Tuesday, March 3, 2009

48 Chicks Hatched

I'm very proud of my new breeding stock. My fertility test on my 10 week old Texas A&M quail ended up pretty good in my opinion. We have 48 healthy chicks from 60 eggs. I can live with a 80% hatch rate.

All of the chicks are the same size. That's my goal right now. Since I started back in October I have been trying to concentrate on the mature size (meat weight), and I feel like I've been chasing my tail. I hope I'm on the right track now to a more dependable end product. The main problem I was having was a large disparity in chick size. The large lethargic chicks are about as bad as the weak runts.

Since I will start out with almost identical chicks, I should be able to select the best to be breeders to increase the overall size of the end product. A slow beginning for any chick will not be adequately represented at 10 weeks of age. A small chick, that was pushed away from the food, did not have the same chance to reach his/her size as a larger chick, In the same token an extremely large chick is not able to move around enough to exercise properly. The large ones are the Cornish Cross Chicks of the quail world, without the feed conversion.

My thought is that an active chick from day one that ends up larger than a chick the same size on day one is a superior choice for breeding. I have read studies from Texas A&M university that state that one breeder was able to increased the size by 20 % in only three generations. That's the results I'm looking for!

I plan to bring in some new blood lines this fall. I have two hatcheries in mind (Lakenvelder Farm or CBF SuperQuail) and haven't decided which to use yet. This new blood will allow me to compare/contrast and mix genetic inputs. Have I told y'all how much I love messing with quail?

Y'all Come Back!


TheMartianChick said...

Congratulations on the babies!

TheMartianChick said...

Just thought about something that I read last night... I visited both of the breeders that you mentioned in your post. I also did some googling and found a reference to the fact that you shouldn't expect much better than a 60% hatch rate. They didn't give a reason why. It might be because of using shipped eggs, but they gave no explanation. I'm thinking that if your hatch rate is at 80% then you are definitely doing things right!

I also have a couple of questions for you... How do the Texas A&M quail do in the winter? What should I provide them with to help them to withstand the cold? Since they are smaller than chickens, I'd assume that they'd be less hardy but then again, the smallest sparrows do just fine through the winter!

Brad said...

Shipped eggs are very unreliable. Even if every egg is fertile and handled with velvet gloves by the seller. The USPS can still do a number on them. A X-ray will destroy them all, changes in temperature, as well as rough handling with take their toll also. I seen where people are very pleased with a 25% hatch rate on shipped eggs, and other people who get really upset at the same results.
I do everything I can to ensure my own hatch rate is the best it can be from collecting at the very least twice a day, as well as only setting eggs laid within 48 hrs of each other. My normal hatch rate averages just above 70%, but I've had highs of over 90% and lows down as far as 25%.

Once they feather out quail are very tough. I can't tell you how they would fair in cold weather though. I keep mine inside of my garage turned aviary. I keep my on an artificial light schedule so an inside environment is a must for me. I have heard of people who keep them in rabbit hutch type pens in the winter that allows them to get out of the wind and rain. My main concern would be to keep them dry and ensure they had an adequate wind break.