So, my first batch of quail eggs did not hatch. What a bummer! Ah, but I knew, I knew I’d be lucky if a single one of these wee ones made it. Ya see, I bought a Little Giant Still-Air incubator and well… Those backyard chicken forums weren’t lying: it is the hardest incubator to manage outside of a DIY one. At the time of purchase, I was aware there would be a huge, huge amount of stress when learning the incubator. But I still bought it because the price was too good to pass up and, if I can’t figure out how to raise humidity manually in an incubator, I’ll be a mess if a more advanced incubator fails on me.
So, this incubator is a mess. One hot mess. Hot like literally hot. After setting up the incubator, I set the ideal temperature for the quail eggs, filled the water channels on the bottom to start raising the humidity, and set my analog thermometer on the egg turner. Not even an hour later, the incubator display was reading 101 F but the analogy thermometer said the inside was actually at 108! If I had set eggs in there, they would have cooked! Then the humidity went all over the place during the hatch. Some eggs ended up developing slowly while others grew far too fast because of these fluctuations.
On the day of hatch, a single chick tried to pip out of the egg. But it sadly died before it could hatch out. Of course, due to my mismanagement and faulty tools, my hatch was a failure. Me worrying over the incubator certainly didn’t help. How many times did I open it unnecessarily? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was me. Damn. However, I was very, very happy to realize that while my chicks did not hatch, the eggs themselves were fertile even during the incoming winter. This means I can start selling hatching eggs to local folks in Austin! Gosh, I really hope I can for sure in spring.
That doesn’t mean we won’t have some winter babies this year! I suspect my white doe is pregnant and if so, she will be kindling in January. Stay tuned for more updates. As always, continue to be kind and tender to one another.