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Candling EggsJapanese Quail Farming

Japanese Quail Farming
Nutrition Requirements
Practical Feeding


Pre-incubation Egg Care:
Successful quail propagation begins in the pre-incubation period. Eggs should be collected twice daily and more frequently in hot weather. Special care must be taken in collecting and handling quail eggs for they are thin-shelled, break more easily than chicken eggs. Eggs should be of a uniform size - extreme large or small size eggs has low hatchability. Eggs held for incubation should be kept in a cool, clean, dust-free room at a temperature of 14 + 3C (55 + 5F) and 70 + 10 percent relative humidity. Eggs should be stored large end up and they should not be held for more than 7 days before being placed in the incubator. Set only clean eggs. Eggs to be incubated should not be washed; if cleaning is required, it should be done with a clean abrasive or sandpaper. The egg is mostly water and quail egg dehydrates more rapidly. Eggs stored in PVC bags may be stored for a longer period of time (14-21 days) and the hatch will be higher than from unpackaged eggs stored as described above.

Natural Incubation:
Although it is possible to incubate quail eggs under a broody hen or bantam, it is not usually practice in Singapore. From behavioral studies, some coturnix hens will sit on their own eggs in a nesting box, but this is not the general rule.

Artificial Incubation:

Incubator Quail eggs can be incubated successfully in any standard size commercial incubators. However, trays must be modified by adding 1.3 cm x 2.5 cm strips of welded wire to the chicken egg tray holders. Special wooden tray can be ordered to suit the size of quail eggs. Be sure to orient the eggs large end up in the setting trays or place flat in a horizontal tray. Quail eggs will hatch successfully if they are placed in an incubator in any position except with the large end down. The incubator should have a fan to provide adequate air circulation because the developing embryos use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide and heat. Little ventilation is needed at the beginning but the requirement increases as incubation progresses. The machine should be equipped to allow automatic turning of all eggs through an angle of 90 at least 4-6 times per 24 hours. Turning regularly is particularly critical in early incubation to prevent the embryos from adhering to the shell membrane. Lack of turning during the first 3 to 4 days will produce some malformed embryos as well as other minor defects. Turning may be discontinued after 14 days.

Hatching Eggs Fan-ventilation incubators should be set at 37.5 + 0.3 C. If the temperature of the incubator exceeds these recommendations many embryos may die. During the hatching period temperature should be lowered 0.5 C. A relative humidity of about 60 percent is satisfactory during incubation and should be raised to about 70 percent during the hatching period. The incubation period is 16 1/2 to 17 1/2 days. The duration of incubation may range from 16 to 18 days depending upon temperature, humidity and genetic variability. Some farmers in Singapore transfer the developing eggs to a separate hatcher on 15th day of incubation. It takes 10 hours from pipping to hatch, and an additional 5 hours for drying the chick. Then the quail chicks are ready to be distributed to other farmers or go into the brooder for rearing.


Brooding and Care of Small Quail

Brooding Facilities:
Chick Brooders Coturnix Chicks Quail chicks can be brooded successfully in several types of commercial or game-bird battery brooders. When commercial chick battery brooders are used they must be modified to suit the small size of quail. The openings in the wire floor should be covered with a rough-surfaced paper during the first week to avoid damage to feet and legs. The wire sides of the brooder must be closed with either fine mesh or paper to prevent escape of the baby quails.

Young coturnix chicks need extra heat to keep them warm until they are feathered. The proper brooding temperature for young birds is very important for successful management. The newly hatched quail chicks are transferred directly to the brooder from t he incubator. The heat to start with in the brooder should be only slightly lower than that of the incubator. They require a high temperature (37 C) at first and the temperature can be reduced 3 C each week until room temperature (28 C) is reached. Any brooder should afford an escape from under the heated area so the chicks can go and come as they wish. Feed and water are usually placed outside the heated hovering area. Thus, the chicks are forced to venture out from under the heat. This gives them needed exercise and accustoms them to lower temperature.

Flat paper plates can be used as feeders for the first few days. Later, a 10 cm x 30 cm x 3 cm galvanized floor feeder with a 1.2 cm x 1.2 cm welded wire grill is placed over the opening to prevent feed wastage.

Water should be provided at all times. Care must be taken with small quails to prevent drowning in water troughs for the first two weeks. A pint canning jar with a glass or plastic fountain base works well. It should be modified by placing a donut shape d piece of hardware grill in the trough at the base. A shallow dish or pan filled with pebbles or marbles will also work. The chicks can drink between the marbles, but can not fall into the water. When chicks reach one week of age, the pebbles or wire protection can be removed with safety. It is important to provide clean water at all times. The water containers or troughs should be cleaned daily.


Housing For Laying Quail

Breeder Cages The system of housing depends very much on the type and scale of the quail enterprise. Most commercial quail farmers in Singapore will use a cage system. They build their cages inside closed houses with wire mesh surrounding both sides of the house for well ventilation. A concrete floor is essential, and the building needs to be substantial enough, not only to deter rodents and other pests but also to provide drought-free and well-ventilated, sheltered accommodation. Canvas-cloth is sometime hanged over on both sides of the house is prevent direct sunlight into the cages. The quails are never exposed to direct sunlight.

The farmers use 6 tier high cages which indicates how little head room this quail requires. Each unit is about 6 feet in length and 1 foot in width, and subdivided into 6 subunits. The farmers use very little metal in their cages. The birds stand on sloping slatted wooden floors. The droppings fall into pull-out wooden trays. Front and rear of cages are closed by wooden slats. Long narrow feed troughs are placed in front of the cages and PPC water troughs are placed at the back of the cages. The eggs roll out under the feed troughs and are collected twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. Commercial egg layers are usually housed in colonies of 10-12 birds per cage. For breeding purposes, male quails are introduced in the cages i n the ratio of 1 to 3 females.


Lighting For Laying Quail

From experiment it has been proved that light has more importance than temperature in stimulating hens to lay. One report indicates the bird will lay to zero temperature if the light of day is extended to at least 14 hours.

A bright light is not necessary. Just enough to maintain wakefulness and social activity in the flock is sufficient. Electric bulbs of 40 or 60 watts may be used in colony pens.

For the light to be effective it must be turned on before dark and calculated to go off after the day has been extended to 14 or 16 hours. Control of the light may be by a time switch. Singapore quail farmers always leave the light on continuously during the night, and there is indication that hens may lay just as well if the light is left on all the time.


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