That Quail Place Forum

Raising Gamebirds => Incubation => Topic started by: Reeves on February 10, 2007, 08:48:09 AM

Title: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on February 10, 2007, 08:48:09 AM
Egg Storage-room Environment

 Hatching eggs should be stored in a cool and, if possible, constant-temperature room. The best temperature for egg storage is between 50 and 60f (10 and 16c). Ideal storage has a regulated constant temperature of 55f (13c). Room temperatures above 80f (27c) cause cell division to continue at an abnormal rate and will lower the hatch, by effecting the egg quality and by causing abnormalities, particularly  in the brain and eye regions. Storage at freezing temperatures (32f [0c]) will affect the egg contents and crack the shells, destroying the egg. Even if the temperature is just above freezing, hatchability will decrease drastically after about three days. in gereral, hatchability is related to temperature and length of storage. Thus, at a constant temperature of 55f (13c), hatchability will hold up for the longest period. At higher storage temperatures (between 60 and 78f[16 and 26c]), hatchability will decline.
        If the storage temperature is higher than normal or fluctuating, eggs must be set more frequently. The susceptibility of eggs to temperature extremes indincates that eggs should be collected several times a day, especially in hot weather (over 80f [27c]) or in very cold weather (near or below freezing).
      Holding hatching eggs for longer periods of time can be desirable, as older eggs require a longer incubation period. Occasionally, breeders want to save eggs for longer periods, particularly at the beginning or the end of the season. However, if eggs held for two or more weeks are set along with fresher eggs, the older eggs shoud be allowed extra incubation time: they should be preset. Eggs held for three weeks require about eighteen hours of extra time.
       Reynnells et al. (1977) found that coturnix and bobwhite eggs stored for longer that fourteen and twenty-five days, respectively, at temperatures of 78 to 82f (26 to 28c) failed to hatch, whereas comparable groups of eggs from the two species held under temperatures of 59 to 61f (15 to 16c) hatched at rates ranging from 70 to 80 percent.

( from the book: Commercial and Ornamental Game Bird Breeders Handbook, by Allen Woodard, Pran Vohra & Vern Denton)
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on February 10, 2007, 08:49:40 AM
trailboss wrote:
Kinda knocks the 7-10 day maximum holding period out of the water......huh?

Or would there be yet an even higher hatch rate had they not been held 14-25 days?
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on February 10, 2007, 09:06:16 AM
I suspect that more would have hatched, if set sooner. But they were testing hatch rates over time & it does show a good rate after being stored properly.

One thing to watch is the humidity of where they are stored. I have read where people keep hatching eggs in a fridge. Most newer fridges are now "frost free". Have you ever noticed how fast a fridge like this drys things out fast ? It will do the same to eggs: that is one reason I never recommend storage in one. Another reason is temperature. At 40f it will kill the egg. Most fridges are (or should be) set at 40f.

One more point. Many years ago I was at a Pheasant breeder place in B.C. He was at that time one of the largest & best in Canada. He told me to store eggs at the above conditions of what the book says above, but to also set them point down in 2-3" of wheat, 1/2 to 3/4 the way up the egg, and tilt each day at least twice.
I asked why the wheat & was told it helps the eggs retain moisture. (wheat as feed is not really dry)
I have kept hatching eggs in this manner since then & have had very good hatch rates after 14 days & more.

However. I have read somewhere in the past, that the dust from feed [may] contain bacteria. So if you try the wheat method of storing your eggs, and they do not hatch: it's not my fault !
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on February 10, 2007, 07:48:00 PM
One more note.

It is my hope that persons that have been raising Quail/Pheasants for years will post information here on things to do prior to breeding season.

Like diets. Pairing off. What/how to prepair incubators/areas.

Lets make this topic one that will help those younger that ask these questions each year !
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: JohnInDixon on February 11, 2007, 11:08:33 PM
Good Idea Reeves!  Also let's not forget that FANTASTIC search button above. New comers should try and search out their answers instead of asking the same questions over and over again.  Especially when the eggs have been shipped and they are expecting the new eggs any day! :-P

Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: aKirA on February 13, 2007, 07:46:40 AM
First thing I do when I pull my incubator from storage or when it's new is sanitize it. I use dish detergent with bleach.
I also test run it and make sure it still/keeps temp.

Before breeding season, I stock up on calcium suppliment and viagra for my birds. :laugh:

Good luck.
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: jk on February 13, 2007, 11:13:46 PM
One thing I have noticed a lot of people take for granted is the feeding area. Feeders should not just be placed on the ground as you can pretty much guarantee that some will get knocked out onto the ground. This can lead to contamination by feces, etc. Use a feeding platform or prepare a certain area in a way the the birds will not be eating feed off of the ground... that's all I've got for now as it is late. I will add more if I think of anything...  :laugh:
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: kcgamebirdfarm on February 14, 2007, 02:16:03 AM
hey, to sum it all up i try to have everything ready to go 1 month ahead of time. ( when birds start laying ) brooders set up with clean fresh wire floors or shavings, clean feeders and waterers and plenty of heaters. Same with making sure the incubators and hatchers are up to snuff so if you do need to fix something you can order it and get it on time. I like to get all my breeders into there pens a month ahead as well that gives them good time to get settled. As far as the feeding goes - i will feed a good conditioner feed up to about 2 weeks b4 i expect the birds to start laying then i will switch them over to a gamebird breeder and off i go. It is also a good idea if you are planning on using a good amount of feed to let your feed store know that you are going to be using allot so to make sure and have it on hand. There was a store here locally that had some good conditioner at a good price and i stopped buying from them because they would never stock it.
I guess i am a hypocrite though cause as i was saying i like to be ready a month ahead well right now i am about 2 months BEHIND S.O.S.
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on February 17, 2007, 12:57:50 PM
I had intended to type out a lot on feeding you birds before egg season. But there is so much information, I could fill pages and pages here.
The best thing to do is buy some good books. I'll mention just two here:
Commercial and Ornamental
Game Bird Breeders
handbook, by Allen Wodard, Pran Vohra & Vern Denton (Hancock House books)
Pheasants of the World
Their Breeding and Management
by Keith Howman.

Their are many others out there & some good books can be purchased from this site (recommended).

Now I'll type some out of Pheasants of the World

Seasonal feeding
    From mid-February, breeder pellets (3 millimeters) are fed in the morning, about 1.5 ounces (43 grams) per bird, and wheat in the afternoon, about 0.5 ounces (14 grams) per bird. Wheat is high in energy, but low in protein and tends to make birds fat. The afternoon feed is slowly replaced by breeder pellets until, by the end of March, most  fo the birds are on pellets only. This should continue until the end of May when wheat is reintroduced as the afternoon feed. By this time, the first chicks are being hatched and are fed 29 percent protein chick crumbs and mini pellets (2 millimeters). When the chicks are about four-weeks old the change is made to 24 percent protein rearing pellets (3 millimeters) and by the end of August they should all be on maintenance pellets of about 15 percent. In the case of young birds, pellets are provided exclusively, while the adult birds still have wheat in the afternoon. Gradually, wheat is mixed in for the young stock from eight weeks onwards until a 50:50 mixture is reached.

So, that touches on some feeding methods. However, most of us cannot feed twice a day. We tend to give free choice. It also doesn't get into the vitamin, and other nutrients required for heathy breeders , eggs and chicks. And it is an extensive list !
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on February 17, 2007, 01:21:45 PM
I may have posted these before ? But if so I may have used PhotoBucket. Have had trouble getting into that account of late, so I'll post again in case the PhotoBucket account goes "dormant".

Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on February 17, 2007, 01:37:34 PM
The above eggs are chicken eggs. (who would kill Pheasants eggs !  :laugh:)

Another topic I'd like to touch on :Grit.

I know most use a prepaired feed. This is garins etc. ground up & formed into pellets. However, I still provide grit for all my birds. The fine #1 for chicks & all the Quail, from their first week on.
I tried the granite type for the Pheasants, but they didn't seem to like it. So I picked up (5 ton) of 1/4" minus for them, and let them pick the size they like.

Birds use grit in their gizards to grind up food. If you feed any greens (as you should be) then they need this grit, to grind up their food into a digestible paste.
Although pelleted feed has been ground up, I'm always unsure if it is ground enough. So I always provide grit. It will not hurt them.

The other form of grit is oyster shell or limestone which is soluble. This is intended for laying birds and should only be provided during the breeding season to replace the calcium that goes into making the egg shells.
While calcium is an essential mineral, there is enough in pelleted feeds for normal requirements and excessive amounts do more harm than good, especially if the dietary content of vitamin D is high.
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: jk on February 17, 2007, 03:40:01 PM
Here are some good books as well...

The Pheasants of the World 2nd Edition by Jean Delacour; 395 pages.

The Pheasants of the World Biology and Natural History 2nd Edition; by Paul A. Johnsgard; 398 pages.

Keeping Jungle Fowl By Joseph Batty;
80 pages, info on all 4 species of Jungle Fowl plus the controversial Gallus giganteous.

Pretty much any of the books by William Beebe are good as well.
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on May 22, 2007, 08:42:53 AM
Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs

    A satisfactory hatch of healthy game bird chicks depends upon the correct combination of breeding stock; breeder management, including lighting, nutrition, and disease control; and the proper handling and incubation of eggs.

    The best hatchability is obtained from birds with a high rate of lay. Usually, eggs laid during the start of lay do not hatch as well as those laid at the peak of production. Always select eggs that are generally ovoid in shape. The shell surface of the egg should be sound (no cracks) and the surface should not be rough. Eggs with loose or floating air cells or those with blood or meat spots should not be set; these factors can be detected by candling. In pheasants, off colored egg shells may cause lower hatchability (Hulet et al. 1985) due to a significant decrease in shell thickness. Several diseases, including Newcastle, bronchitis, and avian encephalitis, have marked effects on exterior and interior eggs quality. During or immediately preceding an outbreak of such diseases, the hens may produce eggs with thin whites, displaced and floating air cells, and thin shells. Such eggs do not hatch well and the embryo may harbor the disease.

    Most dirty eggs can be cleaned with fine-grain sandpaper. When eggs are washed, sanitation problems may arise. The egg shell has thousands of tiny pores. If the temperature of the wash water is below the temperature of the egg, then water is absorbed through the pores and bacteria or other contaminants in the water will enter the egg. Wash water temperature must always be above the temperature of the egg, but not so high as to sterilize the egg.

Egg Washing Procedure

    Some hatchery managers prefer egg washing with disinfectant to fumigation because they feel it is easier, faster, and more likely to be rigorously performed by hired labor. As well, a residual disinfectant material remains on the egg shell that protects it against recontamination. Egg washing effectively sanitizes hatching eggs if the proper equipment is used to do the job correctly. Washing can cause contamination of eggs if the water temperature drops below the recommended levels or if contamination exceeds the capacity of the disinfectant in an immersion washer.
    Wash water must always be hotter than the eggs (recommended range, 110 to 120f [43 to 49c]. The washing solution must contain a detergent sanitizer. An egg washer that does not recirculate water is recommeded. If an immersion or reservoir-type wsher is used, the water must be changed frequently; do not wash more than 200 eggs per gallon (4 liters) of solution. Immersion time should not exceed three minutes and eggs should be thoroughly dry before they are placed on trays or in cases, large end up.

from: Commercial and Ornamental Game Bird Breeders Handbook
by Allen Woodard, Pran Vohra & Vern Denton

(all typos are mine)
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: kiaya611 on July 04, 2007, 09:34:41 AM
Great information.

I have a question though.  I am wanting to hatch some Bob White quail eggs and want to know how you keep the eggs at the optimum temp of 55 - 65 during storage?  My refrigerator is too cold and doesn't adjust to that "hot" and there is nowhere in my house or any other place that I have that will keep anything at that temp.

Do you have to get a special refrigerator to store eggs so you can put them all in the incubator at the same time instead of as you get them and then have an ongoing hatch for a week?

I only have 5 females, but that is 5 eggs a day and if I store them for a week, 35 eggs.  It would be much easier (and seemingly more reasonable) to store them for a week and then put them in the incubator all at the same time to get a hatch that is about at the same time.

I just can't figure out how to store them at the correct temp.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: CharlieHorse on July 04, 2007, 11:02:46 AM

I just can't figure out how to store them at the correct temp.


I've never done this (never had the need with eggs), but I'm sure that it would work with a little bit of experimenting. I keep several used plastic milk jugs filled with water in the freezer at all times. I use it for all sorts of things, ice cream maker, coolers, dog box on hot days, etc., plus it keeps the freezer cold for a longer period if the electric would happen to go out. It last several days out in the heat.

  I figure that you could take a cooler and put a frozen gallon/1/2 gallon of water in it, then monitor the temp to see what it reads. Different sized coolers, quality of the cooler, and the level of the eggs in the cooler would probably be a factor also. Since you would only be storing the eggs for a week, a couple of gallon jugs to switch out if necessary would surely be enough. Of course, I would keep it in the coolest room where the temperature is fairly stable, unless it was too cold of course. It might work best out in the barn???    :grin:

Just a thought

UPDATE 7/6/07:  My 50 quart "IGLOO" cooler will hold at 54-59 degrees fahrenheit in the mid to upper portions with the ambient temperature fluctuating from 68-86 degrees on my garage floor. I used one 1 gallon jug of ice, it lastest for 48 hrs. before needing changed with a new jug of ice. No different than what used to be used for everyday refrigerators (ice box).  Note: Smaller coolers than this (50 quart) got too cold....temps where down to 34-41 degrees.
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: aKirA on July 04, 2007, 04:10:23 PM
You can also try putting your eggs in a box first, then in the fridge. It may help lower the temp for the eggs.
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: WHITNEYPLU on July 04, 2007, 04:34:08 PM
I keep my house at 70 degrees and store my eggs inside the house in egg racks that go into my sportsmans incubator and put them in the incubator every Friday. I have always had consistent hatches and a high hatch rate from this. Seems the more steps and the more complicated I make it, fewer eggs hatch.
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: Reeves on July 17, 2007, 09:27:01 AM
Dusty, the info I posted about storage is from the foremost breeders in the world, from many years of experience & experimentation.

Although some may "get away" with doing less than recommended, I will always suggest to people learning the trade to work towards using tried & true methods.
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: zipper on February 11, 2008, 05:40:31 PM
I am certainly no authority on hatching and/or storing eggs but here is what I do. I bought a wine cooler/refrigerator at Home Depot for around 100 dollars. Supposedly, the correct temperature for keeping wine is 45-60 degrees. This wine fridge is adjustable from about 45-70 degrees. I have kept and hatched BW quail eggs that were 14 days old. This wine fridge is small about 20" wide x 10" tall and 18" deep. It has a glass front to view what is inside. May not be an answer for everyone but it works for me.

P.S. sometimes these can be found at HD on sale for 79 dollars......
Title: Re: Before Incubation
Post by: gendwk on November 23, 2010, 05:26:26 PM
Someone on this forum sait "to store eggs in plastic baggs"  !   wont that rob the eggs of oxygen ???