The hatch commenced some time prior to 6.00am yesterday – by which time, we had 8 chicks. By nightfall, the numbers looked to be around 25 chicks. I ended the hatch at 7.00am on Thursday 2nd May – number remain unchanged from 25.
Theoretically, we could have hatched 100 live chicks from 100 fertile eggs – but that was always unlikely for the following reasons:
- Genetics of the breeders – the person who bred them initially did so, more for colour, than for meat or egg production
- Ration – we’re feeding a good organic poultry mash (not crumble) supplemented by BSF larvae and green feed – but it’s not a purpose-built game bird breeder ration
- Power interruption – eggs may have cooled at some time during the incubation period.
- Poor incubation practice – too much guess work around humidity.
- Overheating – where the ambient air rises above the incubation temperature
- Humidity too low or two high
- General health of the breeding stock
- Thermometer accuracy issues
Hatch percentages are a useful measure of efficiency for a quail farmer. The higher the percentage of viable chicks, the lower the cost of production on a per chick basis.
When a hatch has finished, it’s often useful to open up all of the unhatched eggs.
Some eggs are infertile……some will have contained an embryo but expired within the first few days of incubation…..and other eggs will have gone the full term without actually emerging from the shell.
Of the 100 eggs that we set about 18 days ago, 25 have hatched…….a hatch of 25%.
One chick had died after leaving the shell -probably expired due to fatigue.
In any other similar incubation, I’d have expected a hatch rate of 65% or better. In terms of the overall outcome (live healthy chicks), so this hatch was appalling.
Our next move will be to understand more about the hatch failures and, to achieve that, we undertake a post mortem examination of the eggs.