birdie bagels on rubber shelf liner

Preparing for Lock Down

button quail eggs
Button Quail Eggs in a Hovabator with auto turner.

What is lock down you ask? It is the time that starts 72 hours (3 days) before eggs are due to hatch. If using an auto turner, the auto turner is turned off and the eggs are traditionally placed on their sides in the bottom of the incubator where they will hopefully hatch around day 16 (for button quail).

An Alternative

My current eggs were shipped in from another state. Bad things can happen to eggs in shipping due to rough handling such as the air cell being displaced or even broken. There are some things that can be done to help shipped eggs

  • allow shipped eggs to sit settle at room temperature for 3 hours (and up to 24 if the eggs were very fresh before shipping) before incubation.
  • After settling the eggs, can be placed inside an unplugged auto turner, inside of a heated incubator. The turner trays should be completely upright when the eggs are placed inside–pointy side down).
  • The eggs can incubate without the turner being on for 3 days to give them additional time to settle before plugging in/turning on the auto turner.
  • Incubation temperature should be guided by manufacturer instructions: generally 99.5 for forced air and 100-101 for still air).
  • Even after this treatment some of the air cells may not recover properly to be available to provide the chicks air when they try to hatch. ¬†Positioning the egg UPRIGHT can sometimes help in this instance.

So, in preparation to try this method I have prepared some trays and cartons.

Usually only one type of egg is incubated at a time but this time I ordered some coturnix quail eggs from the breeder in addition to button quail eggs. I am not familiar with coturnix as far as behavior after hatching goes and I do not want the chicks to harm the smaller button quail that will hopefully hatch out at the same time.

My coturnix quail egg preparations

I have taken 1″ birdie bagels (cardboard rings) and placed them inside a tray with rubber shelf liner in the bottom. The rings are the perfect size for these larger quail eggs to be stabilized upright.

birdie bagels on rubber shelf liner
Birdie bagels (cardboard rings) that the jumbo Coturnix Quail eggs will rest inside.

Not for button quail

The little button quail eggs slip right through the rings so I have tried to modify plastic quail egg cartons but placing an indented cotton ball in the bottom of each carton cell. In a few days I will know if this worked for the eggs to hatch. I am a little concerned that the delicate button quail might get stuck in the cotton. If this occurs I will be getting cardboard quail cartons to use in the future…

quail carton with cotton balls in each cell.
A plastic quail carton with cotton balls. The buton quail eggs will sit inside this during the lockdown period.
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