When hatching quail eggs, you should choose an incubator that suits the type of eggs you are attempting to hatch. The incubator should be used as an artificial safe haven for hatching quail eggs in the absence of the mother.
All quail eggs should be incubated within 3-5 days after being laid. They should always be kept in a cool area before incubating. Using a candle, one can check to find out whether the eggs are fertile or not. Another way of checking the fertility of an egg is by examining the shell thickness. A thick shell is a good sign of fertility.
Next, transfer the eggs to the incubator with utmost care to ensure that the eggs do not break. Always place eggs inside the incubator with the small end facing downward. The temperature should be about 99 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity should be at least 65%. Using the ventilation shafts and water pans, light and heat inside the incubator can be adjusted.
As they continue to grow, quail eggs produce their own energy and so the eggs should be turned at least three times a day. This vital during the early stages of egg incubation. You do this by hand or by using a built in tilting tray. As the eggs start approaching hatching time, they will start to generate greater amount of energy. Care should be taken to ensure that the eggs do not overheat or dry out as the shells might crack open.
The duration required for hatching quail eggs depends on the eggs that are used. Some quail eggs take as little as 17 days to hatch while some others take more than 25 days to hatch. The more common Bobwhite Quail eggs usually take 23-24 days. The eggs should not be turned three days before their hatching date. Once the eggs hatch, the quail quail chicks need to dry off before they can be transferred to a brooder.
After hatching quail eggs, the best way to heat and warm any quail chicks is by using a thermostat as one can control the amount of heat. One can also do this by using a heat lamp to obtain the correct temperature. A simple red 100 watt bulb inside a thermostat will suffice. Lower the temperature by 3 degrees every week. However, if the quail babies are huddled on top of each other, it means that they are too cold and that the temperature needs to be increased.