The answer is only a few things to make things safer for the quail and I modified things once the eggs started hatching and I realized these problems were occurring.
Button Quail Hatching Upright
Most of the button quail managed this fairly well. I only ended up with 21/60 (2 didn’t make it) hatching but probably 2/3 the eggs I received had large amounts of poop on them. If they had been my eggs they never would have been incubated but it was worth the risk for different bloodlines. I did not candle the button eggs so I am not yet sure how many were actually fertile. I will give them two more days before cracking them open just in case there are any stragglers.
Only one chick got a little cotton stuck to his/her foot which I was able to remove so that seems like a good method of propping eggs up in standard quail size egg cartons.
The biggest problems for the button quail was that they get stuck easily. The first one to hatch out became stuck under the egg carton (yes they are that tiny). A few also got their heads stuck in the white plastic basked the coturnix eggs were inside.
- The solution was to take gift wrapping tape and place a piece around each side of the plastic carton so that the babies could not fit under the carton upon hatching. I also removed the white plastic basket
In the future, I would not incubate button quail eggs and coturnix quail at the same time, they did fine as far as incubating goes but the jumbo coturnix are so much larger that there might be some risk to the button babies. I also noticed that the coturnix seem to start picking on weaker chicks as soon as they are dry and think smaller equals weaker in their minds. While no button babies were harmed (I removed the coturnix quail shortly after each hatched) it just seems like it would be safer to do one at a time OR use a plastic tub without holes and higher sides to keep them separated.
Coturnix Quail Hatching Eggs Upright
The birdie bagels worked very well for the coturnix quail and at the I ended up with 18 hatching out of 22 eggs that were fertile (I candled all of these and tossed those that. Out of those I ended up with 16 healthy babies (two seemed to have respiratory problems that did not affect the rest and they passed away within days of hatching).
While I thought their would be enough space for them to hatch, I found that they are fairly large chicks and while the egg stayed stable for hatching, once out the chicks were capable of knocking other eggs over. In addition, the poor little button quail chicks would stick their heads through the white basket and get stuck.
- solution, remove the eggs on rings from the plastic basket and remove the basked. I also spaced the eggs as far apart as I could from one another so that the quail would not knock over the eggs next to them as they hatched (they eggs stayed upright until that final moment when the chicks crawled out and then they fell off the rings. I took a video of one of these guys hatching but have to find time to post it online and then add it here…