Quail Chicks

A quail chick at around three days old - tiny, but growing like a weed.

After eighteen days in the incubator, disaster struck. A day before the eggs were due to hatch, the incubator was accidentally switched off overnight. The temperature fell to just 25 degrees and stayed there for around ten hours. Despairing and distraught, our first reaction was to call the whole project off, but it transpired that all hope was not lost. Turning the incubator straight back on, it had reached almost 37.7 degrees in just under an hour. The following morning, the eggs started to chip.

It seems that unhatched chicks can deal with drops in temperature the closer they get to hatching. If the same accident had happened in the first week of the incubation, things would have been dismally different. As it was, just two chicks died when the incubator went off, and six out of twelve hatched the following evening. Two eggs were infertile and two others had died early on in the process, so we decided that the success rate wasn't all that bad, accidents aside.

The little birds are now making merry, and are growing at an incredible rate. They are supposed to be fully grown at six weeks, and it's not hard to see that happening...