds. The Phasianidae family is divided into two subfamilies are Phasianinae and Perdicinae. The Quail farming business is easy, lucrative, and entertaining. Commercial Quail farming can be a great source of income in India.

A Step by Step Guide to Quail Bird Hatching

The commercial Quail farming business is more profitable than any other poultry business and Quails are suitable for commercial production of both meat and eggs. Quails can adapt to all types of climate and environment. And the Indian climate is suitable for raising Quails commercially.

Starting a Quail farming business is very easy and they need minimum floor space. These small birds are popular worldwide. People rise Quails for meat and eggs. For this reason, producing Quail chicks are profitable. Quail’s hatch hatching process can be divided into two. The first process is the natural method where the mother Quail sits on their egg and hatches. The second process is breeding baby Quails using an artificial incubator. Both processes are very simple, once you made a setup. However, maintaining temperature levels, humidity, and the environment is troublesome.

Advantages of Quail Farming

Quail farming business is prolific farming for farmers who do not have high investment sources. Its advantages can be listed as below;

  • Quail farming requires minimum floor space
  • Quails are comparatively sturdy birds
  • Investment – The initial investment needed is low. This is because they do not need an elaborate set-up and the labor costs are low.
  • Adaptability – Quails are small but sturdy birds that adapt quickly to new environmental requirements. They are not sensitive to weather changes and they are also resistant to a lot of diseases. Hence they do not need vaccination.
  • Meat and Eggs – Quail eggs contain little cholesterol and the meat is lean meat containing very little fat. Quail eggs and meat useful for brain and muscle development. Hence, they are of significance.
  • Maturity – Quails start laying eggs by the age of 6-7 weeks. Their egg-laying rate is high and can reach up to 280 eggs per year.
  • High Economic Returns – Quails can be marketed right from the age of about 5 weeks. Also, they start laying eggs by the age of 6 weeks. Therefore, they can be marketed for their eggs and meat as and when needed.

Quail Breeds Selection

The domesticated varieties of Quails are Japanese Quail and Bobwhite Quails. Japanese Quails are growing faster, has a short generation interval, and is precocious. The meat is a delicacy. Specific lines developed for egg productions as well as meat production are also available. Some other Quail breeds are CARI Uttam, CARI Pearl, CARI Sweta, and CARI Ujjawal.

Select high-quality eggs for hatching. For the highest chances of egg hatching, choose the best eggs you can find. Look for clean eggs, hard shells, and are free of cracks and deformities. And, avoid picking eggs that are unusually small or large.

Do not wash or rub the eggs. The eggs have a special coating that protects from bacteria, and by causing friction or washing the eggs you get rid of the special coating.

Housing and Equipment for Quail Farming

Quail birds are frequently housed in rooms similar to garages. Though, such rooms need to be well insulated, well ventilated, and free from draughts and provide protection from cats, rodents, and predatory birds. Housing must be designed to ensure comfort for the birds, to make food and water readily accessible, and to permit easy. The adult facilities must reflect the purpose of the project. For example, if the birds are to be raised for commercial egg production or meat production, then small pair-cages are suitable. Hobbyists can prefer small deep-litter pens that do not need regular removal of droppings.

For cage construction, 7 mm square welded wire mesh is suggested to give secure footing and prevent chicks from escaping through sidewalls. Adult Quail will produce well if they are allowed 145 cm2 of floor space per bird. In community pens, Quails will not build a nest but will hide their eggs in the litter. For this reason, Quail egg producers prefer to house their birds in cages. A cage 13 × 20 cm is large enough for 2 birds. The cage has a solid metal to minimize head injuries if the birds take fright. Adult Quails require 1.25 to 2.5 cm of feeder space per bird. Ample feed must be present, but if the trough is too full, excessive wastage will occur.

Freshwater must be provided at all times with a minimum of about 0.6 cm of trough space per Quail. Nipple drinkers and cups are suitable for adult Quail birds. One nipple or cup must be provided for every 5 birds.

Find Out the Fertile Eggs for Quail Hatching

The simplest and most used method to determine if an egg is fertilized is called candling the egg. It is holding the egg up to a lighted candle or small flashlight. If you are not able to see through, probably the Quail egg is fertile. If the Quail egg aspires transparent, you can mark that as an infertile. Finding a fertile egg is very easy. If you are thinking about starting a hatchery, you should create an infallible source of eggs.

Quail Eggs.
Quail Eggs.

Purchase or Collect Fertile Eggs – You can collect fertile eggs from the Quails you already have, or purchase from good breeders in your area or you can also order online.

Determine the number of eggs mainly depending on the number of chicks you want to hatch (also consider the size of the incubator).

Purchase or collect some more eggs, because some eggs may get destroyed along the way of incubation. In the case of collecting eggs from existing Quails, keep one male and one female together. Doing so will ensure more fertile Quail eggs from the hen.

Provide your laying hens with more sunlight and supplement their diet with calcium, particularly if you want your hens to lay some great-quality eggs. Keep in mind, do not wash the eggs, because the eggs have a special coating that protects them from bacteria (and you get rid of the special coating by causing friction or washing the eggs).

Setting up Brooder for Quail Hatching

Before purchasing equipment or anything else for hatching eggs, you should have to set up the brooder. Purchase all necessary raising and caring equipment before start hatching the Quail eggs.

You can make the brooder for Quails with a cardboard box, and large plastic container, etc. Also, you need bedding, a shallow water container, shiny pebbles or marbles, etc.

The brooder is a small box that provides space, shelter, food, water, and warmth to the chicks. For cleaning the wastage, the brooder has bedding lined up. And you must clean the brooder at least once a week (because the chicks are very messy). Some great materials for bedding are wood shavings, paper towels, and straw.

Quail Hatching Rate

The hatching rate in Quail refers to the percentage of rebirth. It can be calculated by dividing the number of newborns by the number of Quail eggs used.  In the case of Quail birds, a 90%+ hatch rate is appreciable, and if you can achieve that you can mark that as a success.

Care of Quail Hatching Eggs

The shell of Quail eggs are comparatively thinner and should be handled carefully. Eggs should be held in an atmosphere free of dust and having a temperature level of 14 to 16°C with a relative humidity of 70 to 80%. Eggs held even under these conditions must be used for hatching within 7 days of holding. The incubation period of the Quail egg is about 18 days.

Eggs can be incubated artificially by a forced draft incubator at a temperature range of 36.9 to 37.2°C with a relative humidity of 60 to 70%. Eggs must be turned 4 to 6 times daily up to 14 days of incubation. The proper temperature for hatching Quail eggs for forced air incubators is 37.5 to 37.7°C.

Quail Hatching Management

Before collecting eggs, we recommend first choose and set up the Quail hatching system. You could notice that we have divided the hatching process into two,

  • Natural hatching – Hatching without an incubator
  • Hatching with an incubator
Quail Hatching Without an Incubator

Hatching Quail eggs without an incubator is possible by 3 methods. You can either get Quail hens to sit on and hatch the eggs. If you have the fertilized eggs and no Quail hens, then you want to use a broody hen to sit and hatch them. Or else the best method is to make an incubator using recycled matter. Some instructions will help you build an incubator.

Take a Styrofoam cooler and cut a hole in the lid by using a knife. Then, insert a light socket with a cord upside down. Take a glass piece that is about 8 by 11 inches and cut a hole smaller than the glass piece on the side of the cooler. Then, tape the glass on the outside of the cooler with duct tape and this will serve as a window. Carefully, make small holes to allow ventilation inside the cooler. Fill a container with water and then place it inside the cooler. This will help make the air inside humid.

Take a thermometer and tape it to the bottom of the cooler where you will place the Quail eggs. Use a 25-watt light bulb and screw it into the socket and then place the lid on the cooler. Plugin the light bulb and then allow the light to stay on for about an hour. The temperature level should not go beyond 36°C. You can lower the temperature level by poking more holes into the cooler.

Quail Hatching With an Incubator

You can buy an air incubator for hatching Quail eggs. Or you can go in for buying an incubator with ventilation holes or a fan for circulating air and heat.

You want to buy eggs only from reputed farms as the eggs will surely not dupe you with infertile eggs. Or you can go hunting and gather some Quail eggs. A fertile Quail egg will have a strong shell and place the eggs in the incubator very gently and carefully. You want to adjust the light, heat, and humidity inside the incubator according to the machine instructions. The humidity level should be 55% to 60% during incubation and 75% to 85% after hatching. The temperature must be close to 37°C. Then, place the egg with the small, pointed end facing downwards. If the incubator has an auto turner, turn it off for the first 3 days. The egg tray must be turned 30º each day. If you do not have an auto turner, and then turn the eggs yourself at least 3 times a day.

You must carefully monitor the humidity levels. Many Quail eggs fail to hatch if the humidity level is too high. The humidity levels must be about 60% and the water trough needs to be filled every day. Generally, after about 16 to 18 days, depending upon the species, the eggs will hatch. You want to stop turning the eggs 3 days before the predicted hatch date. Once the Quail eggs hatch, do not remove them from the incubator. After 6 to 7 hours transfer them to a Quail brooder.

You want to use a thermostat to keep the chicks warm after hatching. If you find the babies huddling together, it means you want to increase the temperature level. Never overheat or allow the Quail eggs to come down to room temperature level after placing them in an incubator. With extra care and a little patience, you will be successful in hatching Quail eggs.

Dry Hatching Quail Eggs

A ‘dry hatch’ works well for hatching Quail eggs. This means that there is no additional humidity added to the incubator for the first 15 days. If you live in a dry location, you may want to consider adding humidity. If you do add humidity, you will want to keep the humidity around 45% for the first 15 days. Increase the humidity to about 65% for the last three days of hatching. If it is too low, they could have trouble breaking through the membrane or the shell.

When you add water to the incubator, especially for the last 3 days, use distilled water to avoid the growth of bacteria or pathogens in the incubator. Then, this will prevent any dramatic shifts in temperature during the hatch. Try not to open the incubator any more than necessary to keep temperature levels and humidity stable.

Why Are Quail Eggs Not Hatching?

Poor results in hatching are caused by the improper control of temperature or humidity. When the temperature levels or humidity is too high or too low for a long period, the normal growth and development of the embryo are affected.

Pipped Quail eggs that do not hatch. The problem is caused by either 1) poor ventilation or 2) improper humidity.

To obtain the best possible hatch, keep the temperature level as near 38.1°C as possible for the entire incubation period in a still air incubator. There will be a fluctuation of 2 or 3 degrees above or below 38.1°C, but there should not be prolonged periods of high or low temperatures. The high-temperature level is especially serious. An incubator that is run warm, constantly averaging a bit above 38.1°C will tend to produce the hatching of an early egg. One that is run cold, a bit below 38.1°C will tend to produce a late hatch.

You should not miss this: Organic Rabbit Farming.

Commonly Asked Questions about Quail Hatching

What are the reasons if Quail eggs don’t hatch in 21 days?

If eggs get too dry, too hot, or too cold, at any point during incubation this can stop the chick’s growth. It’s a good idea to open eggs that haven’t hatched after 21 to 22 days. You will see if there are any partially developed embryos and if not the eggs weren’t fertile, to begin with.

What is the good humidity level for hatching Quail eggs?

Your incubator should be at a temperature level of 37.5°C with a humidity of 30-40%. This temperature and humidity must be maintained for the first 14 days. As with all fowl, it is important to turn your eggs multiple times a day.

How much time does it take for a Quail egg to hatch?

It will take approximately 17 to 19 days to hatch.

How long do baby Quail or newborn Quail need a heat lamp?

The newborn Quail will need to be kept in controlled temperature for 4 to 6 weeks. Therefore, it will need a heat lamp till that period ends.

Can you hatch Quail eggs without incubators?

Yes, Quails can hatch their eggs. 

When to provide water to the newly hatched chick?

A newly born chick can leave up to about 3 days depending on the circumstances. Though, provide some edible feed and water in a pot. So, when they are strong enough they can eat.

Can I open the incubator during hatching?

Yes, but not recommended without a region.

How do you keep Quail eggs from hatching?

If you can’t immediately incubate eggs, try to store them in the best conditions you can. They should be stored at a temperature level between 7-12°C, with an ambient humidity of 50-60%. And, be sure to turn them at least once a day, for optimal hatchability.

In case if you are interested in this: Profitable Agriculture Business Ideas.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here