Incubating And Hatching Quail Eggs

by Linda F

Published March 13, 2023

For those who are looking to hatch eggs at home, we generally recommend starting with chicken eggs for a home hatch. The only exception is trying quail. In my experience, they are even easier than chicken eggs to hatch in a home incubator. If you want to add quail to your backyard egg experience, hatching your own is easy if you do a bit of homework beforehand.

Getting The Eggs

Quail hatching eggs can be shipped to you by USPS. In most cases, the hatching eggs are delivered directly to the address you provide instead of being held at the post office for pickup like live chick orders.

Hatching eggs are fragile, so make sure your egg supplier has a great method for packing them safely. Our quail hatching eggs are packed with great care and are guaranteed to arrive unbroken. 

After your hatching eggs arrive, let them set at room temperature for 12-24 hours so that each egg’s internal temperature can stabilize. Putting cold eggs into a warm incubator may cause hairline cracks in the eggshell, which may cause the embryo to die and the egg to rot instead of develop.

Quail Hatching Eggs in an incubator Meyer Hatchery

Set Up Your Incubator

Quail eggs take 18 days to incubate and hatch. Make sure your incubator is set up, plugged in a reaches the correct temperature at least a full 24 hours before setting the eggs. The temperature for quail eggs should be 99.5*F. The humidity should be around 40-50% relative humidity for the first 14 days, then increase it to 65-70% for the hatch. If you use an automatic egg turner in the incubator, ensure you install the correct rails or racks designed for smaller eggs. Reference our Help Desk article for more information on setting up your incubator.

Quail Chicks Hatch Like Popcorn

It isn’t an exaggeration! Unlike chicken chicks, ducklings, and other types of poultry, quail chicks complete the hatching process surprisingly quickly. They will pip their shells, unzip, and pop right out within 30 minutes to an hour in most cases. Of course, there are always those chicks who, for unknown reasons, can’t complete the hatching process. It’s important not to open the incubator to assist any struggling chicks. It’s hard to watch, but the reality is that if they cannot manage to hatch completely, the struggling chick is likely to have some developmental problems that will prevent it from thriving later on.

Day Old Coturnix Quail Meyer Hatchery

Brooder Differences

The only main difference in the brooder setup for quail versus chicken chick is the waterer and feeder. Newly hatched quail chicks are so tiny that they can easily drown in a waterer intended for chicken chicks. You want to use a waterer intended for quail with a smaller trough. This special waterer helps prevent the tiny quail chicks from getting in the water. 

Also, make sure that the feeder isn’t too big for the tiny quail hatchlings. Quail need to eat gamebird starter crumbles with 27% protein. The tiny quail are so small, that even a crumble needs to be mashed up a little finer so they can eat it. Baby quail grow very quickly, and by the time they are a week old, they can use regular-sized chick feeders and the crumble no longer needs to be mashed finer for them. You can read more about brooding quail chicks on our Help Desk. 

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