How can I incubate button quail eggs with home items?

Written by sue stepp
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How can I incubate button quail eggs with home items?
Create an incubator for button quail eggs easily and quickly. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Many farmers raise quail for meat and eggs. Quail is a small game bird that is ready for butchering at 6 weeks of age. Farmers sell quail eggs for hatching and eating. Quail eggs are small, so four or five eggs equal the size of one chicken egg. Quail eggs contain a higher amount of protein, vitamin B1, vitamin A and are lower in cholesterol than chicken eggs. Incubating button quail eggs using household items is easy.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 67.5 litre (15 gallon) aquarium or 60 cm by 60 cm by 60 cm (2 foot by 2 foot by 2 foot) cardboard box
  • Hay or wood shavings
  • Clip-on light
  • 100-, 75- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs
  • 2 clay bricks, 5.6 cm by 10 cm by 20 cm (2 1/4 inch by 4 inch by 8 inch)
  • Paper egg carton
  • Thermometer
  • 1 litre (1 quart) glass or ceramic container
  • Wire hardware cloth 10 cm (4 inches) longer and wider than the aquarium or cardboard box
  • Permanent marker

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  1. 1

    Place the aquarium or cardboard box on a flat surface in a draft-free area. Heavy air flow makes the incubator too cold.

  2. 2

    Put a 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick layer of hay or wood shavings across the bottom. When the chicks hatch, this gives them a better surface for walking. Slick surfaces cause problems with the chicks' feet, and the chicks develop problems walking as they grow.

  3. 3

    Stack the clay bricks on top of each other with one of the 10 cm by 20 cm (4 inch by 8 inch) sides facing down. Attach the clip-on light to the side of the aquarium or box with the outer edge of the clip-on light resting on the top brick. Screw in the 100-watt bulb.

  4. 4

    Open the egg carton, and cut off the top portion. Sit the bottom section of the egg carton into the aquarium or box a few inches away from the bricks. Put the thermometer on top of the egg carton.

  5. 5

    Fill a 1 litre (1 quart) container 3/4 full of water. Sit the container near the bricks. This provides humidity for the eggs.

  6. 6

    Place the hardware cloth on top of the aquarium. Fold the edges down over the edge. Fold the hardware cloth away from the edge where the clip-on light is attached.

  7. 7

    Turn on the light, and let it heat the aquarium for ten minutes. Check the temperature in the incubator. Quail eggs need a constant temperature of 37.5 to 37.7 degrees C (99.5 to 99.9 degrees F) for the eggs to hatch. If the incubator is too cool, put a piece of cardboard over the top of the incubator to keep it warmer.

  8. 8

    Draw a dot on one side of each egg, and place the eggs in the egg carton in the incubator with the dot showing. Move the eggs around two or three times a day, alternating the dot showing and not showing. This keeps chicks from sticking to the inner membrane of the egg.

  9. 9

    Let the eggs incubate for 16 to 18 days until they hatch. Once the eggs hatch, remove the egg carton, and put water and chick feed in the incubator. Use it as a brooder for the chicks. Chicks need a temperature between 29.4 to 32.2 degrees C (85 to 90 degrees F), so change the bulb in the clip-on light to a 75-watt bulb. If it's too cool, cover the top of the box with a piece of cardboard. If it's too hot, put in a 60-watt bulb.

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