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The process of incubating quails in your own farm is not too burdensome, if you follow simple rules. Chicks are always in demand on the market, and quail meat is in constant demand. It is very tasty and has dietary qualities. If you wish, you can breed birds in an incubator and multiply your own livestock tenfold during the year.
Obtaining high-quality reproductive material
One of the advantages of breeding quails is that they lay eggs 1.5 months after they hatch. However, not every reproductive material is suitable for incubation. It needs to be fertilized, fresh and with good genetic information. If you want to breed quail to form your own herd, there are from 3 to 4 females per male. In this case, you can count on the fact that the females will be covered and there will be enough material for incubation.
Important! If there are too many males in the herd, this may be one of the reasons for the presence of quail eggs that are unsuitable for incubation.
On our own mini-poultry farm, it is possible to achieve an increase in productivity up to 80%. Quails and quails are kept in separate enclosures. For mating, the quail is left in a small aviary with two males for half an hour. What rules must be followed in order for the reproductive material for incubation to be of high quality?
The optimal age for laying hens is from 2.5 to 9.0 months. Males for mating should be used no more than 3 months of age. If the quail is older than 3 months, it must be discarded and replaced with a 2 month old sire.
The criteria for the suitability of eggs for raising quail in an incubator are as follows:
- The hatching fertilized egg should not be too large or small.
- The mass of one egg is: for egg breeds - from 9 to 11 g, for meat breeds - from 12 to 16 g.
- The shell is neither too dull nor overly colored.
- The shell is not rough to the touch.
- Another important point is the correct form. Neither pointed nor spherical eggs are suitable for incubation.
It is possible to draw final conclusions about the suitability of an egg for placing in an incubator using a self-made ovoscope. Make a cardboard cylinder, cut a window in the center to fit the egg. Insert the lamp connected to the electric supply from the end part.
We do not incubate the material in the following cases.
- Cracks in the shell.
- Air chamber on the side of the egg or on the side of the sharp end.
- The yolk is not centered.
- The presence of two yolks.
- White and yolk with spots.
Storage of incubation material
You can store fertilized eggs until they are placed in the incubator for no more than 1 week. Each subsequent day reduces the likelihood of a full-fledged quilt being born by a third. This is due to the fact that the viability of the embryo does not exceed four weeks.
Before being placed in an incubator, reproductive material is kept in a well-ventilated room, at an air temperature of 10 to 12 degrees and a relative humidity of about 80%. An open container filled with water can be used to humidify the indoor air.
It is necessary to protect eggs from the rays of the sun. Twice a day they are turned over. In this case, you need to act very carefully to avoid damage to the cords.
We lay eggs in the incubator
First, we prepare the incubator for incubation. The eggs are placed in a carefully washed and disinfected incubator. The incubator can be disinfected by irradiation with a quartz lamp or dissolved Ecocide for 8 minutes.
Advice! Pour water into the designated reservoir beforehand. Run the appliance for 3 hours of dry operation. This is necessary to make sure that the thermostat is working properly.
A controversial issue: do you need to wash the eggs before setting them in the incubator? Experts do not recommend doing this, as the supra-shell membrane may be damaged. But many poultry farmers still ignore this rule. They rinse them and treat them with a 3% manganese solution. 5-8-minute ultraviolet irradiation is much more effective than such treatment. At the same time, the lamp is kept at a distance of 40 cm from the surface.
Eggs are placed in the incubator in two ways: vertically and horizontally. With horizontal laying, the eggs are periodically rolled in different directions, and with vertical laying, they are tilted left and right (incubation of quails without overturning). The vertical method is distinguished by a smaller capacity, but a large hatching percentage (about 75%).
If the incubator is not adapted for vertical laying of eggs and is not equipped with a device for automated turning of eggs, then you can make the mold yourself. Regular fold-cut egg trays work well for this. Cut a 3mm hole in the bottom of the cells. Arrange the eggs vertically into the cells, tilting them forty-five degrees.
Important! Even if the incubator is equipped with an electric thermometer, it is advisable to additionally monitor the air temperature in the incubator with an alcohol thermometer.
With this method of incubation, the eggs simply need to be laid out on the net. In this case, you must first outline the side that is on top so as not to be confused when turning over.
The incubation conditions are changed several times.
- Day 1-7: air temperature 37.8 degrees, relative humidity 50-55%. Turn the eggs every 6 hours.
- 8-14 days. The temperature regime remains the same. The relative humidity is reduced to 45%. Eggs should be turned every 4 hours. In addition, 2 times a day you need to ventilate the incubator for 15-20 minutes to cool the eggs. Turning over helps prevent the embryo from sticking to the shell.
- 15-17 days: the level of relative humidity rises to 70%. The air temperature is 37.5 degrees.
The incubation time is 17 to 18 days. After hatching, the quails should be kept in the incubator until they are completely dry. After about two days, quail cubs can be placed in more "adult" conditions: a separate room, preheated.
Important! It is possible to preserve viable embryos and successfully hatch quail even if the incubator suddenly breaks down.
It is important to see and fix the damage in time. To prevent embryos from being damaged, they should be cooled to 15-17 degrees.
Result of work
The productivity of hatching quails in an incubator can be estimated by the simplest arithmetic calculation. If the number of young animals is ¾ or more of the total number of eggs, then everything is in order. If less, then you need to analyze the cause of this phenomenon and use the help of an ovoscope.
- An egg without fertilization has the same appearance as before it was laid inside the incubator, with the difference that the air chamber is expanded.
- If a bloody ring of scarlet color is visible, this is a sign of the death of the embryo during the first five days of the egg's stay in the incubator.
- If the embryo froze from 6 to 14 days, it takes up about ½ of the entire container.
- Quails that died before or during hatching occupy the entire volume. When viewed on an ovoscope, the lumen is either completely absent, or slightly noticeable.
It is also necessary to find out what exactly caused the decrease in the productivity of quail breeding: a violation of the temperature regime, an unfavorable level of humidity or irregular turning of eggs. The reasons for the low productivity of incubation can be.
- Unbalanced nutrition, lack of minerals, trace elements and vitamins. The result is the formation of weak and initially non-viable embryos. The hatched chicks have malformations, weak immunity. Some babies die, being unable to break through the shell with their beak.
- Incubation mode is not correct. This may be a violation of the humidity and air temperature regime, as well as insufficient ventilation. Embryos die from lack of oxygen.
- Disrupted gas exchange. It is necessary to monitor the temperature and, in accordance with the incubation regime, periodically cool the eggs.
Before purchasing an incubator, you must familiarize yourself with its technical characteristics and the availability of additional functions (automated egg turning, a box for placing hatched chicks, air humidity control).
It is advisable to buy material for incubation in proven farms. But if you wish, you can start growing your broodstock. You will both save money and gain experience. The procedure for incubating quails is a rather painstaking business, but interesting and exciting. Your perseverance and patience will be rewarded!
The incubation process is shown in the video: